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Ancient Greek Athletics:


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About the Author

Stephen G. Miller, professor of classical archaeology at the University of California, Berkeley, directs the excavations at Nemea in Greece, one of the major sites of ancient games. He is the author of many books, including Arete: Greek Sports from Ancient Sources.


As pointed out by Miller (classical archaeology, Berkeley; director, excavations, ancient Nemea, Greece), "Plato spends long discussions on the place of athletics in education and society, yet modern books on such topics as ancient Greek history and Athenian democracy can be completely silent about athletics." In his work, intended as a handbook for all interested readers, Miller employs his impressive knowledge of both textual and material evidence to present us with a multifaceted view of athletics in ancient Greek society, including cross references to texts from his 1979 work, Arete: Greek Sports from Ancient Sources (also forthcoming in a 2004 edition). Hundreds of illustrations, many of Greek vase paintings, as well as visual evidence from statues, architecture, and sites, allow readers to see athletics as a central aspect of Greek culture. Among the book's many highlights are the attention given to the specifics of the games held at Olympia, Delphi, Isthmia and Nemea, and other locations; the nature of the sports themselves; the training process; and the evidence for women's athletics. Written with clarity and grace, Miller's work exemplifies arete, the excellence or virtue that the ancient Greeks sought to embody. For lay readers and scholars alike.-Joan W. Garland, Detroit P.L. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"Concise yet comprehensive, and wonderfully illustrated . . . the crowning glory of a lifetime's work in the field."-James Davidson, Daily Telegraph
"Excellently documented and marvelously illustrated."-Mary Beard, Times Literary Supplement

"Written with clarity and grace, Miller's work exemplifies arete, the excellence of virtue that the ancient Greeks sought to embody. For lay readers and scholars alike."-Library Journal
"Miller proves that a good scholar can write clearly and engaging about a specialised research without prostituting scholarship to entertainment."-
History Today
"There won't be a classier tie-in to Athens 2004. . . . The most vivid portrait yet of the Olympic Games as they really were."-Scotsman
"[A] richly detailed study, beautifully illustrated."-Robert Stewart, Spectator
"[A] magisterial look at the history of the Olympics. . . . Nicely illustrated . . . presenting the most vivid portrait yet of the Olympic Games as they really were."-The Scotsman
Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2005
Received rating of "Outstanding" from 2005 University Press Books Committee

"Stephen G. Miller has written the finest, most complete and most useful account of ancient Greek Athletics that I have seen. It rests on a thorough knowledge of all the literary and material evidence and adds a thoughtful and unmistakable love for his subject."-Donald Kagan, author of The Peloponnesian War
"Miller's Ancient Greek Athletics nowtakes the crown as the most complete and authoritative treatment of the subject in any language. In particular, the massive collection of illustrations and statuary is unparalleled and makes the text easy to interpret."-Frank Frost, professor of ancient history emeritus from UC Santa Barbara
"An olive wreath to Miller for producing an eminently readable, generously illustrated, and comprehensive text on Greek athletics. A must-read foreveryone interested in the role of sport in the ancient world."-Jenifer Neils, author of Goddess and Polis: The Panathenaic Festival in Ancient Athens
"Everyone interested in sports will want to own this book, which is a lucid introduction to the ancient athletics and an authoritative resource for the scholar. Miller draws on new information, some of which he himself discovered while excavating at Nemea, to show us in detail how athletes trained and how the various competitions were managed. The book introduces us to a world different from our own in which athleticism was a means of honoring the gods, while reminding mortals of their limitations, where there was one winner and many losers, and where the modern categories of professional and amateur did not apply."-Mary Lefkowitz, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, Wellesley College, author of Greek Gods, Human Lives
"Ancient Greek Athletics is terrific. A winning combination-erudite and exciting. Miller takes the crown. This authoritative and accessible handbook shows what we can-and cannot-know about Greek athletics."-Donald G. Kyle, University of Texas at Arlington

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