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Dr. Kim Shelton
Professor of Classics and Director of Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology, UC Berkeley
This lecture presents the evidence for the origins of athletics and games in the prehistoric and early historic periods of ancient Greece. Boys boxed and horse-driven chariots ran off to victory—these are the early traditions and foundation of the major contests and festivals of the Classical period, which in turn provide the inspiration for much of our modern competitive sport. Through religious ritual, social positioning, and the epic tradition of Homer, athletics and competition became a popular and essential component of the ancient Greek world.