Thursday, June 24, 2010

Olympia The Site of the Grecian games Part.IV

The first of the five days was given over to ceremony – for the offering of sacrifices and the swearing of the Olympic oath. The main sacrifice was carried out on the altar of Zeus Horkeios, or Zeus of the oaths. Officials, athletes, and their families would assemble in the Bouleuterion, a building erected in the 6th century BC. Here, a wild boar was slaughtered before a statue of the god. Each competitor swore upon its limbs that he would not cheat, had no criminal record, and was entitled to compete under Olympic regulations. Those who broke the oath, or swore it falsely, were fined and banned for life from the Games.
 The starting point of the modern Games is marked by the lighting of the ceremonial flame, brought to the host country from Olympia by a relay of runners. Little is known about the sequence of events in the ancient Games, but a fire ceremony took place at some point in the five day cycle. It took the form of a solemn procession of purple robed hellanodikai entering the stadium to the sound of trumpets, with athletes following behind. The flame was lit on a sacrificial altar.
On the second day of the Olympics, spectators rose with the dawn to grab the best seats for the first events, congregation in groups according to their city of origin.
The main competitions were chariot races, horse races, wrestling boxing, the pankration, foot races, and the pentathlon. In all events except chariot racing, the athletes performed naked- the Greeks revered the human form. There were no team sports. Each athlete appeared as an individual, though victory was a glory shared by his whole city.


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