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A Visitor's Guide to the Ancient Olympics - cover

A Visitor's Guide to the Ancient Olympics

Neil Faulkner

Publisher: Yale University Press

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Summary

The essential handbook for the 21st-century citizen seeking a lively guided tour of the ancient Greek Olympics. Travel back to the heyday of the city-state and classical Greek civilization. Enter this distant, alien, but still familiar culture and discover what the Greeks did and didn’t do during five thrilling days in August, 388 B.C.In the Olympic Stadium there were no stands, no shade—and no women allowed. Visitors sat on a grassy bank in the searing heat of midsummer to watch naked athletes compete in footraces, the pentathlon, horse and chariot races, and three combat sports—wrestling, boxing, and pankration, everyone's favorite competition, with virtually no rules and considerable blood and pain. This colorfully illustrated volume offers a complete tour of the Olympic site exactly as athletes and spectators found it. The book evokes the sights, sounds, and smells of the crowded encampment; introduces the various attendees (from champions and charlatans to aristocrats and prostitutes); and explains the numerous exotic religious rituals. Uniquely detailed and precise, this guide offers an unparalleled opportunity to travel in time, back to the excitement of ancient Olympia.“Splendidly captures the excitement, the razzmatazz, the intensity, glamour and squalor of the ancient Olympics. Packed with anecdotes and intriguing facts, the careful scholarship behind this wonderful little book is presented with gusto.”—Philip Matyszak, author of Ancient Athens on Five Drachmas a Day“Ultimately the ancient Olympics were more of an epic frat party full of booze and sex than a prestigious sporting competition, and Faulkner paints that picture well.”—Moira E. McLaughlin, The Washington Post

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