For more than a millennium, the ancient Olympics captured the imaginations of the Greeks, until a Christianized Rome terminated the competitions in the fourth century AD. But the Olympic ideal did not die and this book is a succinct history of the ancient Olympics and their modern resurgence.Classics professor David Young, who has researched the subject for over 25 years, reveals how the ancient Olympics evolved from modest beginnings into a grand festival, attracting hundreds of highly trained athletes, tens of thousands of spectators, and the finest artists and poets.....
Towards the middle of the fifth century AD the Christian presbyter and moralist Salvian of Marseilles
composed a highly polemical tract, On the Governance of God, in which he explained to the decadent Romans
around him how it was that the destructive presence in their midst of barbarian invaders was the result not of
God's neglect of the world but of their own moral bankruptcy. In their general comportment the Romans,
though Christians, were full of moral failings and were far more morally culpable than the slaves they owned.
Ancient Rome ruled the Mediterranean and developed a system of law and justice that is still recognized today. Increasing internal instability eventually transformed the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Weakened by internal unrest and plagued by invaders, Rome collapsed in 410 A.D.
Having spread its power to most parts of Europe, the Christian Church with its headquarters
in Rome was by the sixteenth century the most powerful source of political legitimacy and
moral authority across the territory ruled by the kings and queens of the day. Through the
doctrine of ‘divine right’, the notion that a monarch ruled by the disposition of God,
Christian Church positioned itself at the centre of the political order. This had not always been
a comfortable relationship, and the Popes at the head of the...
In every century for more than two thousand years, many men have owed their chief enjoyment of life to
books. The bibliomaniac of today had his prototype in ancient Rome, where book collecting was fashionable
as early as the first century of the Christian era. Four centuries earlier there was an active trade in books at
Athens, then the center of the book production of the world. This center of literary activity shifted to
Alexandria during the third century B. C.