Année de publication : Journal Of Hellenic Religion, , Vol. 5, 125-134.


Abstract: This essay aims to explore the aition and the origins of the kotinos, the wild-olive wreath which was the reward for the winner at the ancient Olympic Games. It is also an attempt to interpret the religious dimension of kotinos. Kotinos (which an Heracles is said to bring back from the Hyperboreans) would be the first tree in a land of eternal light without shadows: Olympia. In this paper, it is argued that kotinos was originated from kotos – although fecund and salutary – at a time earlier than the human race. From a religious point of view, it would have been the sacred symbol of illumination and acquisition of knowledge and true virtue in the context of mimesis (representation and re-actualisation) of sacred events that had taken place in Olympia.

Mots-clés: Kotinos, Olympia, Hyperboreans, Olympic Games, Zeus, symbolism, mythology.

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