Classics 2300: Sport and Recreation in the Ancient World
Classics 2300 office hours:
Prof C. Stocking [email protected]
3207 Lawson Hall, Mon-Weds 10:30-11:30
TA Mark Walley : [email protected]
o Office 3209 Lawson Hall, hours, 12:30-1:30
Midterm 1: Oct 28 and worth 20%
o MC scantron exams structure for the exam
3 types of question visual evidence/imagery (which ones are important)
Passage identifications based entirely from lectures
Factual and data questions basic dates and key terms
Ancient Athletics Guiding Questions
o How do the ancient Olympics influence the modern Olympics?
o How do modern athletes differ from ancient ones?
o What are the specific historical realities of ancient Greek and roman competition?
o How do ancient Greek and Roman conceptions of comp and victory inform modern society?
o How does the practice of ancient athletics relate to the biomechanics of modern athletic training?
o What are the social and ideological implications of ancient Greek and roman sports competition?
Why Greece and Rome?
Central to the understanding of sports competition today
First modern Olympics: 1896 April 6-15, Athens Greece
o Excavations at Olympia 1875-1881
o 14 nations, 8 events, founded by Pierre de Coubertin (takes credit)
Modern Olympic Ideology
Amateurism sacred truce, of the Games, Olympics may promote peace and improved IR
o Competition for its own sake and not for money
Olympic Creed “the most important thing is not to win, but to take part just as the most important thing in life is not to
triumph but the struggle,. The essential thing is to have fought well
o To compete not to win but this was not the case in the past
Vince Lombardi: winning is a habit the object is to win
Different ideologies of winning and competing
How does this work in the ancient world?
2 Kinds of Strife: Hesiod
War= strife, Strife= honor
o Ideas of wanting to be good, jealousy is a common concept
it made you a better person
Key Concepts of Lombardis speech
o Athletics: prize, what you actually fight for, (Athlon)
o Crown game: in it for the money, you got the crown as an Olympic victor 1 place
o Money game: multiple places, you got paid, still worth it to compete
o Competition (Agon): inherently a good thing object to win and you go through discipline in some form or the
other Suffering that will make you grow as a person
Training for war: soldier not a citizen
Almost male dominant
o Fundamentally religious, Olympia, Delphi (Greeks were assholes)
Homework: Hesiod Theogony selections religion of the bdt
Lecture 1: September 11
A Religion of the Body in Ancient Greece
Anthromorphic Gods and God-Like Athletes
Greek Religion: Polytheistic Anthromorphism
Polytheism multiple gods, polu=many, theos=god Anthromorphism in the shape of humans
o Anthropoas = human, morphe= shape
Implications of Polytheism
“The Greeks distinguished in the cosmos between different types of powers- multiple forms of power that could take
action on every level of reality...making interventions within man himself as well as in society, nature, and in the
“Thus their religion and their pantheon can be seen to be a system of classification, a particular way of ordering and
conceptualizing the universe, distinguishing between multiple types of force and power operating within it.”
Problems of Anthromorphism
• Fr. 14: But mortals deem that the gods are begotten as they are, and have clothes like theirs, and voice and form. (R. P.
• Fr. 15: Yes, and if oxen and horses or lions had hands, and could paint with their hands, and produce works of art as
men do, horses would paint the forms of the gods like horses, and oxen like oxen, and make their bodies in the image of
their several kinds. (R. P. 100) (Xenophanes (570-470BCE)
• Thinking that the gods would be in the shape of humans
• Author of Theogony (Birth of the Gods) – origins of the cosmos; how Zeus became king of the gods. Crazy idea, came
into existence subject to biological processes like humans, multiplicity but they don’t die (Unchecked production)
• How is it that Zeus gains control
• Eros = desire
• Works and Days- Advice on Farming
• Later contemporary of Homer (c. 700-650 BCE)
• First ‘personality or major authors’ in ancient literature: provides biographical details about his life, family, profession
• Lived in Boeotia, ‘Cow Land’ in central Greece near Mt. Helikon
Intergenerational Cosmic Strife [Eris]
• Ouranos + Gaia (earth)
– Titans; Cyclopes, Hundred Handers
(Briareos, Cottos, and Gyges)
Kronos (+Rhea) Iapetus (+ Clymene)
Olympians Non-Olympians; Non-Titans
Hestia, Demeter, Hera Epimetheus
Kronos takes control after the Titans rebel
Reign of Zeus
Issue of power and physical ability
Children of Iapetus- Challengers to Zeus
Menoitios-Outrageous (hybrstic) Menoitios, broad browed Zeus blasted into Erebos
Atlas- Crimped hard, holds up the wide sky at earth’s limits….Standing with indefatigable head and hands, for this is the
part wise Zeus assigned him manifestation of Bie
Prometheus- and he bound Prometheus with ineluctable fetters, painful bonds, and drove a shaft through his middle,
and set a long-winged eagle on him that kept gnawing at his undying liver, but when the long winged bird ate the whole
day through, would all grow back by night.
o Creator of mankind
Biê – Force; Mêtis – Deception picture of Atlas and Prometheus
Zeus’ Winning Team in the Titanomachy
Children of Styx
Zelos = Envy
Nikê = Victory (you need to be envious to win)
Kratos= Strength (slow vs. fast strength and Bie)
Biê = Force/Power
And Styx, Ocean’s daughter, made love with Pallas and bore Envy (Zelos) in her house and beautiful Victory (Nikê)
and Strength (Kratos) and Force (Biê)- notable children she bore, and they have no house apart from Zeus, no dwelling or path except where the god leads them, and they dwell forever with deep-thundering Zeus. - Hesiod,
Theogony 384- 389
Timê = Symbolic Capital (social value)
o Resources available to an individual on the basis of honor, prestige or recognition, and serves as value that
one holds within a culture
For this was how Styx, Ocean’s daughter, made her decision on that fateful day when the lord of
lighting summoned the gods to the slopes of Olympos, and told them whoever fought along with
him against the Titans he would not deprive of any rights and honors (timê) among the deathless
gods. Or if they had none under Cronos before, he would promote them to rights and honors
(timê) as was just. Hesiod, Theogony 389-398.
Nike: Goddess of Victory you make sacrifices to victory
o Actually be able to cook the meat and partake in the sacrifice
o Separate Goddess
Styx: An Immortal Death
o “If ever a god who lives on snowcapped Olympos pours a libation of this (water of Styx) and breaks his oath, he
lies a full year without any breath, not a taste of ambrosia, not a sip of nectar comes to his lips, but he lies
breathless and speechless on a blanketed bed, an evil coma upon him. But when the long year brings this
disease to an end, another more difficult trial is in store, Nine years of exile from the everlasting gods, no
converse in council or at their feasts for nine full years. In the tenth year finally he rejoins the Immortals in their
homes on Olympos. Upon this the gods swear, the primordial, imperishable water of Styx.”
o -Hesiod, Theogony 799-812
o To be dead Robbed of abilities, potentialities. No feasting, no community, pure exile. Equivalent of death
to a God
o ***To be alive: to move, social recognition and physical mobility
Titanomachy – Battle of Biê
Hundred Handers: Hyper-anthropomorphism
When their father Ournos first grew angry with Obriareos, Cottos, and Gyges, he came down hard on them. Indignant
because of their arrogant maleness, their looks, and their bulk, he made them live underground.”
