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The Ancient Olympics: A History Paperback – June 8, 2006

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0192806048 ISBN-10: 0192806041 Edition: First Edition

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Editorial Reviews


`Review from previous edition Excellent... fascinating background reading for anyone planning to watch Athens 2004.' Sunday Times

`Spivey's prose is always full of flavour and The Ancient Olympics must rate as one of the most enjoyable and intelligent books about the ancient Greeks currently on the market.' James Davidson, Daily Telegraph

`Absorbing... crammed with information about the sporting events themselves' The Spectator

`For the real story of the Olympics this is the ideal read: a very lively look at the games from ancient to modern.' Publishing News

`Spivey is an ideal companion for this fine journey through Greece - past and present. We find out what Olympia represented in Antiquity and how the Olympics have become a part of the Western psyche.' Bettany Hughes, historian and presenter of The Spartan and Seven Ages of Britain

About the Author

Nigel Spivey teaches the classics at Cambridge University. He is the author of Understanding Greek Sculpture: Ancient Meanings, Modern Readings, Greek Art, Etruscan Art, and Enduring Creation: Art, Pain, and Fortitude.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (June 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192806041
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192806048
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.9 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,054,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Randleman on August 30, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I cannot praise enough the excellence of Nigel Spivey's research and presentation involved with the ancient Olympics.

The craftsmanship of his narrative is first-rate and there is a refreshing candor and lack of romanticizing regarding this event and the times surrounding it.

Mr. Spivey may be remembered from his presenting of "The Queens and Kings Of England" on the Biography Channel. He is a charming host on this particular documentary and one can see his sincere interest in putting forth well done research in a way to include the viewer outside the convention of a professor ponticificating to his classroom.

A perfectly wonderful book by a perfectly wonderful writer!

Thomas Lee
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By naes0323 on August 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting book about the history of the Olympic Games. Helpful and informative. Definitely recommend.
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2 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Betty Burks on July 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The anicent Greeks at Adelphia considered the original Olympics a 'civilized mode of war without the shooting.' The aim was winning at any cost (like American politics today), as the losers were called and looked down on as failures in disgrace. He dwells on boy athletes and shows a marble statue of the naked David minus one arm and a hand.

Why did the early Greek athletes compete naked? Did it have something to do with sex or did they have perfect bodies? Why did the Romans change the games in Olympia and make it more civilized? There the Greeks raised their sporting prowess to heroic status.

The historian, Bettany Hughes, wrote that this book shows "a number of hand-picked historical characters (which) bring us face to face with ... the ruthless business of winning the games." Nigel Spivey includes a photo of the naked wrestlers in marble. This is an erotic book. The poster for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics shows a naked combatant.

There is a drawing of the Olympic Zeus in the original Parthenon, a huge six-story-tall fixture similar to the modern Athena statuary in the Nashville, Tennessee, Parthenon. He has written many books among which are PANORAMA OF THE CLASSICAL WORLD and UNDERSTANDING GREEK SCULPTURE.
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