When was the first Olympic Games in ancient Greece?
The first modern Olympics took place in Athens, Greece, in 1896. The man responsible for its rebirth was a Frenchman named Baron Pierre de Coubertin.
The first written records of the ancient Olympic Games date to 776 BC, when a cook named Coroebus won the only event. The event on that particular year was a 192-metre footrace called the stade (the origin of the modern “stadium”) and Coroebus went on to become the first Olympic champion.
The first Games are traditionally dated to 776 BC and they continued to be celebrated when Greece came under Roman rule. From 776 BC, the Games were held in Olympia every four years for almost 12 centuries.
Contrary evidence, both literary and archaeological, suggests that the games may have existed at Olympia much earlier than this date, perhaps as early as the 10th or 9th century BC.
It is generally believed that the Games had been going on for many years by that time. Legend has it that Heracles (the Roman Hercules), son of Zeus and the mortal woman Alcmene, founded the Games, which by the end of the 6th century BC had become the most famous of all Greek sporting events.
First Olympic Games
Aristotle believed the date of the first Olympics to be 776 BC, a date largely accepted by most. It is still the traditionally given date and archaeological finds confirm, approximately, the Olympics starting at or soon after this time.
In honour of Zeus
The ancient Olympic Games were primarily a part of a religious festival in honour of Zeus, the father of the Greek gods and goddesses. The festival and the games were held in Olympia, a rural sanctuary site in the western Peloponnesos.
The ancient Olympics were held every four years between August 6 and September 19 during a religious festival honoring Zeus. The Games were named for their location at Olympia, a sacred site located near the western coast of the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece. Their influence was so great that ancient historians began to measure time by the four-year increments in between Olympic Games, which were known as Olympiads.
From ancient to modern
The ancient Games were staged in Olympia, Greece, from 776 BC through 393 AD, although it took 1503 years for the Olympics to return. The first modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896.
The man responsible for the event's rebirth was a Frenchman named Baron Pierre de Coubertin. He presented the idea in 1894, with his aim to unveil the modern Games in 1900 in his native Paris. Delegates from 34 countries managed to convince him to move the Games forward to 1896 and have Athens serve as the first host.