Games held in ancient times on the plain of Olympia in Greece every four years. It was a time for laying aside political and religious differences, as athletes from all the Greek cities and districts competed. The games included patriotic and religious rituals as well as athletic contests, and high honors were given to the winners. The Greeks counted their years by olympiads (periods of four years) and dated events from the first Olympics in 776 b.c.
Note: The Olympic Games deteriorated under Roman rule of Greece and were halted in the fourth century. They were revived in the late nineteenth century, with goals of peace and fellowship modeled on those of the ancient Olympics. The modern Olympics include many athletic events of the original games, such as the discus throw.