The Olympic Games: The First Thousand Years by M. I. Finley by Moses I. Finley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The book covers the main features of the ancient Olympic games. It doesn't get into any great detail, but covers the site at Olympia, the history and development of the program, the spectators, and officials. The authors also cover the political aspects of the ancient games and contemporaneous criticisms of the games. There are several interesting things covered: in particular, the lack of amateur/professional dichotomy moderns are seemingly obsessed with, and the deeply intertwined relationship with ancient religious rituals. It leaves a lot of questions unanswered; in particular, why do the Olympics get and then maintain the prestige and prominence in the ancient world that they do? It's a short book, but worth the quick read for anyone interested in the history of the ancient Olympics.
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