Saturday, May 14, 2016

The end of the Olympic Games in Antiquity

The Olympic Games have existed since more than 2.500 years. However, they were abolished for nearly 1500 years. The ancient Greeks celebrated Zeus, by meeting at Olympia, ensuring that the Games remained an important event within the Hellenic world. Thanks to the latest archaeological digs at Olympia, we currently know that the Games were still being organised in the 4th century AD. 

In 393 AD, Byzantine Emperor Theodosius I forbade the celebration of pagan cults, including, therefore, the Olympic Games. This was of course part of the Christianisation of the Empire, thus many pagan traditions were abolished in order for Christianity to prevail. Nonetheless, the popularity of sports contests and cultural festivities continues in many Greek-influenced provinces of the Byzantine Empire as late as the 6th century AD. 

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