This is the first book on athletics in the Hellenistic era, with 16 contributions covering a range of historical, archaeological and philological perspectives. Previous scholarship has focused primarily on the classical age and the Roman imperial period, but it was in the Hellenistic age that Greek sport saw several important developments: the spread of Greek athletic culture in the East following the campaigns of Alexander the Great, the foundation of new athletic contests, and the emergence of a professional association of athletes. Topics discussed in this volume include how agonistic victories were exploited in legitimating (some) Hellenistic kings, the value placed on athletic prowess in the lively urban culture of this time, the role of sport in defining Greek identity, and the changing modes of representation of athletic action in literature and the arts. In emphasizing the central place of athletics in Greek culture, these papers offer new insights and will have far-reaching implications for our understanding of the wider political and social history of the Hellenistic period.
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