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Dave Lunt - Southern Utah University. Cedar City, UT, US

Dave Lunt

Department Chair, Associate Professor of History | Southern Utah University


History expert, specializing in ancient Greece, ancient Greek athletics, and the history of the olympic games


Dr. Dave Lunt is an associate professor of history at Southern Utah University. His research focuses on the history of athletics in ancient Greece and his published articles include articles on the role of sports in ancient Greek, the campaigns of Alexander the Great and the myth of Prometheus.

Fluent in both Latin and Greek, Dr. Lunt enjoys infusing his classes with culture, history and a sense of wonder for the ancient world. His research has taken him all over Greece and Italy focusing on how ancient and modern athletics reflect and interact with society, religion, culture, social issues, politics, and mythology.

A native of Salt Lake City, Dr. Lunt earned both his bachelor degree and master degree in history from the University of Utah. He earned his Ph.D. in ancient history from Penn State University.





Dave Lunt Publication



loading image loading image Faculty Tenure 2019 loading image


Meet Our Professors: Dave Lunt, History The Crown Games of Ancient Greece by David Lunt [SUU Distinguished Faculty Lecture]


Industry Expertise (3)


Writing and Editing


Areas of Expertise (15)

American History

Ancient Greece


Ancient Greek Athletes

Classical Studies


History of Athletics

History of the Olympic Games

Olympic studies

Politics in Ancient Greece


Sports and Religion

Sports History

Sports in Ancient Greece

Sports in Society

Education (3)

University of Utah: B.A., History

University of Utah: M.A., History

Penn State University: Ph.D., Ancient History

Accomplishments (1)

Distinguished Educator Award (professional)

Southern Utah University, 2018

Affiliations (3)

  • Society for Classical Studies
  • Archaeological Institute of America
  • North American Society for Sport History

Languages (2)

  • Latin
  • Greek

Media Appearances (6)

5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Ancient Olympics

Fox 13  online


Dr. Dave Lunt, an assistant history professor at Southern Utah University, has spent more than 16 years studying Greek history and offered five insights on what you don’t know about the ancient Olympics.

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Apostle vacancies could mean shift in LDS leadership

The Spectrum  


Dave Lunt, an assistant professor of history at Southern Utah University, has studied LDS cultural identity and the forces that shape it. He describes the 25 percent vacancy in the quorum as “monumental.” If the new apostles truly are younger than the current members — Elder David A. Bednar is the youngest at 63 — they could have similar cultural influences that have shaped their worldview somewhat differently than their senior colleagues, Lunt says...

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Two Studies in the History of Ancient Greek Athletics. Scientia Danica. Series H, Humanistica 8, 16

Bryn Mawr Classical Review  print

Thomas Heine Nielsen’s recent contribution to the study of ancient Greek athletics is a welcome addition to the field of ancient athletic contests and festivals. This book is exactly what it claims to be—two independent studies focused on a pair of carefully circumscribed questions about archaic and classical Greek athletics. Since Nielsen splits the two questions into separate studies, this review will examine each independently.

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David Lunt talks The Crown Games of Ancient Greece with the New Books Network

University of Arkansas Press  online

David Lunt, author of The Crown Games of Ancient Greece: Archaeology, Athletes, and Heroes has been interviewed by Reyes Bertolin on the New Books Network.

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30 Fascinating Facts To Raise Your Curiosity About History

Bored Panda  online


The subject of history is a bottomless pit of interesting facts. The deeper you delve into it, the more information there seems to be waiting to be unveiled, which is part of what makes it fascinating. And with seemingly no end in sight, browsing history-related facts can be even more enthralling.

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7 Sports of Ancient Greece

History  online


The ancient Greeks, who staged the first formal Olympic Games in 776 B.C., gave the world the idea of organized big-time sports events as entertainment for arenas full of spectators. More than that, they were the first culture in which people idolized their favorite athletic superstars, to a level that even today’s most fanatical sports fans might find extreme.

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Articles (4)

Sanctioned Violence: Dealing (with) Death in Ancient Greek Athletics



In ancient Greek society, the killing of an athlete in a combat sport during athletic competition presented a problematic situation. On the one hand, an unnatural death required legal inquiries and proceedings to assess blame and damages, and to ward off religious pollution, or miasma. On the other, athletes who demonstrated such a degree of power and might that they could kill an opponent with their bare hands deserved recognition and acclamation as successors to the heroic tradition. This legal quandary epitomizes the tension in Classical Greece between the individual as aspirant to heroic status, and the individual as adherent to the norms that sustained the community. In an effort to negotiate this predicament, ancient Athenian laws specifically addressed involuntary athletic manslaughter, and Panhellenic judges employed legalistic technicalities to disqualify powerful but murderous athletes from receiving the fruits of their victories.

