Beaten to a Pulp: an Investigation into the Violence of Ancient Greek Combat Sports

Caitlan Smith

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference presentation/ephemera


Violence has been a widely studied area in the ancient world, however, these investigations have been limited to warfare, political, and domestic violence. To date, there has been no in-depth study that specifically examines the inherent violence in Greek athletics. This paper comes from my current doctoral research into the violence of ancient Greek combat sports. It examines how violent the combat sports (being wrestling, boxing, and pankration) were by comparing depictions of ancient sport with modern sports science to illuminate the highly injurious nature of ancient sport. This paper will illustrate some of these injuries that has escaped the ancient record and answer the question why there was such silence on the injury of ancient athletes when athletics was such a core part of the ancient Greek culture and society.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2021
EventClassical Archaeology Seminar Series: Semester Two 2021 - University of Sydney; The Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 17 Aug 20219 Nov 2021


SeminarClassical Archaeology Seminar Series


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