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Lecture 15

Classical Studies 2300 Lecture Notes - Lecture 15: Converting Vegetarians, Contact Sport, Pankration

Classical Studies
Course Code
CS 2300
David Lamari

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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,
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
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
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