At the core of Greek athletics was an individual's hard physical struggle in order to gain victory over an opponent; hence, it included not only (as ‘athletics’ implies nowadays) track and field events but also *boxing, *wrestling, and equestrian events (see
The first substantial description of Greek practice comes from *Homer's account of the funeral games for *Patroclus (Il. 23. 262–897; cf. Od. 8. 120–30). Eight events are mentioned there (chariot-racing, boxing, wrestling, running, *javelin, an event similar to fencing, throwing the weight, and archery); the five in italics regularly formed the central part of all later games.
Andrew F. Stewart
Ludwig Alfred Moritz
Dicing with six-sided dice (κύβοι, tesserae) or four-sided knucklebones (ἀστράγαλοι, tali; natural or manufactured from e.g. ivory) was a popular amusement in both Greece and Rome, either by itself or in association with board-games. In Rome, where even emperors (esp. *Claudius) were keen players, high sums were often staked; and dicing was officially illegal except at the Saturnalia (see
Theodore Fyfe, Richard Ernest Wycherley, and Antony Spawforth
Ancient name for a shrine identified by most (but not all) scholars with the third outstanding building on the Athenian Acropolis, begun in 421
Richard Allan Tomlinson
Philip de Souza
Catherine A. Morgan
Catherine A. Morgan, Simon Hornblower, and Antony Spawforth
Olympia, *panhellenic sanctuary of *Zeus located in hill country beside the river *Alpheus in *Elis.
There is evidence of extensive prehistoric settlement in the vicinity including a large EH tumulus in the Altis which remained visible into the early iron age, MH houses, and Mycenaean tombs (see
Votives (tripods and figurines) in an ash layer in the Altis indicate cult activity at least from the late 10th cent. (perhaps with an early ash altar). The first Olympiad was traditionally dated 776