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mj_toronto8

Active member
We all know that the Olympics originated in Greece, but what some of us don't know is that the cheating scandals that we see today were also occurring in ancient times. Ancient Greek Olympic athletes were using many of the available herbs and tools at the time to help them increase their stamina and become better athletes so it's no surprise that we're seeing some of the same things happen in the modern day Olympics. More info here

 
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Well this is interesting! I didn't realize there were also cheating scandals in Ancient Greece. What a fascinating piece of history!
 

Learning about the Olympic Games

It's an Olympics year so I thought I would chat a bit about the Olympic Games!

The original Olympic Games, held in Olympia, Greece, were primarily a festival celebrating Zeus, the king of the Greek gods. These games began around 776 BC and featured a range of athletic competitions, from foot races to combat sports like wrestling and boxing. Interestingly, the games were so significant that wars were put on hold, and conflicts paused to allow athletes and spectators to travel safely to Olympia. This ancient tradition of the Olympic Truce or "Ekecheiria" is a testament to the power of sport in fostering peace and unity, a principle that remains at the heart of the Olympics today.

I find it absolutely intriguing how these ancient games laid the groundwork for the modern Olympics, introducing concepts of sportsmanship, excellence, and the idea of bringing people together through the universal language of sport.

Has anyone visited ancient Olympia? Do you guys enjoy watching the Olympic Games?

Learning about Greek Independence Day

March 25th marks a significant celebration in Greece, but I realize my knowledge on its historical context is quite limited.

From what I understand, this day commemorates the start of the War of Greek Independence in 1821, where Greece sought to end several centuries of Ottoman rule. However, I'm eager to learn more about the intricacies of this period, the key figures involved, and how the struggle for independence unfolded over time.

Additionally, I'd be interested in understanding how this day is celebrated across Greece today and whether any particular traditions are tied to it. For example, are there specific ceremonies, parades, or family traditions that uniquely mark this day in Greek culture?


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My Top Favorite Greek Philosophers

There are too many philosophers to count, but these are the ones I am studying at the moment. It's fascinating to me how influential the Greek philosophers are. Here's some things I am learning:

#1 Socrates

If philosophy had a poster boy, Socrates might very well be it. The father of Western philosophy, Socrates was a gadfly to Athenian society, questioning everything and Master to Plato. Known for the Socratic Method and his unflinching commitment to truth, Socrates' influence is immeasurable despite never having written a word.

#2 Plato

Rightly succeeding his mentor on this list, Plato's Academy saw him birth the first "university" of its kind. His unabashed idealism, immortal Forms, allegories like the Cave, and the pursuit of 'The Good' in moral philosophy set the stage for much intellectual discourse.

#3 Aristotle

Aristotle, another of Plato's students, had a more grounded approach to philosophy than his predecessor. With establishing principles of logic and reason, and contributions to virtually every field of academia, from poetry to physics, Aristotle's body of work remains foundational.

#4 Heraclitus

Heraclitus, famed for the idea that "change is the only constant," viewed the cosmos through a lens of process, flux, and an everlasting Logos that governs the world. Although little of his work survives, his influence on ancient and modern thinkers is profound.

#5 Epicurus

Known for his eponymous philosophy, Epicurus taught that the greatest good is to seek modest pleasures in order to attain a state of tranquility, freedom from fear (ataraxia), and absence of bodily pain (aponia). Often misunderstood, Epicureanism is starkly different from the modern use of 'epicurean' - it's much less about a luxury lifestyle and more about ethical considerations regarding personal fulfillment.

Greek Independence Day History

Greek Independence Day is coming up! I thought I would share a bit that I know about the history. Please chime in with corrections or anything to add!
  1. The Spark of Revolution: Greek Independence Day marks the day in 1821 when the Greeks began their revolt against the Ottoman Empire, a state that had controlled Greece for nearly 400 years. This revolt was influenced by the surge of nationalism throughout Europe and inspired by the Enlightenment ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
  2. A Poet’s Declaration: The revolution officially began after Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the Greek flag at the Monastery of Agia Lavra in Peloponnese, symbolizing the call to arms. However, it was rumored that the war of independence was actually declared a few days earlier by Alexandros Ypsilantis, a Greek national hero, in the Danubian Principalities.
  3. International Support: The Greek fight for independence was not just a local effort; it garnered substantial international support from prominent figures such as Lord Byron from Britain, who notably spent his own money and later died in Greece, contributing to the Greek cause. This international backing was crucial for the morale of the Greek fighters and helped in diplomatic efforts later on.
  4. The Battle of Navarino: A pivotal point in the Greek War of Independence was the Battle of Navarino in 1827, where the combined fleets of Britain, France, and Russia defeated the Ottoman and Egyptian fleets. This naval battle marked a significant turning point that led to the eventual independence of Greece.
  5. Recognition and Autonomy: Greek Independence was formally recognized in 1830 by the Treaty of London. However, full sovereignty and the delineation of the Greek borders were not achieved until later. It allowed the foundation of the modern Greek state, under the governance of King Otto from Bavaria.

History of the tradition of decorating boats for Christmas

One of the most interesting Greek Christmas traditions to me is the one where people decorate boats. So, I started to research the history. Here's a bit of what I discovered:

The roots of the tradition of decorating boats in Greece for Christmas can be traced back to the country's longstanding ties with the sea. In Ancient Greece, people would often looked to the sea for both sustenance and inspiration, and it was not uncommon for ships to be adorned with religious symbols and decorations.

It also has ties to early Christianity in Greece. According to Greek Orthodox beliefs, Saint Nicolas (aka Santa Claus) was a sailor, and he is the patron saint of sailors. Decorating boats is often seen as a way to honor him.

Over time, this practice became associated with the Christmas season, and the boats began to be decorated specifically for the holiday.

People also make paper boats to decorate. Some call these the "yule boat" or karavaki. One of the most famous examples of this practice is the Yule boat, or karavaki.

The earliest known evidence of decorating boats for Christmas in Greece dates back to the 19th century. During this time, sailors would deck out their boats with lights and tiny boats. These tiny boats were often placed inside the larger boat, symbolizing protection from harm while at sea.

Does anyone have anything to add?
Share and discuss Greek history!

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