It is the same with the ancient Games.
A little research into the past will reveal that the ancient Olympics were not without heroes. The gods were indeed honoured by the feats performed at this ancient ritual at
, beside the rivers Alfeios and
Kladeos from 776 B.C. to A.D. 394 when they were banned by Emperor Theodosius
Then there is Melankomas of Caria, a sort of pacifist boxer! He was the victor at the 207th Olympiad in A.D. 49. Melankomas was known for his perfect physique and good looks but with such attributes, he felt the need to prove his courage. And so, he chose athletics as the most honourable and strenuous path open to him. The training was more trying than that of a soldier! His boxing style was to defend himself from the blows of his opponents without striking them. Often, the opponents would get frustrated and lose composure in the face of Melankomas’ endurance; he could apparently fight all day in the summer heat without striking anyone. The others must have just collapsed! At any rate, Melankomas was undefeated throughout his career yet he never once hit an opponent, nor was he himself hit. Unique style, I’ll give him that.
Many know that the ancient Olympic Games were closed to women who were not allowed to participate or observe the games, not even to set foot in the sacred sanctuary during the games. However, one of my favourite Olympic anecdotes has to do with the Spartan princess, Cynisca. This young, vibrant and strong woman was the daughter of Archidamus II, King of Sparta and the later sister of King Agesilaus II. Cynisca was also the first woman in history to win in an event at the ancient Olympic Games.
|Four Horse Chariot|
|To the Victor!|
If you are fortunate enough to be watching the XXXth Olympiad in
this summer, take note, take it in. You may be witnessing history in the