Flicking through an old issue of Lapham's Quarterly (Volume III, Number 3, Summer 2010), the theme is Sports and Games.
The classical excerpts are interesting in their level of gore and violence. It is interesting to see a very different vision of the value of human life.
An excerpt from Virgil was particularly violent. Here a boxing match ends with the victor smashing the skull of the bull that is the prize for the match.
Trusty friends conducted Dares back to the ships,
dragging his wobbly knees, his head lolling from side to side
spitting clots from his mouth, blood mixed with teeth.
what power I had in my prime, and from what a death you rescue Dares now!
standing over against the bull's head steadied there,
the battle's prize, he drew the iron gauntlet back
and rearing up for the blow, swings it square between
both the horns, crushing the skull and dashing out the brains,
and dying, quivering, down on the ground the beast sprawls.