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date: 05 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The festivals of the Greek world demonstrate the power of Hellenism as a unifying ideal, together with the vitality and variety of local Hellenic practice. There is a vast array of complementary views of Greek festivals, which between them can help people to reconstruct the perspectives of spectator and competitor, citizen and foreign visitor, emperor and benefactor, cultural centres and cultural margins. That highly varied body of material makes the cultural history of Greek festivals a very rich one. This article focuses on two distinct areas. First, and at greater length, it looks at the variety of ways in which festivals were represented and experienced as manifestations of various types of community. Second, the article turns to the question of how people should read the experience and representation of athletic contest and the athletic body. Both areas raise vividly the question of links between experience and identity.

Keywords: Panhellenic games, Hellenism, Greek festivals, cultural history, athletic contest, athletic body

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