2004
Volume 54 Number 2
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573

Abstract

Abstract

Most studies of the ancient Olympic Games focus on the Classical period. This is a bit surprising, as it has been established that the Hellenistic and Roman periods constituted the hey-days of Greek sport. In the Hellenistic period, a shared sports and festival culture was one of the main ingredients of an imagined community of Greek cities stretching from southern Italy as far as the Tigris, and beyond. In the Roman Imperial period, sport flourished even more. With Roman support an integrated festival network arose with an empire-wide pull but gravitating in the Eastern provinces. Olympia was the active centre of this system. In this overview, I shall first discuss the athletes who gathered in Olympia, and then the reputation and attractiveness of the Games. I shall conclude with a discussion of some material aspects of the sanctuary.

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