Hundred Handers to Zeus:
Our minds are bent therefore, and our wills fixed on preserving your power through the horror of war.” Theog. 665-6
o Battled for ten full years, with pain in their hearts. No respite from the hostilities on either side. They fed on
Nectar and ambrosia.
o Zeus brings them out to fight against the Titans offers them the social recognition
o Obsesed with competition and power
Final Challenge to Zeus
“A god whose hands were like engines of war, whose feet never gave out, from whose shoulders grew the hundred
heads of a frightful dragon flickering dusky tongues, and the hollow eye sockets in the eerie heads sent out fiery rays,
and each head burned with flame as it glared. And there were voices in each of these frightful heads, a phantasmagoria
of unspeakable sound, sometimes sounds that gods understood, sometimes the sound of a spirited bull, bellowing and
snorting, or the uninhibited shameless roar of a lion, or a whistle hissing through long ridges and hills.”
o Hesiod, Theogony 830-842
Earth pregnant by Tartaros
o Idea of the human is becoming ideal
War- What is it good for?
“So the blessed gods had done a hard piece of work, settled by force (biê) question of rights with the Titans. Then at
Gaia’s suggestion they pressed broad-browed Zeus, the Olympian, to be their king and rule the Immortals. And so Zeus
dealt out their privileges and rights (timê).” Theogony 886-890
He actually distributes power, and doesn’t claim it for himself
The gods are immortal and imperishable, it is because, unlike men, their corporeality possesses by nature and even in
the very heart of nature, the constant beauty and glory that the social imagination strives to invent for mortals when
they no longer have a body to display or an existence that can win them glory. Living always in strength and beauty, the
gods have a super-body: a body made entirely and forever of beauty and glory. -Vernant, Mortals and Immortals 41
Themes of Today’s Lecture Polytheism
Theogony (Birth of Gods)
Atlas and Prometheus
Zelos = Envy
Nikê = Victory
Biê = Force/Power
Mêtis = Deception
Homework Nigel Spivey, “The Cult of Beauty” pp.36-42
Lecture 2: September 16 2013
How did the ancient Greeks think about the human body? Theomorphism
Athletics is a religion of the body
How is the ancient Greeks conception of the body different from modern conceptions?
o Idea of Gods as Athletes not modern
What is the relationship between human and divine bodies in ancient Greek thought
o Representation of the body in ancient Greece
Mind Body Dualism
Modern presupposition, with ancient Beginnings
Cogito Ergo Sum I think therefore I am
Plato fear of death, theory of rebirth
Mind body dualism the mind should continue even after the body is deteriorated
Man as Matter scientific objectification
o Parts of the body don’t make you who you are
Idea of existence that is separate from the body
The Body as a Whole
o Homer- Iliad
Spirit- psuche shadow of the person, but not actually him
Not the idea of a soul as we think it os
Death and the Body
Mortals – ephemeral Ones
o Humans are like leaves, the wind blows them to the ground but the new tree sprouts new ones when spring
comes. Men too. Their generations come and go
o You were born from the earth and return to it
You are what you eat mortal and immortal bodies
o Mortal food bread and wine, function of the vegetative cycle, they eat the food of the earth and this
guarantees they will return to the earth
o Immortal food nectar and ambrosia, the food they eat allows them to be immortal
Immortal blood (ambroton haima)
Votives: Representing Divine Bodies
All statues are known as agalmata, “a delight” for the gods Gods are Vain
Mantiklos Inscription, 700BCE, Thebes”
Do ut Des = I give in order that you give”
o You give something in order to get something back
Women were always clothed males were nude
o Nikandre : representation of females
What does it represent? The female or Artemis? Gender representation
o They become grave markers
Kouros: young man
o Figuring the male body, mortal and immortal
o Representations of the people being buried (Egyptian)
Beyond the Kouros: Naturalism or Hyper-Realism?
Riace Bronzes contraposto stance o Extreme anatomical detail
o Iliac furrow or Sex Lines
A Cult of Beauty in Ancient Greece
Kaloskagathos = beautiful and good
Male beauty contests = euandria “good manliness”
o Contest testing size, strength, and beauty
Euexia similar to euandria
o Bodybuilding contest
o Took place at gymnasioon
Body Fascism norms for acceptable of successful bodies brought about vy a comerical exposutreto paragons of ideal
Impossible Bodies: Ancient Accounts
Alcidamas real bodies are less attractive than beautiful statues
Standards of Impossibility Polycthitus
o Greek sculptor of 5 CE. BCE
Famous for idealizing sculpture
What is the different between ancient and modern standards of the male body?
o Modern Olympics vs. ancient
Lecture 3: September 18 , 2013
Poetic Origins of Athletics: Homer Death, Contest, Community
A long Tradition of Story Telling, originating possibly in the Iron Age (1200-800 BCE)
o Only written down in the Archaic Age (800-480 BCE), we don’t know exactly when
No Knowledge of a single author named Homer. Homer is a persona, the mythical “author” of the Iliad and Odyssey. He
is said to be a blind poet.
Ancient greek Hero --
1. Agamemnon (leader of Greek Army) takes daughter of priest of Apollo as War Prize.
a. Women could be given away as war prizes, or a war slave
2. Apollo gets angry (plague)
3. Agamemnon gives daughter back.
4. Agamemnon takes war prize of Achilles
5. Astilles gets angry (Death of Achaeans by Zeus)
1 lines of the Iliad:
“Sing goddess, the rage of Achilles..”
6. Patroclus goes to war as Achilles surrogate
7. Hector kills Patroclus (with help of Apollo)
8. Achilles gets angry (again)
9. Achilles rejoins war and kills Hector
10. Achilles Buries Patroclus (Funeral Games)
11. Achilles returns body of Hector to Priam.
War- What is it good for? Timê
So the blessed gods had done a hard piece of work, settled by force (biê) the question of rights with the Titans. Then at
Gaia’s suggestion they pressed broad-browed Zeus, the Olympian, to be their king and rule the Immortals. And so Zeus
dealt out their privileges and rights (timê).”
Athletics began as a commemoration of the dead
The purpose is social value
Homer’s Iliad Bk.1-
Honor, Contest, and Community
geras (prize): everybody needs one
o best piece of meat; women as a physical manifestation as a prize Iliad Bk.1.125-128 (Lombardo)
Agamemnon- “I’ll give her back, if that’s what’s best. I don’t want to see the army destroyed like this. But I want another
prize (geras) ready for me right away. I’m not going to be the only Greek without a prize (agerastos), it wouldn’t be right.
And you all see where mine is going.”
