What Olympic Ideal?

“Everything about the ancient Olympics was darker, rougher, more brutal than its modern counterpart — no matter how much more competitive the modern Games have become since their inception, in 1896, as a tribute to the spirit of gentlemanly amateurism. Ancient Games had their origins as somber celebrations of death.” Daniel Mendelsohn writes here in the NY Times Magazine.

And here Bernard Knox reviews The Ancient Olympics by Nigel Spivey, and Ancient Greek Athletics by Stephen G. Miller, in the NY Times Book Review.