In classical myth, Altis was the sacred sanctuary of Olympia, and monumental site for Greek heroes, and the ancient games. The first Olympic Games were held every four years in honor of Zeus, and date back to 776 B.C.
THE FIRST OLYMPICS
Various myths have been written about the foundation of the ancient Olympics. One myth states that Hercules founded the first games, but the myth of King Pelops’ victory against Oenomaus in a chariot race is an alternative.
NIKE: The Divine Charioteer
NIKE, the Winged Goddess of Victory, Speed, and Strength is personified in a bronze chariot, guided by four horses. She holds a staff graced by a magnificent bird, or a flaming torch.
The ancient games showcased many events, but Chariot racing was held at the hippodrome, a Greek stadium for chariot racing, and was a major event in honor of the Goddess Nike.
BATTLE OF THE TITANS
When the Titans and Olympians declared war, Nike was among Zeus’ allies, and she assumed the role of divine charioteer. Her participation in the battle signified a symbol of “victory,” which included competitions, military, and athletics.
Let us honor the first Olympians for bravery, perseverance, strength, victory, and speed.
O’ Mighty Nike
We petition your wisdom and favor
to guide our chariots steady, and straightforward
with divine and valiant speed, toward victory,
triumph, trophies and medallions