Twelve years after the first edition of this book the time has come for an enlarged and improved second edition. This was prompted by the need to update it with the new results of historical and archaeological research on the panhellenic sanctuaries and their games, as well as from the need to replace and supplement the photographic material of the many sites and monuments where excavation and restoration works have provided new insights. In this way readers have in their hands a book that is fully up to date about the Pan-Hellenic games and ancient Greek athletic. Modeled after physical exercises and competitions that existed in earlier Near Eastern cultures, hundreds of athletic games took place in Greek antiquity, extending across every area of the Mediterranean in which Greek culture flourished. Of the vast number of games, four attained the status of panhellenic games: the Olympic games, held at Olympia in honor of Zeus; the Pythian games at Delphi, at the festival of Apollo; the Isthmian games, at the sanctuary of Poseidon at Isthmia; and the Nemean games, celebrated in the sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea. The Panathenaic games, which took place at the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens in honor of Athena, were, at their peak, equal in brilliance to those held at the panhellenic festivals. In these five games, more than anywhere else, the magnificent culture and ideology of Greek antiquity flourished. The spectacle of the games gave rise to a sporting tradition that engages the world to this day. Founded as early as the 8th century BC, the games held at Olympia, however, were the oldest and most important and surpassed all the others in their fame and glory. Games and Sanctuaries in Ancient Greece celebrates the athletes, the games, the sanctuaries, the cities and, above all, the inspiring spirit of the ancient Greeks over a span of a millennium and a half, from the earliest mentions of athletics in Homer's Iliad and other literary sources, through the Classical age, and into the Hellenistic, Roman and late antique periods. That our modern athletes still compete every four years in such contests as the pentathlon, discus, javelin, boxing, jumping, wrestling and running events, much as their ancient antecedents did centuries before them, is a testament to the longevity of competition, triumph and defeat.
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