Payday Loans Payday Loans

Greek Sports and Entertainment

Many things have originated from ancient Greece including: trial by jury, Greek myths, stories, and fables, democracy, tragedy and comedy, theater, and the Olympics. All Greeks spoke the same language, had common beliefs and shared a common heritage. As in most ancient Greek city-states, men and boys had all the respectable rights; women and girls had very limited freedom; slaves were very important; and toys as well as pets were somewhat common, which included yo-yos, rattles, figures, birds, mice, and tortoises.

This report is mainly about the ancient Greek sports and entertainment. To start off, we will explain about the ancient Greek sports. First, you should know that the ancient Greeks believed that their gods loved to see beautiful, strong, fit, graceful bodies. As a result, men and boys competed in events as a form of exercise. The athletic contests were all held to honor the gods. There were also athletic contests that were almost the same as the Olympics and the winners received great honor, privileges, and a laurel crown which included the Isthmisian Games, Pythian Games, and Nemian Games. The Isthmisian Games were held every two years in honor of Poseidon, god of the sea, in Corinth. They were probably first made by the Athenian hero, Theseus. They were held in 582 BC and like the Olympic Games until in the 5th century of the addition of contests including painting and music. The Pythian Games took place every four years near Delphi, which honored the god of music, Apollo. Since the 6th century BC, the games took place every four years. Every Greek city took part and they were held 6 to 8 days long, which included cultural activities (citer and song contests), flute contests, tragedy contests, and many more activities. The Nemian Games were held in Nemea and most of the time in Argos. They were held in 573 BC and took place every two years. They were like the Olympics until when music contests were added. The most famous games were the games at Olympia, a town which is in south-western Greece at the western coast of the Peloponnesus. They took place every four years and probably began in the early 700 BC’s (around 776 BC) in honor of Zeus, the supreme ruler of all gods. Women weren’t allowed to watch the games and pottery from around 550 BC shows that men played the games undressed or partially undressed. It is said that when a women tried to see the Olympics, in which she was forbidden to watch, she was found and killed. From then on, the participants, trainers, and visitors were not allowed to wear clothes.

In 472 BC, the Olympic Games were expanded into a five-day event from a one-day festival of wrestling and athletics. The first days of the games were dedicated to sacrificing. On the second day, the foot-race took place in the stadium. On other days, wrestling, boxing and the pankration (combination of the two) were held. These events are known as “heavy events” and in the pankration, punching, kicking, choking, finger breaking, and blows to the lower body were allowed; biting and eye gouging weren’t allowed. Horse-racing and riding were also enjoyed. There were both 2-horse chariot and 4-horse chariot races, with separate races for chariots drawn by foals. Another race was between carts drawn by a team of 2 mules. The course was 12 laps around the stadium track (9 miles). After that came the pentathlon which included five events of sprinting, long jumping, javelin hurling, discus throwing, and wrestling, which we still have today. There were four types of races at Olympia: the stadion (a one stade race), the 2-stade race (a stade is the length of the stadium and about 192 m.), a long-distance run which ranged from 7 to 24 stades, and a 2 to 4-stade race by athletes in armor.  The Sanctuary of Zeus caused great quarrel with who controlled it. The people of Pisa and Elis battled for its control many times and it developed political conflict.

The evidence that athletes competed for prizes, received a fortune, received free meals for the rest of their lives, and pensions (income) suggests that there were no amateur or professional athletes in ancient Greece. Also, statues were possibly made if the athlete had won three Olympic victories. Many other material prizes were handed out to victors including bronze tripods, valuable metal, oxen, cauldrons, and women. The games were for young men from richer families that competed against the best young men from other cities. The games they competed in were good training for the army since they all would be soldiers.

From 776 BC through AD 393, the Olympics were held in Olympia, Greece and took 1503 years for them to return. The first modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece in 1896. A Frenchman named Baron Pierre de Coubertin was responsible for the rebirth of the Olympics who presented the idea in 1894. He originally meant to reveal the modern Games in 1900 in Paris, but many countries convinced him to move the games up to 1896 and to be hosted in Athens. The five Olympic rings and the tradition of lighting the flame that we have today in our modern Olympics both developed in the 1900s and were not a part of the ancient Greek Olympics as some may believe.

Another athletic contest is a separate festival in honor of Hera, the wife of Zeus where unmarried women competed. It included foot races and how old the games were is not known. Pusanias, a 2nd century AD Greek traveler said that it was organized and supervised by a committee of 16 women from the city of Elis. It took place every four years and after a woman’s loose robe was woven and presented to Hera in her temple, the games then began. During this festival, unmarried women competed in three age groups in a foot race held in the same stadion as the men and boys. It was a single length of the racecourse. The victors could dedicate images in the grove to memorialize their victories and could participate in the sacrificing of cows to Hera. The advantage of unmarried women is that they got to watch the men’s and boy’s games of the festival of Zeus. They probably wore their hair free down their back and a tunic covering the left shoulder and all the way down to the knees.

Next, we are going to what entertainment the ancient Greeks enjoyed. The ancient Greeks enjoyed art like sculpting and vase making, which had scenes from the Olympics or pictures of musical instruments painted on them. The Greeks were well known for their participation in outdoor theaters. Town theaters were used for festivals, usually for a holiday or to honor a god. During these days, everyone except slaves went to the theater to watch four plays that were comedies, funny plays, or tragedies, sad plays. The actors in each play played more than one character and wore various masks so the audience wouldn’t know what character they were playing. They were very important because all of the actors were men and had to also play the women and boy’s roles. These are the things that ancient Greeks did for fun or entertainment: Listen to a bard (a traveling poet who recited poems or myths to groups of listeners and also told news) that was the most important form of entertainment, listen to music and songs by the flute and lyre, eat tasty foods, watch dancing and acrobatics, athletics and sports, gambling and horse racing, and finally philosophy. Many men also attended parties just for men where they ate, drank, listened to music, and converse on intellectual subjects. Dance was very important in ancient Greece. It was believed that it improved physical as well as emotional health. Men and women danced different dances and rarely danced together. The over 200 ancient Greek dances included: warlike, comic, wedding, funeral, and celebration dances. There were also dances for athletes and religious worship. Dance was accompanied by music from lyres, flutes and many percussion instruments such as cymbals and tambourines.


Comments are closed