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Ancient Olympics

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Ancient Olympics

Post  SamPan on Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:53 am

Games of the Ancient Olympics The Olympics began in ancient Olympia Greece, which lies 10km east of Pirgos, in a valley between Mt. Kronos, the Alfios river, and the Kladeos. This area was inhabited by the Pisans, whose King was Oinomaus. His daughter Hippodameia had married Pelops, and it has been said that the first games were held in their honor around 1000 B.C. Through the years the games began to attract interest in nearby towns. In 776 B.C. , the leader of the Eleians, Iphitos, rededicated the games to the honor of Zeus, (the most important god in the ancient Greek pantheon). As a result of the religious nature of the games, all wars would cease during the contests. The original games only consisted of one race, one day with a cook, Coroibus of Elis, being the first winner. Later in time the powerful Spartans influenced the games by adding roughly ten new events to the agenda (Carlos 1). In contrast to modern olympics, there were fewer events, women were barred rights of participation, and the games were always held at Olympia instead of moving to different sites. The winners would be rewarded with a simple olive tree branch, which was cut with a gold-handled knife, from a wild olive tree, as well as being known as heroes for putting their hometown on the map (Library Advanced Org. [LAO], 1). While the exact amount of spectators that attended the Olympics is unknown, the tiers of the Olympic stadium were built to accommodate around forty-five to fifty thousand. As the games grew, royalty began to compete for personal gain, mainly in the chariot events. Humans and gods were glorified as well as many winners erecting statues around the arena to deify themselves (Carlos 1,2). The pentathlon was added in 708 B.C. in the 18th Olympiad consisting of five events: discus, javelin, long jump, running and wrestling. The pentathlon was said to be invented by Jason, who combined the five events and awarded the first prize to a friend, Peleus, who placed second in everything except for wrestling, which he placed first. The pentathlon was a combination of light events: jumping, running, javelin and heavy events: discus and wrestling. While it remains unknown how the decision of the winner was made, it is believed that the last two winners confronted each other in wrestling, with the winner declared pentathlon victor. Speed, strength, skill, and endurance are all qualities necessary to participate in the pentathlon. A quote from Aristotle, 孏he pentathletes are the best, because they are naturally endowed with both strength and speed� (Foundation of the Hellenic World [FHW], 1). Boxing, added in 688 B.C., was first mentioned in Homeric poems, and was held in honor of Patroclus. It is said that Apollo, who defeated and killed Phorbus, was the inventor of the boxing event. The ancient boxing differed in many ways from the modern boxing that we are used to. While having no time limit to the fight, opponents fought until one raised his hand in defeat, or fell knocked out or dead. An effective tactic of ancient boxing was positioning your opponent to face the sun, blinding him with the glare. When a match would stalemate, the contestants had the option of klimax, which meant both men stood still and allowed his opponent a blow without making an attempt to avoid it. For wrist and hand support, the boxers would wrap himantes, or straps of soft ox-hide around the first knuckles of the fingers, then ran diagonally across the palm onto the back of the hand, leaving the thumb uncovered. Because himantes were time consuming, boxers later started using 㺸xies himantes� which had hard leather straps with a layer of wool to protect the hand. The Romans later invented the caestus, which was a boxing glove reinforced with iron and lead, transforming the art of boxing into a deadly contest. Philostratos claims that a good boxer should have long strong arms, a high neck and powerful flexible wrists. It is also important that the boxer has persistence, patience, endurance, as well as great will power and strength. A popular boxing match that was recorded in ancient mythology was a battle between Polydeukes and Amykos, king of Bebrykes. The king challenged all travelers through his country, and he would kill them in the match. He then proceeded to challenge Polydeukes who was too tough of a competitor for the king, and he made the king swear to leave all travelors alone from there on in (FHWB 1-2, LAO 1). The discus is one of the competitions that does not relate to any military or farming action. Homer

SamPan

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