Archive for the ‘700s BC’ Category


The Olympic games (-776 to +393, and since 1896) take place every four years. Men and women come from all over the world to see who is the best at different sports, like running, jumping, swimming and many others.

Those who come in the true spirit of the Olympics come not for love of money but for the glory of achievement, to be the best.

The next Olympic games will be in Beijing, China in the summer of 2008. After that in London in 2012. A different city hosts it each time.

These days over 10,000 come to take part, two million come to watch and more than half the people in the world see at least some of it on television. The money for the games comes from selling the television rights.

It is one of the few times the world feels like a family.

First prize in an event is a gold medal, second prize, a silver and third, a bronze. What the Nobel prize is to science, an Olympic medal is to sport.

The games have been played every four years since 1896, except for 1916, 1940 and 1944 when there was world war.

The games were held in ancient times.

Since at least the days of the Trojan war, Greeks honoured the gods and the dead with games. Of these the largest and most important games took place at Olympia in honour of Zeus. Olympia had the the largest temple of Zeus in the world, one of the seven wonders of the world.

The ancient games lasted for over a thousand years: winners were recorded from -776 to +393. They were outlawed in 394 by Theodosius I as non-Christian. From about -250 to +450, some Greek historians used Olympiads to date history.

In the ancient games the winner won a crown made of olive leaves and had his name recorded for the ages. He was famous for life.

Cities all over the Greek-speaking world sent men to the games, even those as far away as Spain and Egypt. In most cases, war stopped during the games: the Olympic peace.

The spirit of the games were much the same as now, but the old games were not quite like ours:

  • There were events for boys
  • One of the main events was a chariot race
  • Only naked, free-born Greek-speaking men and boys took part: no foreigners, slaves or women.
  • Married women were not allowed to watch.
  • A 100 oxen were sacrificed

In ancient times women had games of their own: the Heraea in honour of Hera.

At first the Olympics was only a footrace. Later other events were added. The pentathlon came in –708. Now there are 28 sports and 301 events.

There was no Marathon race in the ancient games. That was created for the new Olympics in 1896.

The Olympic torch is a new thing too: the games do not begin till runners arrive with a torch lit at Olympia. It starts a fire that burns till the games end.

– Abagond 2007, 2015.

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