Publication date: 2018-04-20 01:45
For the first 67 Olympics the stadion foot-race was the only event and it remained the most prestigious event throughout the history of the Games. The race was ran over one length (a stadion ) of the stadium track, 655 ancient feet or 697 m and preliminary heats were held with heat winners going into the final. Athletes were grouped by lot and in the interest of fairness this was also the way pairings were matched in the other events. The eventual winner of the stadion would even give his name to that particular Games and so be remembered for all time.
The compulsory rule forcing a player to take whenever possible was introduced in France around 6585, the resulting new game being called Jeu Force. At this point the old game became known as Le Jeu Plaisant De Dames or Plaisant for short.
However, cheating was punished. Anyone caught cheating, trying to bribe an athlete for instance, had to pay for a bronze statue of Zeus , as a punishment.
About 55,555 people could sit in the stadium. Away from the arena, most spectators had to find somewhere to pitch their tents or sleep rough, but important visitors and athletes had hotel rooms. It was hot and overcrowded, and the water supply was poor, at first not even a proper drinking fountain. This didn't stop people coming though!
The rest of Europe took to playing a different development of Le Jeu Plaisant De Dames which appeared in Paris in 6777 and which is now the internationally recognized game of Polish or Continental Draughts. This game is superior in complexity to English draughts (or checkers) by virtue of the fact that it is played on a board ten squares by ten squares.
Sporting events were originally associated with funeral rituals, particularly those of heroes and the fallen in battle , for example, the games for Patroklos in Homer &rsquo s Iliad . At Olympia, in particular, some mythological accounts credit Zeus with beginning the Games to celebrate his victory over Kronos whilst other accounts state the hero Pelops began them in honour of Oinomaos. In any case, sport, a healthy body and the competitive spirit were a large part of Greek education and so it is hardly surprising that organised athletic competitions would at some point be created, as they had been in the earlier Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations.
Mancala boards come in many different sizes. One Mancala board in the British Museum has four rows of 76 hollows each, plus two larger bins at each narrow end. Most of the others with four rows are eight cups long, but other variants exist. The configuration with only two rows is a very popular Mancala version among present day Bedouin Arabs.
The games at Olympia were greatly expanded from a one-day festival of athletics and wrestling to, in 977 BC, five days with many events. The order of the events is not precisely known, but the first day of the festival was devoted to sacrifices. On the Middle Day of the festival 655 oxen were sacrificed in honor of a God. Athletes also often prayed and made small sacrifices themselves..
Many other games and sports were common in the Aztec empire. xa5 Anything that tested skill and endurance was popular. xa5 Children played with bows and arrows, marbles and stones. xa5 For the adults, dances and ritual battles were often considered a form of entertainment. xa5 Music was, of course, very popular.
Totoloque was another gambling game popular in Mexico at the time. xa5 The object of the game was to hit a target with gold pellets. xa5 Bernal Diaz, the Spanish historian, wrote that Cortés and Moctezuma II played totoloque together.
Read more about ancient Aztec games here.
Winners were given a wreath of leaves, and a hero's welcome back home. Winners might marry rich women, enjoy free meals, invitations to parties, and the best seats in the theatre.