Sport in the Cultures of the Ancient World : New Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

Sport in the Cultures of the Ancient World
New Perspectives

ISBN 9780415641166
Published May 29, 2012 by Routledge
248 Pages

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Book Description

Sport has been practised in the Greco-Roman world at least since the second millennium BC. It was socially integrated and was practised in the context of ceremonial performances, physical education and established local and international competitions including, most famously, the Olympic Games. In recent years, the continuous re-assessment of old and new evidence in conjunction with the development of new methodological perspectives have created the need for a fresh examination of central aspects of ancient sport in a single volume. This book fills that gap in ancient sport scholarship.

When did the ancient Olympics begin? How is sport depicted in the work of the fifth-century historian Herodotus? What was the association between sport and war in fifth- and fourth-century BC Athens? What were the social and political implications of the practice of Greek-style sport in third-century BC Ptolemaic Egypt? How were Roman gladiatorial shows perceived and transformed in the Greek-speaking east? And what were the conditions of sport participation by boys and girls in ancient Rome? These are some of the questions that this book, written by an international cast of distinguished scholars on ancient sport, attempts to answer. Covering a wide chronological and geographical scope (ancient Mediterranean from the early first millennium BC to fourth century AD), individual articles re-examine old and new evidence, and offer stimulating, original interpretations of key aspects of ancient sport in its political, military, cultural, social, ceremonial and ideological setting.

This book was previously published as a special issue of the International Journal of the History of Sport.

Table of Contents

Zinon Papakonstantinou (editor, University of Washington), "Prologue: Sport in the Cultures of the Ancient World"

Paul Christesen (Dartmouth College), "Whence 776? The Origin of the Date for the First Olympiad"

Donald Kyle (University of Texas, Arlington), "Pan-Hellenism and Particularism: Herodotus on Sport, Greekness, Piety, and War"

David Pritchard (University of Queensland), "Sport, War and Democracy in Classical Athens"

Sofie Remijsen (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), "Challenged by Egyptians:  Greek Sports in the Third century BC"

Christian Mann (Brown University), "Gladiators in the Greek east: a Case Study in Romanization"

Michael Carter (Brock University), "Gladiators and Monomachoi: Greek Attitudes to a Roman 'Cultural Performance'"

Nigel Kennell (American School of Classical Studies at Athens, International Centre for Hellenic and Mediterranean Studies) "The Greek Ephebate in the Roman Period"

Nigel Crowther (University of Western Ontario), "Observations on Boys, Girls, Youths and Age Categories in Roman Sports and Spectacles"

Zinon Papakonstantinou (University of Washington), "Epilogue: Some Perspectives on Ancient Sport"

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Zinon Papakonstantinou is Assistant Professor of Hellenic Studies at the University of Washington. He has authored Lawmaking and Adjudication in Archaic Greece, Duckworth: London 2008 and articles on Greek law, sport and commensality.


"The present collection of essays appeared as a separate issue of the International Journal of Sport History in 2009 and is now published within the series Sport in the Global Society. ...the quality is outstanding. All of them are very informative; each one is complemented by an extensive bibliography on the topic discussed. The essays are written by some of the most important and active scholars in the field. The collection will be of great interest to students and to classical scholars who do not work on sport as their main area, as well as to the non-classicist, sport specialist." -- Bryn Mawr Classical Review, July 2010