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Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World, 2nd Edition




Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World, 2nd Edition

Donald G. Kyle

ISBN: 978-1-118-61380-1 November 2014 Wiley-Blackwell 376 Pages


The second edition of Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World updates Donald G. Kyle’s award-winning introduction to this topic, covering the Ancient Near East up to the late Roman Empire.

• Challenges traditional scholarship on sport and spectacle in the Ancient World and debunks claims that there were no sports before the ancient Greeks

• Explores the cultural exchange of Greek sport and Roman spectacle and how each culture responded to the other’s entertainment

• Features a new chapter on sport and spectacle during the Late Roman Empire, including Christian opposition to pagan games and the Roman response

• Covers topics including violence, professionalism in sport, class, gender and eroticism, and the relationship of spectacle to political structures

Preface and Acknowledgments ix

List of Figures xii

List of Maps xv

List of Tables xvi

Introduction: Ancient Sport History 1

Why Sport History? 4

Word Games: Conceptualizing Sport and Spectacle 7

Challenges: Evidence, Chronology, and Modernism 9

Sports and Spectacles as Cultural Performances 14

Greece and Rome: Positive and Negative Classicism 15

Sports as Spectacle, Spectacles as Sport 16

1 Origins and Essences: Early Sport and Spectacle 22

Mesopotamian Combat Sports and Running 24

Egypt: Hunting and Sporting Pharaohs 26

Royal Hunts as a Near Eastern Tradition 32

States and Sports, Empires and Spectacles 33

2 Late Bronze Age Minoans, Hittites, and Mycenaeans 37

Minoan Performances: Rites, Contests, or Spectacles? 37

Hittite Contests? 44

Mycenaean Contests? 46

A Sporting Mediterranean World 49

3 Sport in Homer: Contests, Prizes, and Honor 53

Homer and His World 54

Values and Competition 55

Prizes and Spectatorship 56

Funeral Games for Patroklos: Prizes and Reconciliation 56

The Odyssey: Sport and Returning Home 63

Epic Sport as Spectacle 67

4 Archaic Greece: Athletics in an Age of Change 70

Athletic Festivals: Types and Terms 72

Factors and Features in the Growth of Athletics 73

Gymnasiums, Hoplites, and Society 81

Nudity, Status, and Democracy 82

Men, Boys, and Erotic Pursuits 85

The Coming of Age of Greek Sport 87

5 In Search of the Ancient Olympics 91

The Olympics of Allusion and Illusion 92

Modern Myths and Invented Traditions 95

The Quagmire of Olympic Origins: Explanations and Excavations 97

6 Ancient Olympia and Its Games 107

The Physical Context: Sanctuary and Facilities 108

The Olympic Festival: Operation and Administration 111

The Program of Contests 114

Olympia and Spectacle: Politics, Problems, and Performances 123

7 Panhellenic Sacred Crown Games and More 132

Pythian Games 133

Isthmian Games 136

Nemean Games 138

Variations: Local or Civic Games 143

8 Athens: City of Contests and Prizes 147

The Panathenaic Games: Sacred and Civic Athletics 148

More Athletic Festivals and Athletic Facilities 159

The Sociopolitical History of Athenian Sport 161

Contestation, Critics, and Popular Attitudes 165

9 Spartan Sport and Physical Education 175

Problematic Evidence 176

Physical Education: Building the Body Politic 176

Spartan Athletics 181

Kyniska: Gender, Politics, and Racing Chariots at Olympia 184

Not So Strange Greeks 185

10 Athletes in Greek Society: Heroes, Motives, Access 190

Athletic Stars and Stories 191

Pindar on Victory and Glory 194

Athletes, Social History, and Democratization 197

The Lower Half of Society: Not Excluded But Not Competing? 202

Meritocratic Athletics in Practice 203

Conclusion 204

11 Females and Greek Sport 209

The Ancient Evidence: Problems and Perspectives 210

Early Greece: Epic and Myth 211

Spartan Female Sport 211

Athenian Girls’ Races or Rites 212

The Heraia at Olympia 212

The Olympic Ban on Women 214

Hellenistic Females and Competition 215

Female Athletics in the Roman Empire 217

Conclusion: from Rites to Athletics 219

12 Macedon and Hellenistic Sport and Spectacle 222

Greeks and Persians 223

Philip II: Proclaiming Greekness through Games 224

Alexander The Great: Conquests and Spectacular Games 227

Hellenistic Sport and Spectacle 232

The Hellenistic Legacy 239

13 The Roman Republic: Festivals, Celebrations, and Games 243

Etruscan Sport and Spectacle: Ethnicity, Greek Gifts, Roman Roots? 244

Roman Festivals and Entertainments 247

Chariot Racing at Rome 248

Triumphs: Spectacles of Military Victory 249

Hunts and Beasts: Conquests and Games 253

Gladiators: Roman Rites and Combats 257

Early Romans and Greek Sport 261

Roman-Hellenistic Spectacular Discourse 263

14 Late Republic and Augustus: Spectacles, Popular Politics, and Empire 268

The Meaning of Gladiatorial Combat: Infamy and Virtue 269

Sulla, Pompey, and Caesar: Magnificence and Munificence 273

Augustus: Consolidation and Imperial Rule Through Shows 276

15 Spectacle, Sport, and the Roman Empire 289

Emperors, Spectacles, and Scandals 290

Days at the Track: Chariot Racing 292

Imperial Triumphs 297

Gladiators, Arenas, and Empire 298

Beast Hunts: Nature and Empire 309

Spectacular Executions: Criminals, Beasts, and Social Order 312

Greek Games in the Roman Empire 314

Professional Athletes: Guilds, Prizes, and Hadrian 319

Assimilation and Accommodation 322

16 Later Sports and Spectacles: Romans, Christians, and Byzantines 329

Christian Opposition to Pagan Spectacles 329

Roman Reactions to Christians 331

The Waning of Institutionalized Shows in the West 335

Chariot Racing in the Christian Byzantine Empire 338

Conclusion: Ancient Sport and Spectacle 343

Index 348