The origins of the Olympic Games date back to ancient Greece.
The Greeks were immensely religious and sports were a way for the people to honor their gods. The Panhellenic Games were four
national festivals that were open to competitors in only the Greek regions and colonies. The four Panhellenic Games were the
Pythian, the Nemean, the Isthmian, and the Olympics. The games alternated so that there was always a national athletic festival
every year. By far the Olympic Games were the most famous of the four national festivals.
|The ruins of the exedra, or sitting area, are pictured here.
The Olympic Games date back to 776 B.C. The ancient Olympics
were celebrated in the summer every four years at Olympia held in honor of the supreme Greek god, Zeus. Olympia is a remote religious sanctuary and has no town or city there.
Olympia consists of many buildings, temples, altars, colonnades, and sport arenas.
Early in the year, envoys were sent throughout Greece to invite city-states to join in paying tribute to
Zeus at the Olympic Games. The competitions were only open to men who had Greek descent. The majority of all Greek men were
At every Olympic Games, tens of thousands of spectators
flocked to Olympia to watch the fierce games and visit the
temples to honor their Greek gods. It was ensured that the entire crowd was entertained by singers, dancers, magicians, public
speakers, and poets. Outside of Olympia, food and flower sellers,
peddlers, and bookmakers set up their tents and stalls.
The ancient Olympic reached its height of popularity during
the 5th and 4th Centuries B.C. In about 393 AD, the Roman Emperor Theodosius I repressed them. In the
late 1800s, the Olympic Games concept was revived.