Monday, June 28, 2010

Olympia The Site of the Grecian games Part.VII

An Olympic champion named Phaylus threw a discus 29 m; the modern record stands at more than twice that- but today’s discus weighs about 2kg. It also seems that ancient athletes performed only one backward swing of the discus, bending and executing a three quarter turn; modern throwers spin round two and a half times before releasing it.
 When throwing the javelin, it is not clear whether the contestants threw for length or accuracy. The javelin itself was about 2m long. A looped thong, through which the index finger was passed, was attached to the shaft to give the javelin some extra thrust-in the same way that a sling extends the range of a hurled stone.
The long jump seems to have been practiced from a standing start, accompanied by the music of flutes to aid the flow of the movement. The Jumper held stones or Lead weights in each hand and swung them to give greater distance to the leap.

 Away from the epic encounters in the stadium or hippodrome, there was also much to entertain the Olympic crowd. Feasting and carousing lasted long into the night. Peddlers sold wine and honey cakes, trinkets and amulets, and effigies of the deities.  The multitude provided an audience for demagogues, and formal contests were organized for poets and orators. Many came to exploit their talents and look for new disciples.
 The philosopher Plato spoke at Olympia, and Herodotus, the 5th century BC historian, is said to have found fame giving readings of his Histories there. It was at Olympia in 380 BC that Isocrates presented his Panegyrics, proclaiming the need for peace and unity between the Greek people.

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