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Ancient Olympics Time Capsule Artefacts


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A fantastic collection to explore the ancient games.
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A fantastic collection to explore the Ancient games. Contains artefacts to explore the different olympic events that occured, the award ceremony and the importance of the games. Perfect to relive the success of 2012! Contents may vary. Inlcudes notes.

History of the Olympics

According to historical records, the first ancient Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 BC. They were dedicated to the Olympian gods and were staged on the ancient plains of Olympia. They continued for nearly 12 centuries, until Emperor Theodosius decreed in 393 A.D. that all such "pagan cults" be banned.


Olympia, the site of the ancient Olympic Games, is in the western part of the Peloponnese which, according to Greek mythology, is the island of "Pelops", the founder of the Olympic Games. Imposing temples, votive buildings, elaborate shrines and ancient sporting facilities were combined in a site of unique natural and mystical beauty. Olympia functioned as a meeting place for worship and other religious and political practices as early as the 10th century B.C. The central part of Olympia was dominated by the majestic temple of Zeus, with the temple of Hera parallel to it.

The Games and Religion

The Olympic Games were closely linked to the religious festivals of the cult of Zeus, but were not an integral part of a rite. Indeed, they had a secular character and aimed to show the physical qualities and evolution of the performances accomplished by young people, as well as encouraging good relations between the cities of Greece. According to specialists, the Olympic Games owed their purity and importance to religion.

Victory Ceremonies

The Olympic victor received his first awards immediately after the competition. Following the announcement of the winner's name by the herald, a Hellanodikis (Greek judge) would place a palm branch in his hands, while the spectators cheered and threw flowers to him. Red ribbons were tied on his head and hands as a mark of victory.
The official award ceremony would take place on the last day of the Games, at the elevated vestibule of the temple of Zeus. In a loud voice, the herald would announce the name of the Olympic winner, his father's name, and his homeland. Then, the Hellanodikis placed the sacred olive tree wreath, or kotinos, on the winner's head.
Through the 12 centuries of the Olympic Games, many wonderful athletes competed in the stadium and the hippodrome of ancient Olympia's sacred area, moving the crowds with their great achievements. Although mortal, their Olympic victories immortalised them. Of the best athletes who left their mark on the sacred valley of Olympia, some surpassed all limits and became legends by winning in successive Olympic Games and remaining at the forefront of their sport for more than a decade. It is worth mentioning some of their extraordinary achievements, which, even by today's standards, would be the envy of athletes such as Nurmi, Zatopek or Lewis.


All free male Greek citizens were entitled to participate in the ancient Olympic Games, regardless of their social status. Orsippos, a general from Megara; Polymnistor, a shepherd; Diagoras, a member of a royal family from Rhodes; Alexander I, son of Amyndas and King of Macedonia; and Democritus, a philosopher, were all participants in the Games.
Married women were not allowed to participate in, or to watch, the ancient Olympic Games. However, unmarried women could attend the competition, and the priestess of Demeter, goddess of fertility, was given a privileged position next to the Stadium altar.

Astylos of Croton
Astylos of Croton in southern Italy won a total of six victory olive wreaths in three Olympiads (488-480 B.C.) in the stade and the diaulos (twice the stade) events. In the first Olympiad, he ran for Croton and his compatriots honoured and glorified him. In the two successive Olympiads, however, he took part as a citizen of Syracuse. The people of Croton punished him by demolishing his statue in their city and converting his house into a prison.

Milon of Croton
Milon, a pupil of the philosopher Pythagoras, was one of the most famous athletes in Antiquity. He came from the Greek city of Croton in southern Italy. He was six times Olympic wrestling champion. He first won in 540 B.C., in the youth wrestling event, and then five times in men's wrestling. This is a unique achievement even in today's competition context. He also won seven times in the Pythian Games, nine times in the Nemean Games, ten times in the Isthmian Games and innumerable times in small competitions. In the 67th Olympiad (512 B.C.), in his seventh attempt for the championship, he lost to a younger athlete, Timasitheus. There are many accounts of his achievements.

Leonidas of Rhodes
Leonidas of Rhodes was one of the most famous runners in Antiquity. His was a unique achievement, even by today's standards. For four consecutive Olympiads (164-152 B.C.), he won three races, - the stade race, the diaulos race and the armour race. He won a total of 12 Olympic victory wreaths. He was acclaimed as a hero by his compatriots.

Melankomas of Caria
Melankomas of Caria was crowned Olympic boxing champion in 49 B.C., and was a winner in many other events. He went down in history for the way in which he fought. His movements were light, simple and fascinating. He would defeat his opponents without ever being hit himself, nor ever dealing a blow. He was reputed to fight for two days holding his arms out without ever lowering them. He attained his excellent competitive form through continuous and strenuous exercise.

Kyniska of Sparta
Kyniska, daughter of King Archidamos of Sparta, was the first woman to be listed as an Olympic victor in Antiquity. Her chariot won in the four-horse chariot race in the 96th and 97th Olympiads, (396 B.C. and 392 B.C. respectively). In the Olympic Games, it was forbidden for women to be present and Kyniska broke with tradition, since, in the equestrian events, the victory wreath, or kotinos, was won by the owner, not the rider, of the horse.

Items Included in the Pack

Greek Discus

Throwing the discus was one of the five events of the pentathlon. Originally the discus was made of stone, later of bronze, lead or iron. Excavated examples have a diameter of 17 to 35 cm and a weight of 1,3 to 6,6 kg. On average they weighed 2,5 kg, this is 0,5 kg above the minimum weight of a modern discus.

Greek Jumper Weights

A major difference with the long jump today is that the Greeks held jumping weights or 'halters' of 1,5 to 2 kg in each hand. Thanks to these halters the athletes jumped further and landed more steadily. Experiments have shown that, with the modern jumping technique, the weights reduce the length of the jump and hinder the run-up. Clearly the Greeks practiced a standing long jump, with their two feet together, in which case the halters do offer an advantage. The take-off is more powerful when swinging the halters forwards. Swinging the weights backwards produces a counterweight while landing, to avoid falling forwards.
A second problem is the length of the jump. Phayllos of Kroton, one of the greatest ancient long jumpers, jumped 55 feet (16,3 m) and because most sand pits were only about 15 m long, he landed outsite the pit. As a trained athlete cannot reach much more than three meter in a single standing jump, the Greek long jump must have been multiple. They probably made five jumps in a row - the number five being symbolic for the pentathlon -, each time a standing jump with both feet together, so not like in the modern "hop, step and jump". The landing position of the first jump was the starting position of the second. In a modern experiment well-trained athletes, who practiced this technique for eight weeks, did indeed make a fivefold standing long jump of about 15 m. As a multiple jump asks a lot of coordination, jumping was always accompanied by flute music.

Olympic Horse Bit Artefact

These would have been used for both the 2 and 4 horse chariot races.

Victory Plaque

Before medals a victory plaque would have been given to the winners of the contest.

Supporting material


Customer Reviews

  • 2/5 stars
    15 Oct 2015

    Products were not packaged securely so 2 items were badly damaged- one was completely smashed which was replaced quickly when I phoned (no response to email) other item had hole in top so all sand came out everywhere! Had not realised was broken until removed wrapping. There were 3 more items in the picture on the website than I received so I was refunded £5 after phoning. There was no information on what each item was except for the victory plaque. Was expensive product do feel really disappointed Have ordered from tts before and had no problems. Would not recommend.

    Our Response "Please accept my sincere apologies that your item has arrived damaged. At TTS we take pride in the quality of our products so I will ensure that this is investigated as soon as possible, and a member of our customer service team will be in touch shortly. Kind regards"