Fulfills the L & S breadth requirement in Social and Behavioral Sciences.
In this course we will explore athletic competitions and other sports and spectacles (e.g. music performances) in the Greco-Roman world. Students will familiarize themselves with venues of competition and athletic facilities; with the major athletic festivals of Greece, like the Olympic Games, and their lesser—but no less interesting—local counterparts; with the famous (and less famous) athletes of antiquity, and the praise their success generated in the form of artistic creations (statues, poems, etc.). Students will learn about state sponsorship of athletic contests and cheating; about the role of women in sports and about heroes. They will eventually investigate what happened to the athletic and musical competitions of the Greeks under the Romans, and how the Romans created new types of sports and other spectacles, at which men faced beasts and the winner’s ultimate prize was his own survival. Each week select ancient sources (in translation) highlighting specific topics will be discussed in class. Students will also be trained to critically interpret the relevant archaeological evidence.