A Visitor's Guide to the Ancient Olympics, By Neil Faulkner

 

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The Independent Culture

Imagine 100,000 people thronging Glastonbury at its most squalid. Cross that with the unwashed aggression of an old-style stadium. Then factor in a vast open-air brothel (straight or gay) and a site-wide whiffy barbecue. Crowd control? Hygiene? First aid? Sportsmanship? Don't be funny.

As for the main events, running, jumping and fighting climax with the Pankration, "a relentless struggle to win by inflicting maximum pain".

Professionalism, bribery, political arm-twisting: take that all as read. A neat idea, stylishly executed, Faulkner's "guide" returns us to Olympia in 388BC. Would you have enjoyed it?

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