Sport and Identity in Ancient Greece: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Sport and Identity in Ancient Greece

1st Edition

By Zinon Papakonstantinou


222 pages

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pub: 2019-05-13
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From the eighth century BCE to the late third century CE, Greeks trained in sport and competed in periodic contests that generated enormous popular interest. As a result, sport was an ideal vehicle for the construction of a plurality of identities along the lines of ethnic origin, civic affiliation, legal and social status as well as gender.

Sport and Identity in Ancient Greece delves into the rich literary and epigraphic record on ancient Greek sport and examines, through a series of case studies, diverse aspects of the process of identity construction through sport. Chapters discuss elite identities and sport, sport spectatorship, the regulatory framework of Greek sport, sport and benefaction in the Hellenistic and Roman world, embodied and gendered identities in epigraphic commemoration, as well as the creation of a hybrid culture of Greco-Roman sport in the eastern Mediterranean during the Roman imperial period.

Table of Contents

List of figures



Chapter I: Introduction

Book contents

Chapter II: Status, Elite Identity and Social Hierarchy in Archaic Greek Sport

    1. Sport and Elite Status in Homeric Greece: Exceptionalism, Competition and Modes of Representation
    2. Sport and Elite Status in Late Archaic Greece: Between "Homeric" and "Civic" Athletics
    3. Sport and Elite xenia in Sicyon
    4. Chariot-racing and Elite Identity in Late Archaic Athens
    5. Family Traditions of Athletic Achievement in Archaic and Classical Athens
    6. Victory Commemoration and Elite Identities in Archaic and Classical Athens
    7. Conclusion

Chapter III: Games, Spectators and Communal Identities

1. Spectatorship

2. Regulations and Regulatory Bodies

3. Athenian Rewards for Athletes

4. Sports Officials

5. Olympia as a Catalyst of Hellenicity

6. Civic Agonistic Festivals, Identity and Community

7. Conclusion

Chapter IV: Rules, Eligibility and Participation

1. Technical Rules: The Olympic Games and Beyond

2. Regulation of Athletic Facilities and Training Programs

3. Eligibility in Local Games

4. The Legal Framework of Other Panhellenic and Local Games

5. Conclusion

Chapter V: Bodies, Life-narratives and Civic Service

1. Embodied Performances

2. The Athletic Body in Epinician Poetry

3. Athletes and their Bodies in Classical Athens

4. Athletic Bodies, Discourses and Institutions

4a. Virtue and Pain: Constructing the Athletic Body

4b. Athletic Victory and Civic Service

4c. Athletic Achievement, Multiple Identities and Corporeality: the Case of L. Septimius Flavianus Flavillianus

4d. Athletics, Family Traditions and Elite Ritualized Friendship

4e. Athletic Training, Victory and Agonistic Benefaction

5. Conclusion

Chapter VI: Liminality, Reflexivity and Hybridity

1. Greek gymnasia and Agonistic Festivals: Conflict and Accommodation

1a. The gymnasion as Social Space

1b. Agonistic Festivals in Imperial Stratonikeia: Eurgetism and Audience Engagement

1c. Greek Agonistic Festivals: Liminality and Accommodation

2. Femininity and the Athletic Ethos

3. A Greco-Roman Agonistic Culture

4. Conclusion

Chapter VII: Epilogue



About the Author

Zinon Papakonstantinou is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General