As religious rituals, rites of passage, and celebrations of the body, athletics were deeply woven into the fabric of ancient Greek life. Modelled after physical exercises and competitions that existed in earlier Near Eastern cultures, hundreds of athletic contests were held throughout the ancient Greek world. In the eighth century, B.C. the games held at Olympia began to surpass all others in their fame and splendour and would give rise to a world history of sport that continues to this day. Published to coincide with the return of the Olympics to Greece in 2004, this thoroughly researched book studies sport in ancient Greece over a span of a millennium and a half - from the earliest mentions of athletics in Homer's Iliad and other literary sources, through the Classical age, and into the Hellenistic, Roman, and late antique periods. With more than five hundred illustrations, the book tours the monumental stadiums, bathhouses, temples, and other structures built to host the athletic events and to house the wealth of art created to pay tribute to the athletes, gods, and heroes of the games.
When Xerxes, King of Persia, crosses the Hellespont at the head of a formidable army, it seems inevitable that Greece will be crushed beneath its might. But the Greeks are far harder to defeat than he could have imagined. As storms lash the Persian ships, & sinister omens predict a cruel fate for the expedition, Xerxes strives onward."
A deeply researched and sweeping history that redefines our understanding of the Amazons and their culture, tracking the ancient legend into the modern world and examining its significance today.Since the time of the ancient Greeks we have been fascinated by accounts of the Amazons, an elusive tribe of hard-fighting, horse-riding female warriors. Equal to men in battle, legends claimed they cut off their right breasts to improve their archery skills and routinely killed their male children to purify their ranks. For centuries people believed in their existence and attempted to trace their origins. Artists and poets celebrated their battles and wrote of Amazonia. Spanish explorers, carrying these tales to South America, thought they lived in the forests of the world's greatest river, and named it after them. In the absence of evidence, we eventually reasoned away their existence, concluding that these powerful, sexually liberated female soldiers must have been the fantastical invention of Greek myth and storytelling. Until now. Following decades of new research and a series of groundbreaking archeological discoveries, we now know these powerful warrior queens did indeed exist. In Searching for the Amazons, John Man travels to the grasslands of Central Asia--from the edge of the ancient Greek world to the borderlands of China--to discover the truth about the truth about these women whose legend has resonated over the centuries.