Coubertin Quote for Jul, 16
In one of those mysterious glimpses that music sometimes gives us of lost worlds, for a few seconds those gathered at Paris perceived Greek antiquity in all its splendor.Share
This is a memorable recollection of a decisive moment in the history of the modern Olympic Games. Baron Pierre de Coubertin is describing the ‘sacred hush’ that fell over the 2000 people gathered in the grand amphitheater of the Sorbonne on the night of June 16, 1894—the night the Olympic Games were reborn—as the music of the ancient ‘Hymn to Apollo’ evoked the glories of antiquity. When he wrote this passage, in November of that year, the Baron was desperate. He had traveled to Athens to try to rally support for the emergent Olympic Games, which the Greek government had rejected. This quote is taken from his article, “Neo-Olympism: Appeal to the People of Athens,” an article that appeared in Le Messager d’Athènes that month. Of course, the Baron succeeded in gaining the support of the people and the Royal Family of Greece who led the way to the restored glories of Athens 1896.
“It was also (in the Sorbonne) that Baron de Courcel, a senator, and now Ambassador of France to the Court of St. James, opened the International Congress for the restoration of the Olympic Games. Nearly two thousand people filled the hall ... Then in a sacred hush, for the first time in two thousand years choirs sang the hymn to Apollo unearthed at Delphi. The effect was deeply moving. In one of those mysterious glimpses that music sometimes gives us of lost worlds, for a few seconds those gathered at Paris perceived Greek antiquity in all its splendor.”
Photo: The School of Athens by Raphael, the famous fresco in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican