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First published: 4 May 2000
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company, published 4 May 2000
ISBN: 0316853909, Hardcover, 384 pages
Size: 21.6 x 13.8 x 3.4 cm
Publisher: Abacus, published 1 Feb 2001
ISBN: 0349113165, Paperback, 384 pages
Size: 19.6 x 12.4 x 2.8 cm
Publisher: Hachette Digital, published 5 Nov 2009
ISBN: B002TZ3E52, Kindle edition, 384 pages
Book synopsis (The back of the book says)
Two thousand, seven hundred and seventy-six years ago a group of men ran between two piles of stones, and invented sport. If, that is, its history can be believed.A book about the first ever Olympian Games in 776BC.
It's is about Tom Holts view on the Millenium:
'Olympiad' is my two cents' worth for the Millennium; I got the idea when I realised that we only think it's going to be 2000 next year because the Christian church fixed the date of the birth of Christ in accordance with the Roman system of recording history by time elapsed since the (mythical) foundation of Rome by (two brothers who never actually existed, called) Romulus and Remus, which in turn was fixed by reference to the Greek system of recording history by time elapsed since the (legendary) foundation of the Olympic Games by (the entirely fictitious half-god half-human hero) Hercules in 776BC (except, of course, it wasn't 776BC *then*, it was the First Olympiad, only it wasn't, because there were no records at all in 776BC, since writing wasn't even invented till about fifty years later...); in other words, our entire concept of history is based on misunderstandings of some very old fairy-tales, which is what prompted me to make up some more untrue history, as if there wasn't enough already. Basically, it's a book about lies, legends and historical fact, and how there's really nothing to choose between them.
Other people's reviews of this bookLeander's review from August 2012
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