Poet, Public, and Performance in Ancient Greece | Johns Hopkins University Press Books
Author Bio. Poet, Public, and Performance in Ancient Greece.
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Publication Date: Status: Available. And verse has been engraved on plaques of stone, metal and wood emblazoned at strategic points throughout the Olympic Park, for the edification of athlete and spectator alike. Yet the relationship between poetry and the Olympics goes back to the very origins of the Games. In ancient Greece, literary events were an indispensable part of athletic festivals, where fully clothed writers could be as popular with the crowd as the buff athletes who strutted about in the nude, gleaming with olive oil.
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Spectators packing the sanctuary of Zeus sought perfection in both body and mind. Champion athletes commissioned great poets like Pindar to compose their victory odes, which were sung at lavish banquets by choruses of boys. The refined cultural ambience could put contemporary opening ceremonies, with their parade of pop stars, to shame. Philosophers and historians introduced cutting-edge work, while lesser-known poets set up stalls or orated from soapboxes.
Criticism could be meted out brutally: when the Sicilian dictator Dionysius presented subpar poems in B. At other Greek athletic festivals, like those at Delphi, dedicated to Apollo, the god of poetry and music, verse recital was featured as a competitive event, along with contests for the lyre and choral dancing.
For much of the 20th century, poetry was an official, medal-winning competition in the Games. The French visionary who revived the Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, always insisted Greek-style arts contests should be allowed alongside athletics.
Poetry’s Relationship With the Olympics
The general literature category was then expanded in , and to include specific contests for epic and lyric poetry. O Sport, you are Justice! O Sport, you are Happiness!
The body trembles in bliss upon hearing your call. But the inclusion of Olympic verse quickly proved contentious, provoking an outcry from highly competitive intellectuals. London: printed for G.
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