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Classical Studies 2302A/B Lecture Notes - Nudity, Loincloth, Black-Figure Pottery

Classical Studies
Course Code
CS 2302A/B
David Lamari

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Nudity and Equipment
C – circa (about)
Fl. – flowered – many ancient people, don’t know when they were
born/died – published a poem or something big – use fl
Athenian black figure, ABF
-pots > ABF = Athenian black figure > all of the figures are in black,
eventually made them in red
Athenian red figure
-switched from black to red
Tondo > pot – tondo is the interior portion of a vase for various athletic
events > looking at the inside of a cup not the outside
Athletic nudity
Gymnikos Agon
Origins of athletic nudity
Greek athletes (male) practiced and competed in the nude. The word
athlete comes from - *athlon is a prize and an athlete is going after a
Root of the word gymnasium > place to be naked > place where naked
athletes are (train/compete – naked room)
Gymnikos Agon – greek word – gymnikos means naked (adjective),
agon means agony (particular kind of pain – competition)
-agony is what you feel – pain you felt when you pushed yourself to the
limit in a competition for the sake of an athlon (prize)
First reported incidence of athletic nudity > being naked was strange
back then, cultures didn’t do this – only greeks did this
Persians – great empire – most shameful to be disrobed
-when the Greeks captured Persians > throw down your weapons and
take off your clothes (normal)
-didn’t do this to humiliate the Persians but this did exactly that when
they made them take off their clothes and put them in custody
-romans eventually come into contact with Greek culture > they
thought it was deviant and luxurious and lumped it in with one of the
reasons why the romans took over the greeks (polishing yourself in oil
– real men don’t do that – no wonder they beat them)
-no agreement where nudity first started – a lot of different ideas,
these include:
=very early on in the earliest poet Homer, greeks had clothes on so it
wasn’t always like this
=man watching an athlete running – loincloth fell off (not sure if it was
intentional or not) but doing so made him compete better – won the
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race – afterwards it became the norm
=contributed to Spartans > doing it for obvious reasons – might have
been historical
-judged their bodies – praised the men and women who were in shape,
if you were flabby/soft/overweight you were ridiculed and whipped
-code – physical military excellence – did this to judge people
-Spartans have this nudity as an institution (so maybe why)
Lacedaimonian -> name for the region where the Spartans live –
Sparta is the city and Lacedaimonia is the region
=artistic evidence – on the vase they were painted over with white
paint – exporting pots with athletic men- sent them to italy – they
would paint over a white tunic to hide the nudity (uphill battle to gain
acceptance throughout the ancient world)
-christians attached fig leaves to cover up nudity
Infibulation (Figure 19) tieing up with a ribbon (also called dog leash)
– tie a string around their foreskin
Figure 7 – you haven’t done it – gesturing towards it – not the signal for
a foul however
Figure 8 – he has tied himself up – it wasn’t mandatory
-part of Greek attitude towards nudity – take leather bend penis back
and tie it or tie it around your waist/up to keep it from moving around
-why would you tie it? It was an aesthetic thing – it looked better – an
erect penis was shameful – you couldn’t control yourself, one that
wasn’t was seen as proper
-having it tucked away was “the look”
-didn’t practice circumcision – Jews were circumcised but Greeks
passed a law that you couldn’t
when greek culture spreads throughout the world (athletics) – it
provoked a lot of strive in their cultures – young kids would be for it but
the older generation was shocked (especially Jewish)
-athletics provoked the Jewish uprise against authorities that were for
greek culture
Why did Greek men practice and compete naked?
Figure 4 – every single person that did athletics was naked – not just
top athletics – it was the required way
-gravestone < wants you to know who he was – wasn’t a professional
athlete but part of it was – signals it by standing their naked
-vase in figure 4 where they paint over (loincloth)
-all heroes/greek gods were also depicted in the nude
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