The Olympics have been around since 700 BC. The Games were dedicated to Zeus, a Greek god, and were held every four years. Even today, this tradition holds, as the Summer and Winter games are held every four years. The Ancient Olympic Games embodied wrestling, races, jumping, throwing, boxing and pentathlon. The duration of the individual games used to vary from being a few minutes to several hours. Strangely, participants in the Games had to play without clothes. However, only males used to participate.
The height of the Ancient Games was in 393 AD, when the events wold span several days and be watched by many. Most people who participated were soldiers, and would alternate between fighting and participating in the sporting events.
The Games would begin with feasts and ceremonies, similar to ones held today. They ended with sacrifices to Zeus and also with many celebrations.
At first, only men could participate, but in later times, unmarried women could as well. Men, who were called “lords of the Greeks”, served as judges. They were also known as Hellanodikai. There were usually 8-10 judges, and sometimes more.
All of the free Greek men were allowed to be a part of the Ancient Games. There was no social or caste restrictions that barred some from playing. However, some of the better and more famous participants of that time were army generals or royalty.
These men are some of the most remembered Ancient Olympic participators:
Chionis of Sparta
Onomastos of Smyrna
Theagenes of Thasos
Even today, the Games are able to attract millions from the globe. Some of its aspects today are a reflection of ancient times. However, there have been changes throughout history to bring in the best and continue the legacy.