بازی‌های المپیک باستان

از ویکی‌پدیا، دانشنامهٔ آزاد
پرش به ناوبری پرش به جستجو
فارسیEnglish
مجسمه زئوس. مسابقات المپیک برای ادای احترام به او در صحن مقدس او در المپیا برگزار می‌شد.

بازی‌های المپیک باستان آیینی بود که هر چهار سال یک بار در یونان باستان در محلی به نام المپیا برگزار می‌شد و نوباوگان، جوانان و پهلوانان جداگانه به مبارزه می‌پرداختند، در حاشیه المپیک مسابقه‌های شعر و شاعری، سخن‌وری و موسیقی هم برگزار می‌گردید. این بازی‌ها حدوداً بین سال‌های ۸۸۴ پیش از میلاد تا ۷۰۴ پیش از میلاد مسیح آغاز شد و در سال ۳۹۳ میلادی امپراتور روم، تئودوسیوس، برگزاری المپیک را ممنوع کرد.

مسابقات المپیک در بین یونانی‌ها از اهمیت زیادی برخوردار بود چنانکه مورخین یونانی در دوران باستان، از آن به عنوان یک واحد برای اندازه‌گیری زمان استفاده می‌کردند. یک «المپیاد» بیانگر چهار سال می‌بود.[۱]

خاستگاه[ویرایش]

در مورد خاستگاه بازی‌های المپیک روایات متعددی وجود دارد. یکی از این روایات نخستین بازی‌های المپیک را با مفهوم εκεχειρία«(اکخیریا)» یا آتش بس المپیک مرتبط می‌داند. بر اساس اساطیر، پادشاه ایفیتوس از الیس، که به دنبال برقراری صلح در میان یونانیان در حال جنگ بود به ملاقات اوراکل از دلفی رفت. در آنجا به ایفیتوس توصیه شد هر چهار سال یکبار با جایگزین کردن رقابت‌های ورزشی دوستانه به جای جنگ، حلقه درگیریها را قطع کند. ایفیتوس از پادشاه لیکورگوس از اسپارتا و پادشاه کلئوستنس از پیسا برای این کار دعوت به همکاری کرد. آنان آتش بسی را که "اکهیریاً نام گرفت پذیرفتند و نخستین بازی‌های المپیک را در المپیا برگزار کردند. جنگ از ۱۲ روز قبل از مسابقات تا ۱۲ روز پس از آن قطع می‌شد، و بدین ترتیب ورزشکاران، هنرمندان، و تماشاگران می‌توانستند به المپیا سفر کنند، تا در مسابقات شرکت کرده و دوباره در آرامش به سرزمین‌های خود بازگردند.

بازیهای المپیک در ابتدا یک جشن مذهبی بود که برای ادای احترام به زئوس (پادشاه خدایان یونان) در صحن مربوط به او برگزار می‌شد. این مسابقات هر چهار سال یک بار و از سال ۷۷۶ قبل از میلاد در المپیا که محل صحن زئوس بود برگزار می‌شد.[۲]

افسانه‌های زیادی پیرامون پیدایش مسابقات المپیک به وجود آمده‌است: بر اساس یک داستان، هرکول (که در اساطیر یونانی نیم خدا بود) آن را جهت تجلیل از فتوحات بی نظیرش بوجود آورد. بر اساس افسانه‌های دیگر زئوس و کرونوس، دو خدای یونان باستان، با یکدیگر بر سر فرمانروایی المپیا به جدال برخاستند که نهایتاً زئوس به پیروزی نائل آمد. بر اساس این داستان مسابقات المپیک یادبود این پیروزی می‌باشد.[۳]

تاریخچه[ویرایش]

المپیا در یونان باستان.

بر اساس شمارش سالهای المپیادها تاریخ آغاز این بازی‌ها به سال ۷۷۶ پیش از میلاد مسیح بازمی گردد، گرچه نظرات محققان در مورد زمان آغاز مسابقات بین سالهای ۸۸۴ پیش از میلاد تا ۷۰۴ پیش از میلاد در نوسان است. در زیر و روی تاریخ یونان و آثار کشف شده به سال ۷۶۶ پیش از میلاد مسیح برخورد می‌کنیم که «تیمائوس» نخستین مورخ یونانی در نوشته‌های خود از مردی بنام «کره ابوس» یاد کرده‌است که در راه رفتن از همه سریعتر بوده‌است.

از آن زمان به بعد، این مسابقات در یونان باستان از اهمیت بسیار بیشتری برخوردار شد، و این مسابقات در قرون شش و پنج پیش از میلاد مسیح به اوج اهمیت خود دست یافت. المپیک از اهمیت مذهبی بنیادینی برخوردار بود، و در بین رقابت‌ها قربانی و مراسمی برای ادای احترام به زئوس و پلوپس برگزار می‌شد. (زئوس مجسمه عظیم در المپیا مستقر بود)، و پلوپس، قهرمان آسمانی و پادشاه المپیا بود که مسابق ارابه رانی وی از شهرت بسیاری برخوردار بود و مسابقات به افتخار وی برگزار می‌شد. تعداد ورزش‌ها به ۲۰ رسید، و جشن تا چندین روز ادامه می‌یافت.از برندگان رقابت‌ها تجلیل بسیاری به عمل می‌آمد و آنان در شعر و مجسمه جاودانگی می‌یافتند. این مسابقات هر چهار سال یکبار انجام می‌شد، و فاصله زمانی بین برگزاری دو دوره از مسابقات 'المپیاد' نام گرفت. یونانیان از المپیادها به عنوان روشی برای شمارش سال‌ها استفاده می‌کردند. مشهورترین ورزشکار المپیک در این دوره می‌زیست: کشتی گیر قرن ششم پیش از میلاد میلو از کروتون تنها ورزشکار المپیک است که در شش المپیک قهرمان شده‌است.

