Events (Games) in the Ancient Olympics:
The races and other events (games) in the ancient Olympics were not fixed at the time of the first Olympics, but gradually evolved. Here you'll find a description of the big events at the ancient Olympics and the approximate date when they were added.
- Discus (part of Pentathlon)
- Equestrian Events
- Javelin (part of Pentathlon)
The stadion was a sprint a stadion long (about 192 m) or the length of the stadium. The women's racecourse was shorter than the men's by about a sixth.
- More on the Pentathlon
Javelin and Discus:
Kyle (p.121) says the size and weight of the usually bronze discuses were 17-35 cm and 1.5-6.5 kg.
Originally, boxers wrapped self-protecting thongs around their hands and arms. Later they wore less time-consuming, pre-wrapped, ox-hide thongs known as himantes wrapped to the forearm with leather straps. By the 4th century, there were gloves. The preferred target was the opponent's face.
"Pankratiasts...must employ backward falls which are not safe for the wrestler...They must have skill in various methods of strangling; they also wrestle with an opponent's ankle and twist his arm, besides hitting and jumping on him, for all these practices belong to the pankration, only biting and gouging being excepted."In 200 B.C., the Pankration was added, although it was developed much earlier, supposedly, by Theseus, in his combat with the Minotaur. The pankration was a combination of boxing and wrestling, where, again, gouging and biting were forbidden. It was a very dangerous sport, however. When a contestant was wrestled to the ground, his opponent (not wearing gloves) could rain blows on him. The downed opponent could kick back.
Philostratus, On Gymnastics From Olympic Games Study Guide (4)
The Olympic games were not proving grounds for real combat. Just because skills in the Olympics matched valued martial skills does not mean the Greeks assumed the best wrestler made the best fighter. The games were more symbolic, religious, and entertaining. Unlike hoplite, team-style warfare, the ancient Olympics were individual sports which allowed an individual Greek to win glory. Today's Olympics, in a world described as narcissistic, where warfare is distant, involving only small clusters of people, being part of a gold-winning team confers honor just as well. Ritualized sport, whether team or individual, continues to be an outlet for or way to sublimate humanity's aggression.
The Ancient Olympics - Starting Point for Information on the Olympics | 5-Question Quiz on the Ancient Olympics
(1) [URL = <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cl135/Students/Kristina_Angus/content.html> (02/17/98)]
(2) [URL = <http://depthome.brooklyn.cuny.edu/classics/warathl.htm> (07/04/00)]
(3) [URL = <http://devlab.cs.dartmouth.edu/olympic/Games/Jumping.html#rules> (07/04/00)]
(4) [URL = <http://www.siu.edu/departments/cola/dfll/public_html/classics/Olympic_Games.html> (07/04/00)]