Zero Sum Gain: win lose
Social issue with prizes
Distribution of Prizes
o Achilles Il.1.167
o It’s for you, dog face, for your precious pleasure-
o And Menelaus’ honor (timê)- that we came here,
o A fact you don’t have the decency even to mention!
o And now you are threatening to take away my prize (geras) That I sweated for and the Greeks gave me.
o I never get a prize equal to yours when the army captures one of the Trojan strongholds.
o Deprived of the one thing he was supposed to have
A Compensation for Death
Achilles to Thetis:
“Mother, since you gave me life (390)
if only for a while—Olympian Zeus,
high thunderer, should give me due honour (timê). But he doesn’t grant me even slight respect. For wide-ruling
Agamemnon, Atreus’ son, has shamed me (not given timê), has taken away my prize (geras), appropriated it for his own
Achilles Anger (Mênis/ Cholos) is in response to Agamemnon’s unsanctioned re-apportionment of honors.
Iliad Bk.23: Death, Contest, Community
Iliad 23. 99-104
And with his own arms Achilles reached for Patroclus, but could not take him, and the spirit (psuchê) went underground,
like vapour, with a thin cry, and Achilleus was amazed, staring: “Oh wonder! Even in the house of Hades there is left
something, a spirit and an image, but there is no mind in it.”
Sêma, Mnêma – Present Absence
Sêma = Sign, Marker; Mnêma = Memory
Patroclus- Achilles Second Self
Then let us wrap the bones in fat and keep them
In a golden bowl, until I am hidden in Hades.
You need not labor over a huge barrow for him,
But only what is seemly. Later the Achaeans
Can build it broad and high, all of you still left
Amid our thwarted ships when I am gone.
The Funeral Games for Patroclus
Achilles as Distributor
Prizes of the Chariot Race
A woman faultless in her work and a 22 gallon tripod with handles.
A mare, 6 years old, unbroken, pregnant with a mule foal.
Beautiful cauldron unfired
2 bars of gold
2 handled bowl unfired
Why do we have things we usually eat and drink with as prizes?
o Can be a festive occasion
The Chariot Race: Metis in Action
Nestor to Antilochus: Iliad 23.310ff (Miller, p.2)
I think that your horses are the slowest, and that your work will be harder. The horses of these men are faster, but they
do not know better than you how to plan (i.e how to use mêtis). Remember, then, my dear boy, always to have your
plan in mind so that the prizes (aethla) will not elude you. The woodcutter is far better with skill (mêtis) than with brute
force (Biê); it is with skill that the pilot holds his swift ship on course though buffeted by winds on the wine-colored sea.
Thus too by skill (mêtis) one charioteer passes another.
Fight breaks out In the crowd: about who is coming into the league Anger Averted
“Ajax, although you are the best in abuse and stupidity, you are the worst of the Argives with that donkey’s brain of
yours. Now put your money where your mouth is and bet me a tripod-cauldron. We’ll have Agamemnon, son of Atreus,
hold the bet…”
Ajax and Idomeneus, be quiet. This is not becoming, and if others were acting like you, you yourselves would be angry
Anger Averted Again
Antilochus 23.543ff (Miller p.6)
Achilles, I will be really angry (cholos) with you, if you do as you suggest. You mean to take my prize (aethlon) away, thinking that,
even though Eumelos is a wretched driver, he is a good man. Well, he ought to have prayed to the gods, and then he would not
have been last. If he is so dear to you and such a good friend, then there is plenty of gold in your tent, and bronze and sheep, and
women and horses. From those, give him a prize, even better than mine, and the Achaeans will applaud you, but I will not give
up the mare, and if anyone wanter her he will have to fight me to get her.
Achilles agrees and gives him a bronze corselet.
But then Menelaos, Agamemnon’s brother claims the mare, because Antilochos cut him off.
Antilochos then apologizes. “I am much younger than you and you are my elder and better…I will give you the mare which I
Anger Averted, Reciprocity Distorted
Menelaos: “Antilochos, although I was angry I will now give way to you, since you were not flightly or lightheaded before now.
Your youth got the better of your brain. You will not play tricks on your betters another time. Another man might not have won
me over, but you have suffered much and worked hard for my sake, as have your noble father and your brother. Therefore I shall
be swayed by your supplication, and I will even give you the mare, although she is mine, so that all may see and know that my
heart is never arrogant and stubborn.”
Three Obligations of Reciprocity:
1) To Give
2) To Receive
3) To Reciprocate
Second Best of the Achaeans
Odysseus (Mêtis) and Ajax (Biê)
Wrestling Match :Achilles: “Wrestle no more now! Don’t wear yourselves out and get hurt! You are both winners. Go off
and divide the prizes and let the rest of the Achaians compete.”
Running: As they were making their final sprint for the prize, Ajax slipped and fell (Athena tripped him) where dung was
scattered on the ground from bellowing oxen, and he got the stuff in his mouth and up his nose. So Odysseus took away
the mixing bowl, because he finished first, and the ox went to Ajax. He stood with his hands on the horns of the ox,
spitting out dung, and said to the Argives: “Aw shit! That goddess tripped me, that goddess who always stood by
Odysseus and cared for him like a mother.”
Achilles to Agamemnon “King Agamemnon, since we all know that you surpass all others and are the best by far of
spear-throwers, take the cauldron, but let us give the spear to Meriones, if you agree.
Is this Achilles reiterating an earlier complaint that Agamemnon gets prestige goods without putting in the effort?
o Or Is this evidence of Achilles’ renouncement of eris and cholos (Bk.19) so that he achieves a reconciliation
Aethlon – prize; etymologically related to “athletics”
Tripod – three legged cooking vessel used as prestige good.
Geras – physical symbol of timê
Cholos/Menis : anger at being deprived of social worth
Reciprocity: 3 obligations to give to receive, to reciprocate
Mêtis vs. Biê: skill vs. force (Odysseus vs. Ajax)
Zero-sum game Lecture 4: September 23 , 2013
Readings: Arete Section 2
Odysseus attempts to return home after 10 years of absence
After the fall of Troy, he washes up on the shore of the Phaeacians
Series of athletic contests first contest was running, then boxing jumping and wrestling
Picks up and throws a discus heavier than the others says he will beat them all
It is natural for him to want to show his “arête”
Kyle: The Odyssey, Sport and Returning Home
Iliad a tale of rage and battle, but the Odyssey is a tale of wonders and episodes
We move from funeral games, with analogies to war, to sport in social settings
o Sport remains a means of characterization
o Way to show social status and prove excellence
Odysseus conceals his identity his motivation to reveal himself comes from the insults not seeking prizes
King Alcinous’s daughter Nausicaa finds Odyssseus washed up on shore, he avoids giving his name.
The King proposes games to ebtertaub their guest wrestling, running, jumping, boxing
o No prizes or public competition festival games not funeral games
The Phaecian youths, not naked, compete to display their talent
Odysseus does not wish to particapte and show off his strength thus revealing his identity
o BUT he is insulted, ‘unripe old man,’ and that he lacks skills
This leads Odysseus to pick up a discus and reveal his strength
Challenges any youth to an event, and claims he will win
o Prizes when test of athletic prowess comes about bronze sword, gold cup,
Iros back in Ithaca he disguises himself as a beggar
o Fights an impromptu beggar and once again shows his strength against a bully
o Ad hoc prize blood pudding
o Goes on to wreak havoc against those that opposed him previously and reclaim his kingdom
Homers nobles, athletes who demonstrate great strength in oublic contests as a metaphor for war and leadership
o Competition before spectators reveals a trye character and establishes his worth
o In Homer’s aristocratic society, games with prizes are help spontaneously in contexts of duneral games,
hospitality nd suitor games
o Non-Greek Phaeacians offer casual physical demonstrations, and Greek athletes compete to seek victory and
The Odyssey and Athletics: Recognizing Power
Nostos = Return Home
Idea of deception and his return home as a whole
How a man has been deprived of all social negotiation and his journey/identity home
1) The Trojan War lasted 10 Years; 10 years after the Trojan War, Odysseus has still not returned home to Ithaka
1) He wants to return home to see his wife and his son, and isolation
2) Suitors pursue Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, in order to take control of Odysseus’ land and power.
