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Why did sport, an elite pastime, escape the usual criticism of such activities in democratic Athens? This is a bold and novel exploration of this question, which examines the links between three of the fundamental aspects of Athens in the classical period - democratic politics, commitment to sport and constant warfare.
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'This is a vigorous and valuable book, supported by a thorough familiarity with the ancient evidence and with modern scholarship. It is also timely, as our democracies (surely the most sports-mad societies since the Greeks) return to the use of war as an instrument of policy.' Mark Golden, University of Winnipeg
'Dr Pritchard's book is the first book-length study of athletics in classical Athens since 1987 and the first of its kind ever: a penetrating inquiry into the position occupied in Athenian life and popular thinking by athletics. It will put the study of this subject on an entirely new footing.' Thomas Heine Nielsen, SAXO Institute, Copenhagen
'Revealing interrelationships among three major and still topical themes in the history of the most famous and best-attested Greek city-state, Dr Pritchard's thorough and detailed work argues that sport, democracy, and war shared positive notions of effort, value, and virtue, notions that spanned the classes of citizens and assisted social cohesion ... [Pritchard] suggests that, paradoxically, there was democratic support by common Athenians - including sailors in Athens' expanded navy - for what are often seen as elitist athletic activities. He shows how sport and war came to be seen as positively symbiotic in democratic Athens ... With fresh interpretations of Athenian satyr plays, popular culture, and military and festival expenditures, this major study will certainly stimulate lively discussion about ancient sport, democracy, and war.' Donald G. Kyle, University of Texas, Arlington and author of Athletics in Ancient Athens and Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World
'Pritchard's monograph is a significant achievement. For those interested in any or all of its three components - sport, democracy and war - it is recommended reading. For those interested in Athenian culture, however, it should be considered absolutely essential.' Jason Crowley, The Journal of Hellenic Studies
David M. Pritchard is Senior Lecturer in the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics at the University of Queensland. He has held research fellowships at Macquarie University, Sydney, the University of Copenhagen and the University of Sydney. In 2013 Dr Pritchard was the Charles Gordon Mackay Lecturer in Greek at the University of Edinburgh. He has edited War, Democracy and Culture in Classical Athens (Cambridge, 2010) and co-edited Sport and Festival in the Ancient Greek World (2003). He is currently finishing a monograph on public spending in democratic Athens.
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