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05/02/2008

Lykean Games

University of Peloponnisos


Scene from the Revival of the Lykean Games
(Photo: Prefectural Administration of Arkadia)
The Lykean Games
(Photo: Prefectural Administration of Arkadia)

The Lykean (or Lykaia-Lycean) Games were among the biggest and oldest spiritual, artistic and sporting events of antiquity. The games were taking place during summers every 4 years in honour of the gods Zeus and Panas. The Games were organised at the top of Mount Lykeon near the temple of Panas, a location which was considered sacred for all Arcadians. There is written evidence that the Lykaia games occurred in the 13th century BC and continued until the 2nd century AD, when they were transferred to Megalopolis. The austere ritual, originally involved sacrifice to the gods at the altar of Zeus, followed by sports events and music competitions. There were two basic competitive categories, men and children. The main sports of the games were; diavlos, track events, pentathlon, wrestling, boxing and chariot races. Archaeological evidence suggests that the winners were awarded with olive branches and bronze trophies.

The Lykaia games were revived in 1973 and are conducted in the same place as the ancient games. The Lykaia games are held every 4 years in August. Following the ancient standards, the games are musical, spiritual and
athletic. The winner of each athletic event is only awarded with an olive branch. Sports events, include small and medium distance running, discus, javelin and long jump. Moreover musical events, such as choir- dance- song competition are conducted. The spiritiual events include poetry, literature and painting.

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Useful links
Lykea 2001
Lykean Games Today - The Revival
Ancient Lykea


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