The Olympic Games, in the ancient times, were named after the games that took place in Olympia
in honor of Zeus during the Olympic Festival. It was the most important and prestigious of the
four Pan-Hellenic Games.
According to tradition, the games began in 776 B.C. The Olympics existed before this date, though,
leading many people to believe that the chariot races that were held many years earlier in honor
of the Olympian hero Pelops who was worshiped there even before Zeus. In 776 B.C. King Iphitos of
Elis, foreseeing the dynamics of the games, accomplished treaties with Sparta and Pisa. This created
the foundation of the Pan-Hellenic "sacred ekecheiria", or truce. During the gaming activities, the
Olympic truce was abided by the entire ancient Hellenic world, while spondofori (messengers) traveled
to all the Greek cities to invite citizens and athletes to the Games.
During the same year, the stadium was built in Olympia. This stadium was reconstructed in mid 5th
Century B.C. and again in mid 4th Century B.C. The games were held every four years and the time
spanning between two Olympic Festivals was called an Olympiad. The same term was used to denote
the days of the Festival itself.