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For several hundred years, no matter who was fighting or what kind of warfare was being waged, a truce was always proclaimed throughout the land at the time of the Olympic Games in order to allow spectators and athletes to make the journey in safety. A winner was escorted home in triumph in a chariot and taken into his native city through a breach in the walls made to signify that a town capable of producing such a man needed no protection. Poets like Pindar and Simonides composed hymns of praise in his honor; for a long time the Olympic victor was regarded as the expression of Grecian culture at its highest. But as the Games grew in importance and prestige their spirit and that of the victors changed immeasurably.

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