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The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Ancient Games
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The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Ancient Games

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3.74  ·  Rating details ·  256 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
What was it like to attend the ancient Olympic Games?

With the summer Olympics’ return to Athens, Tony Perrottet delves into the ancient world and lets the Greek Games begin again. The acclaimed author of Pagan Holiday brings attitude, erudition, and humor to the fascinating story of the original Olympic festival, tracking the event day by day to re-create the experience in
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 8th 2004 by Random House Trade Paperbacks
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Bandit
Apr 27, 2014 rated it liked it
This is my third read by the author and the first one where historical aspect dominates the book. Usually it's a balance between history and a travelogue. So this one is somewhat less humorous, but nevertheless interesting, well written and informative. Olympic games back in the day certainly were not what we're used to now, a wholly different (and very naked) kind of spectacle is presented here. Once again the author makes history come alive with his wit, erudition and attention to detail. This ...more
Marilyn
Another informative and engrossing read by Tony Perrottet - as informative as his book about following in the footsteps of ancient Roman tourists Route 66 Ad , and written without academic jargon.

Perrottet guides us through how the judges, the priests, the athletes, the spectators, and the refreshment and souvenir sellers may have experienced the five days of the ancient Olympic games: training, getting to Olympia, finding food and drink, sacrificing to Zeus and other deities, poets and philosop
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Constanza Gomez
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good and informative book, although I didn’t like that quotes lacked source (like he says “as Homer tells” and don’t address the work and lines]. It’s very frustrating nit knowing where to look in the original sources.
And it was a bit messy sometimes, but the appendixes are very useful.
A'Llyn
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lively account of what it must have been like to attend and/or compete in the ancient Olympic games, with lots of entertaining asides and historical detail.
Jerry Smith
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, sport, 2013-read
Very enjoyable, easy read. Certainly not for you if you are looking for serious scholarly information, but that isn't the intent of this book. It sets out to explain what the ancient games were really like, especially for those attending. TP also covers the competitors, the nature of the competitions themselves, the judges and the whole structure of the 5 day festival that was the Olympic games.

I have been to Olympia, and it remains one of the most atmospheric places I have ever visited. Much of
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Jay Daze
Feb 10, 2015 rated it liked it
A lot of interesting factoids about the ancient olympic games using the five days of the games as a way of structuring the book. While there was lots of interesting stuff about how the games have always been profession, corrupt and basically gross, I found there wasn't much of a narrative through line (I'm mostly a fiction reader), so I found the book a little too easy to put down and pick up. More bathroom reading than urgent reading. That said, the writing was clear, the facts were interesting ...more
Sam Johnson
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
To quote Gertrude Stein, there's no there there. The writing is fine, but the book could have easily been cut down to a long piece in the New Yorker. It feels padded. There are plenty pf passages in which Perrottet invokes what have to be legends to make his narrative seem like a recounting of fact:

