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Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World (Ancient Cultures) Paperback – 8 Sep 2006


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Winner of the 2008 Book Award of the North American Society for Sport History "A masterful compendium of our current state of knowledge in the ever–expanding field of ancient sport, covering a wide range of historical periods and civilizations. As such, Sport and Spectacle will become an indispensable work of reference for students in courses on ancient sport and researchers who are not very familiar with the field. At the same time, Kyle is cognizant of the latest scholarship and engages with it closely, often in an insightful and original manner. As a result, Sport and Spectacle is also an invaluable scholarly contribution ... In short, this is a book written with knowledge, enthusiasm and wit. It will be enjoyed and employed for decades to come." International Journal of the History of Sport<!––end––> “A pioneer in the resurgence of research on Greek sport … No–one is better qualified to write an English–language synthesis on sport and spectacle in the ancient world. This book does not disappoint … Whatever place and time Kyle examines, fresh and persuasive insights abound.” Bryn Mawr Classical Review "Here one will find not only impressive breadth of coverage (from 2000 BC Mesopotamia to the banning of gladiatorial combats in AD 404), but also detailed analysis based upon a solid theoretical platform of ancient sport studies." Greece and Rome “There are many plums in this rich and well–illustrated pudding of a book. . . Do not hesitate to put in your thumb.” Paul Cartledge, Times Higher Education Supplement “Donald Kyle has given us both a broad overview and a richly detailed examination of ancient sport. It is a mature work, the result of a lifetime of research into the subject, and an extremely important addition to it. This book brings us the current status of our knowledge and will have lasting importance.” Stephen G. Miller, University of California, Berkeley

Review

“There are many plums in this rich and well–illustrated pudding of a book. . . Do not hesitate to put in your thumb.” – Paul Cartledge, Times Higher Education Supplement “Donald Kyle has given us both a broad overview and a richly detailed examination of ancient sport. It is a mature work, the result of a lifetime of research into the subject, and an extremely important addition to it. This book brings us the current status of our knowledge and will have lasting importance.” –Stephen G. Miller, University of California, Berkeley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Insightful and fascinating--even scholar's will learn from this 7 Dec 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
A terrific book, well written and with new insight drawn from archaeology about the use of sport and spectacle in the ancient world.

Kyle traces a direct line between the games from the late Bronze age, right up through the end of the gladiatorial contests in the fall of Rome. The Minoans painted frescoes of acrobats and dancers, boxers and people leaping unto bulls--and showed the bulls occasionally goring one of the athletes.

The Olympic games brought status and glory to the winning athletes. "Pindar suggests girls and women swooned when a victor returned to Cyrene. Art and poetry show that males swooned too" (p 89).

Women were not allowed to attend the games, but maidens were. This tradition was actually for the benefit of the men. "Fathers brought eligible maidens to the male Olympics seeking marriage arrangements (p 227).

It was the Romans who would bring games to their horrifying and extravagant peak, with vast sums of money lavished upon exotic beasts, gladiatorial combats, and incredible spectacles of battles.

Kyle argues that influences on the games came from many different strands. The Greek games. 'Royal hunts" of imported animals from the Near East. Previously, many historians believes Rome "adapted gladiators from the Etruscans as a form of funerary human sacrifice turned into deadly competition" (p 279), although many scholars today disagree. From Hannibal "Rome encountered the custom of having animals abuse rebels or criminals (p 268).

Gladiators, like the winning Greek athletes, became superstars in Rome. "Death and victory were probably the only options for the first gladiators, but later gladiators metrited imiproved chances of survivl" (p 283).

Most people today tend to recall the Christians killed in the arena. However, "against the perspective of aggravated executions, the executions of Christians...seem less bizarre...They frustrated and angered crowds by accepting death bravely and calmly in the arena" (p 329).

You must have this one!
Excellent Analysis 1 April 2013
By bonnie_blu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent review of sport and spectacle in the ancient Mediterranean world. The author examines evidence for the origin, meaning, and purposes of sport and spectacle for the Hittites, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, and more. He debunks many long-standing myths about the ancient olympics, the "purity" of archaic Greek sport, and Roman gladiatorial combat. For anyone interested in the history of sport and spectacle in human cultures and how ancient practices compare to today's sports and spectacles, this book is a must.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Insightful and fascinating--even scholar's will learn from this 7 Dec 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A terrific book, well written and with new insight drawn from archaeology about the use of sport and spectacle in the ancient world.

Kyle traces a direct line between the games from the late Bronze age, right up through the end of the gladiatorial contests in the fall of Rome. The Minoans painted frescoes of acrobats and dancers, boxers and people leaping unto bulls--and showed the bulls occasionally goring one of the athletes.

The Olympic games brought status and glory to the winning athletes. "Pindar suggests girls and women swooned when a victor returned to Cyrene. Art and poetry show that males swooned too" (p 89).

Women were not allowed to attend the games, but maidens were. This tradition was actually for the benefit of the men. "Fathers brought eligible maidens to the male Olympics seeking marriage arrangements (p 227).

It was the Romans who would bring games to their horrifying and extravagant peak, with vast sums of money lavished upon exotic beasts, gladiatorial combats, and incredible spectacles of battles.

Kyle argues that influences on the games came from many different strands. The Greek games. 'Royal hunts" of imported animals from the Near East. Previously, many historians believes Rome "adapted gladiators from the Etruscans as a form of funerary human sacrifice turned into deadly competition" (p 279), although many scholars today disagree. From Hannibal "Rome encountered the custom of having animals abuse rebels or criminals (p 268).

Gladiators, like the winning Greek athletes, became superstars in Rome. "Death and victory were probably the only options for the first gladiators, but later gladiators metrited imiproved chances of survivl" (p 283).

Most people today tend to recall the Christians killed in the arena. However, "against the perspective of aggravated executions, the executions of Christians...seem less bizarre...They frustrated and angered crowds by accepting death bravely and calmly in the arena" (p 329).

You must have this one!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good study book 25 Feb 2014
By Scott D Galletly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used this book as study material for University essays and found it to be very good, full of detailed and useful information. But quite a dry factual book to read, not a sunday afternoon reading book.
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