The victor’s crown

victors crown(Photo credit: Quercus Editions Ltd.)

(Above image shows the title of the book (The victor’s crown) and the name of the author (David Potter) against a red background with the image of a crown shape made from gold coloured leaves)

With the London Olympics drawing nearer, sport and its place in society are very much in the news at the moment. What is sport and why do we love it?

The Victor’s Crown is an engaging book in which David Potter takes a look at the role of sport in the ancient world. He begins with an analysis of the way competitive sport emerged in Greece during the eighth century BC, before moving on to the original Olympic Games, the disciplines in which athletes competed and the conditions for the participants and spectators.

Our own current obsession with all things sporting pales in comparison to the way in which organised games saturated the culture and politics of the ancient world. The Ancient Greeks devoted more space to recording athletic endeavour than they did to political events.

However, many of the features of the ancient Olympics will be familiar to sport fans today – the competitors with their entourages, the huge crowds, the inevitable politicisation of the event.

We meet the great athletes of the past and discover what it was that made them so great. The rise of the Roman Empire transformed the sporting world by popularizing new forms of entertainment (chiefly a specialized form of chariot racing and gladiatorial combat).

Potter shows us what it was like to be a fan and a competitor, and how to fight like a gladiator.

The Victor’s Crown is not just a history of ancient sport, but also an examination of the role sport has played throughout history.

You can find further details of The Victor’s Crown on the main catalogue (available in ‘Catalogues’ on the Library’s website)