Chapter Twenty-Seven. The Culture of Competition

  1. Kurt A. Raaflaub Professor Director2 and
  2. Hans van Wees Professor3
  1. Nick Fisher Professor

Published Online: 17 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444308761.ch27

A Companion to Archaic Greece

A Companion to Archaic Greece

How to Cite

Fisher, N. (2009) The Culture of Competition, in A Companion to Archaic Greece (eds K. A. Raaflaub and H. van Wees), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444308761.ch27

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Brown University, USA

  2. 3

    University College London, UK

Author Information

  1. Cardiff University, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 10 APR 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631230458

Online ISBN: 9781444308761



  • culture of competition;
  • origins of Greek athletics;
  • development of crown and money games;
  • wrestlers and spectators on the shoulder of a black-figure Athenian vase;
  • Rewards To The Victors - high value attributed by all Greek communities to contests;
  • purposes, training, and professionalism - to hope for athletic success, culminating in Olympic victory, a strong ambition for Greeks;
  • competition and politics in the Late Archaic Period - Pindar's epinicians;
  • competitive participation and advance to democracy - Cleisthenes' Athens


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction: The Origins of Greek Athletics

  • The Development of Crown and Money Games

  • The Rewards to the Victors

  • Purposes, Training, and Professionalism

  • Competition and Politics in the Late Archaic Period: Pindar's Epinicians

  • Competitive Participation and the Advance to Democracy: Cleisthenes' Athens