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The Games of the Greek Boy

  • Walter S. Hett

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If, in two thousand years time, any research student is sufficiently interested in the life of twentieth-century Britain, he may read The Times History of the War, as we read Thucydides; he may dig up London and try to reconstruct Westminster Abbey, as the Athenians are now rebuilding the Parthenon. But if our student wants to know how the ordinary Englishman lived, and what were his amusements, he will have to read the modern novel, if indeed any have survived so long. Now the Greek had no novel. The fifth-century Athenian found living far too exciting to waste any of a short life either in reading or in writing novels, even if he had spent sufficient time indoors to cultivate a taste for either; while the Spartan would have suppressed any such attempt, and its author, with ruthless energy. Consequently we cannot turn to any such source to find out what games the Greek boy or man played. No doubt there are allusions scattered throughout Greek literature, especially in the Comedies of Aristophanes, but to give his allusions their true significance is as difficult a task as our student two thousand years hence will find it to reconstruct any phase of modern society from the pages of Punch.

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page 25 note 1 Poll. ix. 112; Plato, , Thaet. 181 A.

page 25 note 2 Eustathius, s.v.

page 25 note 3 Plato, , Phaedrus, 241 B.

page 25 note 4 Pollux, , ix. 97.

page 26 note 1 Pollux, , ix. 98.

page 26 note 2 Plato, , De Rep. 374 B.

page 26 note 3 Pausanias, , iii. II. 3, and 14. 6.

page 26 note 4 Herodotus, , i. 94.

page 27 note 1 Athenaeus, , i. 15 c.

page 27 note 2 Theophrastus, , Char. vii. 20.

page 27 note 3 Pollux, , ix. 103.

page 27 note 4 Homer, , Od. viii. 374.

page 28 note 1 B. S. A. x. 63, xiii. 212.

page 29 note 1 Plutarch, , Orat. Vit., p. 165.

The Games of the Greek Boy

  • Walter S. Hett

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