The Greatest Games: Stories from the Ancient Olympics

Opening 2021 

Competitors at the ancient pan-Hellenic games (the Olympian, Nemean, Isthmian and Pythian) participated in a range of events designed to showcase their skills and endurance. These agones (contests) included well known events such as boxing and wrestling, various foot races, chariot and horse races, and the pentathlon, as well as more unusual contests in music and poetry. The games were important competitive, religious, social, and artistic events that illuminate concepts at the heart of Greek society, such as the importance of physical and mental ability, and the role of the gods in earthly success. Victorious competitors were celebrated at home and abroad with statues, special privileges, songs and poems. 

The Greatest Games introduces audiences to the stories of notable victors at the ancient games. Through artefacts held in the RD Milns Antiquities Museum, and loans from partner institutions, the exhibition will consider themes of victory and defeat, the cost of failure, bribery and cheating, commemoration, ritual, and ability in the ancient games.

Museum Partners:
John Elliott Classics Museum, University of Tasmania
Classics Museum, Australian National University
University House, Australian National University