Category Archives: RACE TO GLORY – FUN FACTS

What if Zeus stood up?

[Follow the FUN FACTS that relate to Race to Glory, chapter by chapter.]

Chapter 1, p. 6:[Senator Seneca said,] “Claudius Caesar hired me soon after he

Statue of Zeus in Olympia Temple

married his niece Agrippina and adopted her child. Now where is that mischievous boy? Nero Claudius?” he called out, “Ne. . . Get down from there!”    The defiant child who was attempting to climb up behind the statue, now stalked toward his tutor. “Sorry, Master Seneca, I was investigating. You always tell me to investigate, do you not?”

FUNFACT: The seated statue of Zeus, the king of the Greek Gods, rose 43 feet in height, almost touching the ceiling of the two-story Temple.  The geographer Strabo commented, “It seems that if Zeus were to stand up, he would un-roof the temple.”

The Marble-Slab Starting Line

Chapter 1 – page 1: The young man curled his toes into the marble grooves of the starting slab. He tensed his naked body into the required standing position. Glistening with olive oil and sprinkled with fine sand, he waited . . .

Ancient marble-slab starting line as it is today

A marble slab with two side-by-side deep grooves about seven inches apart, formed the starting line for all footraces in ancient Greek stadiums. The runners lined up, about 20 at a time. At the signal from a judge, they curled their toes into the grooves, one foot forward, the other back. Rather than crouching as in modern races, the contestants stood and leaned slightly forward with their arms outstretched.

A rope stretched chest high across the runners, held by a spring-loaded mechanism at each end to form the starting gate. An official released the taut rope with a trigger that banged it to the ground as another official called out the word ápete! The runners then sprang forward to race to the finish.