Although the date is widely disputed, the very first Olympic Games were believed to be held in 776 B.C. as a deeply religious and highly competitive meeting of Greek athletes and artists. The event was held every 4 years between the dates of August 6th and September 19th, and it grew to hold such an important place in Greek culture that early historians began to measure time by the interval between the games in “Olympiads”. A core belief of the ancient Greeks was that to be excellent in your physical fitness and mental discipline was honorable to Zeus, who was the king of the panhellenic gods. The games were always to be held in Olympia, Greece because the legend went that Zeus had once battled Kronos, his father, for control of the world on top of a mountain that overshadowed the valley. Having defeated his father, a temple and large statue were erected there to honor Zeus. They called the valley Olympia, and people from all over Greece came to worship him during religious festivals, which some believe turned into the first Ancient Olympics. At the very first 13 games, only one athletic event called the “stadion” race was held. At only about 190 meters (the length of the stadium), this ancient sprinting competition was first recorded to be won by a crook by the name of Coroebus. As the games slowly drew more people and competitors from more city-states, new races/events were added starting with a 380-meter race at the 14th game and a still longer race at the 15th. This pattern of growth in events continued throuought the ancient Olympics, eventually including a pentathlon, boxing, wrestling, chariot racing, and equestrian events. Winners would be crowned with olive or laurel wreaths, receive piles of gifts, and gain great acclaim. Competing in or spectating these events was never open to women during the times of the ancient Olympics. The games were known as sanctioned periods of peace between participating city-states as well, with the “Olympic Truce” beginning with Sparta waiting until the Olympics events were over before sending warriors into battle. Today’s Olympics has lost some of the original elements of art and culture that the Greeks valued so much. Not only did the Ancient Olympics have sporting and athletic events but artistic events as well. The magnificent architecture of the buildings in Olympia (that grew along with the games) drew in many sculptors and poets to display and enter their works of art in competitions. The winners of these competitions were hailed as heroes, and decorated just as lavishly as the athletes were. The environment and atmosphere created by the games also served as an inspiration to many famous artists, with the poet Pindar gaining acclaim by writing odes that praised the Games’ winners and Homer’s legendary epics providing the earliest and greatest description of its early athletic competitions. Having grown far beyond it’s one day splendor, the events were now spread over 5 days, featuring sporting events alongside ritual sacrifices honouring Zeus. The golden age of the Olympic games couldn’t last forever.