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The Ancient Olympics: A History

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Synopses & Reviews

Please note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.

Publisher Comments:

The word "athletics" is derived from the Greek verb "to struggle or to suffer for a prize." As Nigel Spivey reveals in this engaging account of the Olympics in ancient Greece, "suffer" is putting it mildly. Indeed, the Olympics were not so much a graceful display of Greek beauty as a war fought by other means. Nigel Spivey paints a portrait of the Greek Olympics as they really were — fierce contexts between bitter rivals, in which victors won kudos and rewards, and losers faced scorn and even assault. Victory was almost worth dying for, the author notes, 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 author explores what the events were, the rules for competitors, training and diet, the pervasiveness of cheating and bribery, the prizes on offer, the exclusion of "barbarians," and protocols on pederasty. He also peels back the mythology surrounding the games today and investigates where our current conception of the Olympics has come from and how the Greek notions of beauty and competitiveness have influenced our modern culture. As a Cambridge classicist and athletics coach, Nigel Spivey is uniquely qualified to write this eye-opening account of the Greek Olympics. Anyone interested in the ancient world or in the Olympic games will be fascinated by this revealing history.

Review:

"In a deft analysis of the rise and fall of the games at Olympia, Spivey fashions a text that varies in tone from professorial to conversational....An essential resource: always reliable and instructive, often entertaining." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Despite some analytical passages that might challenge the nonspecialist, The Ancient Olympics is a thoughtful and approachable history." Aram Goudsouzian, The Boston Globe

Review:

"[A] lively and accessible treatment....It quickly becomes apparent that the similarities between the ancient and the modern games are at best superficial; it is the difference that makes for interest." Mark Miller, Wall Street Journal

Review:

"This is a delightful tour through ancient Greece with plenty for the sports-minded, historian, Greek scholar and linguist. And just in time for the Athens Games." Jules Wagman, St. Petersburg Times

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Nigel Spivey teaches the classics at Cambridge University. He is the author of Understanding Greek Sculpture: Ancient Meanings, Modern Readings, Greek Art, Etruscan Art, and Enduring Creation: Art, Pain, and Fortitude.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780192804334
Subtitle:
A History
Author:
Spivey, Nigel
Author:
null, Nigel
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Location:
New York
Subject:
Ancient - Greece
Subject:
History, World | Ancient | Greek
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Publication Date:
August 2004
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
40 b/w illus.
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.02x5.38x.81 in. .78 lbs.

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Related Subjects

» Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Olympics

The Ancient Olympics: A History Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.00 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780192804334 Reviews:
"Review" by , "In a deft analysis of the rise and fall of the games at Olympia, Spivey fashions a text that varies in tone from professorial to conversational....An essential resource: always reliable and instructive, often entertaining."
"Review" by , "Despite some analytical passages that might challenge the nonspecialist, The Ancient Olympics is a thoughtful and approachable history."
"Review" by , "[A] lively and accessible treatment....It quickly becomes apparent that the similarities between the ancient and the modern games are at best superficial; it is the difference that makes for interest."
"Review" by , "This is a delightful tour through ancient Greece with plenty for the sports-minded, historian, Greek scholar and linguist. And just in time for the Athens Games."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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