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Go for the Gold: The Strange History of Olympic Medals


JAMMY
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olympic_medal.jpghttp://blog.dictionary.com/olympic-medals/

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At the first Olympic Games back in 776 BCE, competitors did not receive medals. Instead the top athletes were crowned with wreaths made of olive leaves. This tradition continued until Roman emperor Theodosius I (or perhaps his son) abolished the Olympics around the year 400 CE. The revival of the Olympics dates from the late 19th century, with the first modern Games taking place in 1896. The awarding of medals arose around this time as well, though its roots lie in ancient Greek mythology.

The materials gold, silver, and bronze play a major role in the Ages of Man, which form the basic timeline of Greek mythology. The Golden Age refers to a time when men lived among the gods in peace and harmony. The Silver Age is characterized by impiety and human weakness, and in this time, youth lasted 100 years. The Bronze Age marks a period of war and violence. Following these ages are the Heroic Age (the time when the heros of the Trojan War lived) and the Iron Age (modern times). The Greek poet Hesiod includes all five ages in his famous didactic poem Works and Days, written around 700 BCE. However Ovid’s Metamorphoses, written around 8 CE, omits the Heroic Age.

 

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