Why Were the Ancient Olympic Games Held?


Quick Answer

The early Olympic games were held as a way to honor the Olympian gods. They also aimed to show the physical qualities of young athletes and encourage good relations between the competing Greek cities.

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Why Were the Ancient Olympic Games Held?
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Full Answer

The early Olympics, which were staged on the plains of Olympia, were dedicated to the Olympian gods. In mythology, Zeus defeated Cronus in a struggle for the throne of the gods. The demigod Herakles staged games in Olympia to honor Zeus, as Zeus helped him to conquer Elis when he was at war with Augeas. The games were linked to religious festivals of the cult of Zeus. Outside of religious influence, the Olympics served as an opportunity to demonstrate the physical performances of young people and brought together people across different regions. The award ceremony at the end of the Games announced the Olympic winner, his father and his homeland.

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