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The Greeks (the Hellenes) defined themselves as a people bound together by their common language and common gods. Furthermore, they drew a sharp line between themselves and their foreign neighbors, the people they called the “barbaroi” (a Greek word from which we get the word “barbarians” but which for the Greeks meant simply the people who didn’t speak Greek). One way that the Greeks celebrated their ethnicity was to gather periodically for Panhellenic (the Greek word that means “all the Greeks”) festivals in honor of one or more of their deities.

Today’s Olympic Games are a distant relative of the Panhellenic Olympics. The ancient festival was begun sometime in the 8th century B.C.E.; those games were held in honor of the god Zeus at the site of Olympia (not Mount Olympus) in the western Peloponnese. Only Greeks were allowed to participate in the Games; all others were banned. The games consisted of a number of athletic events and an important sacrifice to Zeus. The most important event was the stade race

(one length of the stadium at Olympia). The winner of that event gave his name to that Olympiad, the 4-year interval between celebrations of the games, and throughout Greece people then dated events by saying, “in the 1st/2nd of 3rd year of the Olympiad when xxx won the stade race.” Thus these games provided a powerful mechanism to make oneself known to one’s peers. Although all the competitions at Olympia were athletic in nature, lots of other activities took place at the games as well, including recitations by authors of their works, the creation of odes (praise poems) in honor of victorious athletes, conversations between teachers and spectators (some like those recorded later by Plato) and general speeches, dedications and sacrifices by politicians who were anxious to make a name for themselves and to come to the attention of the people back home.

The Games
Possible competitions include:
  • Rhapsodes of selections from the Iliad or the Odyssey 

  • Creation and performances of Pindaric odes for an athletic victor

  • Stage a part of a Platonic dialogue

  • A peplos fashion show

  • Socially distanced athletic event, like a speedwalking footrace or paper javelin toss

  • Another event of your devising

The Rules
Each faction should propose 2 competitions for our Panhellenic Festival, which may be selected from the suggested options above, or may stray from this list, as long as they honor the spirit of the ancient Greek games. Games must be announced at least 1 week in advance of the game publicly, in #the-parthenon channel of Slack. All factions should compete in all games/competitions - for the victors of the competitions will earn bonus votes, and the faction with the most victors will earn a talent to be used as they wish!

Please note: If we are not able to hold our Festival outside, we will conduct the games over Zoom. 

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