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From the informal games of Homer's time to the highly organized contests of the Roman world, Miller has compileda 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.
Stephen G. Miller is Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the Nemea Excavations. He is the author of The Prytaneion (1978), coauthor of Nemea: A Guide to Site and Museum (1990), and general editor of the forthcoming publications from the Nemea excavations, all published by the University of California Press.