The athletic competitions that took place during festivals like that at Olympia, or within the confines of city gymnasia, were a key feature of life in ancient Greece. From the commemoration of victorious athletes in poetry or sculpture to the archaeological remains of baths, gymnasia and stadia, surviving evidence offers plentiful testimony to the importance of athletic activity in Greek culture, and its survival well into the Roman period. This book offers an introduction to the many forms that athletics took in the ancient world, and to the sources of evidence by which we can study it. As well as looking at the role of athletics in archaic and classical Greece, it also covers the less-explored periods of the Hellenistic and Roman worlds. The many different aspects of athletics will also be considered - not only the well-known contests of athletic festivals such as the Olympic Games, but also the place of athletic training within civic education and military training, and its integration into the bathing culture of the Roman world.
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