3) Odysseus has been stuck on Calypso’s island for seven years. Athena intervenes and convinces Zeus to have Odysseus
4) Odysseus gets ship-wrecked on the island of the Phaeacians, where he narrates his adventures including story of Cyclops
(major reason he is detained from returning home), Lotus Eaters, Circe, Underworld, Cattle of the Sun, etc.
5) Phaeacians send Odysseus back to Ithaka, where he arrives disguised.
6) Odysseus slowly reveals himself to his family members, and eventually slaughters the suitors of Penelope.
Hospitality Amongst the Phaecians
Kleos (Fame) vs. Nostos (Homecoming)
Phaeacians offer lodging, feasts, and entertainment, including athletic contests.
Xenia = Guest-Host Relations/Generosity
Laodamas invites Odysseus to compete:
“Won’t you too, sir, try your hand at some contest, that is, if you know any, but you have the look of an athlete to me.
There is no greater fame (kleos) for a man than that which he wins with his footwork or the skill of his hands.” (Miller
Odysseus’ Response: “Laodamas, Why do you young chaps mock me with such an invitation? My heart is more set on grief than games, for I
have toiled long and suffered much. I am here in your gathering only as a suppliant to get my passage home (nostos)
from your king and your people.”
Achilles Choice: Kleos vs. Nostos
Iliad 9. Achilles:
“My mother Thetis the goddess of the silver feet tells me I carry two sorts of destiny toward the day of my death.
If I stay here and fight beside the city of the Trojans, My return home (nostos) is gone, but my glory will be everlasting
(aphthitos kleos); But if I return home (nostos) to the beloved land of my fathers, the excellence of my glory (kleos) is
gone, but there will be a long life left for me, and my end in death will not come to me quickly
Kleos = fame/glory = compensation for death
Odysseus Remains Anonymous
Odysseus turns them down. (invitation to compete)
Euryalos mocks him: “As I see it, stranger, you’re no good at sports like a real man. You remind me of a master peddling
sailor, one who trades from port to port with thoughts for nothing but cargoes and loads and especially for profits.
You’re no athlete.”
Economic Mindset vs. Aristocratic Mindset
Profit (Capital) vs. Fame/ Kleos (Symbolic Capital)
o Foundation for modern athletics
Odysseus and the Phaeacians
-Questioning the Aristocratic Ideal-
Odysseus:“You’re no gentleman! It is so true that the Gods do not give total grace, a complete endowment of both
beauty and wit to all men alike. There will be one man who is less than average in build, and the gods will so crown his
words with a flower of beauty and all who hear him are moved….Another man will be as handsome as the Gods, yet will
lack that strand of charm twined into his words. Take yourself for example: a masterpiece in body which not even a god
could improve, but empty in the head.” (Odyssey 8, Miller, Arete p14)
“Now then, young sports, match this throw, and as soon as you do, I’ll throw another even longer. For the rest, let
anyone whose spirit or temper prompts him step out and take me on in boxing or wrestling or foot-racing, or
whatever….I fear only that in the footraces some of the Phaeacians may beat me, for I have been shamefully mauled by
constant waves on a bare ship. The joints of my knees are therefore feeble.” Odyssey 8 (Miller, Arete p 14)
Odysseus’s God Given Speed in the Iliad
When they were in the stretch, Odysseus said a silent prayer to the gray-eyed Athena:
“Hear me, Goddess, be kind to me and come with extra strength for my feet.” So he prayed, and Pallas Athena heard him, and
lightened his limbs, feet, and arms too…So Odysseus took away the mixing bowl, because he finished first
Odysseus- The Aged Athlete
Antilochos: “Friends, you all know well the truth of what I say, that still the gods continue to favor the older men. Look
here, Ajax is older than I, if only by a little, but Odysseus is out of another age and truly one of the ancients. But his old
age is, as they say, a lusty one. I don’t think any Achaian could match his speed, except Achilles.” Iliad 23, (Miller, Arete
Age and Speed
The Oldest male 100m athlete Linford Christie- 1992 Barcelona, Age 32
Odysseus in Disguise
Boxing Irus Odysseus is disguised as a beggar in his own house when another beggar, Irus comes to fight him for the
entertainment of the suitors of Penelope.
• Antinoos: “Here’s what I propose .These goat sausages sizzling here in the fire—We packed them with fat and blood to
have for supper. Now, whoever wins this bout and proves the stronger, Let that man step up and take his pick of the
lot! What’s more, from this day on he feasts among us—No other beggar will we allo inside to cadge his meals from us!”
• (Bum Fights)
• Are the suitors practicing xenia towards the disguised Odysseus?
Odysseus Gets Pumped Up By Athena
“Odysseus belted up, roping his rags round his loins, baring his big rippling thighs– his boxer’s broad shoulders, his
massive chest and burly arms on full display as Athena stood beside him, fleshing out the limbs of the great
commander…” Odyssey 18
The Violence of Odysseus
The two men squared off- and Irus hurled a fist at Odysseus right shoulder as Odysseus came through with a hook
below the ear, pounding Irus’ neck, Smashing the bones inside– suddenly red blood came spurting out of his mouth, and headlong down he pitched in the dust, howling, teeth locked in a grin, feet beating the ground. And the princely
suitors, flinging their hands in the air, died laughing. Odyssey 18
Odysseus’ Warning: Ephemeral Man
Odysseus warns one of the suitors: “Listen closely. Of all that breathes and crawls across the earth,Mother earth breeds
nothing feebler than a man.So long as the gods grant him power, spring in his knees, he thinks he will never suffer
affliction down the years. But then, when the happy gods bring on the long hard times, bear them he must, against his
will, and steel his heart. Our lives, our mood and mind as we pass across the earth, turn as the days turn…As the father
of men and gods makes each day dawn.I too seemed destined to be a man of fortune once, and a wild wicked swath I
cut, indulged my lust for violence, Staking all on my father and brothers. Look at me now. And so, I say, let no man ever
be lawless all his life, Just take in peace what gifts the gods will send.” Odyssey 18
Odysseus’ Bow and the Final Contest
• Penelope’s attempts to delay being married to the suitors begins to fail.
• Penelope decides on a contest for the suitors and tells her plan to Odysseus disguised as a beggar
• The Contest: Whoever can string Odysseus’ Bow and shoot an arrow through 12 axes, as Odysseus did, will win
Penelope as a bride
Marriage Ritual and Athletic Contest:
Woman as…Ritual, Object
Stringing the Bow:
• Telemachus, Odysseus’ Son, attempts to string Odysseus’ Bow.
