Sport and Spectacle in Antiquity

Course code AHIS3500
Not available in 2016


The course traces the origins of sport in the Greek world through to the gladiatorial spectacles of the Roman arena. It focuses upon its role in the celebration and definition of cultural identity, the impact of sporting success upon competitors and their places of origin, its impact upon spectators, its significance as a cultural phenomenon and the uses to which it was put by individual rulers and states, especially spectacle as entertainment and propaganda. Attention is also paid to the representation of athleticism, notions of manliness, and beauty in literature and art.


Not currently available.

Learning Outcomes

1. Identifying the literary and archaeological sources on sport and spectacle in the Greek and Roman words and gaining an understanding of their coverage and limitations.

2. Developing a critical approach to the study of sport nd spectacle in the Greek and Roman worlds.

3. Developing an appreciation of the importance of sport and spectacle in society and its relevance to the social structures in the Greek and Roman worlds.

4. Developing an ability to formulate opinions about and analyses of the importance and relevance of sport and spectacle in the Greek and


  • Greek ideals of manliness, beauty, and excellence
  • The origins of sport in the Greek World
  • The Greek Competitive Festivals
  • The promotion of cultural identity in the Greek World
  • Games and Religion at Rome in the Republic
  • The Gladiatorial 'Munus'
  • Spectacle and propaganda in the early Roman Empire
  • The Arena: Spectators and Participants
  • Spectacle and Civilisation

Assumed Knowledge

20 units at any level in Ancient History or History

Assessment Items

Written Assignment: Source Analysis Exercise

Essay: Essay

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Tutorial Paper

In Term Test: Class Test

Contact Hours


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 13 Weeks