It also looks at religious elements in and critics of Roman spectacle, people other than per- formers who played an important role in staging spectacles, and the relationship between spectacle and Romanization. All books have emphases and limitations. This Companion concentrates on activities with a strong element of physical performance and does not explore all forms of ancient spectacle. More specifically, dramatic and musical performances and the Roman triumph are not discussed in detail. This is not meant to minimize their importance but to help ensure commensurability between the activities considered in the various essays and thus facilitate comparison and contrast between the roles played by sport and spectacle in the Greek and Roman worlds.
Investigations of ties or parallels between the ancient and modern Olympics, when aca- demic and not ideological, are joining a fashionable trend in cultural history to reception studies. Such works examine how later and contemporary cultures receive, perceive, and represent the cultures of earlier times.
The study of the modern reception of ancient sport and the ancient body is a burgeoning field see, for example, Kitroeff ; Goff and Simpson ; and Fournaraki and Papakonstantinou but is not included in this volume. Kyle 4 organizational Structure: Sections, parts, and Chapters After this introduction, the volume falls in into two broad sections, one on Greece and another on Rome. Each section has four parts, with some rough parallelism between Greek and Roman essays. Part I of Section I begins with an introductory essay that pro- vides an overview of sport and spectacle in the Greek world, Part I of Section II with a comparable essay focused on the Roman world.
The remainder of Part I in both Sections I and II provide essential background information, including essays on the early history of sport and spectacle in the Greek and Roman world, respectively, as well as on the relevant literary, artistic, and material evidence, and recent scholarship. Essays in both sections contextualize the activities, settings, performers, and spectators with attention to issues such as class, gender, religion, and ethnicity.
Part IV of both sections contain essays on the later ages of Greek and Roman sport and spectacle. All chapters in this volume are similarly organized; the text of each essay is followed by a list of abbreviations if any used in that essay, references, and a brief guide to further reading that directs readers to relevant general and scholarly works. Readers looking for introductions to Greek sport and Roman spectacle are encouraged to begin with essays in this volume by Donald G. Kyle Chapter 1 and Roger Dunkle Chapter 25 and the references cited therein. Greek names have been transliterated in such a way as to be as faithful as possible to original spellings while taking into account established usages for well-known people and places.
It is, unfortunately, impossible to achieve complete consistency in transliterating the names of people, places, authors, and works without detaching oneself completely from earlier conventions or ruthlessly Latinizing all Greek names and words. Some readers may also find it helpful to start with a clearer sense of the contents of each of the 43 essays that make up the remainder of this volume. It answers standard questions such as: What competitions took place, not just in the Panhellenic games but also in local festivals?
How were athletic festivals organized, who were the officials, and what were the rules and regulations? Who could compete? This essay is intended to provide a basic grounding for readers so they can better con- centrate on social history in other parts of the volume. His detailed treatment shows that sporting performances had social, spectatory, violent, and ethnic variations — and political significance — from their earliest appearance.
Among his many interesting suggestions are that Mycenaean depictions of bull sports on vases and wall paintings were intended solely for royal consumption and that, whereas boxers in Minoan Crete were probably members of high-status families, boxers in Mycenaean centers on the mainland were servile hirelings. Timothy P. The central part of his essay consists of a detailed analysis of the funeral games for Patroklos in Book 23 of the Iliad and of the games held in Phaiakia in Book 8 of the Odyssey.
An advocate of New Historicism, Nicholson surveys various types of Greek literature to demonstrate the subtleties and intertextuality of the relevant texts. Much of his essay is devoted to a careful exploration of the representation of boxing in epinikian odes. Nicholson focuses on three traits that are assigned to boxing in those odes beauty, moral excellence, and skill , and persuasively argues that the representation of boxing in epinikian odes formed part of larger debates over both the meaning of sport and the distribution of social and political power.
In doing so she makes use of many representations of sport found on Athenian vases from the Late Archaic period c. Her analysis highlights, and suggests explanations for, the predilection for scenes of athletic training on Athenian vases from that time. In Chapter 6 H. Pleket demonstrates the value of inscriptions as evidence for Greek sport. For instance, numerous inscriptions reveal that, contrary to what one might conclude from literary sources, phys- ical training in gymnasia continued to be of prime social importance in Greek communi- ties during the Hellenistic period.