• Odyssey 21: “Three times his power flagged— but his hopes ran high, he’d string his father’s bow and shoot through
every iron and now, struggling with all his might for the fourth time, he would have strung the bow, but Odysseus shook
his head and stopped him short despite his tensing zeal.”
Fathers, Sons, and Physical Power in the Greek Tradition
Iliad 6: Hector, prince of Troy prays to Zeus for his son Astyanax: “Zeus, and you other immortals, grant that this boy,
who is my son, may be as I am, pre-eminent among the Trojans, great in strength, as I am, and rule strongly over Troy;
and some day, let them say of him: He is better by far than his father.
Odysseus Strings the Bow
Odyssey 21: Once Odysseus handled the great bow and scanned every inch, then, like an expert singer at lyre and
song— who strains a string to a new peg with ease..so with his virtuoso ease Odysseus strung his mighty bow. Quickly
his right hand plucked the string to test its pitch and under his touch it sang out clear and sharp as a swallow’s cry.
Key Themes and Topics:
Odyssey and Poetic Origins of Athletics
• Kleos (fame) vs. Nostos
• Generational Decline (Ages of Athletes)
• Fathers and Sons – Stronger or Weaker?
• Athletics and Marriage Ritual
• Divine Intervention
Lecture 5 September 25 : Readings: Pindar, Introduction
Victory (epinician_ odes of Pindar celebrate victorious in ancient games
Perfected the genre and his odes survived being handed down over the years influenced Renaissance period
Most of his odes follow the same patterns honoring a victor, comparisons to the Gods
People paid Pindar to write odes paying for fame?
o Also gave political advice to Greek tyrants
Highlighted and compared humans (athletes) to Gods superhuman achievements of athletics
4 types of Odes Olympians, Pythians, Nemeans, and Isthmians
o four great panhellenic games open to all greeks, held in honor of the gods/heroes
o held in Elis western Peloppenia
Types of Games
o Stadion: spring length of stadium
o Diaulos: there and back
o Dolichoes: 12 laps
o Boxing, wrestling, pancration
o Pentathlon long jump, spring, discus, javelin, wrestling
o Mule and horse racing chariot racin
Pindar: Poet of Victory
How do you deal with victors? The problems of praise
o Why did the greeks place such an emphasis on athletics? In the greek view, what is the purpose of athletics
Athlon: prize, time (social status). Kleos (fame)
o How do you acquire time and kleos?
Only through te renocnitong by others; commemoration
o What are the modes of commemoration in Greek history?
Choral lyric: group of citizens
o Performed by group which represented the whole community in hymns to the gods and religious festivals
o Epi-nikion (Epinicin) song in celebration of athletic victory, normally won at one of the PanHellenic or Crown
o Olympian, Phythian, Isthian, Nemean
o Commissioned by victor of family for performance chorus of victors fellow citizens to sing upon his return home
from the games
Contested Ideologies of Victory
Athletics and War
Tyrtaeus (Spartan Poet), Fr. 12 W, lines 1-12
I would not mention, nor would I put in account a man
Neither for the virtue of his feet nor for wrestling
Nor if he should have the size and strength of the Cyclopes
Nor if he should beat the Thracian Boreas at running
Nor if he should be lovelier in form than Tithonus
or richer than Midas or Cinyras
Nor if he should be more kingly than Pelops, son of Tantalus,
Or have the honey voiced tongue of Adrastus,
Nor if she should have every glory except thrusting courage.
For he would not be a man good in war
Unless he could endure seeing bloody slaughter,
And fight, taking a firm stand near the enemies.
Not the only poet who thinks about the relationship between athletics and war
Alternative Spartan Views of Victory
“In Lakedaimon, there was a special place for victors at the crown games, stationed to fight around the King himself.”
(Plutarch, Quaest. Conv. 2.5.2)
“The king used to go against the enemy having with him one who had won a crown contest.”
o (Plutarch, Life of Lykourgos, 22.4)
o this idea of 2 opposing views (Spartan views)
Song vs Statue
Pindar is competing with sculptors
Focus on the actual individual and who has enough $
Civic virtue important for the status of the city as a whole
How to Read a Victory Ode
Direct Praise of Victor and his hometown where he is from and why Pindar is writing a song
General moralizing piece of advice or way of behaving pindar will give
Myth about gods and heroes that has been tailored to be relevant to the victor link to the actual Olympic victor
o Linking the victor with the past will give more prestige
Something about the performance of the ode and the poet himself self promotion at the end of his poems
Olympian 1: Aristocracy in Action
Composed for Tyrant Hieron of Syracuse
o For victory at Olympia for the single Horse Race of 476 BCE
o Won Three Times at Pythian Games
Greek Colonization –
o 734- 580 BCE st
o Colonization of Sicily – Hippocrates of Gela (1 Tyrant)
Gelon (485-478) Transferred Capital to Syracuse
Hieron I (Brother of Gelon) (478-466)
Compares victor to the Gods Cronus Uses vibrant language
Emphasisizes importance of victor; ambrosia, nectar, golden chariot with winged horses
Colonies around Mediterranean included ancient Greece
Panhellenic entire greek world would come to these events
Direct Phrase of Victor: Hieron and Aristocratic Xenia
Olympian 1. 11-16:
Hieron holds the sceptre of justice in sheep-rich Sicily, where he chooses for himself the finest fruits of every kind of
excellence. His glory gleams in the best of poetry and music, of the kind that we men often compose in play at his
2 Mythic Connections- Pelops, Peloponnese
Olympian 1. 23ff- His fame (Hieron’s) shines out over the land of fine men founded by Lydian Pelops
General Moral- truth, lies, and blame
There are indeed many wonders,
And it may be that in men’s talk
Stories (muthoi) are embroidered beyond the truth (alathe),
And so deceive us with their elaborate lies (pseudea)
Since the beguiling charm of words
The source of all sweet pleasures for men (Kharis)
Adds lustre (timê) and veracity to the unbelievable.
The days to come will be the wises judge of that,
But it is proper that a man should speak well of the gods;
Thus he is less likely to incur blame.
Pindar says he will not tell a lie
Tells the story of pelops he thinks is best many different stories
Myth of Tantalus and Pelops
Tantalus – half-mortal, son of Zeus
Allowed to feast on Nectar and Ambrosia with the gods on Olympus.
Tantalus kills his son and attempts to feed him to the gods. Why?
Gods recognize Tantalus’ trick, but Demeter accidentally ate a piece of his shoulder.
Gods put Tantalus back together w/ivory shoulder.
Tantalus Punished in Tartarus (Underworld
“I hope you don’t mind, we’re having my son Pelops for dinner.”
Olympian 1. 46-54.
Immediately, an ill intentioned neighbor secretly spread the tale abroad
That the guests had taken a knife and dismembered you,
And had thrown your limbs into water
As it boiled fiercely over the fire;
And then at table, during the final course,
They shared your flesh and ate it.
As for me, I cannot call any of the blessed gods a cannibal.
