Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World

Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World

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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 more

Product details

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

About Donald G. Kyle

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).show more

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)show more

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

Table of contents

List of Illustrations. List of Maps. Abbreviations. Preface and Acknowledgements. Introduction: Ancient Sport History. Why Sport History. Why Ancient Sport History. Word Games and Wars of Words: Conceptualizing Sport and Spectacle. Challenges: Evidence, Chronology and Modernism. Sports and Spectacles as Cultural Performances. Greece and Rome: Positive and Negative Classicism. Sports as Spectacles, Spectacles as Sport. Sport as History and History as Sport. 1. Origins and Essences: Early Sport and Spectacle. Mesopotamian Combat Sports and Running. Egypt: from Hunting to Sporting Pharaohs. Royal Hunts as a Near Eastern Tradition. Conclusions: States and Sports, Empires and Spectacles. 2. Late Bronze Age Minoans, Hittites and Mycenaeans. Minoan Performances: Rites, Contests or Spectacles. Hittite Contests. Mycenaean Contests. 3. Sport in Homer: Contests, Prizes, Heroes and Honor. Funeral Games for Patroklos: Prizes and Reconciliation. The Odyssey: Sport and Returning Home. 4. Archaic Greece: Athletic Festivals in an Age of Change. Factors and Features in the Growth of Archaic Athletics. Conclusion: The Coming of Age of Greek Sport. 5. In Search of the Real Ancient Olympics. The Olympics of Illusion and Allusion. Modern Myths and Invented Traditions. The Morass of Olympic Origins: Explanations and Excavations. 6. Ancient Olympic Games: Setting, Operation, Contests, and Spectacle. The Physical Context: Site, Sights and Facilities. The Olympic Athletic Festival: Operation and Administration. The Program of Contests. Olympia and Spectacle: Politics, Perfidy, Performance. 7. The Panhellenic Circuit of Sacred Crown Games. Pythian Games. Isthmian Games. Nemean Games. 8. Athens- City of Contests and Prizes. The Panathenaic Games: Sacred and Civic Athletics. Other Athletic Festivals [insert: Calendar of Festivals with Competitions]. Athletic Facilities. Politics, Patronage and Sport in Democratic Athens. Athenian Competitors and Competitors at Athens . Critics and Popular Attitudes. Fourth-Century and Proto-Hellenistic Trends. 9. Spartan Sport and Physical Education: Building the Body Politic. Spartan Physical Education and the State. Spartan Athletics. Kyniska and Spartan Chariot-Racing at Olympia. 10. Athletes: Myths, Motives, and Mobility. Athletic Stars and Stories. Victory and Glory: Pindaric Praise and Ideology. Athletes and Social History: Professionalism, Decline or Democratization. 11. Females and Greek Athletics. The Heraia and Girls Races in the Stadium at Olympia. Women at the Male Olympics. Virgin Olympic Spectators. 12. Macedon and Hellenistic Sport and Spectacle (to ca. 200 BC). Alexander the Great: Becoming Near Eastern through Spectacles. Hellenistic Sport and Spectacle. 13. The Roman Republic: Festivals, Celebrations, and Games. Etruscan Sport and Spectacle: Greek Gifts and Roman Roots. Roman Festivals and Entertainments. Chariot Racing at Rome. Triumphs: Spectacles of Military Victory. Hunts and Beasts: Conquests and Games. Gladiators: Combats, Infamy and Virtue. Romans and Greek Sport. Hellenistic-Roman Spectacular Discourse. 14. Late Republic and Augustus: Spectacles, Popular Politics, and Empire. The Meaning of Gladiatorial Combat. Sulla, Pompey and Caesar: Magnificence and Munificence. Augustus: Unification and Imperial Rule through Spectacle and Sport. Augustus the Showman. Augustus the Ringmaster: Arena Reforms and Regulations. 15. Spectacle, Sport, and the Roman Empire (I). Days at the Races: Chariot Racing and the Roman Empire. Imperial Triumphs. Gladiators, Arenas and Empire. Beast Hunts: Nature and Empire. Spectacular Executions: Beasts and Social Order. Emperors, Spectacles, and Scandals. 16. Games and the Roman Empire (II). Greek Games: Imperial Acceptance and Patronage. Professional Athletics in the Empire. Ecumenical and Enduring Olympics. Agonistic Festivals and City Life in the Greek East. Twilight of the Games: Christians and Closure, or Dearth and Demise. Conclusion: Sport and/or/as Spectacle. Selected Bibliography. more
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