In one famous tiebreaker at Nemea, a certain Demoxenos of Syracuse jabbed out with his outstretched fingers, pierced the skin covering his opponent's rib cage, and pulled out his intestines. The judge
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Vicki Cline
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ancient-history
This is a reconstruction of what the Greek games at Olympia must have been like. Perrottet describes events in chronological order, starting with the arrival of the athletes at the nearby town of Elis, through the day-by-day athletic events, with asides about training, evening debauchery, and cheating, among others. I was amazed at the large amount of detail available from ancient sources. Also included are many illustrations of various events found inside Greek drinking cups. The only lack was ...more
Don
Aug 19, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Really interesting description of the ancient Olympics... the angle is terrific: Here's what it's like for the athletes and fans heading into and during the games at Olympia. This book dispells many myths surrounding the Olympics -- and enlightens us that the glory of sport was just as overbearing as it is today (for all the good and bad -- corruption, greed, sex, etc. -- it just is what it is, and what it ain't, that's all).
Janis
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Those who think history is boring might want to try Tony Perrottet – especially his fascinating and entertaining account of the ancient Greek Olympics. He explores the original Olympics as experienced by athletes and spectators, from the moment purple-clad heralds announced the sacred games, to ancient workout routines and diet plans, the details of the often-brutal contests, the wild festivities, and the clean-up afterwards. I learned a lot and had fun all along the way!
Eric
Aug 04, 2014 rated it liked it
A good historical reference for many of the interesting Olympic traditions that have come about because of the ancient games in Greece. Although the author can be quite dry and boring at times, there are numerous adequate references and cited material for many of the now similar Olympic events that took place in ancient Greece. Not a very stimulating or exciting read but one that is helpful to understanding the Olympic traditions.
Clark Knowles
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fantastic book. For anyone who follows the Olympics, this is a must read. The ancient Olympics ran for 1200 years--mind boggling, really. Tony Perrottet reveals the bloody, drunken, naked religious and athletic festival in all its glory. It sounds like a cliche, but he really does allow the reader to "feel like they are there."
Nathan
A lighthearted popular history of the original Olympic Games that should appeal mainly to armchair enthusiasts of Greek history. While impressive scholarship or exhaustive research is not the order of the day, there is enough to satisfy - and entertain - the casual reader.
Paige
Jan 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs
Shelves: non-fiction
I wasn't sure how to rate this. At first I liked it, as it was very informative. But I guess it got a little graphic for me, and it later became a little uncomfortable for me to read... maybe I just wasn't ready to know THAT much about the ancient games! ;)
Alix
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
A bit repetitive at times, but for a nonfiction book this was pretty good. I actually enjoyed the time I spent reading it and it was the perfect mix between story and fact. Would recommend, even though I doubt I will ever read it again.
Tina
Jul 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Some interesting tidbits about the Ancient Olympics, a little dry in parts.
Catherine
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great read during my trip to Greece which included a visit to Olympia
Kathy Wojo
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Such a fun book to read! I borrowed this book from my library but will now buy it so when the next Olympics come around I can dazzle my friends with fascinating tidbits of Olympic history.
Jennifer
Jun 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I would give this book a 3.5 or 4. Perrottet covers many aspects of the original Olympics despite the difficulty of finding primary sources. Good historical overview.
Colin
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scholarly-works
A friend got me a copy of this book signed by the author and inscribed to me - it's pretty cool.
Thany
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting read, even for someone who couldn't care less about the Olympics.
Kimberly
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent short soup to nuts treatment of the Olympic Games on Antiquity. Crisply executed. Good read.
Alec
Apr 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Tony Perrottet has a great ability to describe ancient life in a vivid and entertaining manner. I really liked this book!
Diane
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
An interesting book about the early Olympics in Greece. More on http://bookwinked.wordpress.com
Jenine
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
A brisk review of the history of the ancient Greek Olympic games. I was happy to see this author's appreciation of Courtesans and Fishcakes.
Laurie
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, non-fiction
Very interesting facts about the ancient Olympics. They weren't like I really thought at all. Well worth reading.
Marilyn Shapiro
Oct 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Good read, especially in conjunction with our recent trip to Greece and the visit to the 1876 Olympic stadium.
Daniel Morgan Potts
rated it liked it
Apr 07, 2016
Liliana
rated it really liked it
Oct 11, 2017
Alex
rated it it was amazing
Aug 30, 2012
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“It was an excellent place to be if you wanted to hear crowds of wretched philosophers heaping abuse on one another—an endless number of historians reading out their imbecilic writings—innumerable poets reciting their drivel to the wild applause of other poets—gaggles of magicians showing their tricks—throngs of fortune-tellers telling fortunes—countless lawyers perverting justice—or armies of peddlers hawking whatever rubbish came to hand. . . . —DIO THE GOLDEN-TONGUED, C. A.D. 100 ONCE” 1 likes
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