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Greek Roman Athletic

Greek and Roman sports


Ancient Greek and Roman civilization have made many enduring contributions to western civilization. Such as politics, sports, and trade are present in western society because of Greece and Rome. The Ancient Greeks and Romans have engaged a everlastingly nebulous place in our psyche, and have hence assumed a powerful place in our fantasies about many things. Running the gamut from wrestling to boomerang, Sports and Games of the Ancients spans the world to bring us collection of athletic and spirited pastimes, rituals, and contests. In Ancient Greek and Romans Sports, athletic contested very hard and it was a public display that was a trait of the religious and social life of ancient Greece and Rome (Osborne 15). The ancient athletes were untainted in mind and body and they trained and participate for no other reason than the passion for physical exercise, fair competition and to honor their gods. In this article I will to discuss the Greek and Roman attitudes toward sports.

Attitudes of the two Societies

The Greek society was unique in way because it was the first to put man at the center of the universe. Unlike the creature deities of the Egyptians and Mesopotamians, the gods of the Greeks are human in form. Man was there source of inspiration and thus loved they he would be competitive in all fields specially sports.

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The Roman society did not had the time or inclination to turn to softer, lazier, and altogether more debauched things such as sitting around and talking or writing books. Nevertheless, the Romans, unlike the Greeks, were illustrious by practicality and common sense, not by a love of abstract thought. The Roman societies imagination has too often been regarded as, at worst, deficient and derivative, and, at best, pragmatic rather than sophistic (Osborne 74). The similarity between Greek and Roman thought has I think by and large been over-simplified in modern accounts, and has not often been considered to be an interesting subject. Still both had similar paths of creation, conquest, and destruction.

How brutal were Greek sports

The ancient competition, physically, was poles apart from our modern games. There were far fewer events and only free Greek speaking men (and sometimes boys) were allowed to compete because of severity and brutality. There was no team competition, and the emphasized on individual achievement through public competition was related to the Greek ideal of excellence, called Arete. In Greece the games served at first as a constituent in various spiritual observances: Some were held in admiration of the gods, some as offerings of thanksgiving. Others, in later times, were held in honor of living people. The Greek games where brutal but with their attendant processions, feasts, and music, played an important role in developing the approval of physical beauty that is typical of Greek art and literature. The four main cycles of games were the Olympic Games, the Pythian Games, the Isthmian Games, and the Nemean Games (Kyle 48).

Was Roman sporting even more brutal then the Greek sports

The Roman games, like those of the Greeks, were partially religious in nature. However, corrupt politicians used the games to win the errands of the populace and vied with one another in the lavishness and profligacy of the games, which were held on the flimsiest of pretexts and eventually lost their original religious meaning and purpose.

Certainly warfare familiarized Romans with violence, and violent spectacles escalated with, and symbolized, the territorial expansion of the empire and the blood sports acted as a surrogate for war. Public spectacles were of various kinds. They included a gladiatorial combat, stage-plays in every quarter of Rome performed in every language, chariot races in the Circus, athletic competitions, and a mock naval battle.

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Without a doubt, the Greek games depended for their entertainment value primarily on rivalry among athletes; while the Roman games were often describe by the staging of battles fought to the death and involved large numbers of human beings and also beasts (Kyle 184). The Roman sporting was crueler because in Greece the people were often participants, whereas in Rome they were mere spectators, and only professional athletes, slaves, and prisoners usually took part.


The Greek and Roman cultures truly transformed the art of civilization. We can clearly see the love for sports in Greek and the Romans. It was through Justinian’s code, Roman law influenced civil law codes throughout much of Western Europe (Kyle 26).

We learn that the ancient Greeks and Romans shaped their own idea about the meaning of life. The Roman games were radically different from the Greek games in several respects. But still it shows the mindset of the people of that time. Without a doubt the modern Americans would find much of that sports awfully violent; particularly the hundreds of gladiator contests and animal fights, with their many public deaths of both people and wild animals. We surely learn that some upper-class Romans were dismayed at the brutality of the games but defended them as a means of directing popular anger away from the elite. The useful lessons we learn I think is of bravery and courage in the face of death.

Works Cited

Osborne, R. Studies in Ancient Greek and Roman Society. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Kyle, Donald G. Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World. New York: Blackwell Pub, 2007.

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