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The Olympics and Other Panhellenic Games

During each Olympiad, there was a series of six sets of religious festivals with athletic competitions open to Greeks. These were the panhellenic games.
  1. Ancient Olympics (23)
  2. Pindar
  3. The Olympics

Panhellenic Games

Panhellenic games probably started with something like the funeral games depicted in 'The Iliad,' attributed to Homer, but became competitions where one polis strove to best the next in arete.

Panathenaea
Modeled on the Panhellenic festival, the Great Panathenaea was an important Athenian summer religious festival honoring Athena, for all of Greece, both men and women.

Individual Events Categories of Competition
For us, the most important part of the Panhellenic festivals was the athletic component -- the sporting events, not the sacrifices and other religious aspects. Learn about the original events and those added to the line-up over time.

What's Love Got to Do With It?

Find out about origins and rewards of the Panhellenic games. This page focuses on the Pythian festival and the myths surrounding its beginning: Apollo slew the python, competed with Pan, and insulted the love god; as a result the victory laurel was used to crown victors at the Pythian games.

The Victory Wreaths
As a result of the victory of Apollo and the other shenanigans, the laurel was used as the crowning honor at one of the festivals. Find out about the garlands that decorated victors at the other Panhellenic events.

Victory Wreaths

The winners of the ancient Panhellenic games, including the Olympics, received victory wreaths or crowns. Each competition had its own wreath material.

Panathenaea
The Great Panathenaea was an important Athenian summer religious festival honoring Athena, for all of Greece, both men and women, with musical and athletic competitions, feasting and rituals.

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