Greek Athletics in the Roman World: Victory and Virtue

Greek Athletics in the Roman World: Victory and Virtue

Hardback Oxford Studies in Ancient Culture & Representation

By (author) Zahra Newby


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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 328 pages
  • Dimensions: 186mm x 246mm x 26mm | 939g
  • Publication date: 22 December 2005
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199279306
  • ISBN 13: 9780199279302
  • Illustrations note: 4 pp colour plates, numerous halftones and line drawings

Product description

The enduring importance of Greek athletic training and competition during the period of the Roman Empire has been a neglected subject in past scholarship on the ancient world. This book examines the impact that Greek athletics had on the Roman world, approaching it through the plentiful surviving visual evidence, viewed against textual and epigraphic sources. It shows that the traditional picture of Roman hostility has been much exaggerated. Instead Greek athletics came to exercise a profound influence upon Roman spectacle and bathing culture. In the Greek east of the empire too, athletics continued to thrive, providing Greek cities with a crucial means of asserting their cultural identity while also accommodating Roman imperial power.

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Author information

Zahra Newby is Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick.

Review quote

...a valuable contribution not only to the study of athletics but more importantly to our understanding of Greek cultural identity during the Empire Andrew Erskine, Journal of Roman Studies a well-illustrated book Christopher Barnard and Katherine Clarke, Greece and Rome particularly good on Greek athletics and the Western Empire Glen Bowersock, Times Literary Supplement Convincing and extremely well-read, [Newby] establish[es] significant reinterpretations of later athletic history, art and literature...Essential for scholars of ancient literature, art and sport...tempting us with stimulating new approaches. Donald G. Kyle, Classical Journal [a] solid work(s) of scholarship...remind(s) us of the hard and physical aspect of ancient culture, too often centred on warlike competitiveness. Antiquity 80

Table of contents

1. Introduction: Greeks, Romans, and Athletics in the Roman World ; I. ATHLETICS IN THE ROMAN WEST ; 2. Greek Athletics in the Heart of Rome ; 3. Visualizing Athletics in the Roman Baths ; 4. Idealized Statues in Roman Villas ; II. ATHLETICS AND IDENTITY IN THE GREEK EAST ; 5. Training Warriors: The Merits of a Physical Education ; 6. The Athenian Ephebeia: Performing the Past ; 7. Olympia and Pausanias' Construction of Greece ; 8. Gymnasia, Festivals, and Euergetism in Asia MInor ; 9. Conclusions