Thomas Heine Nielsen: Two Studies in the History of Ancient Greek Athletics.

I) A Survey of the Proliferation of Athletic and Equestrian Competitions in Late Archaic and Classical Greece.
II) The Prestige of a Nemean Victory
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2018. 300 pages with six maps. 200 DKK.

The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.

Scientia Danica · Series H · Humanistica · 8 · vol. 16.

ISSN 1904-5492 · ISBN 978-87-7304-412-4.

New publication from The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters:

Two Studies in the History of Ancient Greek Athletics.

I) A Survey of the Proliferation of Athletic and Equestrian Competitions in Late Archaic and Classical Greece,

II) The Prestige of a Nemean Victory

by Thomas Heine Nielsen               

This book presents two studies in the history of ancient Greek athletics. The first study is a survey of the number of festivals with athletic and equestrian competitions which existed throughout the Greek world in the late Archaic and Classical periods. It is demonstrated that athletic festivals were celebrated in far greater numbers than usually assumed.

The second study discusses the symbolic value and prestige of athletic victories achieved at the sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea in the Peloponnese, by focusing on the value attached by victorious athletes and their home communities to such victories and by situating the contests at Nemea in the competitive landscape of late Archaic and Classical Greece delineated in the first study. It is concluded that the prestige of a Nemean victory outshone by far that of a victory in any of the numerous athletic festivals which did not form a part of the great Big Four of the Olympic, Pythian, Isthmian and Nemean festivals.