For over one thousand years between 776 B.C. and A.D. 395, princes, statesmen, and famous athletes gathered every four years at Olympia in western Greece to compete for the olive crowns of the ancient Olympic Games. Judith Swaddling traces the mythological and religious origins of the games and describes the events, religious ceremony, and celebrations that were an essential part of the Olympic festival. The book also features a large, detailed model of the site of ancient Olympia, where, alongside religious and civic buildings, there grew an elaborate sports complex with a stadium for 40,000 spectators, indoor and outdoor training facilities, hot and cold baths, a swimming pool, and a race course. For this revised edition, three new chapters have been added, covering the diet and medical treatment of athletes; sponsorship, patronage, and propaganda; and revivals of the games. Superbly illustrated with vases, sculpture, and other works of ancient art, and with new views of the site, the new edition of this indispensable account of Ancient Olympia and the games now includes color reproduction for over half the illustrations, as well as many additional pictures.
Travel back in time to Ancient Greece to discover the origins of the Olympic Games. Bright, bold and dynamic artwork bring to life the origins of the Olympic Games. Find out about the legend behind the games, the original events and the excitement that filled Olympia during the Olympic Festival. See how the competitors used to train and learn about each of the original events that took place, including chariot racing, wrestling, the discuss, javelin and boxing. Get the Olympic buzz from all the excitement of the hippodrome, Olympic ceremonies and celebrations, and learn about the importance of the Heraia - the competition for women organised by women. This book provides a brilliant and striking introduction to the Ancient Olympics for children aged 7+.
*Includes pictures. *Includes ancient accounts about the Games. *Includes a bibliography for further reading. "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well."- Epictetus "Many are the sights to be seen in Greece, and many are the wonders to be heard; but on nothing does Heaven bestow more care than on the Eleusinian rites and the Olympic games." - Pausanias While they are still well-known, the Olympic Games of Ancient Greece are more relevant today than most people know, and the ways in which athletic sports pervade contemporary culture is comparable only to the spirit of athleticism in Hellenic Greece. Today, a large section of the media industry is devoted exclusively to sports, and in some nations, sports even figures as a critical component of their identity. In America, the Super Bowl could be considered a holiday of sorts, and of course, today's Olympic Games capture the attention of millions and millions of people around the world for two weeks. The Ancient Olympic Games were all these things and then some. It was a ritualized spectacle of great cultural importance in Greece, as well as an international communion that celebrated both diversity and unity, but most importantly, it was an ode to the strength of the human body and a paean to the vigor of the human spirit. For over a thousand years, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD, competitors and spectators traveled from all over Europe and Asia Minor to attend the legendary contests, bringing with them not only their passion for athletics but also their poetry, music, arts, and ideas. The ancient historian Strabo captured the spirit well when he described the Olympics: "... the glory of the temple persisted ... on account both of the festal assembly and of the Olympian Games, in which the prize was a crown and which were regarded as sacred, the greatest games in the world. The temple was adorned by its numerous offerings, which were dedicated there from all parts of Greece." Despite their international character, the Ancient Olympic Games belonged exclusively to the Greeks, even though prior to Alexander the Great, Ancient Greece consisted mostly of small city-states that warred constantly with each other. The Olympic Games served to assemble them and allow them to appreciate the commonality of their customs, gods, language, and other cultural characteristics, the very things that made them Greek. The historian Pausanias explained just how important the games were to the Greeks and their sense of pride by discussing one of the Olympics' best athletes: "Sotades at the ninety-ninth Festival was victorious in the long race and proclaimed a Cretan, as in fact he was. But at the next Festival he made himself an Ephesian, being bribed to do so by the Ephesian people. For this act he was banished by the Cretans." The Ancient Olympic Games: The History and Legacy of Antiquity's Most Famous Sports Competitions examines the origins of the games, highlights the competitions, and looks at the history and legacy of the events that spawned today's modern Olympics. Along with pictures depicting important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Ancient Olympics like never before, in no time at all.
Part of a series that explores the Olympic Games, ancient and modern, enabling children to link the origins of the games to their modern equivalent. Each book features in-depth profiles of a particular role or job at the Games, factboxes and message boards detailing announcements, lists and quotes. The books link together history, geography, sport and citizenship and tie in with the Olympic Games to be held in Greece in 2004. This title looks at the origin of the Games, where they were held, the sporting events, and how these were different from a modern-day idea of a sporting event.
The word 'athletics' is derived from the Greek verb 'to struggle for a prize'. After reading this book, no one will see the Olympics as a graceful display of Greek beauty again, but as war by other means. Nigel Spivey paints a portrait of the Greek Olympics as they really were - fierce contests between bitter rivals, in which victors won kudos and rewards, and losers faced scorn and even assault. Victory was almost worth dying for, and a number of athletes did just that. Many more resorted to cheating and bribery. Contested always bitterly and often bloodily, the ancient Olympics were not an idealistic celebration of unity, but a clash of military powers in an arena not far removed from the battlefield.
The essential handbook for the 21st-century citizen seeking a lively guided tour of the ancient Greek Olympics. Travel back to the heyday of the city-state and classical Greek civilization. Enter this distant, alien, but still familiar culture and discover what the Greeks did and didn’t do during five thrilling days in August, 388 B.C. In the Olympic Stadium there were no stands, no shade—and no women allowed. Visitors sat on a grassy bank in the searing heat of midsummer to watch naked athletes compete in footraces, the pentathlon, horse and chariot races, and three combat sports—wrestling, boxing, and pankration, everyone's favorite competition, with virtually no rules and considerable blood and pain. This colorfully illustrated volume offers a complete tour of the Olympic site exactly as athletes and spectators found it. The book evokes the sights, sounds, and smells of the crowded encampment; introduces the various attendees (from champions and charlatans to aristocrats and prostitutes); and explains the numerous exotic religious rituals. Uniquely detailed and precise, this guide offers an unparalleled opportunity to travel in time, back to the excitement of ancient Olympia. “Splendidly captures the excitement, the razzmatazz, the intensity, glamour and squalor of the ancient Olympics. Packed with anecdotes and intriguing facts, the careful scholarship behind this wonderful little book is presented with gusto.”—Philip Matyszak, author of Ancient Athens on Five Drachmas a Day “Ultimately the ancient Olympics were more of an epic frat party full of booze and sex than a prestigious sporting competition, and Faulkner paints that picture well.”—Moira E. McLaughlin, The Washington Post
Crowther offers a fascinating look at the role of sport as practiced in the ancient world. From the Prehistoric Age in Egypt, Sumeria, Mesopotamia, and Persia to the "historic period" in ancient Greece, Rome, and the Byzantine Empire, he not only probes the games themselves, but explores the ways in which athletics figured into cultural arenas that extended beyond physical prowess to military associations, rituals, status, and politics. Among the subjects covered are Cretan bull-leaping and Bronze-Age boxing, the ancient Olympic Games, gladiatorial contests, chariot racing, and the role of women in ancient sports.