Olympia. The most important spiritual, sports and artistic center of the ancient world.
The Olympic Games were the greatest religious festival in honor of Olympian Zeus, the father of the gods and humans. It was held every four years at the Sanctuary of Olympia, one of the most important Sanctuaries of the ancient world in the green valley formed by the river Alpheus and its tributary Kladeus in Peloponese. The fame of the sanctuary of Olympia spread throughout the Greek world, while the Olympic Games soon became the symbol of Panhellenic unity.
Zeus was the dominant deity in the sanctuary of Olympia and his cult there was one of the oldest in the Greek area. According to a mythological tradition, Oxylos. leader of the Etolians who came from NW Greece and settled in the area in the 11th century. BC, he dedicated the sanctuary to Zeus and held games for the first time.
Another tradition states that the Heraclides, descendants of the hero Heracles, were the ones who established the cult of Zeus in the region. The connection of Olympia with Zeus is also stated in a later tradition that places in the region the victory of Zeus over the father of Saturn in the struggle that took place for the domination of the world.
The program of the Olympic games did not include all events from the beginning. During the first Olympiad, the only competition was the stadium road, the winner of which was the Ilios cook Koroivos.
The Olympic games are one of the longest-lasting institutions of antiquity. They lasted a total of 1,169 years and were held every four years, continuously and without any interruption, from 776 BC. until at least 393 AD, during which a total of 293 Olympiads took place.
“The education of the youth in antiquity was intended to help them develop both their bodies and minds and to attain harmony”
…. a strong mind in a strong body…
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