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Ancient sport made a huge if indirect contribution to the literature of ancient Greece, since some sixty poems by Pindar and Bacchylides ('epinikian odes'), written to commemorate victories, survive from the Classical period. This book is a collection of essays about that literature, and about the social and physical context for which it was written. The editors assembled an internationally distinguished team of speakers for the original 2002 seminar series held in London, and these papers form the backbone of the book. But to ensure coherence and comprehensive coverage, they have commissioned three further papers, and have themselves written a long thematic Introduction. The result is a stellar team of authors, and a book which looks at an important literary phenomenon in light of the latest archaeological and sociological insights, as well as evaluating the poetry both as poetry and as a performance genre with distinctive characteristics.
Catherine Morgan is Professor of Classical Archaeology, King's College London.
1. Introduction ; I ; 2. The origins of the festivals, especially Delphi and the Pythia ; 3. Origins of the Olympics ; 4. Pindar, athletes, and the early Greek statue habit ; 5. Fame, memorial and choral poetry: the origins of epinikian poetry - a historical study ; 6. Epinikian eidography ; 7. Pindar's poetry as poetry: a literary commentary on Olympian 12 ; 8. Pindar, place and performance ; II ; 9. Debating patronage: the cases of Argos and Corinth ; 10. Elite mobility in the west ; 11. 'Dolphins in the Sea' (Isthmian 9.7): Pindar and the Aiginetans ; 12. Thessalian aristocracy and society in the age of epinikian ; III ; 13. 'The entire house is full of crowns': Hellenistic agones and the commemoration of victory ; 14. 'Kapetoleia Olympia': Roman emperors and Greek agones ; 15. Conclusion: the prestige of the games
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