Ancient greeks

Were the Ancient Greeks shameless?

Last week Mary Wakefield discussed the virtues of her ‘Victorian’ education, designed to stiffen the upper lip of the young and to ensure they understood that they were in second place to their elders and betters. She avoided the word ‘guilt’ and its associations with ‘shame’, which were taken to be the aim of such education. Ancient Greeks would have applauded her. Their word for ‘shame’ – aidôs – had very different connotations. The word plays an important part in Europe’s first works of literature, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. For example, when Andromache, wife of the Trojan hero Hector, suggests he retreat from battle, he says he would feel aidôs

Bad sports, from the ancient Greeks to the present

Sports history, writes Wray Vamplew, is sometimes ‘sentimental, reactionary and built on the implicit assumption that the sporting past was a better place in which to play games. It wasn’t.’ His own account — the fruit ofa career’s work — is so shapeless that it often reads like the encyclopaedia that he claims he didn’t want to write. The emeritus professor of sports history at the University of Stirling hasn’t managed to assemble his own narrative. But if there is one to be extracted from Games People Played, it’s this: contrary to popular opinion, we may be living in sport’s golden age. Perhaps the best bits of the book are