Part of the closing ceremony of the Olympics in ancient Greece was a torch race, which was a relay race held at night, where a torch was passed from one runner to another. The goal was to reach the finish as fast as possible with the torch still burning. The winner was allowed to light the fire for the sacrifices at the altar of Zeus. This torch race is what inspired the modern Olympic ceremony of passing the torch around the world.
In ancient times mustard seeds symbolized fiery potential. In 330 BC, Darius, king of Persia, challenged Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia to battle. Darius presented Alexander with a sack of countless sesame seeds, each seed representing a Persian soldier. Alexander’s response was a much-smaller sack of mustard seed. His soldiers, though fewer in number, were too hot to tangle with.
In ancient Greece, students wore sprigs of rosemary in their hair while they studied, because they believed rosemary stimulated cerebral circulation, thereby improving concentration and memory.
At an ancient Greek wedding feast the bride appeared covered in a veil from her head to her feet, while the groom had a choice to go nude or to wear a short chiton.
In ancient Greece the main prize for the winner of the Olympic Games was that he was fed for the rest of his life!
The ancient Greeks invented the frying pan and so gave the world the first fried foods.
The favorite drinking game in ancient Greece was kottabos, which involved suspending a bronze disc horizontally halfway up a tall stand and placing a small metal target above it. The idea was to drink a cup of wine, then use one of the handles of the cup to fling the dregs at the target. If the target was hit, it dropped onto the bronze disc and made a bell-like noise. If the target was missed, the dregs were flung all over the room.
The ancient Greeks invented the hibatchi, thus holding the first barbecue.
Thespis, of Athens (6th BCE), was the first person to speak lines as an individual actor on stage. Before Thespis there was just the chorus. He made it so that an actor stood apart from the chorus. The term “Thespian” comes from his name.