The beginning of history of the ancient Rome dates back to the 8th century B.C.E. Ancient Rome was founded in 753 B. C. E near the Mediterranean Sea. Roman Empire rapidly became the biggest and strongest empire in the ancient world and existed for about 12 centuries. During its existence, the Roman Empire controlled Western and Southern Europe and some parts of Asia and Africa. In 146 B. C. E., the Roman Empire managed to conquer Greece. After that, the influence of the Greek culture on Romans became stronger. For instance, Romans started to participate in the Olympics. Initially, Olympic Games comprised the competitions between athletes from different cities of Greece. These games aimed at glorifying the ancient Greek god Zeus and originated from the mythology and legends of the Greeks. Olympic Games took place from 776 B. C. E. to 394 C. E; for 540 years of their existence, they were under the influence of the Roman Empire.
Get a free price quote
History of How the Olympics Started in Rome
The athletic competitions between Greek athletes, known as Olympic Games, started to take place in Olympia in 776 B. C. E. In the Ancient Greece, the foreigners were not allowed to take part in the Olympic Games. However, the Roman Empire was gradually getting stronger and expanding its territory. When in 146 B. C. E. ,Greece got under the influence of Rome, Greeks had no other choice but to allow the Romans to participate in the Olympics even though it was against their religious tradition.
The Olympic Games took place from 776 B. C. E. to 394 C. E. They lasted for 1170 years. Under the influence of the Roman Empire, the Olympics took place for 540 years. For a long period of time, Romans respectively treated the Greek sanctuaries, which they conquered and situated in Olympia. They also respected the Olympic Games, which took place there every 4 years. Olympic Games became the important part of the history of the Roman Empire.
Who started the Olympics in Rome
Marcus Fulvous Nobelium organized the first competition of the athletes in Rome in 186 B. C. E. He was famous for his sympathy for the Greek customs and traditions and tried to implement them in Rome. When the Roman Empire conquered Greece, the emperor did not prohibit the Olympics, and they continued to take place in Olympia on a regular basis as it was in the times when Greece was independent.
The athletes who participated in the Olympic Games in the ancient times were popular and famous. The athletic competition was highly important for the Greeks, and it remained to be so under the influence of Rome. Athletes not only from Greece, but also from all the Roman Empire gathered in Olympia to participate in the Olympics.
History of the Olympics in Rome
Since the time when Greece was conquered by the Roman Empire, the Olympic Games went through significant changes. For instance, one of such changes was that many athletes, who took part in the games, were real professionals. Under the Roman influence, they started to earn not only fame but also money on the games. These athletes were paid not only for their victory. They received money even if they were defeated. The athletes also earned money by offering different cities to become their representative. If one of the cities hired the certain athlete to be its representation on the Olympics, this athlete received a lot of money. While, the athletes who took part in the Olympics before the Roman influence did not receive payment for becoming a representative of some city. Due to such changes, the games became slightly different compared to the Olympics, which took place in Olympia during the time of the independence of Greek cities.
Before the Roman influence, the Olympics appeared to be the challenge for the athletes, who were amateurs. Therefore, when professional athletes started to participate in the Olympics, the amateurs had no chance to win. At some point, this kind of change was highly beneficial for the Olympics. It is so, because the competition was taken to a higher level, and the athletes became true masters of sport. However, this change produced a negative effect on the popularity of the games, because most people were able to participate in the Olympics only as visitors. Therefore, it was no longer a mythological glorification of god. The games had no religious meaning for the participants; they became merely a professional sports competition. As a result, less people were interested in Olympics, and its popularity begun to decline.
All Olympic Games under the influence of the Roman Empire including the 174th Olympics took place in Olympia Greece. However, the 175 Olympics took place in Rome. It was because of the influence of the emperor Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Because of moving the games from Olympia, the next few games took place as the local events and not the massive sporting competition. It was a vivid decline in the history of the Olympics under the influence of Rome.
When Augustus became the emperor of Rome, the Olympics returned its normal condition. In 17 B. C. E., the Jubilee Olympics were celebrated in Rome. Augustus wanted these games to be remembered in history. Therefore, the festival in the honor of the games lasted for three days and three nights. Apart from that, Augustus, during his reign, completed the construction of the big stadium that was the world's first racetrack at that time. He did everything to make the Olympics as glorious as they were before the Emperor Sulla’s reign. Once again, the Olympics started to occupy an important place in the life of people.
There was a fundamental difference between the Olympic Games, which took place during the independence era of the Ancient Greece and those, which took place at the time when the Greek States fell under the rule of Rome. Usually, Greek athletes were the representatives of the privileged layers of the society of the ancient Greece. For them, to participate in Olympic Games was an honor, while in ancient Rome, especially in the imperial period in the Roman history, participation in the Olympics was perceived only as part of military training. Some Romans regarded athletics as a useless waste of time. Therefore, during the time of the Roman rule over the Ancient Greece among the participants of the Olympic Games, there were more people from the lower layers of the society.
The Emperor Hadrian, who ruled in ancient Rome from 117 to 138 years C. E., was one of the most generous emperors, who spent a lot of money on the needs of the Olympic Games. He was a great admirer of the Greek culture and, therefore, supported Greek traditions in every way he could.
