Nederlands Instituut Athene


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One of the most fascinating elements of Greek history is the festival culture that was developed from the Archaic period onwards, best known through the great games at Olympia, with a virtually uninterrupted history of more than 1200 years. Festivals were a means of tightening relations between humans, gods, and political power and became more and more prominent in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. At the same time they were increasingly focused on the element of spectacle. Sport and theatrical contests were organized by cities throughout the Greek world.

This course focuses on the spectacular flourishing of this festival culture in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, when hundreds of new contests and festivals were set up, resulting in a 'global' festival system. We shall examine this development against the background of wide-ranging social and political changes. Greek festivals were rooted in local religious and civic traditions, but they were also a major factor in building a new interconnected (Greek) world dominated by Hellenistic kings and Roman emperors.

This course will be of interest to historians, classicists and archaeologists, historians of religion or sport and to anyone interested in the classical origins of modern Olympics.

This course is organised in collaboration with OIKOS and the University of Groningen. An excursion to Greece, with a visit to the main festival sites and a study period in the Netherlands Institute at Athens is an integral part of the course.

Click here for the Course description

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Nederlands Instituut Athene

Makri 11
GR-11742   Athene Griekenland

Tel.: +30 210 9210760
Fax: +30 210 9210770
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