Archive for the ‘Olympics’ Tag

Zeus–god of the Olympics and Supreme Ruler of Mt Olympus   48 comments

Zeus – Supreme god and ruler – Mount Olympus

Zeus - Supreme god

zeus

Zeus was all-powerful, magnificent, awe-inspiring and knowledgeable – the sovereign god and ruler of the gods on Mt Olympus in Thessaly. His image was a common sight on Greek coins and he was known by many titles: Lord of the Sky, the Cloud- gatherer, the Rain-god and Zeus the Thunderer, These titles expressed very clearly how high in esteem and power Zeus was held the Ancient Greeks;

Rain, a rarity in a climate as hot and dry as that of Greece was considered to be the most important force of nature in the Ancient World. A life-giving force. This in sharp contrast to the more usual all-powerful sun-gods of other mythologies.

 

Zeus and wife Hera and Eagle Zeus did however, as regarded his love life, i.e. his affairs, display a surprising lack of common sense and ability to stay out of trouble and proved this whilst indulging in his unfaithfulness to his wife.

 

Zeus was also the ‘guardian of political order and peace.’ His breastplate, bearing the head of a Gorgon – so glorious and at the same time awful to behold that no human could see Zeus in all his magnificence and survive. His weapon, the thunderbolt which had been designed by three Cyclopes, he could hurl with deadly intent and accuracy. The Eagle was his bird and his oracle, Dodona. The Oak was his tree and his priests were made aware of his will by the rustling of its leaves.

        Zeus_god of thunder    zeus-eagles

Once every four years the Olympians held a festival including games to honour their god. Today nations still meet for the Olympic Games but not to honour Zeus. The ability of the athletes themselves are considered and rewarded.

Olympics – Ancient Greece to London 2012

The Olympics, held every four years during the midsummer full moon- an intentional choice of timing allowing the games to continue through the night, began as a festival to honour Zeus in Ancient Greece. They were designed to encourage "the development of body, mind, and spirit."

Olympic Rings Now, more than 2,700 years after the original Ancient Olympics, London, which did not even exist at that time, and now the capital city of around 8 million people, is in the ultimate point of preparing to host the 2012 Olympic Games. On 27 July, in the traditional opening ceremony athletes from around the world will march into the newly built London Olympic Stadium and the lighting of the Olympic flame will occur, to burn for the duration of the Games.

The Olympic Flame was first introduced at the 1928 Olympic Games, the torch relay at the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

2012 torch lighting at site of anc olym Today the most iconic of the Olympic symbols – the Olympic Flame, which is lit from a flame from the sun during a ceremony in Athens, is then carried in a torch relay to the host city in time for the main opening ceremony. On arriving at the main stadium arena the Olympic torch is then used to light the flame. Athletes parade behind their national flags, the releasing of doves symbolise peace.

The Olympic Oath

The first official ceremony of the Ancient Olympic Games was the taking of the oaths at the opening of the Games. It was conducted in front of a statue of Zeus of the Oaths (Zeus Horkios) and accompanied by a sacrifice. The athletes and trainers had to swear that they had studiously trained for 10 months and that they were willing to obey the Games rules.

At today’s Olympic opening ceremony one Olympic athlete from the host country, holds one corner of the Olympic flag, taking, on behalf of every athlete competing, the Olympic oath:

Olympics-2012-Stadium-Design"In the name of all the competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams."

The original oath was taken for the first time in Belgium at the Antwerp Games in 1920. The reference to drugs was an additional inclusion in 2000.

The Olympic Creed

Judges and officials in Ancient Greek Olympics – The Hellanodikes, also took an oath to judge fairly and in a fashion that was not biased. Today a host country judge formally repeats the Olympic creed, from the scoreboard display during the Opening Ceremony. First used for the Olympic Athletes at a 1908 London Games service, this creed was introduced at Munich’s Olympic Games in 1972:

"The most important thing in the Olympic games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well."

The Olympics have survived terrorism, embargoes and an increase in drug use yet nations continue despite all the problems that have occurred, to bid for the honour of acting as ‘host to the world.’

Female Roman Gladiators Stand Victorious!   33 comments

Female Roman Gladiators Stand Victorious!

Female GladiatorAncient Rome frowned on Women gladiators and there is bare minimal mention of them in the writings of the ancient Romans. This ensured they remained very few in number and they were even banned in A.D. 200 by Emperor Septimius Severus. None the less a handful did manage to achieve gladiator status and to fight in the arena.

Fighting for Glory in the Gladiator Arena

Female Roman Athletes vs Female Roman Gladiators

In the world of ancient Rome it was only female athletes that did not perform wholly topless, wearing instead a two-piece bikini like garment.

 

Roman images of Female AthletesThe occasional flashing of an exposed breast was not unheard of during an athlete’s performance, and indeed it was a feature built into the garments design, but exposing both was totally taboo and utterly unacceptable.

 

Ancient Roman Ampitheatre

 

Male Roman Gladiator

Although male gladiators frequently entered the arena topless, wearing only a knee bandage and a loin cloth, female gladiators would usually wear – besides the knee bandage which was common to all gladiators, additional garments.

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However the low social standing of a gladiator (often slaves) did mean that should a female choose to enter the arena topless it was not thought of as unacceptable. This was done, possibly, in order to emphasise that they were female gladiators rather than male.

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Helmeted Female GladiatorShe would also have worn protective/defensive kit including a shield and a warrior’s helmet, and shin protectors known as greaves. The male gladiators if so inclined would also wear a breastplate. Both male and female gladiators were usually armed with a dagger like sword, a short, curved weapon known as a “sica”

Roman Gladiatorial Eroticism

Armed Male Gladiator

“In a society so militarised as the Roman one, in which weapons were so popular (but exclusive to men), to see a woman in that role, so different to the usual feminine one, wearing the armour of gladiators and showing so much of her anatomy, should also stimulate the imagination and the libido of spectators.”~ Alfonso Manas of the University of Granada

Topless Female Gladiator

 

 

Roman writings did not however describe topless female gladiators in an erotic context or using language that would imply this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Female Gladiator awaits her Opponent...Male or Female

“Women fought in the arena and they fought very fiercely and we were excited to see them.”

Male gladiators also fought Female Gladiators