Women’s participation in the Olympics

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Women’s Involvement of Sports in Olympia – Ancient Greece: A Sociological Position

Sports, in the wide sense affect some signifier of physical activity that is usually bound by regulations, either unprompted or pre structured ( Broun, 1979 ) . Sociologists suggests that these regulations in athleticss are culturally and socially defined ( Sipes, 1973 ) and athleticss itself plays a critical function in how societies function ( Washington & A ; Karen, 2001 ) . Similarly, it is besides put forwarded by sociologists that it is the society that dictates and prescribes the gender functions at a given context ( Kulik, 1997 ) . Hence, it could be proposed that the society or the community does hold a considerable influence in specifying the functions of adult females in athleticss.

Throughout the history, it is apparent that the function of adult females in athleticss and besides the engagement of adult females in athleticss are greatly varied from clip to clip ( Golden, 1997 ; Khosla, 1983 ; Riordan & A ; Jinxia, 1996 ) . This article stresses on the function of adult females in the ancient Greece and how the society had shaped the engagement and the maps carried out by adult females in the field of athleticss, at the Ancient Olympic Contests and besides at the Heraean Games. It will further analyze the differences in the functions of work forces and adult females in athleticss in the ancient times in Greece. For the intent of the article, ancient times would be defined as the clip period from 776 Before Christ ( BC ) to 393AD.

Ancient Greece was one of the few societies that had integrated athleticss with their religious beliefs and held athleticss competitions amongst themselves with extreme precedence and regularity ( Scanlon, 2002 ) . With Olympia, Nemea, Isthmian and Delphi competitions, besides known as the Panhellenic Games being held either every two or four old ages as a portion of a religious festival for their Gods, these competitions were important and played an of import portion of Grecian manner of life ( Miller, 2004a ; Scanlon, 2002 ) . Often, these games were referred as a point of mention for clip, which further emphasises the importance of these competitions to the Greeks so ( Miller, 2004a ) . In add-on to these ‘Crown Competitions’ , a figure of local games, besides known as ‘Money Games’ were held in ancient Greece ( Miller, 2004b ) . Although, these games were of less importance, these games subsequently became the key to broad spread athleticss civilization that existed in ancient Greece and held similar events as of Panhellenic Contests that chiefly included activities that were related to the conflict field activities of that clip, along with rational competitions ( Miller, 2004b ) .

The ancient Grecian society consisted of metropoliss or countries that were invariably endeavoring to achieve the upper manus in footings of economic system and in military power or strength ( Kyriazis & A ; Paparrigopoulos, 2014 ) . This battle to regulation and go superior over the other in this war driven part ( Kyriazis & A ; Paparrigopoulos, 2014 ) is suggested to hold shaped the competitions or athleticss in ancient Greece such as the equestrian events, wrestle and pugilism that either teaches the techniques in war or techniques that would help in war ( Miller, 2004b ; Scanlon, 2002 ; Zimmerman, 1984 ) . Bing prepared for war is one of the functions associated of being a Grecian adult male in ancient times ( Katz, 1992 ) . Furthermore, the society remained as a male dominated society ( Llewellyn-Jones, 2007 ) . Hence, it is non hard to see why featuring events in the ancient Greece were more orientated towards work forces ( Miller, 2004b ) . Furthermore, the society of ancient Greece has a significantly different societal functions assigned to females ( Katz, 1992 ) .

In ancient Greece, the societal functions of adult females were mostly home edge with limited interactions with the public sphere ( Katz, 1992 ) . Furthermore, adult females were regarded as un-equal, laden and remained largely illiterate ( Katz, 1992 ; Llewellyn-Jones, 2007 ) . It was merely in 4Thursdaycentury AD, that adult females started to reject the traditional gender functions and began to work together with the community and ‘broke free’ from their customary manner of merely socializing with adult females ( Katz, 1992 ) . As mentioned earlier, Ancient Greece being a male dominated society ( Llewellyn-Jones, 2007 ) , it could be suggested that athleticss or games that were played at that clip would reflect these gender differences and prejudices.

Before depicting the functions played by adult females in one of the Panhellenic Games ; the Olympic Contests and besides the Heraean Games, below given is a brief description of the sanctuary of Olympia and Olympic Contests that were held every four old ages or in other words quadrennial periods in Olympia, Greece.

