Not that anyone cares about these things (thanks to the European orgy of football, also known as ‘Euro 2016′) but the summer Olympic games are fast-approaching; in Rio, apparently this August.
Coincidentally, I came across a paragraph in a book about all things Greek this week, which mentioned the tradition of Olympic torch relay and went on to explain that it wasn’t a Greek invention at all. Intrigued, I looked this one up.
It’s rather conveniently believed (by the Greeks) that it originated in ancient Greece, from their ritual of commemorating Prometheus’ appropriation of fire from Zeus, or from the fires in the sanctuary of Olympia. This myth that a fire was kept burning throughout the duration of ancient Olympic games for the specific purpose of the games has been perpetuated by the International Olympic Committee for quite some time.
But I found that the ancient Greeks had fires burning in front of ALL of their principal temples and they had nothing specifically to do with Olympic games or the temple of Hestia at Olympia.
Unfortunately and perhaps quite inconveniently for the IOC, it’s a pretty well documented fact that we owe the tradition to the Nazis. Yes, as the revival of the Olympic games themselves is attributed to the French educator Pierre de Coubertin, the modern practice of transporting the flame from Greece to the designated sites of the competitions, was created by Carl Diem under the guidance of Joseph Goebbels (yup, him, the Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment & Propaganda) in 1936 for the Summer Olympics in Berlin. As you might have guessed, it probably was an attempt to manufacture a little mystique and a false sense of legitimacy for the Nazi regime by contriving an association with the ancient Greeks.
On a tenuously related note, the UK will now be represented as an independent nation at the next Olympic games now that it’s gained its independence from the oppressive imperial power that is the EU.
Hang on. What? The UK has always been an independent nation? Huh?
I thought we only just won back and declared our independence? I’m confused.
Have a Friday.