Athens’s Games Gave Prized Amphora Filled With Olive Oil to Winners

Athena is the goddess of wisdom and war in Greek mythology. The goddess is one of the most beloved and revered deities of Greek mythology. So much so that the eponymous city of Athena organized the Panathenaia, a festival to celebrate Athena and the prize was a large amphora filled to the brim with Athena’s gift to Athens, olive oil. Read on to know the story behind it.

The History

Athena was probably the most liked of all of the Gods of Sky’s offspring. The goddess was born in an extraordinary manner. wherein she sprung from the head of the God, Zeus, fully formed. Athena became a patron of the city that would later be named Athens by impressing the citizens with her gift. She gave the people of the city an olive green as a sign of peace and prosperity. The fruit of the tree provided the citizens with olive oil, which could be used for cleaning, cooking, and as fuel. Her competitor, Poseidon, God of the sea, presented the people with a horse and a saltwater spring.

The Games

The Panathenaia was the greatest festival held in Athens on Hekatombaion 28, the date when Athena was thought to be born. Played in honor of Athena, the festival consisted of games like chariot racing, poetry, singing competitions, and a foot race amongst others. Small celebrations would be done every year, with a large one being organized every four years.

The Prize

The winners would receive as a prize a beautiful, black-figured amphora which was filled with olive oil as a tribute to Athena. The amphoras would typically have an image relating to the event on one side, and the image of the Goddess with roosters on the other. The words ‘TON ATHENETHEN ATHLON’ would be inscribed on them, which roughly translates to ‘of the games for Athena’.