The Ancient Olympics was a time when free Greek men of different city states came together to compete and strive for victory. During this time, Greek men would compete with each other to see who was the best athlete. Determining this victor would determine and influence a man’s future. In such instances, states would not even compete in fear of losing (Roberts). In these games, athletes and citizens could see sports from boxing, weightlifting, pentathlon, pankration, and chariot racing (Eversole). Men would spend days to weeks trying to get ready for the games, and often did unbearable things because of them (Benoit). The Olympics had the greatest impact on the city states because changes in culture, meaning of games, and the number of activities and games.
The role of the Olympics in ancient Greece impacted, as well as reflected, both the culture of the time as well as today’s culture. In ancient Greece, most citizens believed in democracy, masculine beauty, and polytheism, in particular, the ruler of all gods, Zeus. Zeus was one of the most well known gods and had a monumental impact in ancient Greece.
Zeus impacted mythology and creation of Greece because when he captured and took over the throne from his horrendous father, he instilled the promise of assurance to the people, so they would never be harmed. Zeus was known for his majestic, crazed powers, that allowed him to throw lighting bolts and protect the people of the world from danger (Skidmore). Through his heroic gestures, the people decided to hold a ceremony thanking him for his powers. This lead to the first Olympic games (. The correlation of the Olympics and culture changed over the years, and with the change also came new meaning.
The meaning of the Olympics came through the competition of the athletic men, but as the Olympics evolved into what it is today, people started changing with it. Greek men would take weeks to months preparing for these events trying to provide extra money for his family or themselves, but today athletes compete for the pure love of the sport and people can often see them pursuing the sport as their career. During the ancient Olympics, people can also see that they would be religious sacrifices and oaths to be taken, such as, the athletes could not cheat and judges could not be biased (Chrisp). These oaths would be taken on the first day, in front of Zeus’s statue, and as the games went on, you could see mostly only religious ceremonies. That is different today, because though the athletes, male and female, go into the Olympics promising that they would not cheat, the religious symbols were forgotten when the games were abandoned.
The Olympics was a very meaningful symbol in ancient Greece, and today we can still see things similar from the past, such as, nike and Apollo.