Stephen G. Miller. "Arete: Greek Sports from Ancient Sources"



Stephen G. Miller. Arete: Greek Sports from Ancient Sources
University of California Press | 2004 | ISBN: 0520241541 | 251 pages | File type: PDF | 5 mb
From the informal games of Homer's time to the highly organized contests of the Roman world, Miller has compileda trove of ancient sources: Plutarch on boxing, Aristotle on the pentathlon, Philostratos on the buying and selling of victories, Vitruvius on literary competitions, and Xenophon on female body building. With nearly 50 percent more texts than the highly successful second edition, this new version of Arete offers readers an absorbing lesson in the culture of Greek athletics from the greatest of teachers, the ancients themselves, and demonstrates that the concepts of virtue, skill, pride, valor, and nobility embedded in the word arete are only part of the story from antiquity.

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The Greek word arete comes down to us inextricably connected to the athletics of ancient Greece and laden with a plethora of meanings. A definition
of arete would include virtue, skill, prowess, pride, excellence, valor, and nobility, but these words, whether taken individually or collectively, do not
fulfill the meaning of arete. Arete existed, to some degree, in every ancient Greek and was, at the same time, a goal to be sought and reached for by
every Greek. It cannot be translated by a direct one-to-one equivalent into the idiom of modern American English, and even though the context of a
particular use of the word may refine its meaning in that context, the word arete still carries with it a notion of ephemeral excellence and of transient
triumph that makes its translation an exceedingly risky business. In addition, the word arete has imbued ancient athletics with an aura of the quest
of man for perfection, a quest which at least in the eyes of moderns was isolated from more practical matters such as politics and economics.
Arete incompletely understood has thereby dimmed our picture of the realities of antiquity and has robbed us of many of the real lessons to be learned from ancient athletics.

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