Games and Festivals

Jason König

in The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199286140
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Games and Festivals

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  • Classical Studies
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  • Religion in the Ancient World


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The festivals of the Greek world demonstrate the power of Hellenism as a unifying ideal, together with the vitality and variety of local Hellenic practice. There is a vast array of complementary views of Greek festivals, which between them can help people to reconstruct the perspectives of spectator and competitor, citizen and foreign visitor, emperor and benefactor, cultural centres and cultural margins. That highly varied body of material makes the cultural history of Greek festivals a very rich one. This article focuses on two distinct areas. First, and at greater length, it looks at the variety of ways in which festivals were represented and experienced as manifestations of various types of community. Second, the article turns to the question of how people should read the experience and representation of athletic contest and the athletic body. Both areas raise vividly the question of links between experience and identity.

Keywords: Panhellenic games; Hellenism; Greek festivals; cultural history; athletic contest; athletic body

Article.  5721 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Greek History ; Religion in the Ancient World

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