Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Department of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies

CAMS 142: Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World

CAMS 142: Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World


Wheeler, Stephen


Tues, Thurs


10:35-11:50 A.M.


Electrical Engineering West 107


CAMS 142 Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient Mediterranean World (3) (GH;IL) (BA). This course presents a comparative social history of sport in the ancient Mediterranean world. Of central interest are the culturally distinctive practices of Greek athletics and Roman spectator sports. Other topics for study and discussion include the earlier history of sport in Bronze Age Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Aegean. The course begins its survey with the origins and development of Greek athletics in the context of the Olympic Games. Students will familiarize themselves with the program of Olympic events from the stade race to the pankration. They will also learn about the athlete’s career, social status, regimen of training, and what the prize of victory was. The second part of CAMS 142 explores the history of spectator sports in ancient Rome, including the chariot races in the circus and animal hunts and gladiatorial combat in the amphitheater. Students will compare Rome’s public entertainments with Greek athletics and inquire why spectator sports evolved so differently in those two societies. CAMS 142 fulfills the Bachelor of Arts requirements in Humanities and in International Cultures.