History – A Fulfilling Journey from Myth to Reality
The Greek city of Delphi, Oracle, and Apollo Temple were considered the spiritual centre of the world in ancient times. The Delphic Games that occurred here have left a significant mark in modern times as well. During the 15th Century B.C., Oracle was considered a holy place where pilgrims came to consult Gods for crucial decisions. As per the saga, Apollo killed Oracle’s keeper – the dragon python and thus, the Oracle became Apollo’s shrine.
In memory of Apollo’s victory over Python and his self-inflicted penance, the Delphic Games (also called Pythian / Pythic Games) were held for peaceful competition. From 582 B.C., the Games were conducted every four years, one year prior to the Olympic Games. Amphictyony, an executive council of twelve Greek clans’ representatives organized the games and dedicated them to Apollo – the God of beauty, healing, poetry, art and light. The focus of the competition was always on artistic elements like music, painting, acting, dance, and more; and therefore, many contemporaries described the games as more magnificent than the Olympics.
During the holy Delphic Peace and Games, weapons were laid down, ensuring peace and safety for everyone. People soon realised the importance of peace for the successful thriving of cultural exchange and spiritual perfection. Unfortunately, not much documentation has survived of the games, but the writings of Aristotle beautifully create an impression of the festivities.
Conducted over a period of 6-8 days, the ceremonies included a festive procession, a huge feast and the games from the fourth day onwards. The Theatre of Delphi was home to music and drama competitions, chariot races were held on Krisa, while athletic competitions were held in the stadium.
Winners at the games were awarded a crown of laurel leaves, like the olive branch in Olympics. Statues were also erected in honour of certain competitors. Every city supported their participants in every way as the victor brought a lot of honour and esteem to their home town. Also, thousands of audience members travelled to Delphi during this time and brought considerable revenue into town. In 394 A.D., Theodosius, the Emperor of Rome and Byzantium banned the Delphic and Olympic games as being pagan events.
Finally, 1600 years later the IDC was formulated and started the first Youth Delphic Games in 1997 in Georgia and first Delphic Games for adults in 2000 in Russia.