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The White/Brown Ajah Winter Olympic Carnival: Olympic History


Charis alAslan
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(Note: I'll be using this article on Wikipedia to get info and break down the focus for each week.)

 

 

A Brief Summary of Ancient Olympics:

 

 

The Olympic Games (Ancient Greekτὰ Ὀλύμπια ; ta Olympia; the Olympics) were a series of athletic competitions among representatives of city-states of Ancient Greece. They were held in honor of Zeus, and the Greeks gave them a mythological origin. Historical records indicate that they began in 776 BC in Olympia. They continued to be celebrated when Greece came under Roman rule, until the emperor Theodosius I suppressed them in 394 AD as part of the campaign to impose Christianity as the state religion of Rome. The games were held every four years, or olympiad, which became a unit of time in historical chronologies.

During the celebration of the games, an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their countries to the games in safety. The prizes for the victors were olive leaf wreaths or crowns. The games became a political tool used by city-states to assert dominance over their rivals. Politicians would announce political alliances at the games, and in times of war, priests would offer sacrifices to the gods for victory. The games were also used to help spread Hellenistic culture throughout the Mediterranean. The Olympics also featured religious celebrations and artistic competitions. The statue of Zeus at Olympia was counted as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Sculptors and poets would congregate each olympiad to display their works of art to would-be patrons.

The ancient Olympics had fewer events than the modern games, and only freeborn Greek men were allowed to participate,[1] although a woman Bilistiche is also mentioned as a winning chariot owner. As long as they met the entrance criteria, athletes from any city-state and Macedon were allowed to participate, although the Hellanodikai, the officials in charge, allowed king Alexander I to participate in the games only after he had proven his Greek ancestry.[2][3] The games were always held at Olympia rather than alternating to different locations as is the tradition with the modern Olympic Games.[4] Victors at the Olympics were honored, and their feats chronicled for future generations.

 

ORIGINS:

 

 

 

To the Greeks it was important to root the Olympic Games in mythology.[5] During the time of the ancient games their origins were attributed to the gods, and competing legends persisted as to who actually was responsible for the genesis of the games.[6] These origin of traditions have become nearly impossible to untangle, yet a chronology and patterns have arisen that help people understand the story behind the games.[7] The earliest myths regarding the origin of the games are recounted by the Greek historian, Pausanias. According to the story, the dactylHerakles (not to be confused with the son of Zeus) and four of his brothers, Paeonaeus, Epimedes, Iasius and Idas, raced at Olympia to entertain the newborn Zeus. He crowned the victor with an olive tree wreath, (which thus became a peace symbol) which also explains the four year interval, bringing the games around every fifth year (counting inclusively).[8][9] The other Olympian gods (so named because they lived permanently on Mount Olympus), would also engage in wrestling, jumping and running contests.[10] Another myth, this one occurring after the aforementioned myth, is attributed to Pindar. He claims the festival at Olympia involved Pelops, king of Olympia and eponymous hero of the Peloponnesus, and Herakles , the son of Zeus. The story goes that after completing his labors, Herakles established an athletic festival to honor his father. Pelops, using trickery, and the help of Poseidon, won a chariot race against a local king and claimed the king's daughter. This is also attributed to Pausanias and is dated by the historian at 776 BC.[11] The games of previous millennia were discontinued and then revived byLycurgus of SpartaIphitos of Elis, and Cleoisthenes of Pisa at the behest of the Oracle of Delphi who claimed that the people had strayed from the gods, which had caused a plague and constant war. Restoration of the games would end the plague, usher in a time of peace, and signal a return to a more traditional lifestyle.[12] The patterns that emerge from these myths are that the Greeks believed the games had their roots in religion, that athletic competition was tied to worship of the gods, and the revival of the ancient games was intended to bring peace, harmony and a return to the origins of Greek life.[13]Since these myths were documented by historians like Pausanias, who lived during the reign of Marcus Aurelius in the 160s AD, it is likely that these stories are more fable than fact. The games were abolished in 393 B.C by Emperor Theodosius.[14]

 

QUESTION for this section:

 

Reread this quote - 

 

 

Greeks believed the games had their roots in religion, that athletic competition was tied to worship of the gods, and the revival of the ancient games was intended to bring peace, harmony and a return to the origins of Greek life.

 

What do you think is the purpose of modern Olympics as we know it? Does it bring peace and harmony among nations or does it encourage competition and nationalism?

Edited by Charis alAslan
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What do you think is the purpose of modern Olympics as we know it? Does it bring peace and harmony among nations or does it encourage competition and nationalism?

 

 

I would say the latter two certainly, but I do no think this is necessarily a bad thing. 

