What was the first Event of the first ever Olympics?
What Was the Prize Given to the First Olympic Winner?
It is very interesting to know….
As per the recorded history the first Olympic Games were held in 776 BCE. Since then, they lasted for twelve centuries with the four-year intervals between Olympic Games in ancient Greece.
The Myth about the Origin of Olympic Games:
Greek mythology gives a number accounts about the beginning of Olympics.
One among them tells that Zeus, the supreme god, began the Olympic Games. Mount Olympus in Thessaly, a fertile plain, is said to be the highest seat of Zeus.
According to ancient Greek mythology, he was the protector and ruler of humankind. He was also the god of weather and atmosphere. He dispenses good and evil along with rain and thunder.
Zeus was the son of Rhea, fertility goddess, and Cronus (Cronos or Kronos), the supreme god. When he dethroned his father Cronus, he announced to celebrate his victory over his father with the instance of initiating Olympic Games.
Were Olympics Celebrated Prior to 776BCE?
Greek geographer and historian Pausanias of the second century CE gave some important information of earlier Olympic Games which were held prior to 776 BCE.
He wrote a book on ancient Greece, titled “The Itinerary of Greece” (The Description of Greece). This book is still considered an invaluable source of information about the topography and remains of ancient Greece.
He furnished in his book that the Olympic Games used to be held long before the first recorded instance in 776 BCE.
According to his narration, Olympics were reestablished by king Iphitus in 9th century BCE after an interruption of uncertain length. It indicates that the games were initiated long before 9th century BCE.
Delphi was an ancient Greek city and one of the most important religious sanctuaries. It was the site of the oracle of Delphi.
Delphi was dedicated to Apollo, the sun-god, and situated on the lower southern slopes of Mount Parnassus (above the Gulf of Corinth) of central Greece where Greek muses lived and the mythological home of music and poetry.
Oracle Delphi’s Ordain:
Pausanias wrote in his book that King Iphitus prayed to the god of Delphi to help the Greek people escape from the internal strife and plagues that were rampant in those days.
(Delphic Oracle was said to be a priestess and used to deliver messages from god Apollo to those who sought advice).
The Delphic Oracle (the Pythian priestess) was described to give orders in an obscure and ambiguous manner just like riddles.
And there she was told to have nodded for the restarting of Olympic Games.
The Dramatic Restart of Olympics:
The first recorded Olympics dramatically began as a religious festival and was declared as a truce. Men from all Greek cities were invited to attend.
Peloponnese stadium in Olympia.
More than 40,000 people.
The First Event:
It was a race over 200 m i.e. 650 feet, the first ever and only one event of the first recorded Olympics.
He was a cook and belongs to the local community of Elis.
The First Prize for the First Winner of the First Olympics:
Interestingly, it was – a branch of an apple tree.
The rewards for later champions:
Later the rewards were also increased as the list of events added to the Greek Olympics grew.
The later champions were honored with olive wreaths (olive garlands) along with great financial rewards.
The History of Naked Greek Olympics:
As per the available history, Greek Olympics slowly turned to be naked Olympics until 720 BCE. Athletes used to compete naked.
The motto behind it was said to have celebrated Olympics in part as a festival of the human body.
Olympic Games Were Banned by Theodosius:
Flavius Theodosius (c. 346-395 CE), (known as Theodosius the Great) became Byzantine emperor in 379 CE.
Theodosius was the last emperor of the united Roman Empire. He took control of the eastern empire. The war with the Visigoths was ended by him. Visigoths were the western group of Goths. They sacked Rome and created a kingdom in present-day Spain and southern France.
He took Christianity. As a result, he banned all forms of pagan worship in 391.
As a pious Christian he considered Olympic Games as a hangover of anachronism from the pagan era and abolished them in 394 CE.
Olympiad, the Modern Revival of Olympic Games:
The dream of revival of Olympic Games come true by the efforts of Pierre de Coubertin, the French Baron. An International Olympic Committee was set up by him in 1894 to conduct modern Olympic Games at Athens to foster athletic excellence and international harmony.
The modern revival of the Olympics known as Olympiad officially opened in April 1896 in Athens, Greece. The First Olympiad was celebrated for 10 days. 241 male amateur athletes from fourteen nations participated as private individuals (not on behalf of their nations) at their own expense.
Since then the Olympiad has been held every 4 years in the selected country.