This introductory chapter begins by providing background material on Greek athletics and the main epinikian poets, especially Pindar. It examines the curious parallels between modern attitudes to Pindar, Thucydides, and Homer who as an undoubtedly shared and powerful influence must never be lost sight for a moment when conducting a comparative analysis. Evidence for the dating of Pindar's odes is considered, and the shared athletic milieu is then discussed and evidence is provided that Thucydides was well aware of its importance. It is argued that he sees the great military contest of the Peloponnesian War in a Pindaric, athletic way.
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