با به قدرت رسیدن رومیان در یونان از اهمیت مسابقات کاسته شد. زمانی که مسیحیت تبدیل به دین رسمی امپراتوری روم شد، بازی‌های المپیک به عنوان جشنواره‌ای کفرآمیز و مغایر با اخلاقیات مسیحیت تلقی شد، و در سال ۳۹۳ دوران مسیحیت امپراتور تئودوسیوس برگزاری المپیک را ممنوع کرده و بدین ترتیب به سنتی هزار ساله پایان داد. این تعطیلی طولانی سبب ویرانی «المپیا» و نیایشگاه «زئوس» نماد قدرت و پهلوانی گردید.

هیپیاس نخستین کسی است که لیستی از برندگان بازی‌های المپیک را ثبت کرده‌است. و بر اساس زمان اراتوستن، اتفاق نظر عمومی بر آن است که نخستین بازی‌های المپیکی در خلال تابستان سال ۷۷۶ پیش از میلاد برگزار شده‌است.[۴]

رشته‌ها[ویرایش]

مسابقات در ابتدا تنها شامل «مسابقه دو» بود، ولی بعدها کشتی، بوکس و پرش به آن اضافه شد.[۱] رشته‌های ورزشی برگزار شده در ادوار مختلف این مسابقات شامل ماده‌های مختلف مسابقات دو، پرش، پرتاب دیسک، پنجگانه باستانی، مشتزنی، کشتی، پانکریشن، اسب‌دوانی و ارابه رانی می‌شد.[۵]

شرایط[ویرایش]

در دوران باستان تنها مردان یونانی که آزاد (و نه برده) متولد شده بودند می‌توانستند در مسابقات در جشن مذهبی زئوس شرکت کنند. زنانی که مجرد بودند در تاریخ دیگری به احترام هرا همسر زئوس و مادر هرکول، به مسابقه می‌پرداختند. زن‌های ازدواج کرده حق شرکت در مسابقات را نداشته و در صورت مخالفت باید بهای آن را با جانشان می‌پرداختند.[۱][۲]

شرکت کنندگان که متشکل از افرادی که ثروت و وقت کافی داشتند که به تمرین ورزشی بپردازند. افراد در این مسابقات به صورت شخصی شرکت می‌کردند و نه به عنوان نمایندگان از شهر یا ناحیه‌ای خاص. تمرکز اصلی این مسابقات بر روی ویژگی‌های مردانه مانند قدرت و ورزیدگی که فرهنگ یونانی آن زمان ارج می‌نهاد پایه‌گذاری شده بود. بر خلاف سنت جاری در ناحیه مدیترانه که بر پوشیدگی تأکید داشت شرکت کنندگان برهنه در مسابقات شرکت می‌کردند (کلمه «ژیمناستیک» به عنوان مثال از کلمه یونانی به معنی «برهنه» می‌آید)[۲] مورخین نظریات متفاوتی جهت توضیح این موضوع ارائه کرده‌اند: حضور برهنه در بین عموم مردم بدون اینکه شخص تحریک جنسی بشود نشانگر کنترل شخص بر خودش است یا لخت بودن بخشی از مراسم مذهبی بود که بر مفهوم گذرا بودن تأکید می‌کرد یا عقیده به اینکه برهنگی قدرت جادویی به آن‌ها در مقابل صدمات می‌داد یا اینکه برهنگی لباس مخصوص افراد از طبقه بالا بود... چیزی که به هر حال مشخص است این است که یونانی‌ها برهنگی را خجالت‌آور نمی‌دانستند.[۱]

در دوران باستان معمولاً تنها مردان جوان می‌توانستند در مسابقات شرکت کنند. شرکت کنندگان معمولاً برهنه بودند، این امر نه تنها به خاطر شرایط مساعد آب و هوایی بود بلکه ناشی از آن بود که این جشنواره، تا حدودی، جشن دستیابی به جسم بشر بود. برنده مسابقه، نه تنها از شهرت کسب مقام اول برخوردار می‌شد بلکه به وی تاجی از برگ‌های زیتون نیز اهدا می‌شد. شاخه زیتون نماد امید و صلح است. در حین رقابت برای برخی رویدادها، بسیاری از شرکت کنندگان برای آنکه پوست خود را نرم نگه دارند و نیز برای آنکه نظر تماشاچیان را جلب کنند بدن خود را چرب می‌کردند.

نمادها[ویرایش]

گرچه حمل مشعل بخش ثابتی از جشن‌های یونانیان بود، اما در بازی‌های المپیک باستان چنین مشعلی یا نماد متشکل از پنج حلقه متصل به هم وجود نداشت. این نمادهای المپیک نخستین بار در المپیک نوین مورد استفاده قرار گرفت.

احیای بازی‌های المپیک[ویرایش]

در قرن هفدهم، جشنواره ورزشی بازیهای المپیک در ماچ ونلاک، شروپشایر، انگلستان، برگزار شد و پس از آن بازیهای ملی المپیک، از قرن نوزدهم آغاز شد و تا به امروز ادامه یافت. بعدها، رویدادهای مشابهی در فرانسه و یونان اتفاق افتاد، اما همه این رویدادها در سطحی محدود و نه در سطحی بین‌المللی اتفاق می‌افتاد.

