Ancient Greek Athletics (Paperback)
Yale University Press, 9780300115291, 304pp.
Publication Date: August 1, 2006
The earliest Olympic games began more than twenty-five-hundred years ago. What were they like, how were they organized, who participated? Were ancient sports a means of preparing youth for warfare? In this lavishly illustrated book, a world expert on ancient Greek athletics provides the first comprehensive introduction to the subject, vividly describing ancient sporting events and games and exploring their impact on art, literature, and politics.
Using a wide array of ancient sources, written and visual, and including recent archaeological discoveries, Stephen Miller reconstructs ancient Greek athletic festivals and the details of specific athletic events. He also explores broader themes, including the role of women in ancient athletics, the place of amateurism, and the relationship between athletic events and social and political life.
Published in the year the modern Olympic Games return to Athens, this book will be a source of information and enjoyment for anyone interested in the history of athletics and the origins of the world’s most famous sporting event.
About the Author
Stephen G. Miller, professor of classical archaeology at the University of California, Berkeley, directs the excavations at Nemea in Greece, one of the major sites of ancient games. He is the author of many books, including Arete: Greek Sports from Ancient Sources.
Praise For Ancient Greek Athletics…
"Written with clarity and grace, Miller's work exemplifies arete, the excellence of virtue that the ancient Greeks sought to embody. For lay readers and scholars alike."—Library Journal
"Appraising the literature, the painted pottery and the ruins, S. Miller’s scholarly, readable, well illustrated and elegantly produced book reviews the cultural, political and social history."—Antiquity
"A superior piece of work in its own right and by far the best general survey of Greek athletics that is currently available. It will appeal to all non-specialists interested in Greek sport, would be an ideal text for any college-level course on this subject, and will provide specialists with a useful reference tool. . . . [This book] will facilitate the teaching of Greek athletics to undergraduates. Instructors who teach ancient Greek athletics at the college level are fortunate to find themselves, finally, in a position to put Gardiner to the side and use a text that is engaging, informative, and up-to-date."—Journal of Sport History
"As the Olympic Games open in the land where it all began, it is both fitting and delightful to sit down with this beautiful, informative book. Miller . . . brings the ancient Greek athletic festivals to life by reconstructing the scene at one of the Panhellenic games and explores broader themes such as the integral role they played in society and politics."—Scientific American
"Stephen G. Miller has written the finest, most complete and most useful account of ancient Greek Athletics that I have seen. It rests on a thorough knowledge of all the literary and material evidence and adds a thoughtful and unmistakable love for his subject."—Donald Kagan, author of The Peloponnesian War