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Year 5: Ancient Greece: Ancient Olympics

What were the Ancient Olympics Games?

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

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 were a series of athletic competitions among representatives of city-states and during the celebration of the games, an Olympic Truce was made so that athletes could travel from their cities to the games in safety. The games were held every four years, or Olympiad, which became a unit of time in historical chronologies. 

Olympia - The Games Venue

Some of the most important buildings in ancient Olympia rendered in three dimensions
Source: Foundations of the Hellenic world

The Olympic Games were held in Olympia, hence the name Olympics. They were held there because the gods lived on Mount Olympus and the games were in honor of the king of the gods, Zeus.

Do you wonder how Olympia would look like in Ancient Greece? Click on the video to view a virtual reality reconstruction of ancient Olympia.
Source: Youtube - ProgettoTraiano

Women in Olympics - Then and Now

Source: BBC Bitesize

Only men, boys and unmarried girls were allowed to attend the Olympic Games. Married women were barred. Unmarried women had their own festival at Olympia every four years. This was called the Heraia and was held in honour of Hera, Zeus's wife.

In the Modern Olympic Games, equal representation for both men and women in sports is still an ongoing issue. Women's rugby, for example, was only introduced in the 2016 games.

Events at the Olympic Games

Source: BBC Bitesize

What sporting events did athletes take part in the Olympic Games in Ancient Greece? Find out more in the link below: