Canal March

Why did the Ancient Greeks play sport?

Fernando García Romero

"Studying ancient Greek sport means studying the essential aspects of ancient Greek culture," says the lecturer Fernando García Romero, Professor of Greek Philology at the Complutense University of Madrid. For the Greeks, the practice of sport was motivated by health reasons and also by fun, but sport also symbolized civilization and played an important role in education, with its values, rules and techniques. Despite the fact that sports competitions became more and more spectacular, during the whole ancient world the practice of sports was not dissociated from its original religious dimension and its ritual functions -such as the female races that took place in the Artemis sanctuary, in Brauron-. To conclude, several myths are reviewed in which different sports techniques are described.

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