The Olympic Games, Ancient and Modern - 2018

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2018: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Assessment: Essay (10%) , Essay 1 (20%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2018 Fees
Domestic 809.00
HECS 820.00
International 1,059.00

This unit was previously known as HST260 The Olympic Games, Ancient and Modern.

This unit centres on the Olympic Games in broad context from their origins in the eighth century BCE, to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, as a unique way to explore the Mediterranean world through the lens of Greek culture, and the modern uses of Greek antiquity. The ancient half of the unit explores the links between religion, athletics and high culture in the Greek and Roman world, while the modern half traces the ideals of physical culture and the Olympic Games, in elite discourse and the popular mind, from the eighteenth-century enlightenment to the most recent Games.

At the completion of this unit, students will have attained:

  1. an understanding of shame-cultures and guilt-cultures, and analytical tools to trace the differences in the ancient and modern worlds
  2. an overview of the central concepts and practices of Greek and Roman polytheistic religion
  3. familiarity with the competitions held at the Olympic Games and similar athletic festivals in ancient Greece
  4. an idea of the symbolic importance of athletics and competition in constructing ancient Greek identity
  5. a conception of the impact of the enlightenment on European culture, and the role of physical culture and physical education in the complex of ideas which grew out of the enlightenment
  6. a critical grasp of the place of international athletic competition and international friendship in the rhythm of political life in Europe, America and the World in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries
  7. enhanced generic skills including assembling information to develop an argument, comparing different points of view, arguing one's own view, and finding creative ways to present ideas.
  • Essay (10%)
  • Essay 1 (20%)
  • Essay 2 (20%)
  • Non-Invigilated Exam (40%)
  • Online Discussion (10%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • HST260 — The Olympic Games, Ancient and Modern

You must have completed a Level 1 Ancient history unit before enrolling in this unit of study.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Homer, Hesiod, shame-cultures, competition and athletics
2The Olympic victor-lists and archaic Greece: sport, religion and politics
3The Olympic Games in the fifth century BCE
4The Olympic Games in the fourth century BCE
5The development of the religious landscape at Olympia
6The Odes of Pindar and aristocratic values
7The Hellenistic and Roman Olympic Games
8Were there any 'Olympics' after Theodosius?
9The Enlightenment and Europe: the path to revival of the Olympic Games
10Greece in the nineteenth century: the 'forgotten' Olympics
11Pierre de Coubertin, Demetrios Vikelas, W. P. Brooks: Athens 1896
12The Olympic Games and Politics: Berlin 1936
13The changing nature of the Olympics in the twenty-first century

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board

Online materials

  • Resources and Links

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbook information for this unit is currently being updated and will be available soon. Please check back regularly for updates. Alternatively, visit the The Co-op website and enter the unit details to search for available textbooks.

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