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Sacred fire, stopped wars and other myths around the Olympic Games

Before each Olympics, the information space is filled with informative articles about their ancient traditions hailing from ancient Greece. Many of the described traditions or their connection with modern games is a myth. There is also the usual confusion of different, but similar ancient customs.

Greeks did not carry sacred fire from anywhere

Gobbels, a great fan of torchlight processions, came up with “Deliver Fire” from the homeland of the Olympic Games. Yes, that same propagandist of the Third Reich. The custom seemed so beautiful that they decided not to refuse it, and they shyly close their eyes to the true story, repeating the Nazi inventions. Fortunately, the remaining finds of the Third Reich did not get into the Olympic Games.

All images of the Greeks with the Olympic flame are modern.

All images of the Greeks with the Olympic flame are modern.

Greeks didn’t just stop wars because of the Olympics

Residents of the area where the games were held, achieved a complete ban on waging war with them – so that the land on which the games will be held, was not desecrated by the blood shed in the battle. Moreover, they themselves calmly and repeatedly attacked their neighbors. Yes, as you might guess, the games were primarily of a religious nature, although they are not very readily distributed about it.

Women admitted to the Olympics

But only the priestesses of Demeter. It is likely that the games themselves originally came from the harvest festival. There is a very mysterious theory that at first during the games they fought for the right to be Demeter’s husband – and this justifies the absence of women: the goddess is jealous. However, the theory is not confirmed by any known text, and in the foreseeable history of the game they dedicated to Zeus.

Also known is the case when permission to watch games once, after the fact, was received by the mother and part-time trainer of their winner, Ferenik Kallipater. Which means that they simply did not kill her when they noticed her among the coaches.

Nevertheless, the woman had a chance to win the game. The fact is that they included chariot races, and the winners were considered not horsemen, but horse owners. The first woman to put the chariot to the games and the first to defeat them was the Spartan princess Kiniska.
The first modern games did not try to repeat the antique

Even if one accepts the theory that chariots were simply replaced with bicycles, and running in armor with weightlifting, the program is still difficult to call coincident. So, for example, they didn’t compete in swimming at the ancient games – yes it would be inconvenient, the ancient Greeks did not dig large pools. And this kind of discipline of the first modern Olympic games, such as gymnastics, would simply offend the ancient athletes – he was only suitable for circus performers, people in those days not too respected. A couple more differences: in the first modern games there was no fist fight, and in the antique there were no tennis, high jumps and shot put.

Antique olympic games included herald competition.

Stadiums weren’t so reminiscent of modern

Yes, the visual places were really located in an amphitheater, but on the stadium’s arena there was no oval track for runners – they ran in ancient games only in a straight line, and if for a long distance, they simply turned around at the end of the track.

The spirit of the games reigned not too democratic

In general, when they say that democracy reigned in Ancient Greece, they forget to add that not all were “demos” with civil rights. At the games not only women were not allowed to participate directly, but also slaves, Greeks and Greeks deprived of civil rights.

The matter, besides the general snobbery of the ancient Greeks, was also that the games had religious significance. Therefore, all the relatives and coaches of the participants before the games had to swear that they would not commit crimes (participation of a man from a family of criminals would desecrate the celebration), and the participants swore that they had only been engaged in the games for ten months, that they were preparing for them like priests or … sacred sacrifices. All oaths were pronounced in front of the statue of Zeus.

The winner did not wear a laurel wreath

The laurel crown was celebrated in other cases, and the champion got a wreath of olive – one of the sacred trees of the ancient Greeks associated with the cult of fertility. In addition, palm branches were placed in the hands of the champion and placed on a bronze tripod. Since bronze tripods were also used to sacrifice to the gods, the symbolic significance of placing the best of the best and the best of the perfect on it seems obvious.

Life in ancient Greece did not consist at all of myths about heroes. Manure, wine and leather substitutes for husbands: How women were treated in Ancient Greece.

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