Athletics in Ancient Greek Literature Including Pindar, Tyrtaeus, and Xenophanes

School: Emory University           Price: $20.00 USD

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Ancient Greek 317 FINAL ESSAY: this is a 10 page double spaced essay including a bibliography in which I discuss the representation of athletes in ancient Greek literature, their connections to the gods, and effect on society.

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Emory University
Taylor 1What Good is a Meathead Athlete?Through the ages, male athletes have at times been stereotyped as bumblingmasses of muscle. They make their way through life with the help of their physicalattributes and prowess and receive significant privileges as a result of their celebritystardom, public praise, and sometimes unfounded reverence, reasons for scorn by some.This portrayal is not unlike the way the young men competing in Olympia, Nemea,Pythia, and Corinth, for the PanHellenic Games, were perceived by the ancient Greeks.In ancient Greek lyric poetry of this time, Tyrtaeus scorns contestants of thegames, claiming the courage of an athlete is not close to comparable to that of a man whostands in the front lines of battle, and even then, no man is good in war unless he canendure the sight of bloody slaughter.1 On the other hand, Xenophanes professes hisdisdain for athletes by reasoning, nor is it right to prefer strength to excellent wisdom.2Victors in the ancient games, similar to athletes today, received perks such as front seatsto the assemblies and tremendous inheritance at the expense of their polis. Xenophanesremained opposed to the notion of strength being favored over intellect.If Tyrtaeus and Xenophanes believed that these athletes should not be rewardedwith public resources, and the display of their courage was not comparable to a warrior,why did Pindar appreciate them to the extent he did? Throughout his victory odes, Pindarplaces
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