Cover Image

Larger ImageView Larger


Greek Sports from Ancient Sources, With a New Foreword by Paul Christesen

Stephen G. Miller (Author), Paul Christesen (Foreword)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 256 pages
ISBN: 9780520274334
September 2012
$29.95, £22.95
Other Formats Available:
From the informal games of Homer's time to the highly organized contests of the Roman world, Miller has compiled a trove of ancient sources: Plutarch on boxing, Aristotle on the pentathlon, Philostratos on the buying and selling of victories, Vitruvius on literary competitions, and Xenophon on female body building. Arete offers readers an absorbing lesson in the culture of Greek athletics from the greatest of teachers, the ancients themselves, and demonstrates that the concepts of virtue, skill, pride, valor, and nobility embedded in the word arete are only part of the story from antiquity. This bestselling volume on the culture of Greek athletics is updated with a new preface by leading scholar Paul Christesen that discusses the book's continued importance for students of ancient athletics.

I. The Earliest Days of Greek Athletics

II. Nudity and Equipment

III. The Events at a Competition
a. Running
b. Wrestling
c. Boxing
d. Pankration
e. Pentathlon
f. Equestrian
g. Herald and Trumpeter
h. Music
i. Poetry and Prose Composition
j. Acting
k. Painting

IV. Organization of a Panhellenic Festival
a. Preparations at the Site
b. Preparations of the Athletes
c. The Truce
d. Preliminaries: Registration and Certification
e. Schedule, Heats, and Pairings
f. Prohibitions and Penalties
g. Officials
h. Rewards for Victory

V. Local Festivals
a. The Panathenaic Games of Athens
b. The Eleutheria of Larissa in Thessaly
c. The Bomonikai of Sparta

VI. The Role of the Games in Society

VII. Women in Athletics

VIII. Athletes and Heroes

IX. Ball playing

X. Gymnasion, Athletics, and Education

XI. The Spread of Greek Athletics in the Hellenistic Period

XII. Greek Athletics in the Roman Period

XIII. Amateurism and Professionalism

XIV. Nationalism and Internationalism
a. Relations between the Panhellenic Sanctuaries
b. Relations between City-States and the Panhellenic Sanctuaries
c. Relations between City-States at the Panhellenic Sanctuaries

XV. Beauty and Reality

Appendix: The Olympian and Pythian Programs
Select Bibliography
Index and Glossary
Sources for the Chapter-Opening Sketches
Stephen G. Miller is Professor of Classical Archaeology Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.
Paul Christesen is Associate Professor of Classics at Dartmouth College.
"A remarkable compendium of ancient sources . . . An invaluable resource for the study of Greek sport . . . What Miller’s Arete does extremely well is to show that 'nearly almost every aspect of athletics we know today existed already in that distant but kindred world'"—The European Legacy

Join UC Press

Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more