Prospective Views on the Legacy of the Ancient Greek Culture with Implications in the Evolution of the Olympic Games

  • Gheorghe BRANIȘTE, Dr Dunarea de Jos University of Galati, Romania
Keywords: cultural heritage, Olympic Games


The globally recognized cultural importance of the Ancient Greek Olympic Games was the reason for the perpetual interest, in this respect, proved by important thinkers of world culture who were active in the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries and who kept alive the world awareness and exploited the ancient Greek Olympic heritage to its full potential in accordance to the era of the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Modern Age (of the New World).

The paper provides an extensive analysis pointing out the importance of reprinting the work of the ancient Greek traveler, geographer, and writer Pausanias (c. 110 – c. 180,) Description of Greece (Ἑλλάδος Περιήγησις, Hellados Periegesis), in Venice, in 1516, reflecting his consistent influence on the popularization of the cultural legacy of Ancient Greece. Pausanias’ work is especially important not only for describing and analyzing the role of the ancient Olympic Games, but also for the way it reflects the relationship between the phenomenon under discussion here and the political and economic spheres of the time, but for contouring the premises of the interrelation between sports and culture, namely religion, prose and poetry, architecture or sculpture, training and education. This determines the major educational significance of this work, which had implications both during the Renaissance and later, throughout the history and evolution of the Olympic movement, which turned it into a multidimensional international phenomenon, closely associated with various aspects of public life.

Another aspect of interest that we address in this article is the analysis of works created in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries by some remarkable writers, poets and playwrights that reflect concepts such as heroism, justice, spirituality, inspiration, divine intervention, honor, nobility, and glory, all of them leitmotifs promoted by the Olympic Games since the times of the Ancient Greece.

We conclude our analysis by highlighting the major educational impact of the heritage of ancient Greek culture in correlation with the characteristics of the Renaissance, but also with the social, religious and political reforms that took place in Britain in the sixteenth and subsequent centuries.