Participants in the ancient Olympic Games 07-15-2004 22:17

All free male Greek citizens were entitled to participate in the ancient Olympic Games regardless of their social status. Orsippos, a general from Megara; Polymnistor, a shepherd; Diagoras, member of a royal family from Rhodes; Alexander I, son of Amyndas and King of Macedonia, and Democritus, a philosopher, were all participants in the Games.

Women and the ancient Olympic Games

Married women were not allowed to participate in or to watch the ancient Olympic Games. However, maidens could attend the competition, and the priestess of Demeter, goddess of fertility, was given honoured seating next to the Stadium altar.

Pausanias, a native of Asia Minor who chronicled his extensive travels in Greece in the second century AD, relates the story of Callipateira, a widow who dressed up as a trainer in order to watch her son compete. Callipateira's gender was disclosed as she jumped over the enclosure where trainers were accommodated, but she was not punished out of respect for her father, her brothers and her son, who were all Olympic champions.

Although the ancient Olympic Games did not allow for female participation, the Herea Games, staged every four years to honour Hera, wife of Zeus, gave female athletes the chance to compete.

Editor:Wang Ping

About Us . Get the Channel? . Contact Us Xinhua . People's Daily . China Daily . CRI . . cycnet . eastday .
Copyright © 2005 China Central Television, All Rights Reserved