Study.  History. 


 

We have been studying ancient Greek History for a while now, and we are starting to finally figure out how to share some of our information.

To begin, we are just going to post some interesting passages from other researchers.

This passage comes to us from:http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Olympics/sports.html
Overview:

The ancient Olympics were rather different from the modern Games. There were fewer events, and only free men who spoke Greek could compete, instead of athletes from any country. Also, the games were always held at Olympia instead of moving around to different sites every time.

Like our Olympics, though, winning athletes were heroes who put their home towns on the map. One young Athenian nobleman defended his political reputation by mentioning how he entered seven chariots in the Olympic chariot-race. This high number of entries made both the aristocrat and Athens look very wealthy and powerful.

Chariot Racing:

There were both 2-horse chariot and 4-horse chariot races, with separate races for chariots drawn by foals. Another race was between carts drawn by a team of 2 mules. The course was 12 laps around the stadium track (9 miles).

Riding:

The course was 6 laps around the track (4.5 miles), and there were separate races for full-grown horses and foals. Jockeys rode without stirrups.

Only wealthy people could afford to pay for the training, equipment, and feed of both the driver (or jockey) and the horses. As a result, the owner received the olive wreath of victory instead of the driver or jockey.

Pankration:

This event was a grueling combination of boxing and wrestling. Punches were allowed, although the fighters did not wrap their hands with the boxing himantes.

Rules outlawed only biting and gouging an opponents eyes, nose, or mouth with fingernails. Attacks such as kicking an opponent in the belly, which are against the rules in modern sports, were perfectly legal.

Like boxing and wrestling, among others, this event had separate divisions for both men and boys.

Discus:

The ancient Greeks considered the rhythm and precision of an athlete throwing the discus as important as his strength.

The discus was made of stone, iron, bronze, or lead, and was shaped like a flying saucer. Sizes varied, since the boys division was not expected to throw the same weight as the mens.

Javelin:

The javelin was a man-high length of wood, with either a sharpened end or an attached metal point. It had a thong for a hurlers fingers attached to its center of gravity, which increased the precision and distance of a javelins flight.

Jump:

Athletes used lead or stone jump weights (halteres) shaped like telephone receivers to increase the length of their jump. The halteres were held in front of the athlete during his ascent, and forcibly thrust behind his back and dropped during his descent to help propel his body further.

Running:

There were 4 types of races at Olympia. The stadion was the oldest event of the Games. Runners sprinted for 1 stade (192 m.), or the length of the stadium. The other races were a 2-stade race (384 m.), and a long-distance run which ranged from 7 to 24 stades (1,344 m. to 4,608 m.).

And if these races were not enough, the Greeks had one particularly grueling event which we lack. There was also a 2 to 4-stade (384 m. to 768 m.) race by athletes in armor. This race was especially useful in building the speed and stamina that Greek men needed during their military service. If we remember that the standard hoplite armor (helmet, shield, and greaves)weighed about 50-60 lbs, it is easy to imagine what such an event must have been like.

Wrestling:

Like the modern sport, an athlete needed to throw his opponent on the ground, landing on a hip, shoulder, or back for a fair fall. 3 throws were necessary to win a match. Biting was not allowed, and genital holds were also illegal. Attacks such as breaking your opponents fingers were permitted.

 

For further reading, see our next passage here.