Ancient Greece Olympics Facts: Greece was once a mass of rock that was completely underwater. When a tectonic plate crashed into Europe, the collision created Greece mountainous ranges.
Ancient Greece Olympics Facts
The plate is still moving and causes earthquakes all around the Aegean. Democracy in Athens was significantly different from modern democracies in that it was both more participatory and exclusive. There were also no political parties in an Athenian democracy.
The capital, Athens, had the worlds first democracy, so it had a big part of play in our current way of life! The word ‘democracy’ is Greek. It means ‘government by the people. We have a form of democracy in Britain, and this is a legacy of the Athenians and their assemblies and councils.
Greece’s official name is the Hellenic Republic. It is also known as Ellas or Ellada
When the Roman Empire split in two in A.D. 285, the eastern half, including Greece, became known as the Byzantine Empire. In 1453 A.D., Greece fell to the Ottoman Empire. Greece wouldn’t achieve independence until 1829.
When did the Olympics start
Most people know that the Olympics Facts started out in Ancient Greece, but did you know that back then the athletes competed in the nude? (Though technically, they could wear penis restraints yes, you read that right). Or that one of the games was an ancient form of mixed martial arts? Or that a chef won the very first Olympic games?
Yes, that’s right ancient Olympic sportsmen (all men, by the way) ran, wrestled, and fought buck naked. The ancient Greeks had a tradition of doing things nude (they walked around in the buff in the bedroom and at parties called symposia*,
and they exercised without any clothes on) indeed, the word gymnasium came from the Greek word Gymos, which means naked.Why naked? Well, to appreciate and celebrate the male physique, of course, and as a tribute to the gods. Participants regularly anointed themselves with olive oil to enhance their looks and to keep the skin smooth!
In the sixth century, there was an actual attempt to make athletes wear loincloths, but this proved to be unpopular and soon afterward nudity regained its status as fashion in athletics.
*Great trivia for the next time you’re in a boring symposium: the original symposium is a nude drinking party (Sympotein is Greek for to drink together), complete with courtesans (basically sophisticated prostitutes).
Those Greeks sure did love their sports! The Ancient Olympic Games were actually just a part of four sports festival called the Panhellenic Games:
- The Olympic Games, the most important and prestigious game of them all, was held in honor of Zeus every four years near Elis.
- Pythian Games was held every four years near Delphi in honor of Apollo
- Nemean Games was held every two years near Nemea, in honor of Zeus
- Isthmian Games was held every two years near Corinth, in honor of Poseidon