Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Ancient Olympics by Nigel Spivey

We hear much about the Olympic ideal, of how the modern Olympics are a reflection of the ancient, 'pure' Olympic ideal.

Nothing could be more removed from the truth about the ancient Olympics!

In this erudite, yet extremely easy to read book, Nigel Spivey turns his expertise on to a very interesting look at what the ancient Olympics were really like.

Cheating and bribery were common, contests were not only fierce but incredibly bloody because the Olympics were not a gentile exercise in unity of mankind, they were war without the killing. Well, without a great deal of killing because as Spivey points out some Olympic clashes proved to be fatal to some of the Olympians.

Spivey also has some interesting facts on the origins of the Olympics and dispels some myths, too. For example, there was no Marathon race in the ancient Olympics and victory really was all.

It will be of great interest to fans of the modern Olympics and those studying the history of ancient Greece. It is in paperback, published by the OUP at £9.99.

1 comment:

  1. Not a gentile exercise? Does this mean only Jewish athletes participated?

    :)

    Sorry, I simply couldn't resist. I hadn't heard of this book but I'm definitely adding it to my NETBR list. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about it.

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