Les Mercredis de l'Antiquité - a lecture series offered by the Musée des Moulages (Paul-Valéry-Montpellier 3 University), the Musée Fabre, Lattara - Musée Henri-Prades archaeology site, ComUE Languedoc-Roussillon Universités and LabEx ARCHIMEDE.

Sport in Antiquity.
Shows of strength in the ancient Mediterranean.

In the first Olympic Games of the modern era, held in Athens in 1896, we are aware of the apparent links between our own sporting habits and those of the Greeks and, to a lesser extent, the Romans.
For the Greeks, the foundation of the Olympic competitions in 776 BC has sometimes even been thought to mark the start of a common calendar for all Greek cities.
The Iliad includes a long description of horse-racing and sporting trials. In the 6th century BC, a kind of sporting mindset emerges, borrowing many of its values from the aristocracy. In the classical and Hellenistic periods in Greece, sport was practised in a gymnasium, often in liaison with preparations for war. Public sporting and horse-racing shows were used to honour the gods. In the Roman world, sporting habits do not have entirely the same origins. They are also linked to funerals. Later on, they took place mainly in amphitheatres and were eventually associated with the imperial cult.
This culture of shows of strength lasted until the end of Antiquity, disappearing at the same time as Greco-Roman polytheism.

Christophe Chandezon, Professor of Ancient History, Paul Valéry / Montpellier 3 University
Rosa Plana, Professor of Archaeology, Paul Valéry / Montpellier 3 University


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Website: www.univ-montp3.fr/node/44


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