Παρασκευή, 16 Μαρτίου 2012

Ancient Olympia - Birthplace of the Olympic Games


Ancient Olympia is located at the west end of the Peloponnese peninsula in the midst of a fertile plain between the rivers Alpheios and Kladeos. The complex of ancient structures at the south slopes of Kronos hill developed over many centuries into a sanctuary. A multitude of deities were represented there during the bronze age until it was dominated by the worship of Zeus at the end of the Mycenaean era.

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The Olympic Games
Olympia is the birthplace of the Olympic games which started on these very grounds. In the year 776 BCE the first Olympiad took place at the sanctuary of Zeus and repeated every four years for centuries thereafter. The date of the first Olympic games (776 BCE) is the first accurate chronology of historical Greece since the names of the victors were faithfully recorded and the ancient Greeks measured time back to the centuries by referring to the different Olympic games.

The Olympic games were a tradition that endured centuries of time emanating a feeling of unity through competition that galvanized the independent Greek city-states into a coherent cultural entity. The games were so important to the Greeks that they put aside their traditional differences, and even went as far as ceasing open hostilities in war time in order to descent to the sanctuary of Olympia to compete in the honorable games.

he tradition of togetherness helped the Greek colonies retain close ties with mainland Greece, and acted as a catalyst for the development of what we now know as the Hellenic contribution to the birth of Western civilization.

Winning an Olympic event was an honorable endeavor for any Greek athlete. Upon winning, his home city would tear down part of their defensive walls as a gesture of confidence in the ability of its defenders. Victory in the Olympic games was one of the highest honors bestowed upon a mortal, but besides a crown made of olive branches no material reward was afforded to the winners.

One of the pivotal points of Greek thinking was the nobility of man as a free being who can overcome all obstacles in search of virtue. The Olympic games, in their own unique way, aided the formulation of the kind of intellect that searched for answers in nature, and a respect for rules that made co-existence of free men possible.

info:  xpathens.com

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