Corruption and Unfair Practices in the Ancient Olympic Games



Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The Ancient Olympic Games were organized by the Olympic Council, formed by the elites of Elis – the government of Elis, so-called "Council of Elis" – and by hellanodikai, “judges of the Hellenes/Greeks“. The Council accepted the appeal of the contestants and their coaches against the decisions of hellanodikai. Most of the games were organized by the same elites, if they were changed, it was because of war; there were no bids. It eliminated some kinds of corruption. The main questions of the paper are: Did the corruption and unfair practice exist in the ancient Olympics? What examples of these do we have? As the main evidence we will use the primary sources; we will analyze and compare them. The participation of the first woman in the Olympic Games – Kyniska of Sparta – and the intervening of Agesilaus II, the great Spartan king and Kyniska´s brother could be understood as such example of possible unfair practices. Other corruption cases were connected with Nero, the emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Typical examples of the ancient Olympic corruption were reflected by Zanes, the statues of Zeus. The data for the paper were gained mainly from primary sources (especially Pausanias, Philostratus, Plutarchos and Xenophon) and relevant professional literature (e.g. Christesen, Crowther, Golden and Miller). The methods used were a comparative method, biography method, progressive method, direct and indirect methods. As a way of processing data, the results from primary and professional literature were compared, and further the criticism of the sources, interpretation and synthesis were employed.
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