The Olympic Games in the ancient world (Part 2)

In the 4th century BC, the first cases of corruption appeared, by trying to buy victory and casted a shadow over the games.

The Hellenistic period of the Olympic Games was dominated by professional athletes. So, the Greek public and the rulers were very interested in competitive sports, once again. The fame, that the professional athletes could gain in the competition was a worth of real money for them. 

In ancient times, the sports competitions were events of the higher-class-society, who were only allowed to watch them. And also the athletes, which participated in the Games came from well-heeled families. No slaves and women were allowed to be athletes. An athlete had to swear that he has trained for at least 10 months and that he acts in the name of the gods.

In 85 BC the Roman violent ruler Sulla robbed the shrine from Olympia and moved the Games to Rome. In the period of the late roman republic, the Game fell down to a regional event, again.

At the beginning of the Roman Empire, the Olympics attracted the attention of the imperial family. The horses quadriga of the future emperor Tiberius won at the Games of the 194th Olympics in 4 BC.

In 65 AD, the emperor Nero has changed the year of the Games to 67 AD to participate as an athlete himself. He won in 6 disciplines: wagon race with 4 horses, 4 fouls, contests of the heralds, the tragedian and the kitharodian. The competitions of the tragedian and the kitharodian had been brought to those Games, especially for Nero’s desire. He guided the wagon by himself. Although he  fell during the race, he was announced as the winner. No one else had a realistic chance, because it was clear before, that no one else can be accepted as a winner than the emperor himself.

Till mid of the 3rd century AD the Olympics progressed. But for the subsequent period, documents about the Olympics became less.

The destruction of the Olympic sanctuary began around 260 AD, when a battlement was built of bricks from demolished buildings in Olympia, to protect the Heruli from the attacks of the Germanic tribe. Games still took place, but probably on a smaller scale.

The last Olympics, the 293rd took place in 393 AD. In 394 emperor Theodosius banned the Games, which he considered as a pagan cult. With the Greek religion, the Olympic Games of the ancient world had come to an end, as well.

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