By David C. Young

ISBN-10: 1405111291

ISBN-13: 9781405111294

For greater than a millennium, the traditional Olympics captured the imaginations of the Greeks, until eventually a Christianized Rome terminated the competitions within the fourth century advert. however the Olympic perfect didn't die and this ebook is a succinct historical past of the traditional Olympics and their smooth resurgence.

Classics professor David younger, who has researched the topic for over 25 years, unearths how the traditional Olympics developed from modest beginnings right into a grand competition, attracting hundreds of thousands of hugely expert athletes, tens of hundreds of thousands of spectators, and the best artists and poets.

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27 meters at Olympia). Greek tradition held that this 200 meter race was the first and only event held at the first Olympiad in 776 bc. The name of the winner of the 200 appears first in all lists of victors in any Olympiad. Some people think that the stade winner had the year named after him. That is not really true. Most Greek states had other means of dating any given year, usually by the name of one or more political leaders. But when Hippias of Elis compiled his catalogue of victors, the stade victor obviously headed his list for each individual Olympiad.

There is simply no evidence known for many things which one wants to learn. Several basic items still remain unclear, such as the length of the ancient distance race, and how victory was determined in the all-around athletic event, the pentathlon. Greeks are not silent about Olympia’s history, but the bulk of our literary information on the pre-Roman period, which perhaps interests us most, comes from authors who wrote many centuries after the events they report. Much of what BHOC02 18 16/4/04, 4:46 PM Beginnings and Evidence 19 they say is unreliable and sometimes surely false (Glass 2002: 155– 6).

Several other kinds of sources provide substantial evidence. Closely related to archaeology is the evidence from art, which takes us BHOC02 17 16/4/04, 4:46 PM 18 Beginnings and Evidence beyond Olympia into the larger world of ancient athletics. Our knowledge of how the events were actually performed relies heavily on the many pictures of athletes in the paintings which decorate vases unearthed around the Greek world. Fortunately, the most heavily represented period of athletic art is in the Archaic and Classical periods, which interest us most.

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