L’ottica ellenistica dello sport

L’ottica ellenistica dello sport

By Stefano Caiuli


“O Crown or Death!”: the voice of the athletes rises in the skies of Olympia, in 776 BC. to start the sporting competition, enriching the soul of the people with honor and desire for glory.


It is interesting to focus on the ideological meaning of the contrast between victory and defeat, where the metaphorical medal the outcome was poised between dishonor and triumph, which could potentially lead to a radiant political or military career. Winning the Olympics means becoming a symbol of the polis of belonging.


The concept of honor is purely personal, therefore, it cannot be shared with anyone, except for one's family and ancestors. < br>

The reality of the data received is the result of information to be extrapolated between historiographers and bishops.

Pindaro, in the first of the 14 Olympic Odes, tells of Enomao, king of Pisa d'Elide, who, to escape the death that would have occurred at the hands of his son-in-law, he tries to prevent the wedding of his daughter Hippodamia. He thus announces a chariot race from Pisa to Corinth; the winner would later marry his daughter. Thirteen died. Pelops, the fourteenth, finally defeats Enomao with a deception. To clear himself of his impropriety he organizes the first Olympic Games in honor of Zeus.


Identifying and accepting as real the intricate truth between glimpses of history and mythological tradition can give rise to false beliefs and equations from doubtful correspondence: "Olympics = universal peace".


Olympia, on the other hand, is often the scene of violence, not only among athletes who engage in boxing or pancrazio, but also among spectators, inside and outside the stadium. It is wrong to consider the ekeicheerà (the truce) on par with l’eirène (peace). Rather than a period of peace, the Olympics are to be considered as a period of truce, moreover, not always respected among the Greek poleis. Those who really enjoyed this immunity are the territory of Olympia, through a proclamation agreed by all the participating cities, and the delegations of athletes or coaches, free to move around for training and competitions.