How is sport in contemporary society related to sport in earlier civilizations? Why is the expenditure of energy involved in sport considered exhilarating, while the equivalent expenditure of energy in other contexts can be dispiriting? David Sansone offers answers to these questions and advances a revolutionary thesis to account for the widespread phenomenon of sport. Drawing upon ethnological findings to demonstrate the ritual character of sport, he explores the relationship between ancient Greek sport and sacrificial ritual and traces elements common to both back to primitive origins.
David Sansone is Professor of Classics at the University of Illinois, Urbana.