Ancient Olympics featured different kinds of sporting events like boxing, racing, and wrestling. The last of the running races to have found inclusion in the games was the hoplitodromos, a running race in which athletes would race against each other for 800 yards, not in nude but wearing full armor along with shields plus helmets. This race was added in 520 BC.
12. It was illegal for married women to watch the Olympics
Women per se weren’t allowed to compete in the Olympic Games. But, when it came to married ones, the games couldn’t be watched in person. Laws were very strict regarding this and any woman found violating these would get a heavy penalty as punishment. The ancient Greek society was quite conservative which didn’t want married women to see naked athletes in the stadium. This was due to the fact that married women and young athletes could enter into illicit relations that were completely against the norm of the society.
13. Animal sacrifice was in practice at the opening of the games
Animal sacrifice marked the opening of the ancient Olympic Games as most sporting events were originally regarded religious and were deeply connected with rituals. Before the games would start, the priests would bring a domestic animal like bulls or pigs at the altar and then sacrifice them to bring good luck and appease the gods.
14. The Olympic Games were eliminated in 393 AD by Emperor Theodosius
The Olympic Games were regarded as ‘Non Christian’ and were Pagan in origin which was the reason why Emperor Theodosius prohibited and eliminated these in 393 AD. However, the seeds for its elimination were sown somewhere around 313 when Christianity was growing in strength and became the major religion of all people. Emperor Constantine in this wave declared freedom of Christianity, and this encouraged Theodosius to issue a mandate to prohibit and abolish any ritual that was Pagan.
When the games first began, they continued for five long days. In these five days, a calendar was made to divide all events. In the first three days, various sports were conducted, while the rest of the days were reserved for religious rituals and festivities. According to valid findings, when the first Olympics were held, the athletes gathered for a feasting ceremony on the final and fifth day. On that day, 100 oxen were slaughtered as animal sacrifice and then eaten in the feast.
The Olympics were a major event in ancient Greece, and drew quite attention from spectators. A large number of athletes participated with much gusto in a variety of sports like races and wrestling. Though, people posses quite a bit of knowledge about the ancient Olympics, but, there remains a few undiscovered facts that will startle you!