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Greece was the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games. The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896 and this summer the 2004 Olympic Games will return to their origins when Athens hosts the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad.
The ancient Olympics had a rich variety of athletic contests. Did you know the rules and playing conditions in ancient Olympia are very different from the modern games? We've put together a list of books which look at the history of the Olympics and ancient Greece.
(Will you be watching the Summer Olympic Games? What is your favorite sport to watch? Discuss this topic in our Community Forums.)
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How is sport in contemporary society related to sport in earlier civilizations?
Why is the expiture of energy involved in sport considered exhilarating,
while the equivalent expiture of energy in other contexts can be dispiriting?
David Sansone offers answers to these questions and advances a revolutionary
thesis to account for the widespread phenomenon of sport. Drawing upon
ethnological findings to demonstrate the ritual character of sport,
he explores the relationship between ancient Greek sport and sacrificial
ritual and traces elements common to both back to primitive origins.
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. 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.
With the summer Olympics' return to Athens, Tony Perrottet delves into
the ancient world and lets the Greek Games begin again. The acclaimed
author of Pagan Holiday brings attitude, erudition, and humor to the
fascinating story of the original Olympic festival, tracking the event
day by day to re-create the experience in all its compelling spectacle.
The ancient Greeks were famous for their love of competition and athleticism.
Their most important sporting festival, held at Olympia and honoring
Zeus, became the inspiration for our modern Olympic games. It was open
to the citizens of every Greek polis, and became so important, that
all warfare had to be suspended for its duration. This book runs through
the entire five-day session of the ancient games. The athletes' training
and the actual sporting events--some familiar, some quite strange to
the modern reader--are described in vivid detail and illustrated with
both classical art from the collections of the British Museum and photographs
of the modern Games.
Games in Ancient Greece
the Wine-Dark Sea
The Greeks invented everything from Western warfare to mystical prayer,
from logic to statecraft. Many of their achievements, particularly in
art and philosophy, are widely celebrated; other important innovations
and accomplishments, however, are unknown or underappreciated. In Sailing
the Wine-Dark Sea, Thomas Cahill explores the legacy, good and bad,
of the ancient Greeks. From the origins of Greek culture in the migrations
of armed Indo-European tribes into Attica and the Peloponnesian peninsula,
to the formation of the city-states, to the birth of Western literature,
poetry, drama, philosophy, art, and architecture, Cahill makes the distant
past relevant to the present.
Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece
The cradle of western civilization, Ancient Greece was a land of contradictions
and conflict. Intensely quarrelsome and competitive, the Greek city-states
consistently proved unwilling and unable to unite. Yet, in spite of
or even because of this internal discord, no ancient civilization proved
so dynamic or productive. The Greeks not only colonized the Mediterranean
and Black Sea areas but set standards of figurative art which endured
for nearly 2500 years. Charting topics as diverse as Minoan civilization,
The Persian Wars, the Athenian Golden Age and the conquests of Alexander
the Great, The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece traces
the development of this creative and restless people and assesses their
impact not only on the ancient world but also on our own attitudes and
Greece and the Olympics
What was it like to live in ancient Greece? What gods and goddesses
did Greeks believe in? How did the Olympics start? What was the winner's
prize? Find out the answers to these questions and many more in this
Magic Tree House Research Guide. Includes fun facts from Jack and Annie,
fantastic photos and illustrations, and a guide to doing further research!
In this revised and enlarged edition of her guide to the ancient Games,
Judith Swaddling traces their mythological and religious origins and
describes the events, the sacred ceremony and the celebrations that
were an essential part of the Olympic festival. A large, detailed model
based on modern research and excavation reconstructs the site of ancient
Olympia, where alongside religious and civic buildings there grew an
elaborate sports complex with a stadium for 40,000 spectators, indoor
and outdoor training facilities, hot and cold baths, a swimming pool
and a race-course.
Greek Sports From Ancient Sources
From the informal games of Homer's time to the highly organized contests
of the Roman world, Miller has compiled a trove of ancient sources:
Plutarch on boxing, Aristotle on the pentathlon, Philostratos on the
buying and selling of victories, Vitruvius on literary competitions,
and Xenophon on female body building. With nearly 50 percent more texts
than the highly successful second edition, this new version of Arete
offers readers an absorbing lesson in the culture of Greek athletics
from the greatest of teachers, the ancients themselves, and demonstrates
that the concepts of virtue, skill, pride, valor, and nobility embedded
in the word arete are only part of the story from antiquity.
History of Greece
This book provides a concise, illustrated introduction to the history
of modern Greece, from the first stirrings of the national movement
in the late eighteenth century to the present day. It is designed to
provide a basic introduction for general and academic readers with little
or no prior knowledge of the subject. A Concise History of Greece has
been revised and now includes a new final chapter that covers Greek
history and politics to the present day.
This compact, comprehensive, and generously illustrated history of
ancient Greece takes us from the Stone Age roots of Greek civilization
to the early Hellenistic period following the death of Alexander the
Great. Designed for nonspecialist readers, it will be a welcome and
needed resource for all who wish to learn about this important subject.
Thomas Martin begins with a prehistory of late Stone Age activity that
provides background for the conditions of later Greek life.
Gods, Heroes and Men of Ancient Greece
Life among the gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece was a pretty lively
affair. Take the day that the great god Zeus asked his son to split
open his head with an ax...or the time Apollo "kidnapped"
a boadload of Cretans so he'd have someone to worship him...or the argument
between Zeus and his wife, Hera, that ended when he hung her over the
edge of heaven by her hands (with a big stone fastened to each foot).
Here's a book that shakes the dust off mythology. You meet the gods
and goddesses, the heroes and the men of Ancient Greece in fast-reading
tales that are full of action and drama...humor and romance.
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