Back to Press Room

July 30, 2012

CONTACT: Noah Wiener
The Biblical Archaeology Society
Phone: 202.364.3300 ext. 241



With the 2012 Olympic Games just under way, people all over the world will be turning their eyes toward London to follow the most enduring athletic competition in the world. But what are the origins of this 2700-year old event? How and why did it all begin? Find out in the Biblical Archaeology Society’s free eBook The Olympic Games: How They All Began.

Tracing the enigmatic, mystical genesis of the Greek Olympiad, The Olympic Games: How They All Began brings us on a journey to ancient Greece with some of the field’s greatest modern scholars. Written in entertaining prose, this five-essay compilation presents a fascinating and sometimes amusing picture of the ancient Olympic Games and their devoted fans.

In her review essay, Jenifer Neils invokes a sense of déjà vu in the modern reader as she explains that the ancient games were characterized by violence, cheating, specialized professional training and high stakes political agendas. In contrast, Michael Poliakoff strives to put some distance between the brutality of the ancient Games and the gentler, more sportsmanlike competition of the modern Olympics. He describes the fierce violence of the ancient competitions and their relative lack of rules, protective equipment, and even clothes.

David Romano offers an overview of the ancient Olympiads, discussing in detail the site of Olympia itself and the mythic origins of the original games, while Tony Perrottet takes on the question of why regular Greeks would make a long and difficult journey to a blazingly hot and overcrowded venue.

For any fan of the Olympic Games, this is an entertaining and educational must-read. Download your free copy of The Olympic Games: How They All Began Visit for more from the Biblical Archaeology Society, publisher of Biblical Archaeology Review.