Saturday, June 26, 2010

Olympia The Site of the Grecian games Part.V

Horse and chariot races took place in the hippodrome, an arena about 2316 ft long to the south of the main stadium. Horse races began to a blast of trumpets, when the retaining rope was withdrawn. The length of the race is not known, but the jockeys rode bare back, with reins but no stirrups. A horse could win a race even if its rider had fallen. Such was the case with a mare named Aura, which threw her rider at the very beginning of the race, but completed the course ahead of all the others. Her Corinthian owner Pheidolas was declared the winner, and the statue of his mare was erected at Olympia.
  The chariot races were dangerous affairs. The charioteer drove his team of four horses later, team of two with a whip. The course covered 12 circuits of the hippodrome- a distance of some 14 Km along a rutted track on unsprung- vehicles a very rough ride.  Accidents were common, and it required incredible skill to negotiate at high speed the tight bends, the crashed chariots, and the bodies of fallen opponents. The field at start might comprise 40 to 50 competitors; on one occasion, according to the poet Pindar, only a single chariot reached the finish.
The wrestling events were contests of considerable skill. The aim was to throw the adversary three times to the ground so that his shoulders came into contact with the earth. As in modern judo, deft balance counted as much as brute strength.

1 comment:

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