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Lecture 15

Lecture 15 - Greek Athletics and Rome.docx

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Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2300
David Lamari

Greek Athletics and Rome Athletics in Italy  There was wrestling, boxing, and tumbling on and off a horse o Jumpers springing on and off a horse  These contests existed before Roman had contact with Greece  Came from the north of Rome – the Trustcans  Could be that the athletics we see in Italy and Rome may have some connection with Greece or the Romans independently had contests in boxing, etc. Stadiums  Romans had contact with the Greeks in the second century  Romans had conquered the Greeks, they had a triumph and brought back the Greek athletes  Roman upper class were shocked by these naked oiled individuals and for a while band any further Greek style athletics o Upper class was deeply disturbed by what they saw  Rome always had an uneasy relationship with Greek athletics  Greek athletics never truly caught on in Rome o The standard answer is because Rome is a city dominated by spectacle and therefore wrestling, pankration and boxing can hold a candle to gladiatorial combat and chariot racing  The textbook disagrees with this  The textbook says that it is not due to the Roman population wanting blood – it was for other reasons  Roman emperors went out of their way to set up stadiums and festivals o They set up Isostephanitic Games  Isolympic games in Italy, offered large cash prizes o Still the Romans didn’t show the enthusiasm  Back in Greece, the athletics still continue  In the west, the popularity just isn’t there  Emperor set up festival held once ever four years in honour of Jupiter o Emperors tried to hold events to get Romans interested in athletics but it was never successful Boxing  Most popular contact sport for Romans (rules for boxing in text – testable!!!)  Greeks most popular contact sport was wrestling  Romans like to emphasize the danger of the sport of boxing – the bloodiness, the teeth falling out, etc.  The reason why boxing was so popular was because the Romans were a city not driven by an interest in competition, but driven by some sort of devastating obstacle o They weren’t interested in the art of athletics, they wanted the violence  Infames – Latin term for someone that is unspeakable o Someone of a lower, specific, social status o They were people of a specific social class o They were restricted to certain things o Could socialize with those in the upper class, could give testimony in court (their reputation didn’t count for anything), they could sign a will or hold public office o One was branded infames if you used your body for entertainment for others for pay  Singer, actor, boxer, actor, prostitute
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