The Importance Of The Ancient Olympic Games

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The ancient Olympic Games were a microcosm of Greek antiquity. Olympia was one of only a handful of festivals that had the prestige to draw athletes into competing from all corners of ancient Greece and the Greek colonies and kingdoms spread throughout the antique world. As the author Stephen G. Miller asserts that “The games brought all Greeks together (to the exclusion of all non-Greeks, to be sure) and, in some sense, promoted international (that is, inter-polis) communication and understanding, albeit on a much more restricted level than today.” And with athletes competing from every Greek state, it is no wonder that politics were endemic to the ancient Olympic Games. The ancient Olympics Games provided an avenue for Greek states to cultivate…show more content…
The most famous of these proxy disputes was between the Greek states of Athens and Sparta. The Olympic rivalry between Athens and Sparta took form in tethrippon race, culminating in the famous story of Alkibiades, who fearing the continuation of a Spartan winning streak, entered seven charioteers from Athens into the next Olympiad, successfully breaking the Spartan winning streak in the event. Just as there were disputes between Greek states at the Olympics, there were also those between the Olympia herself and different Pan-Hellenic festivals. The most serious dispute was between Olympia and Isthmia, and it involved the “curse of Moline.” This curse has a complex history behind it but the basic ramifications were that the people of Elis – the city state which controlled the Olympics – were banned from competing at the Isthmian Games. Olympia was involved in other disputes with Pan-Hellenic festivals like the Macedonian Olympics, which were a kind of fraudulent Olympics held in Macedonia, as well as with the festivals at Sybaris. The Greek state of Sybaris decided to hold their own festivals alongside of those at Olympia, and attempted to lure Olympic athletes with immense cash prizes to compete at Sybaris instead; these festivals were ultimately unsuccessful and terminated after a few
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