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Ceremonies, Symbols, and Traditions of the Ancient and Modern Olympics
Ancient Olympic Symbols and Traditions
Ancient Olympics
Ancient Olympic Ceremonies
Ancient Olympic Symbols and Traditions
Father of Modern Olympics
Modern Olympics
Modern Olympic Ceremonies
Modern Olympic Symbols and Traditions
Olympic Extras!

Today at the modern Olympics, we have the same traditions and symbols as the ancient Greeks at the ancient Olympics. On the other hand, we do not have some of the same traditions or symbols as the ancient Greeks.


One ancient Olympic tradition that we do not have today is the Olympic truce, which means holding hands, and was announced before and during all Olympic festivals. The truce allowed aspiring athletes and spectators to travel safely to Olympia because during the truce, wars, troops, legal disputes, and the carrying out of death penalties were suspended and prohibited. It was created because at the time ancient Greece was not one single country, but a collection of independent city-states, who were often at war with each other. An inscription of the Olympic Truce was written on a bronze discus and was displayed at Olympia, so everyone could remember to follow it. Most of the time the majority of the people followed it, but the law required to fine those who broke the Olympic Truce. The fine depended on how severe the violation was.

A Statue of a Greek Athlete

Greek Athlete

Hera's Altar
The Olympic flame was and still is lit at Hera's Altar.

One of the ancient Greek Olympic traditions that we have today is the Olympic Oath. Every athlete had to declare the mandatory Olympic oath in front of the Statue of Zeus. They had to vow that they trained in their home cities for at least ten months and that they would obey the rules and regulations of the Olympic Games. Officials had to swear a similar oath in front of the Statue of Zeus. They had to promise to judge all competitions fairly. For the majority of the time, athletes and officials followed the oath, but like the Olympic Truce, they faced a punishment and its severity depended on the violation.


The ancient Olympic flame is another ancient Greek Olympic tradition that we have today in our modern Olympic games. The Olympic flame burned at Hera's altar during the entire duration of the ancient Olympic Games. At the conclusion of the games, the Olympic flame was extinguished.


"May the world be delivered from crime and killing and freed from the clash of arms."

-Quote from the 'sacred truce' beginning

the first known Olympic Games