The large number of publications on which Weiler touches, and the range of places and languages in which they appeared, is a vivid demonstration of the vibrancy of ancient sport history as a field of study and the international appeal of this subject. Kyle were understood by many as contests for status and supremacy between the city-states from which they came.
Christesen reviews basic information about the practice of sport in Sparta during the Classical period — bce and uses concepts and terminology taken from sociology to explore the relationship between sport and society in Sparta. Kyle explains the operation of various contests, especially in the Great Panathenaic festival, and he argues that athletics allowed Athens as a community — and Athenians individually — to display and publicize talents and resources. He also raises the question of the social origins of athletes at Athens, an issue treated more broadly in Chapter In addition to treating the physical settings and the programs of events of the Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean Games, Romano provides details of new and ongoing excavations at the sanctuary of Zeus at Mt Lykaion in Arcadia.
The subject of Carla M. Much of her essay is devoted to an exploration of sport at the city-states of Croton and Taras and the participation of the dynasts who ruled Gela, Syracuse, and Akragas at the Olympic and Pythian Games. Her nuanced explanation of the reasons why those dynasts lavishly expended resources pursuing equestrian victories at major athletic festivals in the Greek homeland includes insights into why there were no Panhellenic or even important regional athletic festivals in the Greek West.
In Chapter 13 Christesen examines a particularly important aspect of the relationship between sport and society in ancient Greece: the connection between democratization in society and in sport. Concentrating on the period between and bce, he argues that sport promoted a sense of egalitarianism and unity among newly empowered members of Greek communities that experienced significant periods of democratization and thus played an important role in consolidating and extending democratization in the Greek world.
This essay includes an excursus on the origin and spread of the fascinating Greek practice of athletic nudity, and the related development of the gymnasion. Christesen sees nudity as a claim to citizenship and privileged status for those who could afford the time and leisure for nude athletic exercises. As in many societies, education and rites of passage in Greece frequently involved physical training and sporting competitions.
He then looks at the relationship between educational practices and sport. Although privately funded education was more informal earlier, by the fourth century bce Athens institutionalized cadet training in the ephebeia, and versions of ephebic training — a marker of status and ethnicity — spread widely throughout the Hellenistic world and later the Greek East of the Roman Empire.
He uses both textual and visual evidence to explore the homoerotic, typically pederastic, relation- ships that were closely associated with athletic facilities. In regard to the first of these issues, he argues that pederasty was not a practice that stretched back into the pri- mordial ages of Greek history but was in fact something that took shape during the Archaic period.
Kyle suggests that the sporting opportunities and participation of Greek females increased during the Hellenistic and Roman eras. He looks carefully at officials in charge of running athletic contests, particularly the Hellanodikai at Olympia, and at people such as jockeys, chariot drivers, coaches, trainers, musicians, and spectators who played important sup- porting roles at Greek athletic contests.
He also explores the role of slaves in Greek sport and finds that social and legal barriers effectively prevented them from being active participants, with the caveat that those barriers seem to have eroded somewhat in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Chapter 18 is the first of two essays on facilities for Greek sport.
In that chapter Stephen G. Miller gives careful consideration to the evolution of stadia in the fifth through third centuries bce. He makes use of exciting discoveries at Nemea stadium, hysplex, tunnel, and apodyterion and elsewhere to argue that a major change in the design of athletic facilities had social and political implications for the experience of spec- tatorship in Early Hellenistic Greece.
He discusses in some detail the design, development, and athletic and social functions of gymnasia and palaistrai. This indeterminacy allowed communities to shape facilities that expressed their own unique histories, practices, identities, and aspirations. In Chapter 20 Sarah C. Murray looks at the religious context of athletic festivals and at the relationship between religion and participation in athletics. She discusses how sport became intimately connected with religious festivals, ritual elements in sport, and the possibility that a kind of religious aura was believed to surround victorious athletes.
Kyle Murray suggests that sport may have played an important role in shaping Greek reli- gion and that many athletes believed in the importance of divine support for their athletic endeavors. However, she also warns against overestimating the importance of religion in sport. Religious concerns permeated most spheres of Greek life, and in that respect the role of religion in sport was neither particularly unusual nor unusually significant.
