When were the first Olympics?


  • Paul Christesen

    1. Associate Professor of Classics at Dartmouth College, specialising in the history of ancient Greece with a particular focus on athletics and economic value systems in the archaic and classical periods. The statistical help of Professor Tony O'Hagan of Sheffield University is gratefully acknowledged.
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The date of the first-ever Olympic Games seems unimpeachable. But recent analysis shows that it is nothing more than a statistical approximation – one of the earliest ever made. The approximator – our proto-statistician – was Hippias of Elis. Before statisticians claim him as one of their own, they should know that he fudged his data. Paul Christesen tells all.