Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World

Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World

By (author) Donald G. Kyle

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This is a readable, up-to-date, illustrated introduction to the history of sport and spectacle in the ancient world from the Ancient Near East through Greek and Hellenistic times and into the Roman Empire. * Covers athletics, combat sports, chariot racing, beast fights and gladiators. * Traces the precursors of Greek and Roman sports and spectacles in the Ancient Near East and the Bronze Age Aegean. * Investigates the origins, nature and meaning of sport, covering issues of violence, professionalism, class, gender and eroticism. * Challenges the notion that Greek sport and Roman spectacle were polar opposites. * Approaches sport and spectacle as overlapping and compatible features of civilized states and empires.

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  • Hardback | 424 pages
  • 152 x 230 x 32mm | 721.22g
  • 25 Sep 2006
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd)
  • Chicester
  • English
  • New.
  • 24
  • 0631229701
  • 9780631229704

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Author Information

Donald G. Kyle is Professor and Chair of History at the University of Texas at Arlington. An award-winning teacher, he has been honoured by the University as a Distinguished Teaching Fellow. He has published Athletics in Ancient Athens (Revised Edition, 1993) and Spectacles of Death in Ancient Rome (1998) and co-edited Essays on Sport History and Sport Mythology (1990). He has appeared in History Channel shows on gladiators (1996) and crime in Rome (2005) and PBS and History Channel shows on the Ancient Olympics (2004).

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Review quote

"Whether a fan of sport or not, every reader will find something of interest and value in this book." (The Historian, Spring 2009) Winner of the 2008 Book Award of the North American Society for Sport History "A masterful compendium of our current state of knowledge in the ever-expanding field of ancient sport, covering a wide range of historical periods and civilizations. As such, Sport and Spectacle will become an indispensable work of reference for students in courses on ancient sport and researchers who are not very familiar with the field. At the same time, Kyle is cognizant of the latest scholarship and engages with it closely, often in an insightful and original manner. As a result, Sport and Spectacle is also an invaluable scholarly contribution ... In short, this is a book written with knowledge, enthusiasm and wit. It will be enjoyed and employed for decades to come." (International Journal of the History of Sport) "A pioneer in the resurgence of research on Greek sport ... No-one is better qualified to write an English-language synthesis on sport and spectacle in the ancient world. This book does not disappoint ... Whatever place and time Kyle examines, fresh and persuasive insights abound." (Bryn Mawr Classical Review) "Here one will find not only impressive breadth of coverage (from 2000 BC Mesopotamia to the banning of gladiatorial combats in AD 404), but also detailed analysis based upon a solid theoretical platform of ancient sport studies." (Greece and Rome)

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Back cover copy

This work by a well-published scholar and award-winning teacher provides an introduction to the history of sport and spectacle in the ancient world from the Ancient Near East through Greek and Hellenistic times and into the Roman Empire. The book introduces readers to ancient sport history as a growing and exciting field in which scholarly advances and controversies abound. Drawing on archaeological and art historical evidence and on approaches from anthropology and social history, the author goes beyond the traditional focus on the Greek Olympics and the Roman Colosseum to examine the origins, nature and meaning of sport, the sporting activities and spectacles of earlier Mediterranean peoples, local sport and unusual contests, and much more.

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