More than a sporting competition, the ancient Olympic Games were dedicated to the Greek gods. They continued through 1000 years of evolution, wars and political change. In the ancient games to win was everything.
‘In the entire history of the ancient world no other people was so passionately fond of exercise and training, or had such a highly-developed sense of competition. Repeated submission to the test, the insistence on improvement and striving to be the best were evident in ancient Greek military operations, formed the basis of education and culture, and were inherent in philosophy. Athletics were regarded by the ancient Greeks as an ideal of the highest order, relevant to religion and social life.’ – E. Spathari
The exquisite objects featured in this book – sculpture, grave markers, votive offerings, ceramic vessels, sporting equipment – have miraculously survived through time. Together with the essays, they tell us about the rituals and sports of the ancient games and their significance within the mythology and society of the ancient Greeks.
A co-production by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and the Powerhouse Museum. Published in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name at the Powerhouse Museum 15 July to 15 November 2000, part of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival.