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Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World


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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments ix List of Figures xii List of Maps xv List of Tables xvi Introduction: Ancient Sport History 1 Why Sport History? 4 Word Games: Conceptualizing Sport and Spectacle 7 Challenges: Evidence, Chronology, and Modernism 9 Sports and Spectacles as Cultural Performances 14 Greece and Rome: Positive and Negative Classicism 15 Sports as Spectacle, Spectacles as Sport 16 1 Origins and Essences: Early Sport and Spectacle 22 Mesopotamian Combat Sports and Running 24 Egypt: Hunting and Sporting Pharaohs 26 Royal Hunts as a Near Eastern Tradition 32 States and Sports, Empires and Spectacles 33 2 Late Bronze Age Minoans, Hittites, and Mycenaeans 37 Minoan Performances: Rites, Contests, or Spectacles? 37 Hittite Contests? 44 Mycenaean Contests? 46 A Sporting Mediterranean World 49 3 Sport in Homer: Contests, Prizes, and Honor 53 Homer and His World 54 Values and Competition 55 Prizes and Spectatorship 56 Funeral Games for Patroklos: Prizes and Reconciliation 56 The Odyssey: Sport and Returning Home 63 Epic Sport as Spectacle 67 4 Archaic Greece: Athletics in an Age of Change 70 Athletic Festivals: Types and Terms 72 Factors and Features in the Growth of Athletics 73 Gymnasiums, Hoplites, and Society 81 Nudity, Status, and Democracy 82 Men, Boys, and Erotic Pursuits 85 The Coming of Age of Greek Sport 87 5 In Search of the Ancient Olympics 91 The Olympics of Allusion and Illusion 92 Modern Myths and Invented Traditions 95 The Quagmire of Olympic Origins: Explanations and Excavations 97 6 Ancient Olympia and Its Games 107 The Physical Context: Sanctuary and Facilities 108 The Olympic Festival: Operation and Administration 111 The Program of Contests 114 Olympia and Spectacle: Politics, Problems, and Performances 123 7 Panhellenic Sacred Crown Games and More 132 Pythian Games 133 Isthmian Games 136 Nemean Games 138 Variations: Local or Civic Games 143 8 Athens: City of Contests and Prizes 147 The Panathenaic Games: Sacred and Civic Athletics 148 More Athletic Festivals and Athletic Facilities 159 The Sociopolitical History of Athenian Sport 161 Contestation, Critics, and Popular Attitudes 165 9 Spartan Sport and Physical Education 175 Problematic Evidence 176 Physical Education: Building the Body Politic 176 Spartan Athletics 181 Kyniska: Gender, Politics, and Racing Chariots at Olympia 184 Not So Strange Greeks 185 10 Athletes in Greek Society: Heroes, Motives, Access 190 Athletic Stars and Stories 191 Pindar on Victory and Glory 194 Athletes, Social History, and Democratization 197 The Lower Half of Society: Not Excluded But Not Competing? 202 Meritocratic Athletics in Practice 203 Conclusion 204 11 Females and Greek Sport 209 The Ancient Evidence: Problems and Perspectives 210 Early Greece: Epic and Myth 211 Spartan Female Sport 211 Athenian Girls Races or Rites 212 The Heraia at Olympia 212 The Olympic Ban on Women 214 Hellenistic Females and Competition 215 Female Athletics in the Roman Empire 217 Conclusion: from Rites to Athletics 219 12 Macedon and Hellenistic Sport and Spectacle 222 Greeks and Persians 223 Philip II: Proclaiming Greekness through Games 224 Alexander The Great: Conquests and Spectacular Games 227 Hellenistic Sport and Spectacle 232 The Hellenistic Legacy 239 13 The Roman Republic: Festivals, Celebrations, and Games 243 Etruscan Sport and Spectacle: Ethnicity, Greek Gifts, Roman Roots? 244 Roman Festivals and Entertainments 247 Chariot Racing at Rome 248 Triumphs: Spectacles of Military Victory 249 Hunts and Beasts: Conquests and Games 253 Gladiators: Roman Rites and Combats 257 Early Romans and Greek Sport 261 Roman-Hellenistic Spectacular Discourse 263 14 Late Republic and Augustus: Spectacles, Popular Politics, and Empire 268 The Meaning of Gladiatorial Combat: Infamy and Virtue 269 Sulla, Pompey, and Caesar: Magnificence and Munificence 273 Augustus: Consolidation and Imperial Rule Through Shows 276 15 Spectacle, Sport, and the Roman Empire 289 Emperors, Spectacles, and Scandals 290 Days at the Track: Chariot Racing 292 Imperial Triumphs 297 Gladiators, Arenas, and Empire 298 Beast Hunts: Nature and Empire 309 Spectacular Executions: Criminals, Beasts, and Social Order 312 Greek Games in the Roman Empire 314 Professional Athletes: Guilds, Prizes, and Hadrian 319 Assimilation and Accommodation 322 16 Later Sports and Spectacles: Romans, Christians, and Byzantines 329 Christian Opposition to Pagan Spectacles 329 Roman Reactions to Christians 331 The Waning of Institutionalized Shows in the West 335 Chariot Racing in the Christian Byzantine Empire 338 Conclusion: Ancient Sport and Spectacle 343 Index 348

About the Author

Donald G. Kyle is Professor, former Chair of History, and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. He is the author of Athletics in Ancient Athens (1987), Spectacles of Death in Ancient Rome (1998), Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World (Wiley-Blackwell 2007); and co-editor (with Paul Christesen) of A Companion to Sport and Spectacle in Greek and Roman Antiquity (Wiley-Blackwell 2014).


?This is without a doubt the single best overview of ancient sport. Donald Kyle delivers a clear, lively, and detailed account that reflects his unmatched erudition and insight.?- Paul Christesen, Department of Classics, Dartmouth College "Kyle furnishes a sophisticated and lucid account of sport and spectacle as important cultural phenomena in antiquity. Especially insightful is his treatment of both Greek and Roman sport as spectacle. Most welcome too are the relevant parallels and significant differences he observes between ancient and modern athletics." - Hugh Lee, Emeritus Professor of Classics, University of Maryland, College Park ?An excellent, wide-ranging survey of ancient sport. No other introductory volume combines the study of Greek and Roman sport and spectacle so effectively. This second edition adds a wealth of new material to the original version.? - Jason Koenig, School of Classics, University of St Andrews

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