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"Sinn (University of Wurzburg) has directed several important excavations at Olympia, and here he "tries to sketch [Olympia's] develop-ment into the arguably most famous sanctuary in the Mediterranean." Sinn argues that Olympia was not always a place for famous athletic games; and by the time written records appear at-testing its fame for athletics, the sanctuary was already 400 years old. In summarizing the extant records on Olympia, then, Sinn is particularly concerned to reveal details about worship at the sanctuary in its earliest times. In thirteen succinct chapters, Sinn summarizes what is known about the origins of Olympia, the struggles for power over it, worship at the oracle, the athletic games, how different philosophers reacted to Olympia's image, particularly of the athletes, how festivals and games attracted tourists and what they did, and Olympia's benefactors, such as Alexander the Great, Mummius, and Nero. Although Sinn focuses on primarily Greek Olympia, i.e., until the Romans overtake it, he gives an overview and helpful chronological summary (through the sixth century CE) in the last chapter. With glossa-ries of personalities in Greek and Roman history and mythology, this is probably the most accessi-ble introduction to and overview of Greek Olympia.
Religious Studies Review"
Karen A. Elliott
"The following review appeared in the March 2001 issue of CHOICE:
This work of a German archaeologist (Univ. ofWurzburg) who has been active in excavations at the site of the ancient Olympic Games has relatively little to do with sport activities. The greater part of the book describes the history of various buildings and monuments and the role of the site in Greek religion, society, and politics.Read more ›
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