Who Were the Specific Olympians in Rome in 3500 B.C.E. -1650 C. E.
The ancient Olympic Games took place from 776 B. C. E. to 394 C. E.; during 540 years of their existence under the influence of the Roman Empire, a number of Roman emperors participated in them. Tiberius, who became the Roman Emperor after the death of Augustus in 14 C. E. and reigned to 37 C. E., not only paid attention to the games in Olympia, but also won the 194th Olympics in the race for chariots by riding four horses. Also, it should be noted that during the reign of Emperor Tiberius, the new buildings were erected in Olympia under his influence; the most prominent among them was the triumphal arch.
Germanicus, the Roman general and political leader, became the champion of the 199th Olympic Games. He was the winner in the races of chariots.
Another great admirer of the ancient Greek culture was the Roman Emperor Nero, who lived in 37-68 C. E. and ruled the Roman Empire from 54 C. E. to 68 C. E. He was fond of music and theater and participated in various competitions. Nero was famous for supporting athletics and other sports. He was interested in the Olympic Games and engaged in the building process of various constructions in Olympia. He entered the history of the Olympic Games due to his hypertrophied negative qualities of the character such as cruelty, vanity, and self-will. He rudely trampled the Olympic ideals and generally accepted principles. Nero even changed the unshakable chronology of the Olympic Games just because of his personal desire to become the champion of the four most famous games at the same time. These were the Olympics, Isthmian, Nemea, and Pythian Games. Nero has made the transfer of the timing of the 211 Olympics for two years later. As a result, all four games took place in 67 C. E. Nero participated in all four games. Regardless of the fact that Nero fell during the horse races at the Olympics and was not able to continue the race, he was declared the champion of all four games. He became a winner in those kinds of competitions, in which he did not even participate. Apart from that, Nero was declared the winner in the theater, singing, and other competitions. However, after his death, the records of the game’s history were changed, and his false victory was annulled.
The prince of Armenia called Varasdates is known as the last winner of the Olympics games, which took place in 385 C. E. It is so, because the champion of the last Olympics, which took place in 393 C. E. remains unknown.
How Was the Olympics in B.C.E. and What did They Dress Like
The Olympics in B. C. E. consisted of the combat and athletic kinds of sport such as pankration, chariot racing, horse racing, and wrestling. No personal conflicts were allowed between the participants. They were encouraged to treat each other just as the sport opponents.
Under the Roman influence, the Olympic Games started to include the circus performances. Gladiators were fighting to death with each other during their battles. In addition, gladiators were also fighting with tigers, bulls, and lions. All these performances aimed to show death to the viewers. However, this was not the pure sport anymore, as it was before the Greece was conquered by Rome. This was a commercial show, which aimed at bringing huge sums of money to the organizers.
In B. C. E. the athletes, who participated in the Olympic Games, were nude during the competition. Nudity enabled them to expose their perfect bodies to their opponents and the audience. They were nude because of their ideology and the religious and cultural meaning, which the games had for them. The athletes treated each other with respect.
Romans viewed nudity of the athletes negatively. According to their point of view, nudity was a sign of immorality and debauchery. Romans enjoyed wearing armor and gold. However, they followed the tradition and participated nude in the Olympics, because they also wanted to show their perfect athletic bodies to the audience of the games.
Not all people were allowed to participate in the Olympics. For example, the women and slaves were prohibited to take part in the games. The separate individuals took part in the B. C. E. Olympics. There were no teams compared to the contemporary Olympics. Each participant wanted to prove his own excellence.
The Fall of the Ancient Olympic Games in Rome
The Olympic started to slowly decline under the influence of the Roman Empire. At the end of the IV century C. E., Rome was under the influence of Christianity. Theodosius I, the Roman emperor, declared Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Ambroise, the Bishop from Milan, who was the Theodosius’s mentor on Christianity, managed to explain to Theodosius that Olympic Games were the main source of pagan ideology. It was so because Olympics were related to Greek legends and gods. Therefore, Amroise claimed that these games should be destroyed. Consequently, in order to strengthen the position of Christianity in Rome, and to reinforce his own position as the emperor, Theodosius I prohibited the Olympic Games along with all pagan traditions, practices, and cults. As a result, the Olympic Games ceased to exist in 393 C. E. Apart from that, in 426 C. E. all Greek temples were stopped due to the order of the Roman emperor Theodosius II. Soon after that, Rome fell in 476 C. E.
To conclude, the Olympic Games took place from 776 B. C. E. to the 394 C.E. The games initially aimed at glorifying the Greek god Zeus and originated from Greek mythology. When Greece got under the influence of the Roman Empire, the games continued to take place; however, they went through significant changes. For instance, the athletes, who participated in the games during the Roman influence, were professionals and not amateurs as it was when the Greece was independent. In addition, besides achieving the glory of winning the games, the athletes started to earn money by becoming representatives of the certain cities. As a result, Olympic Games lost its religious meaning and became merely a sporting event. In 394 C. E., the Roman emperor Theodosius I prohibited the Olympic games, because he wanted to strengthen the position of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. He perceived the Olympic games as the main source of pagan ideology. As a result, the ancient Olympics ceased to exist.