As might be expected, there has been a pile of attention in the popular press being paid to the ancient version of the Olympics and I figured it would be a useful thing to gather a bunch of them together in one post to give you some way to kill time while you were waiting for the opening ceremonies, or if you wanted to read something instead of watching the opening ceremonies, or whether you missed the opening ceremonies, or whether the opening ceremonies made you wonder what the ancients did. ‘Nuff said? Ecce and enjoy … you should be able to kill a couple hours with this one:
First and foremost, the fine folks at Cambridge Journals have made a huge selection (20+) of articles available (for free) which touch upon the ancient Olympics/athletics in some way:
I mentioned this as a Blogosphere post, but it bears repeating … the Ancient Olympics blog has a feature on the Ancient Opening Ceremonies, such as they were (and there’s plenty of other items of interest at the AO blog, of course):
A video break … the Iris Project’s Lorna Robinson talks about the Olympics 2012 project (tip o’ the pileus to the Classics Confidential folks):
Ages ago, BBC Magazine had a nice feature on the ‘basics’ of the ancient games:
Tip o’ the pileus to Arthur Shippee for drawing our attention to an NPR interview with Tony Perrottet about poetry and the Olympics:
You can get a sense of the focus of the London Evening Standard‘s feature on Olympia and the ancient games from the headline:
In a similar vein is the Daily Mail‘s offering, which actually is a semi-review of Neil Faulkner’s A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics:
Margaret Butler (Tulane) has some commentary on the ancient game v. the modern ones which will be showing up in various forms this weekend, I suspect:
Self-explanatory, from the University of Sydney (tip o’ the pileus to John McMahon):
Greek Reporter seems to not have liked a British Documentary:
We can do some more clearing of our email box by noting that the Nemean Games revival also has been getting some press attention … first (and most recent), an ITV news report:
… and from the Spenborough Guardian (the date on this is today, but it’s older):
… and the other Guardian … they also have video:
And now some more videos which I came across in my idleness (not recent, but useful):
An Emory-sponsored lecture by Dr. Hans-Joachim Gehrke on excavations at Olympia:
I suppose we should include the Horrible Histories coverage:
… and since I still can’t find a video of Boris Johnson’s complete performance of Armand D’Angour’s ode, here’s a performance of the first part of a modern adaptation of Pindar’s first Pythian:
He arrived in Greece in the ’70s as a young archaeologist aspiring to bring to light the kingdom of legendary Ulysses or, at least, the palaces of King Phillip of Macedon. Destiny, however, and the University of California at Berkeley, led Dr. Stephen G. Miller to Nemea in the Peloponnese, southern Greece, where he unearthed the ancient stadium of the Nemean Panhellenic Games.
In an interview with ANA-MPA’s “Greek Diaspora” magazine, Miller said the excavation was carried out very cautiously, and frequently with bare hands.
“The first time I visited Greece I felt a sense of national identity,” he said, adding: “I felt that I’ve always belonged here and will belong here forever.”
Dr. Miler recently spent nine months at the site, despite the fact that he is no longer the director of the excavations. Moreover, he has played a decisive role in the revival of the Nemean Games in their ancient form. Participating athletes are obligated to wear attire similar to those worn by their fellow athletes during antiquity.
“I believe that this re-enactment and revival of the ancient Nemean Games makes us all feel a part of this magnificent Greek history,” he says.
Referring to propaganda attempts following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia to cast doubt on the Hellenic nature of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia, he said the ancient Greeks of the 7th century BC considered the Macedons as fellow Hellenes, adding that “their Greek identity is obvious given that the inscriptions of the ancient Macedons were written in Greek”.
Furthermore, based on the archaeological findings, the Macedonians participated in the Games of Nemea as one of the Greek tribes and this is an indisputable fact.
Turning to another subject, he said the New Acropolis Museum is exceptional, and stressed that the British Museum no longer has any excuse to keep in London the Parthenon Marbles, “the epitome of ancient perfection, the cornerstone of Western civilisation, of beauty and symmetry.”
“If my hand was missing, wouldn’t I ask for it back? The answer is self-evident,” he continued.
He stated that isolated sculptures such as the Aphrodite of Milos (Venus di Milo) or the Nike of Samothrace would continue to be on display at the Louvre, or other such artifacts in museums throughout the world, in order to showcase the perfection of the ancient Greek spirit.
“But the Parthenon Marbles must be returned to their home, to be housed in the New Acropolis Museum, to complete their historic whole,” he added.