Olympic Contests were held at the sanctuary at Olympia, Greece from 776 BC boulder clay about 392 AD and for the most portion was managed by the metropolis of Elis ( Miller, 2004a ; Zimmerman, 1984 ) . The sanctuary consists of temples that belonged to assorted Ancient Greek Gods such as Zeus and Hera and was a topographic point of worship ( Barringer, 2005 ) . In add-on to edifices for worship, shrines and assorted other sites for rites, the sanctuary consisted of featuring installations such as secondary schools, a bowl, preparation installations and besides athleticss administrative edifices ( Barringer, 2005 ) . The Olympic competitions held in these installations included running events, wrestle, pugilism, pankration and pentathlon ( that consists of high leap, discus throwing, javelin throwing and wrestle ) and were dedicated to the temple of Zeus ( Miller, 2004b ) . Furthermore, these events where merely male contestants were allowed, equestrian events were subsequently introduced that enabled adult females to be Olympic masters ( Miller, 2004b ) . As briefly mentioned, the nature of these athleticss are more conflict field oriented and although these competitions were a portion of a spiritual festival, these competitions serves to demo the power, high quality of their work forces and position of the metropoliss ( Barringer, 2005 ; Scanlon, 2002 ) . Unlike other Panhellenic games, where athletic and rational competitions were held, ancient Olympic contests merely held athletic events ( Miller, 2004a ) . Nevertheless intellectuals come to Olympia during the spiritual festivals to showcase their work to the monolithic crowds gathered from all over Greece and from all over the Roman Empire in the Roman period ( Barringer, 2005 ; Schaus & A ; Wenn, 2007 ) .

Amongst the four Panhellenic games, the competitions held in Olympia was the most esteemed or of the most importance to Greeks ( Miller, 2004a ) . The statues of Olympic victors, in the sanctuary in Olympia and in metropoliss such as Athens stands to back up this statement ( Barringer, 2005 ) . Furthermore, coins were minted to showcase the Olympic victors praising their accomplishments. It was besides suggested that there were ‘transfers’ of Olympic victors from one metropolis to other in order to win assorted Olympic events ( Schaus & A ; Wenn, 2007 ) . In add-on to these privileges bestowed by the general populace and the metropolis states to these jocks, they receive free nutrient, particular province places and besides citizenship from different metropoliss of Greece ( Miller, 2004a ; Schaus & A ; Wenn, 2007 ) . With the declared importance of the Olympic competitions, it should be reminded that these athleticss competitions being a portion of the festival of the ancient Greek God ; Zeus, priests and priestesses of the sanctuary drama an of import portion in the competitions every bit good ( Barringer, 2005 ; Schaus & A ; Wenn, 2007 ) .

At the ancient Olympic Contests, Priestess of Demeter is one of the lone adult females that were allowed to be present at the bowl and at the featuring locales along with misss and maidens ( parthenoi ) ( Dillon, 2000 ) or virgin adult females ( Barringer, 2005 ) . However, harmonizing to some descriptions it is, believed that even maidens were excluded and merely misss were allowed in the bowl apart from the Priestesses ( Barringer, 2005 ; Dillon, 2000 ) . Although adult females ( gynaikes ) were allowed in the sanctuary and to the featuring locales during other times, they are purely prohibited during the Olympic festivals ( Barringer, 2005 ) . The exclusion of adult females witnesss were merely in topographic point in Olympic Contests contrary to what has been rehearsing at other Panhellenic Games and Money Games ( Miller, 2004a ) . Nevertheless, respectable adult females refrained from go toing to these festivals and competitions, where work forces were viing in nude and oiled with olive oil ( Crowther, 2010 ; Dillon, 2000 ) .

In Ancient Greece, even though the athletic competitions were competed in complete nude, nakedness elsewhere was considered as a socially unacceptable and as a black behavior ( Llewellyn-Jones, 2007 ) . This might cast visible radiation on the exclusion of adult females witnesss at one of the most esteemed festival held at the ancient Greece. Besides, some bookmans believe that it is the impression of Grecian civilization that requires adult females to be more active in family activities instead than being active outside their places that have led to the exclusion of adult females as witnesss from general featuring festivals or events ( Dillon, 2000 ; Katz, 1992 ) . These gender associated specific functions may besides keep the key that adult females were excluded to physically vie in these festivals. As Harnois ( 2005 ) have mentioned, gender prejudices do normally happen ways to except and impede the opposite gender from their societal circle and activities.

The Olympic Contests are purely for work forces ( Miller, 2004b ) . However, subsequently when equestrian events were introduced to the Olympic Contests, adult females were able to vie in the Olympic competition by allowing their Equus caballuss and chariots compete in the competitions ( Crowther, 2010 ; Miller, 2004b ) . The regulations of equestrian events were such that the master will be the proprietor of the Equus caballuss or the chariots and non the rival himself, therefore leting adult females to be Olympic masters ( Golden, 1997 ; Miller, 2004b ) . Though they were able to be Olympic masters they were still non allowed to go to to the competitions in individual ( Miller, 2004a ) . Yet, there were cases that adult females disguised as work forces to be amongst witnesss or trainers of jocks. One such celebrated incident is the incident of Kallipeteira ( Dillon, 2000 ) .

Kallipeteira belongs to a household of Olympic masters ; Diagoras of Rhodes was her male parent and is siblings with two other Olympic masters ( Dillon, 2000 ) . Additionally, her boy was besides an Olympic master ( Dillon, 2000 ) . She was present at the Olympic Contests disguised as a work forces and as the trainer of her boy ( Dillon, 2000 ) . In the joy of her boy being an Olympic master, Kallipeteira revealed that she was a adult females ( Dillon, 2000 ) . Although the punishment for a adult females that admits to the competitions is decease by throwing her from Mount Typaion ( Dillon, 2000 ; Scanlon, 2004 ) , she was freed for the esteem from the Greeks for the Olympic masters in her lineage ( Dillon, 2000 ) . Following this incident, it was required for the trainers of jocks besides to be nude from the subsequent Olympic Contests ( Dillon, 2000 ) .