In Chapter 21 Zinon Papakonstantinou discusses criticisms of sport found in ancient Greek sources. He pays close attention to the genres of critical texts and the agendas of their authors. The literary motif of criticism of the adulation of athletes was limited but persistent in Greek literature well into the Roman period, and philosophers, orators, and other intellectuals contested the value of athletic success. In Chapter 22 Winthrop Lindsay Adams explores the athletic practices and ambitions of Macedonians, both within and outside their homeland.
He details the opportunistic use of sport by royal Macedonians, who declared their Greek ethnicity and sought glory through participation in and victory at the Olympic Games. While some works suggest that Alexander the Great was critical of athletics, Adams shows that Alexander had a consistent policy of staging games to celebrate victories or honor dead companions while on campaign. Adams also looks at the evidence for athletic facilities and practices in Macedonia itself, notably the gymnasiarchal inscription from Beroia.
She focuses on two questions, namely, what drew the population of Egypt, particularly Greek immigrants to Egypt, to sport? Gymnasia and the practice of athletic training spread throughout Egypt starting in the third century bce, even though they did not receive the sort of royal patronage that led to the foundation of athletic contests in Alexandria from an early date. Remijsen argues that the internal political structures of the Ptolemaic Kingdom inhibited the spread of athletic contests outside of Alexandria and that it was only in the third century ce, after a reorganization of what was then a Roman province, that many Egyptian communities founded competitions.
Pleket discusses in some detail the generally positive relationship between Roman authorities and urban elites in Asia Minor with respect to the foundation of athletic contests. To prepare readers for more specialized discussions, he clari- fies terms and explains the activities, settings, and operation of these spectacles. He ends with an epilogue on Christian opposition and the decline of spectacles in the Late Empire. The Etruscans, for example, had little interest in the Greek pentathlon.
They were especially interested in watching their indigenous versions of boxing, wrestling, and horse races in the context of funeral games or public entertainments.
In addition, both essays qualify illusions of Greek and Roman uniqueness by showing that sport and spectacle were prominent and popular in earlier cultures. In Chapter 27 Zara Martirosova Torlone looks at the portrayal of sport and spectacle in Roman literature. She argues that writers work- ing in the serious genres tried to resolve what many Romans saw as a fundamental oppo- sition between entertainments of all kinds and traditional Roman virtues such as manliness and devotion to duty.
They did so by characterizing spectacle as a display of aggressive masculinity that served the interests of the Roman state. Writers working in the lighter genres, on the other hand, frequently focused on the salacious and scandalous aspects of spectacle.
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In Chapter 28 Steven L. Tuck details how the events of the Roman arena and circus inspired an enormous amount and variety of artistic production from elaborate mosaics to sarcophagi. He approaches the relevant material by dividing it into five groups based on subject matter beast hunts, public executions, gladiatorial combats, chariot races, and sport and five different groups based on context sarcophagi, amphitheaters, baths, tombs, and houses.
He stresses the importance of considering the context in which depictions of spectacle and sport originally appeared and shows that the relevant images served as status displays, commemorations of achievement, and demonstrations of Roman power. He discusses physical items actually used by participants or spectators e. Aldrete points out that whereas most art and literature was produced for the elite, who were frequently spectators but rarely per- formers at Roman spectacles, material evidence can provide a great deal of insight into people from more humble backgrounds, both participants and spectators.
He also dis- cusses the burials and bones of gladiators discovered at Ephesos and the new information they have revealed about the lives of gladiators. Kyle subject matter. He considers spectacle and sport as entertainment, as a venue for the display of political and moral ideas and ideals, and as a setting in which political leaders especially emperors and the populace could communicate with each other.
He places particular emphasis on how audiences could and did play active roles at spectacles and were thus much more than passive spectators. Greece was a land of many independent polities, and social historical questions about sport in the Greek world can be effectively pursued by examining how sport functioned in different regions or states such as Athens and Sparta. Rome, on the other hand, was itself a state, a very populous city, and the capital of the Roman Empire, and, as such, the center of a vast entertainment system.
Part II of Section II thus concentrates on Rome, which provides ample opportunity for discussing performers, spectators, and the social context of spectacles. The essays in this section examine gladiatorial combats, chariot racing, beast hunts, spectacular executions, and athletic competitions. His argument begins with insights drawn from spec- tatorship at sporting events and violent public spectacles e. He finishes by employing social psychology e. Fagan concludes that fascination with violent spec- tacles was not peculiar to Romans but rather was and continues to be rooted in human nature.
