Written by Brandon Eddinger ’19
Throughout the Greece study abroad trip we visited various stadiums from Nemea, Olympia, and Delphi. All of which were empowering as the grandeur of these stadiums were still felt to this day. All three stadiums had a lot of similar details like the starting blocks (which consist of large marble or limestone slabs that have two foot holes in it), a judge’s stand, and a large gymnasiums near by, to name a few. These stadiums are massive and are well preserved, even the stadium of Delphi which is overgrown with grass still has a magnificent stadium surrounding it.
These three stadiums definitely brought back some memories of my days in track and field. An important detail is that they were not all the same size which made them all unique. The stadiums also varied with stadium seating and some with the original hill. This is also great to see. The tunnels leading to the stadiums were large in size and one can tell the feeling the athletes would receive before entering the arena and if the stadium did not come accompanied by a tunnel the walk was definitely surrounded by beautiful architecture. One could definitely feel the power of the games while on the field. Also, I feel as a group we learned great information of rituals, rules, and events. Overall these location by far where some of the best as there are so much history we learned, as well as variations between all the different games.
From my learnings throughout this class, I’ve learned that rituals are very important to the ancient societies. The ritual of the bull was interesting compared to others, as this was the first I really felt was different. It dealt with a specific mass sacrifice of an animal for a festival. Also the differences in various tracks such as the starting blocks, size, and winnings like the celery and olive branch crowns.
The rules and regulations of the games that far differ from the modern olympics also is intriguing as back then they would be a lot stricter on form and rules then present day. The various differences was by far the most interesting. This also sparks a question as what if an athlete competed in the games between two locations, how would that athlete handle the differences. If one was to compete in the Ancient Olympic Games and then gone to compete in the games in Nemea, or Delphi, would they be accepted or would the participants be not allowed to compete? Lastly, learning that women had their own games in a time when women weren’t really allowed to do much was also great to learn. In all of our talks, women really are not too impactful, unless they were a hero or god. These sites where a great change in the style of learning we have received throughout the Greece three week. But, these sites due to the magnificence of these stadiums definitely made learning the information about this much more appealing. I, for one enjoy, Track and Field so this experience was awesome to be able to take part in.