What was it like to attend the Olympics in 388 B.C.? Would the experience resemble Olympic festivals as we celebrate them today? This remarkable book transports us back to the heyday of the city-state and classical Greek civilization. It invites us to enter this distant, alien, but still familiar culture and discover what the Greeks did and didn’t do during five thrilling days in August 2,400 years ago.
In the Olympic Stadium there were no stands, no shade—and no women allowed. Visitors sat on a grassy bank in the searing heat of midsummer to watch naked athletes compete in footraces, the pentathlon, horse and chariot races, and three combat sports—wrestling, boxing, and pankration, everyone’s favorite competition, with virtually no rules and considerable blood and pain. This colorfully illustrated volume offers a complete tour of the Olympic site exactly as athletes and spectators found it. The book evokes the sights, sounds, and smells of the crowded encampment; introduces the various attendees (from champions and charlatans to aristocrats and prostitutes); and explains the numerous exotic religious rituals. Uniquely detailed and precise, this guide offers readers an unparalleled opportunity to travel in time, back to the excitement of ancient Olympia.
About Dr. Neil Faulkner
Neil Faulkner is research fellow at the University of Bristol, fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and codirector of several field projects. A freelance archaeologist and historian, his previous books include Apocalypse: The Great Jewish Revolt against Rome and Rome: Empire of the Eagles. He lives in Herts, UK.
“Forget London 2012. Want to know what it was like to attend the Olympics 2,400 years ago? Then pick up a copy of Neil Faulkner’s A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics. Written in the style of a travel guide, the book tells you everything you would want to know—including how to get there, where to stay, and what to eat—about attending the Olympics in 388 B.C.” —Jason Zasky, Failure Magazine
“A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics should appeal to a broad set of readers.”—N.S. Gill, About.com
A VISITOR’S GUIDE TO THE ANCIENT OLYMPICS
The Washington Post Book Review – June 1, 2012 (Excerpt)
Walk for days and miles along treacherous roads in the heat of the summer. Fight crowds of thousands for a place to camp. Search for water. And, by all means, try to steer clear of the fetid trash and waste that breed disease all around you. (Read: no trash cans and no toilets.)
These are the conditions described in archaeologist Neil Faulkner’s new book, “A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics,” a manual for any would-be Games-goer in ancient Greece. Faulkner discusses such mundane details as currency and finding your way around the Olympic Village, but he also gives ample coverage to the five-day competition. On getting a seat in a stadium built for 40,000 people that is packed with 100,000, he says, “Many find themselves sitting on lower slopes of the Hill of Kronos; it is some distance from the action, but it does afford some relief from the merciless crush further down.” About the opening ceremony, which takes place 36 miles from the Olympic Village, he writes: “Be aware that this is a solemn religious ritual. . . . However, expect a great deal of pushing and shoving as people struggle to get a view, and, towards the back of the crowd, where no-one can see, arguments [are] breaking out among the bored and fractious.” [Read the full article...]
THE LONDONDERRY AIR
Testament of an Ulster Gunman A Novel by Garrad Gawler
It all changed for Charles Cunningham, a Physics teacher at the local College of Technology in the County Derry town of Maddenstown, on a June afternoon in 1973 when a bomb exploded in his neighborhood. He answers an advertisement by the UDR, the Ulster Defence Regiment, but, in the time to come, he will experience the consequences of his decisions, and how his involvement complicates matters with family and friends, Protestants and Catholics alike, to an unexpected degree.
With “The Londonderry Air – Testament of an Ulster Gunman” Garrad Gawler describes in minute detail and with an astonishing level of authenticity not only the inner workings of the Ulster Defence Regiment, but also the activities of underground paramilitary groups of regular citizens who planned and carried out the assassination of suspected Republican terrorists in their neighborhood.
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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