پس از آنکه خرابه‌های المپیا توسط باستان شناسان آلمانی در اواسط قرن نوزدهم کشف شد علاقه به احیای المپیک به عنوان یک رویداد بین‌المللی افزایش یافت. همزمان، بارون پیر دوکوبرتین در جستجوی دلیلی برای شکست فرانسه در جنگ فرانسه و پروس (۱۸۷۰&ndash؛۱۸۷۱) بود. او تصور می‌کرد که دلیل این شکست آن است که فرانسویان فاقد تربیت بدنی مناسب هستند، و به دنبال برطرف کردن این مشکل بود. در سال ۱۸۹۰ او در انجمن المپین ونلاک حضور یافت. کوبرتین همچنین به دنبال راهی برای نزدیکتر کردن ملت‌ها به یکدیگر، و ایجاد زمینه‌ای برای رقابت جوانان جهان در ورزش و نه در میدان جنگ بود. از نظر وی، احیای بازی‌های المپیک می‌توانست به هر دوی این اهداف دست یابد.

در کنگره در دانشگاه سوربون، در پاریس، که از ۱۶ ژوئن تا ۲۳ ژوئن، ۱۸۹۴ برگزار شد او عقاید خود را برای حضاری از سرتاسر جهان بیان کرد. در آخرین روز کنگره، تصمیم گرفته شد که نخستین مسابقات المپیک نوین در سال ۱۸۹۶ در آتن، در کشور زادگاه المپیک برگزار شود. برای سازماندهی این رقابت‌ها، کمیته بین‌المللی المپیک (IOC) ایجاد شد، و دیمیتریوس ویکلاس یونانی به عنوان نخستین رئیس این کمیته انتخاب شد.

تعداد کل ورزشکاران حاضر در نخستین المپیک نوین، کمتر از ۲۵۰ نفر بود، که با توجه به معیارهای امروزی اندک به نظر می‌رسد، اما این رقابت‌ها بزرگترین رویداد ورزشی بین‌المللی تا زمان خود بود. مقامات یونان و مردم نیز مشتاقانه از این رقابت‌ها استقبال کردند و حتی پیشنهاد در اختیار داشتن انحصار برگزاری رقابت‌ها را نیز مطرح کردند. اما کمیته بین‌المللی المپیک تصمیمی خلاف خواست آنان اتخاذ کرد، و دومین المپیک در پاریس، فرانسه برگزار شد. در المپیک پاریس نخستین بار به زنان اجازه حضور در رقابت‌ها داده شد.

المپیک پس از موفقیت اولیه، با مشکلاتی مواجه شد. مراسم پاریس (۱۹۰۰) و سنت لوئیس (۱۹۰۴)تحت الشعاع نمایشگاه جشنواره جهانی که هم‌زمان با المپیک برگزار می‌شد قرار گرفت. بازیهای میانه (چون خارج از نوبت برگزار شد، چرا که ۱۹۰۶ به چهار بخش پذیر نیست) در سال ۱۹۰۶ به عنوان نخستین دور از سلسله متناوب المپیک آتن در این شهر برگزار شد. گرچه کمیته بین‌المللی المپیک این بازی‌ها را در آن زمان به رسمیت شناخته و از آن‌ها حمایت کرد، اما در حال حاضر کمیته بین‌المللی المپیک این بازی‌ها را به عنوان بازی‌های المپیک به رسمیت نمی‌شناسد، و در شرح دلیل خود هدف از این بازی‌ها را گرامیداشت دهمین سالگرد المپیک مدرن می‌داند. مسابقات سال ۱۹۰۶بار دیگر شاهد حضور گسترده شرکت کنندگان از سراسر جهان بود؛ در سال ۱۹۰۴، ۸۰ درصد حاضران در المپیک آمریکایی بودند؛ و استقبال گسترده مردم از این رقابت‌ها، سرآغاز افزایش محبوبیت مسابقات را رقم زد.

منابع[ویرایش]

  1. ۱٫۰ ۱٫۱ ۱٫۲ ۱٫۳ دانشنامه بریتانیکا"
  2. ۲٫۰ ۲٫۱ ۲٫۲ Thomas R. Martin, Ancient Greece, Yale University Press, p.46
  3. William Joseph Baker, Sports in the Western World, University of Illinois Press, p.15
  4. Bickerman ۱۹۸۰, p. ۷۵.
  5. ANCIENT OLYMPIC GAMES at Official website of the olympic movement

The palaestra of Olympia, a place devoted to the training of wrestlers and other athletes

The ancient Olympic Games were originally a festival, or celebration, of and for Zeus; events such as a footrace, a javelin contest, and wrestling matches were added later. The Olympic Games (Ancient Greek: Ὀλύμπια, Olympia,[1][2][3][4][5][6] "the Olympics"; also Ὀλυμπιάς, Olympias,[7][4][5][6] "the Olympiad") were a series of athletic competitions among representatives of city-states and one of the Panhellenic Games of ancient Greece. They were held in honor of Zeus, and the Greeks gave them a mythological origin. The first Olympics is traditionally dated to 776 BC.[8] They continued to be celebrated when Greece came under Roman rule, until the emperor Theodosius I suppressed them in AD 393 as part of the campaign to impose Christianity as the State religion of Rome. The games were held every four years, or olympiad, which became a unit of time in historical chronologies.

During the celebration of the games, an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their cities to the games in safety. The prizes for the victors were olive leaf wreaths or crowns. The games became a political tool used by city-states to assert dominance over their rivals. Politicians would announce political alliances at the games, and in times of war, priests would offer sacrifices to the gods for victory. The games were also used to help spread Hellenistic culture throughout the Mediterranean. The Olympics also featured religious celebrations. The statue of Zeus at Olympia was counted as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Sculptors and poets would congregate each olympiad to display their works of art to would-be patrons.

