Sport and identity in Ancient Greece / Zinon Papakonstantinou

Papakonstantinou, Zinon

Edité par Routledge - 2019

From the eighth century BCE to the late third century CE Greeks trained in sport and competed in periodic contests that generated enormous popular interest. As a result, sport was an ideal vehicle for the construction of a plurality of identities along the lines of ethnic origin, civic affiliation, social status and gender. Sport and Identity in Ancient Greece delves into the rich literary and epigraphic record on ancient Greek sport and examines, through a series of case studies, diverse aspects of this process of identity construction through sport, including elite identities and sport in archaic Greece, sport and benefaction in the Hellenistic and Roman world, embodied and gendered identities in epigraphic commemoration, as well as the creation of a hybrid culture of Greco-Roman sport in the eastern Mediterranean during the Roman imperial period. Addressing central yet largely unexplored issues relating to sport and the complex processes of identity construction in the ancient Greek world this volume is the first systematic study of its kind and demonstrates the continuous centrality of sport in identity construction. It presents Greek sport as a malleable cultural practice that was intimately interconnected with other fundamental aspects of the social and cultural life of Greek communities from the archaic age to late antiquity. Throughout antiquity, sport and manifestations of identity (ethnic, civic, status and gender) responded to new challenges such as the expansion of the Greek-speaking world during the Hellenistic period and the incorporation of Greece into the Roman empire, and adapted in multiple ways. The analysis of the evidence highlights the protean nature of both sport and identities as the two interacted in different contexts. The volume makes an original contribution to scholarly debate on ancient Greek sport moving away from the traditional chronological or regional study of Greek athletics.

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