15 Amazing Facts About The Ancient Olympics

6. Maintaining hygiene and body care were part and parcel of an athlete’s routine

Ancient Olympics Facts

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The participants taking part in the games had to follow a rigorous routine to keep their bodies fit and well maintained. Body care was a daily routine for all young men who trained for the Olympics. Those who joined high school had to follow a hygiene ritual wherein they would have to rub their bodies with olive oil along with a layer of sand and dust. After they would finish with their training for the day, they would wash it off with water. Rubbing with olive oil and sand offered them protection against sun. Before each Olympic competitive event, this ritual would have to be completed. Body health and hygiene were given utmost priority as the games were considered sacred and also because athletes appeared nude in front of the public. So they had to look well maintained.

7. The Ancient Olympics were not an embodiment of honesty and incorruptibility

Ancient Olympics Facts

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Olympics were not different than modern games in the sense that cheating was a common practice even in ancient Greece. Quite unlike the stories that force readers to believe that Olympics were the embodiment of incorruptibility, the fact is they weren’t. The players or participants in these games would often engage in unscrupulous activities to gain victory. These would include bribing to the judges, blackmailing and threatening.

8. During the Olympic Games, wars or capital punishments were banned

Ancient Olympics Facts

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There was a truce known as ‘Ekecheiria’ that banned any kind of war, battle or capital punishment during the Olympic Games. The whole of Greece would come under this truce wherein all athletes and people coming for the games would be assured of their safety and security. The truce was applicable even to the spectators coming to Olympia for the games. However, a few stories about breach of conduct has surfaced wherein the Spartan army breached the truce and was punished with a hefty fine.

9. Ancient games were out of reach for women and slaves

Who took part in the ancient olympic games

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Olympics were very strict about women and slaves not competing in the sporting events. In fact they were both forbidden as ancient Greeks laid a lot of importance to family and social customs and the society was primarily a male dominated one. Slaves, women and non Greeks were considered second class citizens and had restrictions in many activities such as participation in prestigious games. However, in 6th century BC women’s games were started and came to be known as Hera’s Games.

Also Read: 13 Facts about Slavery in Ancient Greece

10. The Olympic Games winner was given the same honor as gods

Ancient Olympics Events

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A winner in the Olympics was offered the same treatment as would be given to a god. He shared the same honor as that of gods. In ancient Greece, the winners of Olympic Games were honored with olive wreathes and red tunics. Any man who would return as a winner of the games would be gifted free meals and would have poems written in his honor from poets who would dedicate themselves singing praises upon him. The ancient Greeks believed that the winner was decided by the Goddess Nike and that person deserved all the honor. A man once declared a champion would remain a legend for the rest of his life.