Ancient Greek Athletics

Ancient Greek Athletics

Stephen G. Miller

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 0300115296

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The earliest Olympic games began more than twenty-five-hundred years ago. What were they like, how were they organised, who participated? Were ancient sports a means of preparing youth for warfare? In this lavishly illustrated book, a world expert on ancient Greek athletics provides the first comprehensive introduction to the subject, vividly describing ancient sporting events and games and exploring their impact on art, literature, and politics. Using a wide array of ancient sources, written and visual, and including recent archaeological discoveries, Stephen Miller reconstructs ancient Greek athletic festivals and the details of specific athletic events. He also explores broader themes, including the role of women in ancient athletics, the place of amateurism, and the relationship between athletic events and social and political life. Published in the year the modern Olympic Games return to Athens, this book will be a source of information and enjoyment for anyone interested in the history of athletics and the origins of the world's most famous sporting event.

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the p r i z e for b o x i n g . Seal m a t r i x , 7th c e n t u r y B . C . O x f o r d , A s h m o l e a n M u s e u m , inv. n o . 1895.130. letes do not compete in the nude, and they are awarded prizes for second and even last place, so the picture does not describe the Classical period. Nonetheless, we can safely see in Homer a depiction of athletics of the eighth and seventh centuries, a period of transition from the depopulated Dark Ages to the creative and productive sixth and fifth

W i i r z b u r g , inv. n o . L 469 (photo: K. Oehrlein). T h e J . Paul G e t t y M u s e u m , inv. n o . 8 4 . A E . 6 3 (photo: Ellen R o s e n b e r y ) . Red-figure k y l i x b y the T r i p t o l e m o s Painter, ca. 4 9 0 B . C . T o l e d o , O h i o , T o l e d o M u s e u m o f A r t , inv. n o . 1 9 6 1 . 2 6 , gift o f E d w a r d D r u m m o n d Libbey. big toe and place the loose ends on the javelin shaft, which he would then roll so as to w r a p the ankyle over the loose

generally agree that the tethrippon consisted of twelve laps around the hippodrome (horse track), but the length of the hippodrome is not k n o w n . The evidence is late and fragmentary, and n o Greek hippodrome has been completely excavated. If w e assume, as some have argued, that the hippodrome was three stadia long, then twelve laps (that is, twelve times down the track and twelve times back) would be a distance of about 14 kilometers. The chariots would turn around a post that was sometimes

first modern Olympics in 1896 (fig. 220). The modern reconstruction and the continued use of the Panathenaic stadium for a variety of events make the details of the structure in 330 B.C. virtually impossible to recover. Nonetheless, it is clear that a tunnel existed, partly carved into the bedrock of the hill behind and partly constructed in stone. At the far end of the tunnel entrance a locker r o o m was built in 1896 over remains of what was almost certainly the ancient apodyterion (fig. 221).

envision something like a college campus with areas of trees and grass surrounding buildings—the palaistra and the gymnasion in the narrow technical sense described above. The total area of these sprawling suburban schools is not k n o w n , but the A k a d e m y has been estimated at about 1 8 0 , 0 0 0 square meters. Both the A k a d e m y and the Lykeion were training grounds where young athletes prepared for competition. But not only athletes studied in these palaistrai-gymnasia — or at least

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