I stand aside;
The slanderous seldom win themselves profit.
This is the life of everlasting weariness he lives,
One labor following another,
Because for his feast he stole from the gods nectar and ambrosia they gave to make him immortal
And served it to his drinking companions.
If a man hopes his deeds will escape the gods’ notice
He is mistaken.
Pelops and the Chariot Race (Traditional Myth)
• King Oinomaos, mortal son of Ares and duaghter of Atlas, refused to allow anyone to marry his daughter Hippodameia.
• To prevent marriage, he held chariot races- whoever lost to Oinamaos was put to death.
• Pelops challenges Oinomaos, and bribes Oinmaos’ charioteer, Myrtilus. • If he makes Oinamos crash, Myrtilus will have ½ of Pelops’ kingdom and the “first night” with Hippodameia.
• Pelops wins.
• Instead of making good on his promise, Pelops throws Myrtilus into the sea.
• As Myrtilus falls to his death, he curses the race of Pelops
(Atreus and Thyestes Agamemnon)
Pelops and the Charity Race
• Pelops was Poseidons ‘boy toy’
• Pelops prays to Poseidon:
“If the delightful gifts of Cypris can give rise to gratitude,
Then come, shackle the bronze spear of Oenomaos,
Send me on the swiftest chariots of Elis,
And bring me the power to be victorious”
Cult of Pelops at Olympia
• And now he luxuriates in splendid blood offerings
• As he reclines beside the ford of Alpheus
• His tomb beside his altar is well tended,
• Thronged about by many a stranger.
Pelopeion at Olympia nd
• Pausanias (2 Century CE Geographer)
From Description of Greece-
The entrance is on the west. The sanctuary is said to have been set apart to Pelops by Heracles the son of Amphitryon. Heracles
too was a great-grandson of Pelops, and he is also said to have sacrificed to him into the pit. Right down to the present day the
magistrates of the year sacrifice to him, and the victim is a black ram.
Pelops: Founder of Olympic Games
The fame which stems from Pelops’ games at Olympia
Is visible from afar – the games where
The contest is for fleetness of foot
And daring deeds of strength pushed to the limit.
For the rest of his days the victor enjoys honey-sweet tranquility,
As far that is, as the games can provide it;
(because of his aethlon)
The highest good for every mortal
Is indeed that which comes to him day by day
Key Themes and Concepts
• Epinicion/Epinician – Praise Poetry for Athletes
• Elite vs. Civic Ideology
• Traditional Myth of Tantalus vs. Pindar’s Version
• Traditional Myth of Pelops vs. Pindar’s Version
• Visual Image: Chariot Race of Pelops with Hippodameia
• Visual Image: Pelopeion at Olympia
Readings for Monday
• Miller Ancient Greek Athletics, pp. 87-95,
September 30 , 2013
Olympia: Sanctuary of Zeus
But, my heart, if it is games that you wish to sing,
Look no further than the sun: as there is no star that shines with more warmth by day from a clear sky,
So we can speak of no greater contest than Olympia
Pindar Olympian 1
Excavating at Olympia:
The Beginnings of the Modern Olympics
• 1875-1881: first large-scale continuous excavation of Olympia by the German Archaeological Institute.
• Excavated large amounts of the site (probably too fast): Temple of Zeus, Heraion, Metroon, etc.·
• 1908-1929: excavations carried out by W. Dorpfeld. Smaller-scale, focused on the history of the sanctuary
• • 1936: new systematic excavations undertaken on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Berlin. Under direction of E.
Kunze, focused on the stadium, bath and gymnasium
Olympia in the Bronze Age
• Early settlement inhabited continuously from Early Helladic to the Late Helladic period (2800-1100 BCE).
• Large Prehistoric Tumulus in the center of the sanctuary, dated to EH II (2500-2200). Early religious cite, with evidence of
sacrifice, clay vessel – thymiato (censer), and and an altar built in EH III (2200-2100).
• High percentage of drinking vessels, such as kylikes (pictured), found in black stratum of earth near tumulus dated to
11 century. This indicates sacrifice and ritual libations/feasting.
• Although Olympia seems to have been a Bronze Age settlement, there does seem to be some evidence for continuity of
Origins of Panhellenism: All of Greece
Iron Age Olympia
• During this early period, Olympia may be considered a religious sanctuary characterized as a meeting place for the petty
chiefs of western Greece.
• Occasion for meetings, feasting, and competitive displays of wealth through dedication and exchange of Prestige Goods
Dedication of Prestige Goods
• Large scale dedication of metal (especially bronze) is rare before 700 BCE in Greek world.
• Metals pre 700/750 BCE tend to be limited to graves and elite residences.
• As an item of dedication among elites, metal becomes an ideal status symbol and commodity for conspicuous
Votive Figurines From Olympia
Do ut Des: “I give in order that you give”
• Discovered in a layer of black ash, near Pelopeion
• (under Temple of Hera)
• Dated to 8 century BCE
• Votives of bulls, tripods, horses, chariots.
• What is the “Black Layer” and why the votives found in it?
October 2 , 2013
Olympia was situated on the western side of the Peloponnesus; 16km from Ionian Sea
The Alpheus River flows westward down from the Arkadian mountains through rolling hills to the coastal plain at the
sea land flattens out to plains and is joined by the Kladeos River
o Prominent Hill of Cronos.
o Defined the limits of Altis, sanctuary of Zeus, and appendages to stadion, gymnasia, and hippodrome
Olympia was not a city state; but administered by the city of Elis
Different areas Hill of Kronos sacrificial debris and hundreds or bronze and terracotta statues
o This black layer of debris was beneath the later Heraion (Temple of Hera), and Pelopian (shrine of Pelops), near
the Altar of Zeus and the Prytaneion (Home of Hestia, goddess of the Hearth eternal flame attested to health
and welfare of Elis)
Core of Olympia Eleans placed their Prytaneioin at the core if Olympia to show how closely tied it
was to Elis
Adjacent to the Prytaneion was the Heraion temple of Hera, wife of Zeus
o Columns oringally made of wood bastion of male dominanation,was dedicated to Hera
Temple of Zeus to the south
o Constructed another 150 years later
Altar of Zeus made of ashes and previous sacrifices deos not survive
o Main place of worship black layer represents where it would have been
o No female statues mixed with men from sixth and sevebenth centuries
Core Pelopion, shrine to the Hero Pelops
o Consisted of a mound, in the fourth ce was enclosed by a wall in the shape of a pentagon
o Pelops was worshipped here with sacrficies of black rams
o Key divinity at Olympia Eleans made sacrifices to him before they offered them to Zeus
The central role played at Olympia by a hero, a mortal who had become more than mortal, was repeated at other sites These heroes and cults represented the enduring goal of the athlete to achieve immortality through superhuman effort,
and they offer encouragement to him by celenbrating the actual achievement of that status by his predecessors
Temple of Zeus 460 BC
o Later addition, but became the major monument of Olympia and centre of Altis
o Eastern Pediment Told the story of the first Olympic Games King Oinomaos offered his daughter
Hippodameia andhis kingdom as a prise for that who could beat him at a chariot race
Pelops won by cheating
o Western pediment battle of the centaurs and Lapiths presided over by Apollo
Allegory of the struggle of the centaurs bestiality amd the Lapith’s civilization between barbarianism
and Hellenism unify all Greeks who came to Olympia
o Decoration 12 labors of Heracles, cleaning of the king’s stable powerfull resonance
o Sculptural decorations Phiedias Zeus- sitting on a throne with a gold scepter toooe dby his eagle in his left
Extended right hand Nike, personification of victory
Behind Temple olive trees where crowns of winners were grown
o where victory was celebrated
o other buildings lined the foot of the Hill of Kronos
North side Nymphaion: fountain house
West, across from Prytaneion wrestling school, palaistra
Bouleuterion council house where the Olympic Council met, athletes came to take Olympic oath
East of the southeast Altis hippodrome washed away, but in floodplains
Entrance to the stadion along the North end of the Echo Stoa bronze zeus statues, zanes fines against athletes
who took bribes
Apodyterion dressing room
Stadion race connected directly to the altar
The runner who finished first lit the fire burned the sacrificial offering and was proclaimed an Olympic athletes
Olympia: Sanctuary of Zeus, pt.II
Myth and History in the
Olympia in the 5 Century
• Construction of temple of Zeus on now ground, no old foundations
• New stadion increased capacity by 50%
• More victory statues (victories for both battle and athletics)- were dedicated between 500 ad 450 bCE than in any other
• Athletic statues increase in dedication between 479 and 404BCE
– In part Civic ideology- in part due to new socual arranguament of sanctuary, i.e. Temple of Zeus
Olympia in the 5 Century (450-400BC)
• Political struggles
• After 450BCE. Military tropaia cease being dedicated, why?