Even though adult females were purely prohibited from admittance to the sanctuary during the Olympic Contests, a competition known as the Heraean Games was were held at the sanctuary of Olympia every four old ages ( Miller, 2004a ; Pausanias, C 2nd AD ) . Unlike the Olympic Contests, these competitions were dedicated for the temple of Hera and merely adult females participated in one sort of event ; running ( Miller, 2004a ; Pausanias, C 2nd AD ) . Similar to Olympic Contests, the Heraean Games held three age classs ; misss, immature adult females and adult females classs ( Pausanias, C 2nd AD ) . A sum of 16 misss compete in the Heraean Games and the masters were given a garland of olive subdivision as they do at the Olympic Contests ( Miller, 2004a, 2004b ) . In contrast to the Olympic Contests, the masters of Heraean Games besides received a part of meat from the forfeits to the temple of Hera ( Pausanias, C 2nd AD ) .

The running events that were held at the Heraean Games were modified to do the distance shorter than of the Olympic Contests ( Pausanias, C 2nd AD ) . This alteration to the event may hold been the contemplation of societal beliefs of Greeks that is based on the impression of adult females are weaker than work forces both physically and intellectually ( Burton, 1998 ; Katz, 1992 ) . In add-on to the accommodations to the running event, they were besides allowed to vie in a robe instead than in nude ( Miller, 2004a ) . However, their right chest is said to be exposed during the competitions ( Pausanias, C 2nd AD ) . However, some bookmans argue that similar robes worn by adult females jocks contending in Heraean Games were worn by and large by work forces during hot and sweaty yearss ( Scanlon, 2004 ) . Harmonizing to Harnois ( 2005 ) these sorts of behavior suggests that adult females seeking to interrupt free from the gender functions that were presented by the society by following and practising physical visual aspect and behavior of the opposite gender, in this instance work forces and can besides be known as feminism.

Similar to the ancient Olympic Contests, where male Judgess or Hellanodikai were present to supervise the competitions of work forces ( Callebat, 1998 ) , in Heraean Games, adult females were engaged in refering the competition ( Dillon, 2000 ; Miller, 2004a ) . It is suggested that these Judgess or referees merely consisted of married adult females ( Pausanias, C 2nd AD ) . With respects to more similarities of Heraean Games with the ancient Olympic Contests for work forces, the adult females that took portion at the Heraean Games were besides from different parts of ancient Greece ( Pausanias, C 2nd AD ) . Identical to Olympic masters, the masters of Heraean Games were besides allowed to give statues to the sanctuary ( Barringer, 2005 ; ValavanA“s, 2004 ) . However, these statues that had the name of masters of Heraean Games engraved were said to be offered entirely to temple of Hera and the masters did non hold the same degree of popularity or significance as of masters from any of the Panhellenic Games ( Miller, 2004a ) . The shoal inside informations of Heraean Games in written paperss and found in artifacts bases to beef up this sentiment. Likewise, as indicated earlier in this paper, the lower position of adult females in the Grecian society ( Katz, 1992 ) is besides suggested to give an justification to these differences of this adult females sole competitions that were held at the same sanctuary as the most esteemed competitions in Grecian history was taking topographic point ( Scanlon, 2002 ; ValavanA“s, 2004 ) .

This article looked at the utilizations of the sanctuary of Olympia ( Greece ) and the athleticss competitions that were held as a portion of the spiritual festivals. Furthermore, the function of adult females in two major featuring competitions ; the Olympic Contests and the Heraean Games were discussed with descriptions of these athleticss competitions while comparing the differences of the duty and undertakings of work forces and adult females in these competitions. In add-on, the gender functions and the position of adult females in the ancient Greece was highlighted to give a wide image about the position of adult females in the general population of Greece so.

In decision, it was argued that, the differences in the gender roles that existed in the Grecian society were the key in finding the women’s engagement in featuring competitions either as witnesss or as sportsmans. In other words, it is the society that shapes the gender functions and in bend shapes the ways in which adult females participates in athleticss competitions. Additionally, it was besides suggested that the thought of feminism or rebellion against gender functions were involved in the Heraean Games, when similarities between men’s athleticss competitions with the Heraean Games were taken into consideration and how much adult females have gone against the societal norms of Greece are taken into history. However, because of the limited information that is available about the functions of adult females in the Olympic Contests and the Heraean Games, and much of it being anticipations and guesss by historiographers and archeologists, it is a challenge to pull to accurate decisions on the grounds and is a subject that needs farther research and archeological grounds.


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Mohamed Sharif ( 6062201402016 ) | International Olympic Academy | Masters ( 2014 – 2015 ) | Unit 1.1 Page1of11

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