The University of Wisconsin Press

Archaeology / Ancient History / Sports / Classical Studies

The Archaeology of the Olympics
The Olympics and Other Festivals in Antiquity
Edited by Wendy J. Raschke
With a new Preface

Wisconsin Studies in Classics
William Aylward, Nicholas D. Cahill, and Patricia A. Rosenmeyer, Series Editors

“A very welcome contribution to sport history, social history, and archaeology [that] merits careful reading.”
—Michael B. Poliakoff, Journal of Sport History

The Archaeology of the Olympics presents a stirring reevaluation of the Olympic Games (and related festivals) as they actually were, not as the ancient Greeks wished—and we still wish—they might have been. Historians, archaeologists, and classicists examine the evidence to ask such questions as, How did the athletes train? What did they eat? Can we trace the roots of the games as far back as the Bronze Age of Crete and Mycenae? Or even to Anatolia, where similar athletic activities occurred? Were the ancient games really so free of political overtones as modern Olympic rhetoric urges us to believe?

Wendy J. Raschke is professor of classics at the University of California, Riverside.


“The Olympic Games went on for more than a thousand years, and all over the Greek world there were more and less large and celebrated local athletic contests. . . . [This] collection of essays gives a good idea of that range.”
—Jasper Griffin, New York Review of Books

“Wendy Raschke is to be congratulated not only for sensitive editing but for contributing an insightful introduction and epilogue that succeed in harmonizing disparate material. Indeed, the merits of the book are many, and not the least of those is its diversity and scope.”
American Journal of Archaeology

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March 2002
LC: 87-040150 DF
328 pp.   6 x 9   33 b/w illus.

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Paper $19.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-11334-6
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