– Internal conflicts, Peloponnesian war (Athens vs. Sparta)
• Display of peace Tretsus between athlens and Sparta;30 Year Peace 446-445 bce, peace of Nicias 421 BCE
• Place of display of Elean allegience to Athens (against Sparta) why is this a problem?
• - olympia is in the pelopponese, territory of Sparta
• For period of time, Sparta excluded from Games-political decision by Eleans, Sparta had broken Olympic truce)
• Battle in Olympia sanctuary in order for Sparta to capture sanctaury of Zeus
• After Pelopponesian War, Ellis capitulaes to Sparta
• Training for war, minus the bullets
Temple of Zeus
• The temple was begun around 470
• The construction was funded by thr spoils of a local war between eis and Pisa
• The temple was apparently completed by 457 when a golden tripod was dedicated by the Spartans on the peak of the
gable Olympic Zeus
Chryselephantine statue made by Phideas
• Cult Image of Zeus: Made by Pheidias, creator of famous Athena Parthenos on the Acropolis.
• Pheidias’ workshop for Zeus situated in Olympia.
• Measured 42 ft. tall, completed in 430-422 BCE
Chryselaphantine statue: ivory and gold panels on wooden substructure
Decorative West Pediment: Lapiths and Centaurs
• Perithous marries Hippodameia
• (Not the Daughter of Oinomaos)
• Perithous invite the Centaurs
• Centaurs attempt to rape the
• wives of the Lapiths.
• Perithous and Theseus (mythic founder of Athens) stop the Centaurs
Pediments of Temple of Zeus:
• West Pediment
• Pelops Chariot Race
• Violent Contest Marriage
• Violence from Host (Oinomaos)
• Women as prized objects
• East Pediemnt
• Lapiths and Centuars
• Marriage Violent Contest
• Violence from Guests (Centaurs)
• Women as prized objects
• Contest Settled through Divine Intervention
Metopes of Temple of Zeus:
Labors (Athla) of Heracles (Hercules)
Alternate Foundaton Muth for Olympic Games: Heracles
Pindar Olympian 3 (For Theron, Chariot Race 476 BCE)
“For by now altars had been dedicated to his father (Zeus) ….And he had laid down the great games’ holy principle of
judgement and had established the four-year cycle for his festival,To be held beside the sacred banks of Alpheus; But the
land of Pelops grew no lovely trees, In the dales of the son of Cronus….. Departing for Olympus, he instructed them to
take charge of the admired games, where men compete in prowess and swift chariotsare driven.
Birth of Hera-kles: Glory (Kleos) of/by Hera
• Zeus announces that a son of his will be born today, who will be king of men.
• Hera is pissed off and is mad about birth of Heracles
• She delays the birth of Heracles
• Hera has Eurysheus born prematurely, child of Perseus, who is a son pf Zeus.
• Zeus’s proclamation comes true, Eurytheus becomes king of men, contrary Heracles, Half Mortal-Half Divine, Ultimate Athlete.
Labor 1: The Nemean Lion, Labor of Force (Biê)
Labor 5: Cattle of Augeias, King of Elis, Labor of Mêtis
Labor: clear out dung in stavke if Augeuosu in a single dayth100% cattle
• Heracles says he will clear out dung for 1/10 of his cattle, he agrees
• Heracles ounches hole in the stable, abd diverts the river Alpheios
Apples of Hesperides: Labor of Mêtis and Biê
• Apples On Mount Atlas in land of hyperboreans
• Apples guarded by an immortal serpent
• Earth had given them a wedding gift to zeus and Hera
• Heracles holding up the world, and has Atlas get the apples
• Atlas says he can deliver the apples for him
• Heracles tricks atlas
• Agrees, but asks atlas to hold the world while he gets
How do you resolve the two foundation myths
(Pelops/Heracles) for the Olympic Games?
• Pausaniand, Description of Greece, Mythic History of Olympic Games
• Temple built in Honor of Cronos, son of Gaia, father of Zeus in Golden age
• First mythic games : zeus and cronos wrestle to become king of the Gds r Zeus had first games in honor of victory
• 2 olympic games after great flood
• Pelops has games in honor of Zeusl so of pelops also have games
• Augeaus, king of elis, has olympic games
• Heracles conducts Olympic games after the conquest of Elis
• Image: Votive figurines (8 century)
• Image: Tripods
• Ash Altar of Zeus (Prothysis, Upper level)
• Olympian vs. Chthonic Sacrifice
• Temple of Hera (dates, etc)
• Praxiteles Hermes
• Outlines of Myth of Heracles (Only Labors depicted)
• Temple of Zeus (dates, East and West Pediment, Metopes)
• Be sure to know basic outlines from Slides on
• Different periods of history of Olympic Sanctuary. October 7 , 2013 Running Events
Miller, Ancient Greek Athletics, pp. 31-46
The Gymnikos Agon (Nude Competitions)
Stadion was the premier event one stadion 600 ft
o Modern equivalent is 200m
Traits of runners knees high and arms extended Stadion runners
o Diaulos double stadion, equivalent to modern 400m
Runners gait similar to Stadion, but knees are more bent
o Dolichos twenty or twenty four laps of the stadium track
7.5-9 km long distance
o Hippios horsy race quadruple stadium length, 800m
o Hoplitodromus race in armor, dialos length
Special techniques and builds for different races/runners
Track 30 m wide and 600 ft in length Olympia was the longest
No time records kept, just victor
The end of the track was marked by balbis, a stone starting line
Positions for the start of the race – left foot in front with outstretched arms
o Hopplitdromos shield preventing traditional stance
Ancient stadiums were also equippred with a starting mechanism hysplex
o Triangular area paved with stone
Replaced with a system of individual hinged gates that serve as barriers for the runners
Problem position of posts, disadvantaged for those in the outside
o Hysplex 2 wider, but peope could trip on cord
o Hysplex 3 monumental architectural frames with series of cords and springs,
Miller, Arete sections 20-31 (Running Events)
20. Philostratus, On Gymnastics
best candidate for Dolichos powerful neck and shoulders, light slendor legs,
stir their legs into the sprint and use hands as if they were wings
Hoplitodromos long waist, well developed shoulder, tilted knee
Stadion runners symmetrical build, but better is those who are mot too tall but a bit too tall for proportion
o Excessive height lacks firmness
o Should be solidly built proportions
Legs balanced with the shoulders, knees limber, medium muscles
o Candidates for the diaulos stronger than stadion, but lighter than hippodromes
o All 3 combination
21: Lucian, On Slander
the good runner only thinks about what is in front of him, stretching his mind toward the terma putting hope in
the bad runner plots against his competitors no hope in speed only in tricks
23: Lucian, Timon
Wealth is explaining to Hermes that he is slow to come, but quick to leave
When the hysplex has fallen, I am already proclaimed a victor having traversed the stadion so fast that the spectators
didn’t even see me.