 

The intense competition ensures that in most disciplines, the Olympics is the pinnacle of athletic and sporting achievement (I think it can be a bit ridiculous sometimes if the standard of competition in a sport is consistently higher at the world championships than the Olympics).

 

As for the nationalism, well, the Olympics are seen as a way to raise national pride. And that is not inherently wrong in itself, in my own opinion. Particularly for countries who are less economically developed, when a large proportion of the population are living in appalling conditions well below the poverty line: seeing your countries' athlete, a fellow countrymen, someone "just like me," competing at the highest level on the largest sporting stage in the world is a welcome distraction and a source of joy and pride. It can be a case of the sport transcending mere sport, when athletes compete not just for personal glory, but the glory of their homelands, and that of their friends and family and countrymen at home.

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I agree with Reyoru. There needs to be some sense of nationalism, or why would you send those people to represent the country? However, the whole event is about coming together despite race, religion, nationality. It's good for the world to have friendly competitions.

 

Can some take it too far? I'm sure. But as a whole, I think it fosters more peace than animosity.

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What do you think is the purpose of modern Olympics as we know it? Does it bring peace and harmony among nations or does it encourage competition and nationalism?

 

I think the purpose of the now is to use the competition and competitive process to build both national pride as well as promote peace and harmony among nations. 

 

The competitions help to build a team, and the spirit of the team for the Olympics is really the country of the team they are playing on. Often here in America we have many Canadians and people from other countries who play for the "American team". So the mentality of team on the world stage of the Olympics really promotes national pride. I agree with Rey - nationalism isn't really a bad thing. It becomes a bad thing when people take it too far, and decide that one group is better than another. 

 

 

 

In regards to peace and harmony, I think that team sports really do promote harmony. People have to learn to work together, to win or lose gracefully, to work hard and to persevere, to accept failure as a step on the way to achieving true greatness. These things are all inherent in both the team mentality, as well as just the ability to get along with other people. Peace is a little different - because true peace wouldn't really be in a competitive format (because inevitably there will always be one winner) but the peace is really there when you see the many different countries coming together to honor one another. You see it when they are all shaking hands and congratulating one another after a game, or when you see two people from different teams chatting on the sidelines together. So while it definitely is a competition focusing on different countries, it also is a way to build peace and harmony among different groups of people. 

 

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Edited by Aidanna
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I think the modern Olympics helps in a small way to redirect martial competition to a stylized, symbolic, non violent contest.

 

Cold War Olympics really drove that point home. it was basically the US vs the USSR for many years, and kids were trained from childhood to champion their respective nations in these games. it was some serious business. and it was heartbreaking when the games got boycotted case the Cold War got too warm.

 

I'm not sure that's still a major factor in the games. I am sure I paid more attention to them when it was.

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The first year I paid any serious attention to the Olympics was in 1988. So I didn't really get the whole Cold War experience. I would have like to have watched more of the summer games in '84, but a family vacation interfered. I think for a couple of weeks it brings some harmony, but a bit of nationalism is still there under the surface.

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True, but I would agree with the others, although you might still see some nastiness ANYWHERE THERE ARE HUMANS, you will also see the many acts of friendship.  Lots of the people on the Olympic Teams have played with other people in other locations and so they have friends on other teams.  Despite being on opposite teams you will see them congratulate each other, and the camaraderie OVERALL is very becoming of people who are to represent the best of their country.  Overall?  There is a LOT of good with the Olympics.  Sure, the country hosting it is going to put a big face on everything (like the lack of smog at the China one, i wonder how much that cost the government to shut down factories to clear up the air?), but it also gives people a chance to see more about that country.  So they can try to help people better understand more about them, a very good tool especially for some of the smaller nations/cities that bid on hosting the Olympics.

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i think thhey should start doing thatt again - physical competition as engenderedd in what typicaly refered to as "sports" ive always viewed as the celebrationn of the body, in al its beuty and its power, least thatt, a ritual quality, is the main thing that seperates sports in my cultures view from justt any othre game, and unless its colld out, seems silly to be wearing clothes, somethin that hides the body, when meant to be revealing all, its form and capacities. but given (at least western) civilisaton's propensitty to loathe and subvert aspcts of the body, gues realisticaly wuoldnt work becuse most peoplle too stunted by such an attitude to treat nudity as casual.

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given that a lot of the sports are very different from those played out in the Greek classic... nude could be not only a disadvantage but a danger.

 

and whether modern western cultural morays are stunted or just different, yup, wouldn't work.

 

did they have nude or even clothed women in classical Olympics?

 

would they have?

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given that a lot of the sports are very different from those played out in the Greek classic... nude could be not only a disadvantage but a danger.

 

and whether modern western cultural morays are stunted or just different, yup, wouldn't work.

 

did they have nude or even clothed women in classical Olympics?

