In anticipation of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, The Teaching Company has made available two free lectures that survey the ancient Greek origins of the Olympics. Presented by Jeremy McInerney, a professor of Classics at the University of Pennsylvania, these talks, each running about 30 minutes, bring you back to 776 BC, to the ancient Greeks, who competed in order to demonstrate their allegiance to the Homeric ideals of heroism, honor and manhood. You can listen to Lecture 1 here (MP3 — MP4) and Lecture 2 here (MP3 — MP4) LINKS HAVE BEEN REMOVED AT THE REQUEST OF THE TEACHING COMPANY. And, as a quick fyi, you can download a complete MP3 course on Ancient Greece by the same professor. (It’s on sale for $35.) I’ve actually listened to it, and found it to be quite good.
For more good edifying lectures, see our big collection of Free University Courses here.