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The Olympic Games 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. They continued to be celebrated when Greece came under Roman rule, until the emperor Theodosius I suppressed them in 393 AD 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.

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

The Olympic Games (Ancient Greek: Ὀλύμπια Olympia, "the Olympics" also Ancient Greek: Ὀλυμπιάς Olympias "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. They continued to be celebrated when Greece came under Roman rule, until the emperor Theodosius I suppressed them in 393 AD 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, 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. The games were always held at Olympia rather than moving between different locations as is the practice with the modern Olympic Games. Victors at the Olympics were honored, and their feats chronicled for future generations.

The ancient origins of the Olympics - Armand D'Angour

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-ancient-origins-of-the-olympics-armand-d-angour Thousands of years in the making, the Olympics began as part ...

Ancient Olympics: Let The Games Begin

Come back with us to Ancient Greece, Two Thousand, Five Hundred Years ago to the original Olympic Games. The ancient Games, like our modern Olympics, .

Ancient Greek Olympics

Example of the Hippocratic idea of Regimen (Healthy diet and exercise).

The Olympic Games story for kids

Want to know the origins of the Olympic Games? Where it all started? Check out our quick and colourful guide for kids and let our movie tell you how it all began!

Ancient Olympics Let The Games Begin (Full Documentary)

OLYMPIA AND THE OLYMPIC GAMES - DOCUMENTARY

Learn how games were played in the 8th century BC and what rules the athletes of the time had to follow. Director : Olivier Lemaître.