The Ancient Olympics

Paperback | June 14, 2012

byNigel Spivey

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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 tocheating 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.

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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 wo...

Nigel Spivey is Senior Lecturer in Classical Art and Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, where he also is a Fellow of Emmanuel College. As an undergraduate he won honours at the Oxford-Cambridge athletics match, and set the university record for throwing the hammer. He went on to study at the British School at Rome and the Univ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pagesPublished:June 14, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199602697

ISBN - 13:9780199602698

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Table of Contents

Foreword to the New EditionOverture1. `War Minus the Shooting'2. In Training for Beautiful Goodness3. The Programme of Agony4. Sweet Victory5. The Politics of Contest6. Olympia: The Origins7. Olympia: The AfterlifeEpilogueSources and Further ReadingIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Spivey is an ideal companion for this fine journey through Greece - past and present. We find out what Olympia represented in Antiquity and how the Olympics have become a part of the Western psyche." --Bettany Hughes, historian and presenter of The Spartan and Seven Ages of Britain