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The Spirit and ideals of Greek Athletics

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Chapter Summary

Contests between the gods belong to the oldest myths of Greek literature. Rivalry between the deities forms an essential part of the background in the Homeric epics, especially in the Iliad. The Greek gymnasium is of interest not only in so far as it formed a centre where the agonistic ideals of Greek life were inculcated and fostered, but also because the education which it offered largely contributed to the popularization and extension of athletic imagery. Education in the gymnasium was based on the principal that everything was to be reached through training and exercise, through the maximum development of the individual with his innate latent powers. Physical beauty-especially the beauty of the naked body-and its cultivation had true meaning for life since for the Greek it was the medium for the actualisation of his personality.

Keywords: athletic imagery; Greek; gymnasium; Iliad



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