Cover image for Ancient Greek athletics
Ancient Greek athletics
Miller, Stephen G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
ix, 288 pages : illustrations (some color), maps ; 27 cm
Introduction -- The world of Greek athletics -- The origins of Greek athletics -- The crown competitions: the events at Olympia, Delphi, Nemea, and Isthmia -- The sites of the crown competitions -- The Olympic games, 300 B.C.: a reconstruction of a festival -- The money games at Epidauros, Athens, Larissa, and Sparta -- Women and athletics -- Athletes and heroes -- Sport and recreation -- Training: the world of the gymnasion and the palaistra -- Athletics as entertainment in the Hellenistic and Roman periods -- Professionals and amateurs -- Politics and the games -- Athletics and society -- Arete.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV21 .M55 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Published in the year the modern Olympic Games return to Athens, this book will be a source of information and enjoyment for anyone interested in the history of athletics and the origins of the world's most famous sporting event.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

As pointed out by Miller (classical archaeology, Berkeley; director, excavations, ancient Nemea, Greece), "Plato spends long discussions on the place of athletics in education and society, yet modern books on such topics as ancient Greek history and Athenian democracy can be completely silent about athletics." In his work, intended as a handbook for all interested readers, Miller employs his impressive knowledge of both textual and material evidence to present us with a multifaceted view of athletics in ancient Greek society, including cross references to texts from his 1979 work, Arete: Greek Sports from Ancient Sources (also forthcoming in a 2004 edition). Hundreds of illustrations, many of Greek vase paintings, as well as visual evidence from statues, architecture, and sites, allow readers to see athletics as a central aspect of Greek culture. Among the book's many highlights are the attention given to the specifics of the games held at Olympia, Delphi, Isthmia and Nemea, and other locations; the nature of the sports themselves; the training process; and the evidence for women's athletics. Written with clarity and grace, Miller's work exemplifies arete, the excellence or virtue that the ancient Greeks sought to embody. For lay readers and scholars alike.-Joan W. Garland, Detroit P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This fine book marks the coming-of-age of the study of ancient Greek athletics as scholarly enterprise. During the last quarter of a century, scholars have gradually ceased to foist onto ancient Greek athletics the romantic ideology of the modern Olympic movement and have tried instead to view the ancient games in the context of ancient Greek cultural and political values. As the excavator of Nemea--the site of one of the four premier Greek athletic festivals--and the author of an excellent collection of ancient sources concerning Greek athletics, Miller (classics, Univ. of California, Berkeley) is ideally suited to this task. Five chapters discuss the origins and history of the games and their socio-political significance, but at the core of the book are the 11 chapters that use archaeological and textual evidence--the author includes 291 illustrations and numerous primary source quotations--to reconstruct the physical reality of Greek athletics. Particularly valuable are the vivid reconstruction of the ancient Olympic program and the lucid discussion of the evidence for female athletic contests in ancient Greece. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All collections; all levels. S. M. Burstein California State University, Los Angeles