Ancient Greece

Olympic Games Part 1

How did the Olympic games come about?

The Olympic Games began over 2,700 years ago in Olympia, in southwest Greece. The Games were part of a religious festival. The Greek Olympics, thought to have begun in 776 BC, inspired the modern Olympic Games that begun in 1896. The Games were held in honour of Zeus, king of the gods, and were staged every four years at Olympia, a valley near a city called Elis. People from all over the Greek world came to watch and take part.

The statue of Zeus

Visitors to Olympia stared in wonder as they entered the great Temple of Zeus. Inside was a huge statue of the king of the gods, sitting on a throne. People called it one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The statue was covered in gold and ivory, and was six times bigger than a man. It was built about 435 BC.

The Sacred Truce

The city-states of Greece were often at war. This made travel between them dangerous. So messengers sent out from Elis announced a sacred truce or peace lasting one month before the Games began. This meant people could travel to Olympia in safety. The Olympic Games were more important than wars because they were a religious festival.

By Herbie Sage