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The heroic athlete in ancient Greece

Journal of Sport History

2009 In ancient Greece, powerful and successful athletes sought after and displayed might and arete (excellence) in the hope of attaining a final component of divinity—immortality. These athletes looked to the heroes of Greek myth as models for their own quests for glory and immortality. The most attractive heroic model for a powerful athlete was Herakles. Milo of Croton, a famed wrestler from antiquity, styled himself after Herakles and imitated him in battle. In addition, three athletes from the fifth century B.C., Theagenes, Euthymos, and Kleomedes, made the transition, in Greek minds, from athlete to hero. The power, might, and arete of their athletic victories provided the justification for their subsequent heroization. The stories of these athletes shed light on how historical athletes sought to imitate their mythic predecessors and how ancient Greeks were willing to bestow heroic honors, such as religious cults, on powerful victorious athletes.

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Mormons and the Olympics: constructing an Olympic identity

The International Journal of Olympic Studies

2007 Since the early twentieth century, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise called the LDS or Mormon church, has attempted to integrate itself more fully into American culture while maintaining its traditional morality and exclusive beliefs. During the 1980s and 1990s, the LDS church constructed an Olympic identity by highlighting the achievements of Mormon Olympic athletes, touting them as examples of religious piety who enjoyed athletic success because of their adherence to specifically Mormon doctrines, particularly Mormon dietary laws. Paradoxically, the LDS church simultaneously sought to demonstrate mainstream religious attitudes and to downplay its differences with other American religions by associating itself with the patriotism and national pride related to hosting the Olympic Games. The LDS church capitalized on its associations with the bidding for and planning of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games to foster and cultivate an appealing and reputable public image.

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The 1904 Olympic Games: Triumph or Nadir?


David Lunt & Mark Dyreson

The sites where in 1904 hundreds of athletes once competed in the Games of the Third Olympiad have long disappeared under the urban landscape of contemporary St Louis. Forest Park’s green expanses, historical museums and the city zoo stand where Olympic athletes once ran, jumped and swam. A now more than century-old stadium on the nearby campus of Washington University that seats 4000 spectators for collegiate soccer matches, football games, and track and field meets served in 1904, as several plaques and monuments on the grounds mention, as the main venue for an Olympian spectacle.

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Courses (10)

HIST 1100 Western Civilization I

This course examines the political, social (including gender roles) and intellectual history of Western society from the urban revolution in Mesopotamia to the later Middle Ages. Special emphasis is placed on the reading and analysis of primary historical sources

HIST 1110 Western Civilization II

This is an introductory survey course in the history of Western Civilization. This course acquaints students with some of the general interpretations of European and world history from the Age of Absolutism to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

HIST 1500 World History to 1500 C.E.

This survey examines the political, social, cultural, economic, religious, scientific, and intellectual influences on the development of world civilizations to 1500 C.E. The emphasis is global, comparative, and multicultural

HIST 1700 American Civilization

The fundamentals of American history including political, economic, and social development of American institutions and ideas.

HONR 2040 Honors Inquiry and Analysis

Students will engage in learning activities to develop the critical thinking, problem solving, and research skill-sets necessary to investigate complex interdisciplinary questions and problems thoroughly.

HIST 2200 - Sport in Ancient Greece and Rome

This course traces the development and role of sport and athletics in ancient Greek and roman societies. Students will encounter and interpret ancient literary, epigraphic, and archaeological evidence for ancient sport, as well as modern scholarship. In many respects, the study of athletics provides an important tool for understanding the norms, values, and ideals to which these cultures aspired. Therefore, in addition to the mechanics of the ancient festival programs and competitive events, this course will examine the relationships between athletics and society, focusing on various topics such as religion, myth, gender, violence, Athenian democracy, Spartan education, and Roman Imperial politics.

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HIST 3200 Sports in American History

This course follows the development of sports in America from folk games during the colonial period to the age of television. Topics will include the rise of organized sports, the popularization of professional and college sports, and the television age.

HIST 4410 Classical Greece

A history of the Greek world from earliest times, through the Bronze Age, the Dark and Archaic Periods, and Classical Greece down tot eh end of the Peloponnesian War.

HIST 4415 Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World

A history of the Greek world from the end of the Peloponnesian War, through the conquests of Alexander the Great, the disintegration of his empire, and the loss of Greek independence with the coming of Rome.

SOSC 4900 Teaching Social Sci Subjects

Problems, concepts, methods, and objective of teaching social science subjects in the areas of history, political science, sociology and economics.