The ancient Olympics had fewer events than the modern games, and only freeborn Greek men were allowed to participate,[9] although there were victorious women chariot owners. As long as they met the entrance criteria, athletes from any Greek city-state and kingdom were allowed to participate, although the Hellanodikai, the officials in charge, allowed king Alexander I of Macedon to participate in the games only after he had proven his Greek ancestry.[10][11] The games were always held at Olympia rather than moving between different locations as is the practice with the modern Olympic Games.[12] Victors at the Olympics were honored, and their feats chronicled for future generations.

An artist's impression of ancient Olympia

Origins

To the Ancient Greeks, it was important to root the Olympic Games in mythology.[13] During the time of the ancient games their origins were attributed to the gods, and competing legends persisted as to who actually was responsible for the genesis of the games.[14]

These origin traditions have become nearly impossible to untangle, yet a chronology and patterns have arisen that help people understand the story behind the games.[15]

  • The earliest myths regarding the origin of the games are recounted by the Greek historian, Pausanias. According to the story, the dactyl Heracles (not to be confused with the son of Zeus and the Roman god Hercules) and four of his brothers, Paeonaeus, Epimedes, Iasius and Idas, raced at Olympia to entertain the newborn Zeus. He crowned the victor with an olive wreath (which thus became a peace symbol), which also explains the four-year interval, bringing the games around every fifth year (counting inclusively).[16][17] The other Olympian gods (so named because they lived permanently on Mount Olympus) would also engage in wrestling, jumping and running contests.[18]
  • Another myth of the origin of the games is the story of Pelops, a local Olympian hero. The story of Pelops begins with Oenomaus, the king of Pisa, Greece, who had a beautiful daughter named Hippodamia. According to an oracle, the king would be killed by her husband. Therefore, he decreed that any young man who wanted to marry his daughter was required to drive away with her in his chariot, and Oenomaus would follow in another chariot, and spear the suitor if he caught up with them. Now, the king's chariot horses were a present from the god Poseidon and were therefore supernaturally fast. Pelops was a very handsome young man and the king's daughter fell in love with him. Before the race, she persuaded her father's charioteer Myrtilus to replace the bronze axle pins of the king's chariot with wax ones. Naturally, during the race, the wax melted and the king fell from his chariot and was killed. At the same time, the king's palace was struck by lightning and reduced to ashes, save for one wooden pillar that was revered in the Altis for centuries, and stood near what was to be the site of the temple of Zeus. Pelops was proclaimed the winner and married Hippodamia. After his victory, Pelops organized chariot races as a thanksgiving to the gods and as funeral games in honor of King Oenomaus, in order to be purified of his death. It was from this funeral race held at Olympia that the beginnings of the Olympic Games were inspired. Pelops became a great king, a local hero, and he gave his name to the Peloponnese.
  • One (later) myth, attributed to Pindar, states that the festival at Olympia involved Heracles, the son of Zeus: According to Pindar, Heracles established an athletic festival to honor his father, Zeus, after he had completed his labors.
  • The games of previous millennia were discontinued and then revived by Lycurgus of Sparta, Iphitos of Elis, and Cleisthenes of Pisa at the behest of the Oracle of Delphi who claimed that the people had strayed from the gods, which had caused a plague and constant war. Restoration of the games would end the plague, usher in a time of peace, and signal a return to a more traditional lifestyle.[19]

The patterns that emerge from these myths are that the Greeks believed the games had their roots in religion, that athletic competition was tied to worship of the gods, and the revival of the ancient games was intended to bring peace, harmony and a return to the origins of Greek life.[20]

Since these myths were documented by historians like Pausanias, who lived during the reign of Marcus Aurelius in the AD 160, it is likely that these stories are more fable than fact. It was often supposed that the origins of many aspects of the Olympics date to funeral games of the Mycenean period and later.[21] Alternatively, the games were thought to derive from some kind of vegetation magic or from initiation ceremonies. The most recent theory traces the origins of the games to large game hunting and related animal ceremonialism.[22]


History

A torch race

The Olympic games were held to be one of the two central rituals in ancient Greece, the other being the much older religious festival, the Eleusinian Mysteries.[23] The games first started in Olympia, Greece, in a sanctuary site for the Greek deities near the towns of Elis and Pisa (both in Elis on the peninsula of Peloponnesos). The Sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia housed a 13-metre-high (43 ft) statue in ivory and gold of Zeus that had been sculpted by Phidias circa 445 BC. This statue was one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. By the time of the Classical Greek culture, in the fifth and fourth centuries BC, the games were restricted to male participants.

The historian Ephorus, who lived in the fourth century BC, is one potential candidate for establishing the use of Olympiads to count years, although credit for codifying this particular epoch usually falls to Hippias of Elis, to Eratosthenes, or even to Timaeus, whom Eratosthenes may have imitated.[24][25][26] The Olympic Games were held at four-year intervals, and later, the ancient historians' method of counting the years even referred to these games, using the term Olympiad for the period between two games. Previously, the local dating systems of the Greek states were used (they continued to be used by everyone except the historians), which led to confusion when trying to determine dates. For example, Diodorus states that there was a solar eclipse in the third year of the 113th Olympiad, which must be the eclipse of 316 BC. This gives a date of (mid-summer) 765 BC for the first year of the first Olympiad.[27] Nevertheless, there is disagreement among scholars as to when the games began.[28]

The exedra reserved for the judges at Olympia on the north embankment of the stadium

The only competition held then was, according to the later Greek traveller Pausanias who wrote in AD 175, the stadion race, a race over about 190 metres (620 feet), measured after the feet of Hercules. The word stadium is derived from this foot race.

