Subject details

  • Topics
    • Homer, Hesiod, shame-cultures, competition and athletics
    • The Olympic victor-lists and archaic Greece: sport, religion and politics
    • The Olympic Games in the fifth century BCE
    • The Olympic Games in the fourth century BCE
    • The development of the religious landscape at Olympia
    • The Odes of Pindar and aristocratic values
    • The Hellenistic and Roman Olympic Games
    • Were there any 'Olympics' after Theodosius?
    • The Enlightenment and Europe: the path to revival of the Olympic Games
    • Greece in the nineteenth century: the 'forgotten' Olympics
    • Pierre de Coubertin, Demetrios Vikelas, W. P. Brooks: Athens 1896
    • The Olympic Games and Politics: Berlin 1936
    • The changing nature of the Olympics in the twenty-first century
  • Study resources
    • Instructional Methods
      • Disscusion forum/Discussion Board
    • Online Materials
      • Resources and Links

At the completion of this subject, 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.
  • Assignment 1 - Essay (10%)
  • Assignment 2 - Essay 1 (20%)
  • Assignment 3 - Essay 2 (20%)
  • Assignment 4 - Non-Invigilated Exam (40%)
  • Assignment 5 - Online Discussion (10%)

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a subject

Entry Requirements

Equivalent Subjects

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

  • MAQ-HST260

Special requirements

No special requirements

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

This subject 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 subject 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.

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