Essays

Ancient Greece olimpic games

by fixer1989

The origins of the Ancient Olympic Games are unknown, but several accounts, legends, and myths have survived. Myths are related religious beliefs held in earlier times. Often the religious aspects were kept secret, symbolic, or the meaning was lost entirely. One myth about the festival at Olympia involved Pelops, king of Olympia and eponymous hero of the Peloponnesus, to whom offerings were made during the games. The Christian Clement of Alexandria asserted, the Olympian games are nothing else than the funeral sacrifices of Pelops. That myth tells of how Pelops' overcame the king and won the hand of his daughter Hippodamia so that he could become king, with the help of Poseidon, his old lover. This is a myth linked to the later fall of the house of Atreus and the sufferings of Oedipus. Another myth tells of the hero Hercules, or Herakles, who won a race at Olympia and then decreed that the race should be re-enacted every four years, while another claims that Zeus initiated the festival after his defeat of his predecessor, the Titan Cronus.

Yet another myth tells of King Iphitos of Elis, who consulted Pythia, the Oracle at Delphi, to find a way to save his people from war in the ninth century BC. This was the most respected temple in Greece, a religious center originally founded for the worship of Python. The prophetess advised him to organize games in honour of the deities. The Spartan adversary of Iphitos then decided to stop fighting during these games. They were called Olympic games, after the sanctuary of Olympia where they were held. Had they been named after Mount Olympus, the mountain on which the Greek deities were said to live, they would have been called Olympian games rather than Olympic. The Classical era story is that Heracles celebrated cleaning the Augean Stables by building Olympia with help from Athena

 
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