The Greek tradition of athletic nudity (gymnos)[29] was introduced in 720 BC, either by the Spartans or by the Megarian Orsippus, and this was adopted early in the Olympics as well.

Several groups fought over control of the sanctuary at Olympia, and hence the games, for prestige and political advantage. Pausanias later writes that in 668 BC, Pheidon of Argos was commissioned by the town of Pisa to capture the sanctuary from the town of Elis, which he did and then personally controlled the games for that year. The next year, Elis regained control.

The Olympic Games were part of the Panhellenic Games, four separate games held at two- or four-year intervals, but arranged so that there was at least one set of games every year. The Olympic Games were more important and more prestigious than the Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian Games.

The games were in decline for many years but continued past AD 385, by which time flooding and earthquakes had damaged the buildings and invasions by barbarians had reached Olympia.[30] In 394 Theodosius I banned all pagan festivals, but archeological evidence indicates that some games were still held.[31]

Culture

The "Discobolus" is a copy of a Greek statue c. 5th century BC. It represents an ancient Olympic discus thrower

The ancient Olympics were as much a religious festival as an athletic event. The games were held in honor of the Greek god Zeus, and on the middle day of the games, 100 oxen would be sacrificed to him.[12] Over time Olympia, the site of the games, became a central spot for the worship of the head of the Greek pantheon and a temple, built by the Greek architect Libon, was erected on the mountaintop. The temple was one of the largest Doric temples in Greece.[12] The sculptor Pheidias created a statue of the god made of gold and ivory. It stood 42 feet (13 m) tall. It was placed on a throne in the temple. The statue became one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.[12] As the historian Strabo put it,

... the glory of the temple persisted ... on account both of the festal assembly and of the Olympian Games, in which the prize was a crown and which were regarded as sacred, the greatest games in the world. The temple was adorned by its numerous offerings, which were dedicated there from all parts of Greece.[12]

Artistic expression was a major part of the games. Sculptors, poets, painters and other artisans would come to the games to display their works in what became an artistic competition. Sculptors created works like Myron's Diskobolos or Discus Thrower. Their aim was to highlight natural human movement and the shape of muscles and the body. Poets would be commissioned to write poems in praise of the Olympic victors. Such victory songs or epinicians, were passed on from generation to generation and many of them have lasted far longer than any other honor made for the same purpose.[32] Pierre de Coubertin, one of the founders of the modern Olympic Games, wanted to fully imitate the ancient Olympics in every way. Included in his vision was an artistic competition modeled on the ancient Olympics and held every four years, during the celebration of the Olympic Games.[33] His desire came to fruition at the Olympics held in Athens in 1896.[34]

Politics

The Parthenon in Athens, one of the leading city-states of the ancient world

Power in ancient Greece became centered around the city-state in the 8th century BC.[35] The city-state was a population center organized into a self-contained political entity.[36] These city-states often lived in close proximity to each other, which created competition for limited resources. Though conflict between the city-states was ubiquitous, it was also in their self-interest to engage in trade, military alliances and cultural interaction.[37] The city-states had a dichotomous relationship with each other: on one hand, they relied on their neighbors for political and military alliances, while on the other they competed fiercely with those same neighbors for vital resources.[38] The Olympic Games were established in this political context and served as a venue for representatives of the city-states to peacefully compete against each other.[39]

In the first 200 years of the games' existence, they only had regional religious importance. Only Greeks in proximity to the mountain competed in these early games. This is evidenced by the dominance of Peloponnesian athletes in the victors' rolls.[40] The spread of Greek colonies in the 5th and 6th centuries BC is repeatedly linked to successful Olympic athletes. For example, Pausanias recounts that Cyrene was founded c. 630 BC by settlers from Thera with Spartan support. The support Sparta gave was primarily the loan of three-time Olympic champion Chionis. The appeal of settling with an Olympic champion helped to populate the colonies and maintain cultural and political ties with the city-states near Olympia. Thus, Hellenic culture and the games spread while the primacy of Olympia persisted.[41]

The games faced a serious challenge during the Peloponnesian War, which primarily pitted Athens against Sparta, but, in reality, touched nearly every Hellenic city-state.[42] The Olympics were used during this time to announce alliances and offer sacrifices to the gods for victory.[12][43]

During the Olympic Games, a truce, or ekecheiria was observed. Three runners, known as spondophoroi, were sent from Elis to the participant cities at each set of games to announce the beginning of the truce.[44] During this period, armies were forbidden from entering Olympia; and legal disputes, and the use of the death penalty, were forbidden. The truce — primarily designed to allow athletes and visitors to travel safely to the games — was, for the most part, observed.[44] Thucydides wrote of a situation when the Spartans were forbidden from attending the games, and the violators of the truce were fined 2,000 minae for assaulting the city of Lepreum during the period of the ekecheiria. The Spartans disputed the fine and claimed that the truce had not yet taken hold.[43][45]

While a martial truce was observed by all participating city-states, no such reprieve from conflict existed in the political arena. The Olympic Games evolved the most influential athletic and cultural stage in ancient Greece, and arguably in the ancient world.[46] As such the games became a vehicle for city-states to promote themselves. The result was political intrigue and controversy. For example, Pausanias, a Greek historian, explains the situation of the athlete Sotades,

Sotades at the ninety-ninth Festival was victorious in the long race and proclaimed a Cretan, as in fact he was. But at the next Festival he made himself an Ephesian, being bribed to do so by the Ephesian people. For this act he was banished by the Cretans.[12]