In Chapter 32 Stephen Brunet looks at the minor but intriguing phenomenon of female arena combatants. Although most performers in Roman spectacles were male, Brunet shows that some women trained as gladiators and fought against one another or against beasts, but not against dwarfs. Using evidence from literature, inscriptions, and mosaics, he explains the procedures of the races in the Circus Maximus, and the status and allure of charioteers as star perform- ers.
He delves into the emotional experiences of the spectators and fans and identifies some of the more important reasons why so many Romans from all social classes were ardent fans of chariot racing. He investigates their origins and development in Republican Rome and their persistence under the Empire; the complex infrastructure needed to procure, maintain, and transport exotic animals for shows; and the performers who fought the beasts.
He argues that the decline of such shows in the fifth and sixth centuries ce was due not so much to moral objections as to resource shortages, which made it increasingly difficult for Romans to acquire exotic animals in substantial numbers. He traces the history of public executions in Rome from their origins up through the sixth century ce, and discusses the reasons for increased judicial severity in later centuries.
Epplett shows that Romans believed that spectacular executions were important to maintaining a law-abiding citizenry and stable social order. He also points out that female wrongdo- ers were punished in particularly cruel and degrading ways because offences committed by women, who were seen as naturally suited to playing a subordinate social role, were perceived as an unusually overt threat to society. Hugh M. Nero and Domitian founded festivals and built facili- ties, Greek exercises were practiced in the baths, and Rome came to house the headquar- ters of the great athletic guilds.
This first chapter examines the Roman amphitheater, a quintessentially Roman architectural invention and enduring symbol of Roman culture. Dodge discusses the architectural origins of amphitheaters and demon- strates, with a host of examples, how the Colosseum was the model for the dispersion of that architectural form in Italy and the Western Empire.
She also notes that in the East some amphitheaters were built but more often preexisting venues were modified for Roman games. She shows that, influenced by regional socioeconomic and cultural factors, facilities varied noticea- bly in different parts of the Roman world, and that the spread of such facilities attests to the importance of Roman-style spectacle throughout the Empire, including the eastern Mediterranean.
She demonstrates that participation in and spectatorship at spectacles was a means by which varied groups from different social levels and backgrounds supported or contested social norms.
Classical Studies: Reference Works
For example, attendance at Roman-style spectacles was a mechanism some Jews used to declare their allegiance to the Roman state, while other Jews expressed resistance to Roman rule in part through rejection of Roman spectacle. In Chapter 40 John Zaleski makes it clear that religion was an integral part of Roman spectacle.
He explores the role of religion in the origination of many forms of Roman spectacle such as gladiatorial games, and discusses the idea, which has found support among many scholars, that Roman spectacle was progressively secularized and politicized. Zaleski is dubious that there was ever any significant diminution in the religious signifi- cance of Roman spectacle, and he buttresses this conclusion by looking at some of the religious objects associated with spectacle, namely statues, votive altars, and curse tablets.
She looks in detail at opposition to Roman-style spectacles from literary elites and Stoics; at opposition to Greek-style athletics from elite Romans, doctors, and intellectuals; and at Jewish and Christian objections to sport and spectacle. In Chapter 42 Michael J. Carter examines the popularity of gladiatorial combats and beast hunts in the eastern part of the Roman Empire, an area that was strongly influ- enced by Greek culture.
Carter also makes the case that responses to Roman spectacle in the eastern part of the Roman Empire were further complicated by the fact that Greeks were familiar with spectatorship through their own tradition of sport and recognized in gladiator combats a martial ideology akin to Greek athletics. Roman spectacle was not, therefore, anything like a completely foreign experience for Greek audiences.
The Byzantine gov- ernment took over the administration of the public spectacles of the hippodrome and theater, and sport, spectacle, and crowd disorder at spectacles became deeply inter- twined. Parnell discusses in some detail the types and causes of riots in Constantinople, including the famous Nika Riot of Spectacle Entertainments of Early Imperial Rome. New Haven. Coulson, W. Kyrieleis, eds. Crowther, N. Dunkle, R. Gladiators: Violence and Spectacle in Ancient Rome. Harlow, UK. Edwards, C. Hallett and M. Skinner, eds. Fagan, G. General Introduction 15 Farrington, A. Fournaraki, E. Papakonstantinou, eds.
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