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Speaking of “games” and “gods” January 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Athens 2004 Olympics, Culture History Mythology.

Speaking of “games” and “gods” usually makes one think of the Greeks and the Olympic Games.

The original Olympic Games began in ancient Greece in 776 B.C. According to Greek mythology, Hercules started these games. After a great victory, Hercules made sacrifices to the Olympic gods and founded the Olympic games.

The Olympic games were held every four years and lasted five days. During this period, general peace was declared all over Greece. Before beginning and after completing the Olympic games, plentiful prayers and sacrifices were made to Zeus.

One interesting aspect of these games was that the main winner was crowned with laurels. Laurels were wreaths made from the leaves of the laurel tree. They were placed on the heads of the victors. It was the highest honor that a Greek could reach.

Yeah, that’s right, a leafy wreath. That was their award. No money. Not even a gold medal! Boy, times sure have changed. Now lots of these Olympic stars get rich endorsing merchandise and doing commercials. And many athletes get a free college education. I guess the Greek Olympians were just happy to “rest on their laurels.”

Another interesting thing about the original Olympic games is that they offered prayers to their god, Zeus. Nice to know that they did, at least, believe that their deity deserved some thanks and homage, and they were willing to ask for his blessings before and after their games.

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