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Black-figured runners with the torch. AI Illustration in the ancient Greek style.  Source: sebos / Adobe Stock

The Olympics Saga: How the Olympics Came to Be (Video)

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The ancient Olympics, originating in 776 BC in Olympia, Greece, were deeply ingrained in the fabric of Greek society. Held every four years in honor of Zeus, the games featured a range of events evolving over time, including running races like the stade, diaulos, and dolichos, as well as wrestling, the pentathlon, boxing, chariot racing, and pankration. Athletes, typically trained extensively, competed nude to symbolize purity and fairness.

These games served not only as athletic contests but also as religious and cultural festivals, attracting participants and spectators from across Greece and beyond. Despite occasional interruptions due to conflicts, the Olympics maintained a central role in Greek life, fostering temporary truces during the games to promote peace.

The decline of the ancient Olympics came with the rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Emperor Theodosius' ban in 394 AD marked the end of an era, driven by the Olympics' pagan associations. However, their legacy endured, resurfacing in the late 19th century with the revival of the modern Olympics.

Led by Pierre de Coubertin, the inaugural modern Games in Athens in 1896 reignited the Olympic flame, emphasizing international participation and sportsmanship. From humble beginnings, the Olympics have grown into a global phenomenon, embodying the spirit of unity and athletic excellence across diverse cultures and nations.

Top image: Black-figured runners with the torch. AI Illustration in the ancient Greek style.  Source: sebos / Adobe Stock

By Robbie Mitchell

 
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Robbie

I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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