Ancient Greek Athletics by Stephen G. Miller

By Stephen G. Miller

The earliest Olympic video games begun greater than twenty-five-hundred years in the past. What have been they prefer, how have been they organised, who participated? have been old activities a way of getting ready adolescence for conflict? during this lavishly illustrated publication, an international professional on historic Greek athletics presents the 1st complete advent to the topic, vividly describing old physical activities and video games and exploring their effect on paintings, literature, and politics. utilizing a big selection of historic assets, written and visible, and together with fresh archaeological discoveries, Stephen Miller reconstructs old Greek athletic fairs and the main points of particular athletic occasions. He additionally explores broader issues, together with the function of ladies in historical athletics, where of amateurism, and the connection among athletic occasions and social and political existence. released within the 12 months the fashionable Olympic video games go back to Athens, this booklet may be a resource of data and pleasure for somebody attracted to the heritage of athletics and the origins of the world's most renowned wearing event.

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The prize is his to dispose of as he wishes, but the glory symbolized by the prize remains with him. Throughout the games described in the Iliad, the general impression emerges of a society that lived outdoors, possessed vigorously good physical condition, and delighted in displaying physical abilities as an expression of arete. There are no team 28 THE ORIGINS OF GREEK ATHLETICS events (also a fundamental characteristic of later Greek athletics): the emphasis is exclusively on the individual and his competitive capabilities.

First, there were no team competitions. Every event pitted man against man, one on one. In addition, there was no prize for second place. One man w o n , and everyone else lost. We hear of no one taking solace in being a runner-up. " Finally, there was no subjective judging in the g y m n i k o s agon and the hippikos agon (I shall examine the judging in the mousikos agon in Chapter 4). N o panel of judges awarded "style points" that could help decide a winner. The winner was chosen by obvious, objective standards: w h o crossed the finish line first, w h o hurled his javelin the farthest, w h o threw his wrestling opponent to the ground.

A s he entered the Senate house, he shouted out, "Be happy! W e have w o n ! " and then fell down dead. This stirring story inspired the eminent French philologist Marcel Breal to offer a trophy for the winner of a reenactment of the r u n from Marathon. Added to the first modern Olympics in 1896, the race w a s w o n b y a Greek runner named Spyridon Louis, the only track-andfield winner from the host country. Louis's victory was reported around the world, gripping the popular imagination. Thus the marathon became a popular event and n o w has a life of its o w n outside the Olympics at regular track meets.

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