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CLAS 255 Sports, Games and Spectacles in the Greco-Roman World

Faculty: Karavas
Content: An exploration of the emergence and development of both athletic competitions and sports-based games and spectacles from the Bronze age through to the period of late antiquity, with a focus on two separate thematic entities: Ancient Greek Athletics and an in-depth investigation of Roman public spectacles and gladiatorial games. Drawing on a variety of disciplines and available sources, this course will primarily seek to examine the main purpose and function of these games and spectacles within the wider social, political, religious, cultural, and intellectual context of the times, as well as their overall significance in the daily lives of the ancients. We will also explore, by looking at re-creations and experiments that have been conducted—as well as conducting many of our own—how archaeologists and historians analyze primary sources to determine their veracity and reliability, as well as how ancient sports and spectacles have been represented in contemporary popular culture. Course includes a substantial on-site teaching component, with field trips to archaeological sites and museums of athletic significance (Olympia, Isthmia, Nemea, Delphi, and Messene).
Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Admission to the Greece Program.
Usually offered: Alternate Years, fall semester.
Semester credits: 4.