Ancient City's Destruction by Asteroid Gave Rise to Biblical Sodom Story
Ancient City’s Destruction by Asteroid Gave Rise to Biblical Sodom Story

Ancient City’s Destruction by Asteroid Gave Rise to Biblical Sodom Story

Khalid Elhassan - January 5, 2022

Ancient City’s Destruction by Asteroid Gave Rise to Biblical Sodom Story
Victory crowns an Olympics boxing champion. J. Paul Getty Museum

2. The Ancient Greeks Based Their Calendars on the Olympic Games

Ancient Greek stadion sprinters awaited the start of the race, muscles coiled and ready to take off down the track. Behind and to their sides hovered Olympic Games officials to ensure that nobody left the start line too early. Before them lay a packed earth track, at the end of which awaited another set of games officials, whose task was to decide the winner – and spot and disqualify any cheaters. If it was too close and the officials determined that it was a tie, there would be a do-over, and the race would be rerun. Finally, the signal to start came – a sharp trumpet blow. The competitors exploded into action, took off, and within a few frantic seconds, the race was over.

Because the stadion was the original Olympics’ sole competition, those few seconds encapsulated the entirety of the athletic portion of the original Olympic Games. However, it is hard to grasp today just how important those few seconds were to the participants. The ancient Greeks often dated events not by a numbered calendar like we do today, but by four-year Olympiads, and the Olympiads were named after the winner. So the winner of the original stadion race literally won a place in the history books.

Ancient City’s Destruction by Asteroid Gave Rise to Biblical Sodom Story
Ancient Greeks compete in the stadion race. Pinterest

1. The First Winner of the Ancient Olympics

Because the ancient Greeks dated events based on four-year Olympiad cycles, the winner of the stadion race – the only competition in the first half-century of the Olympic Games – achieved a degree of fame and prestige difficult to grasp today. Since the Olympiad was named after him, from then on out, people would include his name whenever they referred to all that happened in the four-year cycle of his victory. Something along the lines of: “such and such happened in the first (or second, or third, or fourth) year of [Olympic Winner’s Name] Olympiad“.

Eventually, more athletic events were added to the competition, such as wrestling, boxing, javelin, discus, long jump, and chariot racing. However, the stadion still held pride of place as the Olympic Games’ most prestigious competition, and the four-year Olympiad cycles continued to be named after its victor. Because of that, historians today are able to name just about every stadion winner. The first of them – and thus the first Olympics champion, was a cook from the city-state of Elis named Coroebus, who won the stadion in 776 BC.

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Ancient History Sourcebook – Queen Tomyris of the Massegetai and the Defeat of the Persians Under Cyrus

Classical Quarterly, Vol. 49, No. 1 (1999) – Pisistratus’ Leadership and the Establishment of the Tyranny

Daily Beast – The Giant Space Rock That Wiped Out Biblical Sodom

Daily Beast – Things You Probably Don’t Know About the Olympics

Drews, Robert – Early Riders: The Beginnings of Mounted Warfare in Asia and Europe (2004)

Encyclopedia Britannica – Ancient Greek Olympic Games

Encyclopedia Britannica – Sodom and Gomorrah

Encyclopedia Britannica – Solon

Garland, Robert – Celebrity in Antiquity: From Media Tarts to Tabloid Queens (2006)

Grant, Michael – The Rise of the Greeks (1987)

Herodotus – The Histories

Hildinger, Erik – Warriors of the Steppe: A Military History of Central Asia, 500 BC to 1700 AD (1997)

History Collection – Digging it Up: 7 of the Biggest and Best Archaeological Finds of the 20th Century

Holland, Tom – Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West (2006)

Laertius, Diogenes – Lives of the Eminent Philosophers: The Seven Sages

Miller, Stephen Gaylord – Ancient Greek Athletics (2004)

National Geographic Magazine, April, 2013 – Bringing Them Back to Life: The Revival of Extinct Species is No Longer a Fantasy. But is it a Good Idea?

New Scientist, March 27th, 1993 – Mini Mammoths Survived Into Egyptian Times

Roesch, Joseph E. – Boudica, Queen of the Iceni (2006)

Scientific Reports, 11, Article Number: 18632 (2021) – A Tunguska Sized Airburst Destroyed Tall el-Hammam, a Middle Bronze Age City in the Jordan Valley Near the Dead Sea

Swaddling, Judith – The Ancient Olympic Games (1984)

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