Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

To demonstrate the growth and sophistication of ancient sport studies, this chapter surveys Greek athletics and Roman spectacles from their origins to their overlap in the Roman Empire. It notes trends, debates, and new discoveries (e.g., of victory epigrams, agonistic inscriptions, gladiator burials). Revisionists are exposing traditional ideologies of sport and spectacle rooted in Victorian idealism and moralism. Challenging the traditional amateurist scenario of early athletic glory and tragic decline, they suggest continuities, transitions, and cultural discourse. Questioning Olympocentrism and the “exceptionalism” of Greece and Rome, studies now favor broader chronological, geographical, comparative, and inclusive approaches. Scholars are rethinking the significance of sport and spectacle for society, identity, spectatorship, violence, gender, and the body. Forgoing sensationalistic approaches to the shows of the Roman arena, scholars now suggest that gladiators were professional performers whose preparations, combats, and rewards had “sporting” aspects.

Keywords: amateurism, ancient, athlete, gladiator, Greece, Olympia, revisionism, Rome, spectacle

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.