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The earliest myths regarding the origin of the games are recounted by the Greek historian, Pausanias.
According to the story, the dactyl Heracles (not to be confused with the son of Zeus and the Roman god Hercules) and four of his brothers, Paeonaeus, Epimedes, Iasius and Idas, raced at Olympia to entertain the newborn Zeus.
They were held in honor of Zeus, and the Greeks gave them a mythological origin.
Politicians would announce political alliances at the games, and in times of war, priests would offer sacrifices to the gods for victory.Naturally, during the race, the wax melted and the king fell from his chariot and was killed.At the same time, the king's palace was struck by lightning and reduced to ashes, save for one wooden pillar that was revered in the Altis for centuries, and stood near what was to be the site of the temple of Zeus.Restoration of the games would end the plague, usher in a time of peace, and signal a return to a more traditional lifestyle.The patterns that emerge from these myths are that the Greeks believed the games had their roots in religion, that athletic competition was tied to worship of the gods, and the revival of the ancient games was intended to bring peace, harmony and a return to the origins of Greek life.