The Victor's Crown: A History of Ancient Sport from Homer to Byzantium

The Victor's Crown: A History of Ancient Sport from Homer to Byzantium


The Victor's Crown brings to bright existence the sign position of recreation within the classical international. Ranging over a dozen centuries--from Archaic Greece via to the past due Roman and early Byzantine empires--David Potter's vigorous narrative exhibits how recreation, to the ancients, used to be not only a dim mirrored image of faith and politics yet a effective social strength in its personal correct. the fervour for game one of the members and lovers of antiquity has been matched in heritage merely via our personal time.

Potter first charts the origins of aggressive athletics in Greece through the 8th century BC and the emergence of the Olympics as a preeminent cultural occasion. He focuses specifically at the studies of spectators and athletes, in particular in violent activities reminiscent of boxing and wrestling, and describes the body structure of conditioning, education options, and sport's function in schooling. all through, we meet the good athletes of the earlier and study what made them nice. the increase of the Roman Empire remodeled the carrying global through popularizing new entertainments, rather gladiatorial strive against, a really expert type of chariot racing, and beast hunts. right here, too, Potter examines activity from the views of either athlete and spectator, as he vividly describes competitions held in such recognized arenas because the Roman Coliseum and the Circus Maximus. The Roman govt promoted and arranged game as a important characteristic of the Empire, making it a type of universal cultural forex to the various population of its great territory.

While linking old game to occasions corresponding to spiritual ceremonies and aristocratic screens, Potter emphasizes certainly that it used to be the fun of competition--to those that competed and those that watched--that ensured sport's valuable position within the Greco-Roman world.

"Vivid and authoritative. Potter skillfully unearths how the gym lay on the middle of Greek existence and tradition, yet his ardour is obviously for the Olympics. while Potter strikes directly to Roman activity, issues get livelier nonetheless. He meticulously strains the origins, careers and life of athletes, gladiators and charioteers alike, and demolished a few adored myths alongside the way in which. so much gladiatorial combats it appears led to hand over, now not dying, even supposing a crowd may well good name out "ingula!" (kill!), operating their hundreds of thousands of thumbs below their throats within the unique 'thumbs up' gesture. attention-grabbing and impressive."
--James McConnachie, Sunday Times

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