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Ancient Greek Athletics - 1.docx

Classical Studies
Course Code
CS 2300
David Lamari

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Ancient Greek Athletics
1 Introduction
The ancient Greeks defined and developed various components of culture
that we still understand is fundamental to our own
Second millennium before Christ vibrant civilization called the Minoan
o Civilization collapsed
o The time after the collapse, after the depopulation and cultural
depression became known as the Dark Ages
o The Dorian Invasion occurred and by the end of the Dark Ages, the
dominance of the Dorians in the Peloponnesos and the Ionians in
Attica and the Aegean was established
18th century Greeks began to awake from the Dark Ages
776 B.C. the Olympic Games were traditionally founded
600 B.C. Olympic Games were joined by three other games of the
Panhellenic cycle: the Pythian, the Isthmian, and the Nemean
Olympic Games of 480 athletes came from everywhere Thebes, Argos,
Syracuse, etc.
o These games went on while Athens was burning
Note the position of athletics in the Greek world
For two centuries after 270, Greece depopulated and athletics fell on hard
o In 80, only competitions for boys were held at Olympia
o Took an endowment from Herod the Great in 12 B.C. to start the
Olympic Games toward recovery
In 313, Christianity had become a major force, which lead to the end of
athletic competitions
o Athletics had always been tied to gods and goddesses in the old Greek
pantheon, so as the popularity of the gods diminished, so did that of
the games
o There is no official evidence that the games ended
Pausanias Greek that wrote about athletics, Athens, Olympia, etc.
Visual evidence of athletics marble statues of athletes, vase painting
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