 

would they have?

 

to th first sentnce, that cuold be adresed by simplly not playin those sportts if nudity became comonplace.

 

to the second sentence, yuo repeated what i just said, no need to be a parrot.

 

to the rest of that, thats obviusly a rhetorical question becuse you know as wel as i thhey didnt have women in the originall olympics so fairly pointless

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it was rhetorical but there was a point.

 

nudity in the context of an event involving only one gender (consider all the female aes sedai nudity a RJ liked to write about) is different from nudity in an event where men and women are both involved. and in this world televised and witnessed by more people than watched those naked Classical Greek gentlemen in all their glory.

 

also it was not repetition and I wasn't parroting you. it was disagreement with the term stunted. which I'd rather not derail on but in that it's relevant to the question being discussed just felt I should mention. the value judgment implied by that choice of word isn't necessary.

 

re omitting events because they interfere with nudity... I think that would emphasize aesthetics over athletic competition.

 

I don't particularly care for either but if the Olympics is an athletic competition it would seem to make sense to err on the side of avoiding grievous bodily harm to the participants.

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it was rhetorical but there was a point.

 

nudity in the context of an event involving only one gender (consider all the female aes sedai nudity a RJ liked to write about) is different from nudity in an event where men and women are both involved. and in this world televised and witnessed by more people than watched those naked Classical Greek gentlemen in all their glory.

 

also it was not repetition and I wasn't parroting you. it was disagreement with the term stunted. which I'd rather not derail on but in that it's relevant to the question being discussed just felt I should mention. the value judgment implied by that choice of word isn't necessary.

 

re omitting events because they interfere with nudity... I think that would emphasize aesthetics over athletic competition.

 

I don't particularly care for either but if the Olympics is an athletic competition it would seem to make sense to err on the side of avoiding grievous bodily harm to the participants.

first subject - still pointlesss. Im prety sure i alredy acknoldged in my first statementt that competing nude cuoldnt work becuse (at the very least western) civilisaton cant handle nudity - be taht of man woman or wahtever you like - and thats that. so as far as i see, uterly pointless tangent as ive said.

 

second subject - we can eithre call it paroting or pointless; paroting in the case that you merely saidd said, yes wuoldnt work, as i alredy said, pointlless in that your pickin a bone over words. if yuo dont like it, oh well, no one forcing yuo to share my view point.

 

to the last part: it emphasises humans naturall capbilities, i.e. waht one can do withuot any articles added besids that wahts necesary to play the game or perform th event (suchh as club or ball or weight), so that wuold exclude superfluous or advantaguos articles such as clothes, shoes, steroids, fill in the blank. if clothhes aer necesary to an event in the way that yuo obviusly cant play basketball withuot the ball, then by all meanns cuold use it in that hypotheticall olympics. ensuring safty i hardlly find a necesity to most games unlesss theres a huge chance that unles that person wears clothess, they aer going to lose a limb or die, which sems to mostlly only apply in the wintre games where performin in freezing temperatures.

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What an odd question!  I think being nude would just distract the competitors and the spectators.  That being said, we watched a movie last night called "Zombie" in which one of the female characters (of course) goes scuba diving nude.  All I could think was, "That's got to be dangerous!  There are so many things that could harm your skin (and sensitive areas) underwater!"  I'm thinking all the Olympic events would be similarly dangerous.  Nude and sports, not a good idea.

 

(And then the scuba diver was attacked by an underwater zombie, which then began to battle a shark...)

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did they have nude or even clothed women in classical Olympics?

 

would they have?

 

 

to the rest of that, thats obviusly a rhetorical question becuse you know as wel as i thhey didnt have women in the originall olympics so fairly pointless

 

 

 

Actually, there is record of ONE woman who competed and won something in the 264BC Olympics. You can read about her here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilistiche

Don't know if she was nude, though. That would've been... very scandalous, I think!

 

I don't think that many of the team sports, either summer or winter, would work very well nude. Ice hockey nude sounds incredibly dangerous.

 

Indeed!

Edited by Charis alAslan
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did they have nude or even clothed women in classical Olympics?

 

would they have?

 

 

to the rest of that, thats obviusly a rhetorical question becuse you know as wel as i thhey didnt have women in the originall olympics so fairly pointless

 

 

 

Actually, there is record of ONE woman who competed and won something in the 264BC Olympics. You can read about her here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilistiche

Don't know if she was nude, though. That would've been... very scandalous, I think!

 

I don't think that many of the team sports, either summer or winter, would work very well nude. Ice hockey nude sounds incredibly dangerous.

 

Indeed!

 

Bold: Not really the women in Sparta always competed in the nude between themselves. Wonderful physiques. They trained when they could. More freedom than women in all the other city states.

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