Events

Three runners featured on an Attic black-figured Panathenaic prize amphora.
332-333 BC, British Museum
Events at the Olympics
Olympiad Year Event first introduced
1st 776 BC Stade
14th 724 BC Diaulos
15th 720 BC Long distance race (Dolichos)
18th 708 BC Pentathlon, Wrestling
23rd 688 BC Boxing (pygmachia)
25th 680 BC Four horse chariot race (tethrippon)
33rd 648 BC Horse race (keles), Pankration
37th 632 BC Boys stade and wrestling
38th 628 BC Boys pentathlon
41st 616 BC Boys boxing
65th 520 BC Hoplite race (hoplitodromos)
70th 500 BC Mule-cart race (apene)
93rd 408 BC Two horse chariot race (synoris)
96th 396 BC Competition for heralds and trumpeters
99th 384 BC Tethrippon for horse over one year
128th 266 BC Chariot for horse over one year
131st 256 BC Race for horses older than one year
145th 200 BC Pankration for boys

Apparently starting with just a single foot race, the program gradually increased to twenty-three contests, although no more than twenty featured at any one Olympiad.[47] Participation in most events was limited to male athletes except for women who were allowed to take part by entering horses in the equestrian events. Youth events are recorded as starting in 632 BC. Our knowledge of how the events were performed primarily derives from the paintings of athletes found on many vases, particularly those of the Archaic and Classical periods.[48]

Running

A section of the stone starting line at Olympia, which has a groove for each foot

The only event recorded at the first thirteen games was the stade, a straight-line sprint of just over 192 metres.[49] The diaulos (lit. "double pipe"), or two-stade race, is recorded as being introduced at the 14th Olympiad in 724 BC. It is thought that competitors ran in lanes marked out with lime or gypsum for the length of a stade then turned around separate posts (kampteres), before returning to the start line.[50] Xenophanes wrote that "Victory by speed of foot is honored above all."

A third foot race, the dolichos ("long race"), was introduced in the next Olympiad. Accounts of the race's distance differ; it seems to have been from twenty to twenty-four laps of the track, around 7.5 km to 9 km, although it may have been lengths rather than laps and thus half as far.[51][52]

The last running event added to the Olympic program was the hoplitodromos, or "Hoplite race", introduced in 520 BC and traditionally run as the last race of the games. Competitors ran either a single or double diaulos (approximately 400 or 800 metres) in full military armour.[53] The hoplitodromos was based on a war tactic of soldiers running in full armor to surprise the enemy.

Combat

Pankration scene: the pankriatiast on the right tries to gouge his opponent's eye; the umpire is about to strike him for this foul.
Detail from an Attic red-figure kylix c. 490-480 BC, British Museum

Wrestling (pale) is recorded as being introduced at the 18th Olympiad. Three throws were necessary for a win. A throw was counted if the body, hip, back or shoulder (and possibly knee) touched the ground. If both competitors fell nothing was counted. Unlike its modern counterpart Greco-Roman wrestling, it is likely that tripping was allowed.[54]

Boxing (pygmachia) was first listed in 688 BC,[55] the boys' event sixty years later. The laws of boxing were ascribed to the first Olympic champion Onomastus of Smyrna.[54] It appears that body-blows were either not permitted or not practised.[54][56] The Spartans, who claimed to have invented boxing, quickly abandoned it and did not take part in boxing competitions.[54] At first the boxers wore himantes (sing. himas), long leather strips which were wrapped around their hands.[55]

The pankration was introduced in the 33rd Olympiad (648 BC).[57] Boys' pankration became an Olympic event in 200 BC, in the 145th Olympiad.[58] As well as techniques from boxing and wrestling, athletes used kicks,[59] locks, and chokes on the ground. Although the only prohibitions were against biting and gouging, the pankration was regarded as less dangerous than boxing.[60]

It was one of the most popular events: Pindar wrote eight odes praising victors of the pankration.[54] A famous event in the sport was the posthumous victory of Arrhichion of Phigaleia who "expired at the very moment when his opponent acknowledged himself beaten."[54][54]

Pentathlon

The pentathlon was a competition made up of five events: running, long jump, discus throw, javelin throw, and wrestling.[54] The pentathlon is said to have first appeared at the 18th Olympiad in 708 BC.[61] The competition was held on a single day,[62] but it is not known how the victor was decided,[63][64] or in what order the events occurred,[54] except that it finished with the wrestling.[65]

Equestrian

Horse racing and chariot racing were the most prestigious competitions in the games, due to only the wealthy being able to afford the maintenance and transportation of horses. These races consisted of different events: the four-horse chariot race, the two-horse chariot race, and the horse with rider race, the rider being hand picked by the owner. The four-horse chariot race was the first equestrian event to feature in the Olympics, being introduced in 680 BC. It consisted of two horses that were harnessed under a yoke in the middle, and two outer horses that were attached with a rope.[66] The two-horse chariot was introduced in 408 BC.[67] The horse with rider competition on the other hand, was introduced in 648 BC. In this race, Greeks didn't use saddles or stirrups, so they required good grip and balance.[68]

In AD 67, the Roman Emperor Nero competed in the chariot race at Olympia. He was thrown from his chariot and was thus unable to finish the race. Nevertheless, he was declared the winner on the basis that he would have won if he had finished the race.[69]

Famous athletes

Ancient list of Olympic victors of the 75th to the 78th, and from the 81st to the 83rd Olympiads (480–468 BC, 456–448 BC)

