Sample Ancient Greece - Olympic Games (Grades 6-8) Worksheet
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Ancient Greece - Olympic Games
By Ekaterina Zhdanova-Redman
  

1     Do you like sports? Or maybe you like watching sport games on TV or in a stadium? Probably, you know that every four years the best athletes from all over the world get together to compete in the Olympic Games. Perhaps you also know where this important event takes place, or where the games came from, and why they are called the Olympics?
 
2     The home country of the Olympic Games is Greece. Ancient Greeks loved sport and most cities in Ancient Greece had public gymnasiums where people gathered to train and relax. One Greek city was known to be a very important center of athletics. The city was called Olympia and the games, held there every four years, were so important in Greek life that they were used as the basis for the Greek calendar.
 
3     In the Greek system of telling time, the period between two Olympic Games was called Olympiad. All events were dated from 776 BC--the beginning of the first known Olympiad. Can you figure out how to correspond this Greek system of telling time with the European calendar, the one that we use now? The first year of the 195th Olympiad is the first year of Christ--the first year AD!
 
4     All sport games in Ancient Greece, including those in Olympia, were part of religious festivals. They were usually held to honor the gods. The games in Olympia honored Zeus--the king of gods and all men. On the first day of the Olympics, sacrifices of grain, wine, and lambs were made to Zeus. The events of the Olympic Games in Ancient Greece included races, the long jump, throwing the discus and javelin, boxing, wrestling, chariot races, and horse races, as well as poetry and drama competitions.
 
5     The Olympic Games were so important that all the wars between the cities would stop. Special people--heralds--would travel all over Greece and pronounce the beginning of the Olympics. All the military actions had to be stopped so that people could journey safely to the Games. Unfortunately, people of the 20th century did not have that much respect for the Games. Instead of stopping wars, the Games themselves were stopped by both World Wars.

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