The World of the Ancient Olympics Brought to Life

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The Olympic games are the most enduring athletic competition in the world. But what are the origins of this 2700-year old event? How and why did it all begin? Tracing the enigmatic, mystical genesis of the Greek Olympiad, The Olympic Games: How They All Began takes us to ancient Greece. In this six-essay compilation, some of the field's greatest scholars present a fascinating picture of the ancient Olympic Games and their devoted fans.

The World of the Ancient Olympics Brought to Life.

With the 2008 Olympic Games just around the corner, people all over the world will be turning their eyes toward Beijing to follow the most enduring athletic competition in the world. But what are the
origins of this 2700-year old event? How and why did it all begin?

Tracing the enigmatic, mystical genesis of the Greek Olympiad, The Olympic Games: How They All Began brings us on a journey to ancient Greece with some of the field's greatest modern scholars. Written in entertaining prose, this six-essay compilation presents a fascinating and sometimes amusing picture of the ancient Olympic Games and their devoted fans.

In her review essay, Jenifer Neils invokes a sense of deja vu in the modern reader as she explains that the ancient games were characterized by violence, cheating, specialized professional training and high stakes political agendas. In contrast, Michael Poliakoff strives to put some distance between the brutality of the ancient Games and the gentler, more sportsmanlike competition of the modern Olympics. He describes the fierce violence of the ancient competitions and their relative lack of rules, protective equipment, and even clothes.

David Romano offers an overview of the ancient Olympiads, discussing in detail the site of Olympia itself and the mythic origins of the original games, while Tony Perrottet takes on the question of why regular Greeks would make a long and difficult journey to a blazingly hot and overcrowded venue. Wrapping up the collection, Sudip Bose highlights the host country of this summer's Games in his examination of ancient China's complex relationship with the west, and the 5000-mile "Silk-Road" trading route that played such a major role in east/west politics for 1600 years.

The Olympic Games: How They All Began is available in E-Book format, and can be downloaded for free at http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/olympics.

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Sarah Yeomans
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