Olympic festivals in other places

Athletic festivals under the name of "Olympic games", named in imitation of the original festival at Olympia, were established over time in various places all over the Greek world. Some of these are only known to us by inscriptions and coins; but others, as the Olympic festival at Antioch, obtained great celebrity. After these Olympic festivals had been established in several places, the great Olympic festival itself was sometimes designated in inscriptions by the addition of Pisa.[78]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Ὀλύμπια. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; An Intermediate Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  2. ^ "15-04-16 Χαιρετισμός των Υπουργών Ν.Φίλη και Α.Μπαλτά για την Παγκόσμια Ημέρα Μνημείων και Τοποθεσιών". Greek ministry of Education Research and Religious affairs. Archived from the original on 24 September 2016. Πανελλήνια συμμετοχή είχαν: τα Ολύμπια, που διεξάγονταν κάθε τέσσερα χρόνια στην Αρχαία Ολυμπία προς τιμήν του Διός
  3. ^ Francis Edward Jackson VALPY (1832). Second Greek Delectus; or, new Analecta Minora ... With English notes, and a copious Greek and English lexicon, etc. p. 1. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b Grieksch leesboek voor eerstbeginnenden: ingerigt ten dienste der Hollandsche jeugd. H.C.A. Thieme. 1811. p. 248. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b Henry Cary (1843). A Lexicon to Herodotus, Greek and English, Adapted to the Text of Grisford and Bachr. J. Vincent and. p. 279. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017.
  6. ^ a b Fridericus Gulielmus Sturz (1818). Etymologicum graciae linguae Gudianum et alia grammaticorum scripta e codicibus manuscriptis nunc primum edita Accedunt notae ad Aymologicion magnum ineditae E. H. Barkeri, Innr. Bekkeri, Lud. Kulencampii, Amad. Peyronialiorumque. Weigel. p. 371. Archived from the original on 23 December 2016.
  7. ^ Ὀλυμπιάς in Middle Liddell and Scott.
  8. ^ "History". Olympic Games. Archived from the original on 9 August 2016. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  9. ^ David Sansone, Ancient Greek civilization, Wiley-Blackwell, 2003, p.32
  10. ^ Robert Malcolm Errington, A history of Macedonia, University of California Press, 1990, p.3
  11. ^ Joseph Roisman, Ian Worthington, A Companion to Ancient Macedonia, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, p.16
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "The Ancient Olympics". The Perseus Project. Tufts University. Archived from the original on 10 February 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
  13. ^ , Kyle, 1999, p.101
  14. ^ Kyle, 1999, pp.101–102
  15. ^ Kyle, 1999, p.102
  16. ^ Spivey, 2005, pp.225–226
  17. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece, 5.7.6-9
  18. ^ Spivey, 2005, p.226
  19. ^ , Kyle, 1999, pp.102–103
  20. ^ Kyle, 1999, p.102–104
  21. ^ Wendy J. Raschke (15 June 1988). Archaeology Of The Olympics: The Olympics & Other Festivals In Antiquity. Univ of Wisconsin Press. pp. 22–. ISBN 978-0-299-11334-6. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  22. ^ Patay-Horváth, András (2015). The Origins of the Olympic Games. Budapest: Archaeolingua. ISBN 978-963-9911-72-7.
  23. ^ "The Ancient Olympic Games". HickokSports. 4 February 2005. Archived from the original on 22 February 2002. Retrieved 13 May 2007.
  24. ^ Plutarch, Numa Pompilius 1.4
  25. ^ Dionysius, 1.74-1-3. Little remains of Eratosthenes' Chronographiae, but its academic influence is clearly demonstrated here in the Roman Antiquities by Dionysius of Halicarnassus.
  26. ^ Denis Feeney in Caesar's Calendar: Ancient Time and the Beginnings of History. (Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press, 2007), 84.
  27. ^ "The Athletics of the Ancient Olympics: A Summary and Research Tool" by Kotynski, p.3 (Quote used with permission). For the calculation of the date, see Kotynski footnote 6.
  28. ^ See, for example, Alfred Mallwitz's article "Cult and Competition Locations at Olympia" p.101 in which he argues that the games may not have started until about 704 BC. Hugh Lee, on the other hand, in his article "The 'First' Olympic Games of 776 B.C.E" p.112, follows an ancient source that claims that there were twenty-seven Olympiads before the first one was recorded in 776. There are no records of Olympic victors extant from earlier than the fifth century BC.
  29. ^ Yalouris, N. 1976. The Olympic Games-through the ages. Print
  30. ^ David C. Young (15 April 2008). A Brief History of the Olympic Games. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 135–. ISBN 978-0-470-77775-6. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  31. ^ Tony Perrottet (8 June 2004). The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Ancient Games. Random House Digital, Inc. pp. 190–. ISBN 978-1-58836-382-4. Archived from the original on 12 June 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  32. ^ Golden, Mark, p. 77 Archived 4 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ Stanton, 2000, pp.3–4
  34. ^ Stanton, 2000, p. 17
  35. ^ Hansen, 2006, p. 9
  36. ^ Hansen, 2006, pp.9–10
  37. ^ Hansen, 2006, p.10
  38. ^ Hansen, 2006, p.114
  39. ^ Raschke, 1988, p. 23
  40. ^ Spivey, 2005, p.172
  41. ^ Spivey, 2005, pp.182–183
  42. ^ Lendering, Jona. "Peloponnesian War". Livius, Articles on Ancient History. Archived from the original on 13 February 2010.
  43. ^ a b Thucydides. The History of the Peloponnesian War. 5. Translated by Richard Crawley. The Internet Classics Archive. ISBN 978-0-525-26035-6.
  44. ^ a b Swaddling, 1999, p.11
  45. ^ Strassler & Hanson, 1996, pp. 332–333
  46. ^ Kyle, 2007, p. 8
  47. ^ Crowther
  48. ^ Young, p. 18
  49. ^ Miller, Stephen G. (8 January 2006). Ancient Greek Athletics. Yale University Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-0300115291. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017 – via Google Books.
  50. ^ Miller, Stephen G. (8 January 2006). Ancient Greek Athletics. Yale University Press. p. 44. ISBN 978-0300115291. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017 – via Google Books.
