Similarly, Christesen's collection of material and extensive bibliography has made it much easier to introduce students to the intricacies of Greek chronology, especially if Jacoby's Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker and similar works are not readily available.Christesen's first chapter lays out the rationale for undertaking this study.
On the other hand, the fact that Christesen is able to establish a connection between the limited remains of Aristotle's anagraphai and authors such as Pausanias suggests than many of the stories about early athletes and the games that figure prominently in later authors derive from Aristotle, even if the connection cannot be proved.In addition to collecting material of interest to later scholars, Aristotle and Callisthenes made one other essential contribution, the decision to number groups of Pythian victors starting from the beginning of the games and then to extend this practice to Olympic victors.Chapter three provides a synoptic view of anagraphai, histories of the Olympic games that included registers of victors. Our understanding of the content and format of anagraphai depends largely on Aristotle's work in this area: the fragments of his Olympic anagraphe, the slightly better attested anagraphe of the Pythian games he completed in conjunction with his pupil Callisthenes, and the sections of the Pindaric scholiasts and Pausanias' account of Delphi and Olympia that Christesen argues were dependent on Aristotle.This discussion is followed by an examination of what Christesen terms "standard catalogs." These lists of Olympic victors represented an outgrowth of anagraphai but lacked any information beyond a listing of names and circulated as independent documents. In addition, we have fragments of Eratosthenes' Olympic anagraphe and his work appears to have resembled Aristotle's closely.The importance of Olympic victor lists, though, is revealed by the overview he provides here of the many authors including Aristotle, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and Eusebius whose works depended heavily on Olympic victor lists and whose desire to organize history in this fashion illuminates the processes of Greek historical thinking.
Since his audience may not be knowledgeable about the Panhellenic festivals, he includes a brief introduction to the history of the games as it relates to his later chapters.Christesen does not explore the potential ramifications in great detail but cases that come to mind include the dates of many early authors, the connection between the Messenian wars and Spartan history (cf. 112-122, appendix 10), and whether Pheidon of Argos was responsible for a standardization of weights and measures, along with the introduction of coinage.For sports historians, certain of the supposed facts about the early games also come into question.Notably, Spartan dominance of the games early on may have simply been the result of Hippias packing the early Olympiads with Spartan names (pp. Christesen is also able to adduce a new solution to the vexed question of when athletic nudity was introduced (pp. In short, Orsippos was the first athlete to be crowned naked but the 720 B. date assigned to Orsippos was the result of guesswork.This would resolve the conflict with Thucydides' claim that nudity had only been introduced shortly before his time. C., at which point they were rendered obsolete by local histories and specialized accounts of the games (how such accounts differed from anagraphai is not made entirely clear).While individual authors of Olympic victor lists, notably Julius Africanus, have received considerable attention, surprisingly no large scale investigations exist of all the types of ancient literature in which catalogs of Olympic victors play a major role.