The ancient origins of the Olympics – Armand D’Angour

The ancient origins of the Olympics – Armand D’Angour


Thousands of years in the making, what began as part of a religious festival
honoring the Greek god Zeus in the rural Greek town of Olympia has today become the greatest show
of sporting excellence on Earth. The inception date in 776 BC became the basis
for the Greek’s earliest calendar, where time was marked
in four-year increments called olympiads. What could it be? Why, it’s the Olympic games, of course. Competition fosters excellence,
or so thought the Ancient Greeks. In addition to sporting events, contests were held for music,
singing, and poetry. You can read about them all yourself
in classical literary works, like Homer’s “Iliad”
and Virgil’s “Aeneid.” Even mythical heroes appreciate
a good contest every now and then, wouldn’t you say? For the first thirteen games, the Ancient Greek Olympics featured
just one event, the two hundred yard dash. But over time, new exciting contests, like boxing, chariot and mule racing, and even a footrace where the competitors
wore a full suit of armor enticed many hopeful champions
into the Olympic stadium. The combined running, jumping, wrestling, javelin throwing, and hurling the discus events known as the pentathlon
inspired world-class competition, and the pankration, a no holds barred fight where only
biting and eye-gouging were prohibited, ensured the toughest men were victorious. And victorious they were. Nobody tops the local baker Coroebus, who 776 BC became the very first
Olympic champion. And we’ll never forget Orsippus of Megara, the 720 BC Olympic victor tore away
his loincloth so he could race unimpeded, inaugurating the Ancient Greek tradition
of competing in the nude. Now there’s a winning streak,
if ever we’ve seen one. But all good things must end. In 391 AD, the Christian Roman Emperor
Theodosius banned pagan practices, so the world soon bid a fond farewell
to the Olympic games. But just like those early
pankration athletes, you can’t keep a good one down, and 1500 years later in 1896, the modern Olympic games
kicked off in Athens, Greece. Today, the Summer and Winter Olympics bring international world-class
athletes together by the thousands, uniting fans by the billions for
the world’s foremost sporting competition. Citius, Altius, Fortius. Three cheers for the Olympics.

100 Replies to “The ancient origins of the Olympics – Armand D’Angour”

  1. One Christian bans pagan practices, and all of a sudden, Youtube points the finger at two billion people.

    I thought well-educated people were better than this. "No wonder Canada's killing us these days."

  2. hi Ted-Ed your videos really help me build my nologe even though I'm only 12 my mum will often be outsmarted by me so thank you for you videos and please keep making more

  3. The Greatest show yes, but also the greatest display of cheating and overly competitive jerks.  I love the Olympics, but I get tired of all the sterioids scandals, the poor sportsmanship and the political BS.

  4. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand once again religion is villainised. Well done for being unbiased and objective TED-Ed.
    A true embodiment of academia and free thinking where all schools of thought are welcome and people can gather without fear of reproachment.

    Maybe you guys should do a video on how pretty much every single society in the history of humanity have selectively represented and re-interpreted history for their own socio-political gain and then conclude by saying "And fair disclaimer, there have never been an exception, and there never will be."

  5. Why did you upload this video? Our school's teacher use this video in our school class. It will be up questions on our school's english test. So I have to memorize whole of this. It's terrible

  6. why is (almost) everyone kind of blaming the christians?? it was only one who banned the olympics not all of the christians haha lol

  7. i'm glad that new emperor had banned that sport for a while because we don't to see more embarrassing and too much accident anymore until we finger it out how to rebuilt it by get rid of the bad sport and made a new rule

  8. I have a 10 minute video project worth 20% of my grade due tomorrow over the Ancient Greek Olympics and I haven't started yet.. this video might have just saved me

  9. People blame Christians. But for what?

    Atheists killed millions of people, if not less.
    An atheist myth goes, "no one has killed in the name of atheism."
    That's a really false statement because those who follow
    a certain religion have to obey laws or wills of their god.

  10. Don't blame Christianity. Emperor Constantine of the Byzantine Empire was also a Christian but he was okay with the Olympics. Plus, 98% of modern Greeks are Christians since the Roman times. (making it the 2nd most Christian nation not counting the Vatican).

  11. This is the biggest lie ever..Olympic Games STARTED IN ANCIENT KEMET IN AFRIKA..A COUNTRY CALLED EGYPT.https://youtu.be/56UiEoh_ZM8?t=2

  12. You forgot to explain that they started the olympics to honor Nike, the goddess of victory and competition

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