  51. ^ Golden, p. 55. "The dolichos varied in length from seven to twenty-four lengths of the stadium – from 1,400 to 4,800 Greek feet."
  52. ^ Miller, p. 32 Archived 15 November 2017 at the Wayback Machine "The sources are not unanimous about the length of this race: some claim that it was twenty laps of the stadium track, others that it was twenty-four. It may have differed from site to site, but it was in the range of 7.5 to 9 kilometers."
  53. ^ Miller, Stephen G. (8 January 2006). Ancient Greek Athletics. Yale University Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-300-11529-1. Archived from the original on 18 September 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2017 – via Google Books.
  54. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gardiner, Edward Norman (15 November 2017). "Greek athletic sports and festivals". London : Macmillan. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2017 – via Internet Archive.
  55. ^ a b Miller, Stephen G. (8 January 2006). Ancient Greek Athletics. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300115291. Archived from the original on 18 September 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2017 – via Google Books.
  56. ^ To judge from the story of Damoxenos and Kreugas who boxed at the Nemean Games, after a long battle with no result combatants could agree to a free exchange of hits. (Gardiner, p. 432 Archived 17 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine)
  57. ^ Gardiner, Edward Norman (15 November 2017). "Greek athletic sports and festivals". London : Macmillan. p. 435. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2017 – via Internet Archive.
  58. ^ Miller, Stephen G. (8 January 2006). Ancient Greek Athletics. Yale University Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0300115291. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017 – via Google Books.
  59. ^ Gardiner, p. 445-6 Archived 17 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine "Galen, in his skit on the Olympic games, awards the prize [in the pakration] to the donkey, as the best of all animals in kicking."
  60. ^ Finley, M. I.; Pleket, H. W. (24 May 2012). The Olympic Games: The First Thousand Years. Courier Corporation. ISBN 9780486149417. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017 – via Google Books.
  61. ^ Miller, Stephen G. (8 January 2006). Ancient Greek Athletics. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300115291. Archived from the original on 18 September 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2017 – via Google Books.
  62. ^ Young, p. 32
  63. ^ Young, p. 19
  64. ^ Gardiner, Edward Norman (15 November 2017). "Greek athletic sports and festivals". London : Macmillan. pp. 362–365. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2017 – via Internet Archive.
  65. ^ Gardiner, Edward Norman (15 November 2017). "Greek athletic sports and festivals". London : Macmillan. p. 363. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2017 – via Internet Archive.
  66. ^ "Ancient Olympics". Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017. "Four-horse chariot"
  67. ^ "Ancient Olympics". Archived from the original on 5 January 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017. "Two-horse chariot"
  68. ^ "Ancient Olympics". Archived from the original on 23 October 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2017. "Horse with rider"
  69. ^ "Olympic Games We No Longer Play". 4 August 2016. Archived from the original on 5 August 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  70. ^ Gibson, Sean (10 August 2016). "Michael Phelps beats 2,168-year-old Olympic record held by Leonidas of Rhodes". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 16 October 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  71. ^ Bull, Andy (12 August 2016). "Phelps claims 200m individual medley gold for fourth straight Olympics". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 12 August 2016. Phelps has now overtaken Leonidas of Rhodes as the most decorated Olympian of this, that, and every era. Leonidas, as every self-respecting sports fan knows, did the sprint triple in the stadion, the diaulos, and the hoplitodromos, at four Olympics in a row between 164 and 152 BC. Or 2,168 years ago.
  72. ^ Kelly, Jon (12 August 2016). "Who, What, Why: Who was Leonidas of Rhodes? - BBC News". BBC News. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  73. ^ Young, David C. (15 April 2008). A Brief History of the Olympic Games. ISBN 9780470777756. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  74. ^ "The History of Herodotus, parallel English/Greek: Book 5: Terpsichore: 20". www.sacred-texts.com. p. 22. Archived from the original on 15 May 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  75. ^ The Anabasis of Alexander/Book II/Chapter XIV/Alexander’s Treatment of the Captured Greek Ambassadors.—Submission of Byblus and Sidon. - Arrian
  76. ^ Tiberius, AD 1 (or earlier) – cf. Ehrenberg & Jones, Documents Illustrating the Reigns of Augustus and Tiberius [Oxford 1955] p. 73 (n.78)
  77. ^ 369 according to Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece by Nigel Wilson, 2006, Routledge (UK) or 385 according to Classical Weekly by Classical Association of the Atlantic States
  78. ^ William Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 1875ancientlibrary.com Archived 6 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine

References

Further reading

  • Christesen, Paul. 2007. Olympic Victor Lists and Ancient Greek History. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Lee, Hugh M. 2001. The Program and Schedule of the Ancient Olympic Games. Nikephoros Beihefte 6. Hildesheim, Germany: Weidmann.
  • Nielsen, Thomas Heine. 2007. Olympia and the Classical Hellenic City-State Culture. Historisk-filosofiske Meddeleser 96. Copenhagen: Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.
  • Sinn, Ulrich. 2000. Olympia: Cult, Sport, and Ancient Festival. Princeton, NJ: M. Wiener.
  • Valavanis, Panos. 2004. Games and Sanctuaries in Ancient Greece: Olympia, Delphi, Isthmia, Nemea, Athens. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum.

External links