24: Antholgia Graeca 11.86
Did Perikles run or sit for the stadion? Demon of slow, hyssplex falling, another being crowned
25: Plutarch, Moralia
Stating how runners care more about gaining the advantage than about justice
Damaretos of Heraia, his son and grandson each won twice at Olympia
o Statute held shield and helmet of competiriors
Removed over time
27: Drymos ran over 225lm, victor of dolichos
Relied on eyewitness accounts in his history Describes a part of the preparations of the athenianas to meet the Persians on the plain of Marathon in 490BC
o Courier sent to Sparta for help, Pheidippides Marathon running
30: Lucian, A Slip of the Tongue in Greeting 3
Discussing the use and meaning of chairein to rejoice, to be happy or to cheer
Form of greeting chairein, chairete is plural
Used by Pheidippides in the Marathon to Athens victory
31: Pliny, Natural History
Plutarch and Pliny did not know of Phidippides Marathon
Ran 220lm, 1140 stadia
Degree of the feat
Philostratus, Gymnasticus, running selections
Dolichos: long race
o Long course, 12 stades
o Running heralds came from Arcadia to Greece as messengers of matters in war didn’t travel with horses
o Trained them for 3war running the dolichos
Origin of the Stadion
- when the runners were a stade dsistanc from the altar, the priest soof before it with a torch acting as a judge
- the victor went away after lighting the offerings
Chapter 6: Diaulos, Double Stade
- When the Eleans sacfificed, the spectators also performed sacrifices
- The runnersran from the altar and then ran back to the same place as though making an announcement The runners
ran there and back
Chapter 7: Hoplitodromos (Race in Armor)
- Olympic hoplite race Eleans were engaged in war with Dumaians
o No Olympic truces when the Eleans won, a hoplite is said to have run from the battle to the stadion track
bringing an announcement of victory.
o But there seems to me to be a different reason for the hoplite race.
Practiced from an origin in war came into contests on account of the beginning of war, with the
shield demonstrating that the truce has ceased, and that there is need of arms.
o You see that he announces to everyone that the prize distributing competition is ending, and the war trumpet
signals the work of Ares (Enualios) calling the youth to arms.
This announcement commands that those taking olive oil carry it away, not so as to be anointed, but
because they have ceased from anointing.
Ancient Athletic Events: Running
One of the most important sports in Greek history
Modern Olympics 100 metres
Philostratus – Peri Gymnastikês/ Gymnasticus
Important and obscure text
Only complete text on athletics from ancient world
o Rough translations
Gives us strange details on athletics
Our only survivndg handbook of ancient athletic training
Written in the 2 century
Philostratos, 172-250 CE
o Part of the second sophistic movement
What is the first sophistic? Gorgias, Critias, and other who performed declamations on abstracr
philopsohical themes. “Make the weaker argument stronger.”
What Is the second sophistic?
o Display or oratory beginning in 4 century BCE through the Roman imperial period
Shows that he knows a thing about biomechanics
Advocating Greek athletics in a Roman era nostalgia for Greek past
Athletics is a vehicle to do Getting back to the Greek past
• Distance of 180-200 meters
– Done in a straight line
• First event in the Olympic games from 776-724 BCE – Dating of First Olympics:
• Time was measured in Olympiads (4 year periods)
• Hippias of Elis compelled the first Olympic Victor List around 400 BCE
– In 4 ce, Olympiads became a way of measuring time
• Each 4 year cycle was named after the victor in the stadium
• First victor in the Stadion is Coroebus of Elis
– Not a panhellenic event, victors were Elians (local)
• Pausians, Description of Greece, 5.8.6
– When the unbroken tradition of the Olympiads began there was first the foot-race, and Coroebus at Olympia,
but his grave was on the borders of Elis
Table of the Olympic Victor Wreaths
Pausians, Descrption of Greece
o There are here other offerings also…a tabe on which are set out the crowns for victors…there are figures of
Hera, Zeus, mother of the gods, Hermes, and Apollo and Artemis. Behind is the dispotion of the games. On one
side are Ascepius and Health…Ares too and Eris (contest) by his side
Recreation of what the table would look like
All the Olympic winner got was a crown, and meat
Ritual Origins of the Stadion
Philostratus ch 5.
o When the eleans made sacrifrices, as their law requires, the sacrificial offerings were laid ready on the altar but
the fire wasnot yet applied. The runners were places a stade (200m) from the altar, before which a preiest as
judge, stood with a torch. The winner kindled the offering and went forth as Olympic victor.
Compare the LSS inscription Delphi 160 BCE
o Let the racecourse travel from the gymnasium up until the altar. And ;e the one who is victoriuous receive the
Portions of the meat are sacrificed to the gods, but also given to the winner (athlete)
Hector’s “Pre-Funeral Games”
Homer Iliad 22.178ff
They ran by these springs, pursuer and pursued-
A great man out in front, a far greater behind-
And they ran all out. This was not a race
For such a prize as athletes compete for,
An oxhide or animal for sacrifice, but a race
For the soul (psyche) of Hector, breaker of horses.
Just as champion horses wheeling round the course,
Hooves flying, pouring it on in a race for a prize-
A woman or a tripod- at a hero’s funeral games,
Just so the heroes circled Priam’s city three time running
While all the gods looked on.
What is the relationship between Sacrifice and Athletics?
Diaulos – Double Stade Race (724 BCE)
Double Stade and Pan-Hellenism
o “After the Eleans had sacrificed, however, the other Greek delegates who came to participate in the celebration
must also make sacrifice. In order that their arrival might not take place without ceremonial, the runners ran a
furlong away from the altar, as if to invite the Hellenes, and returned again to the same point, as though to
announce that Hellas came gladly.”
Idea of inclusion, sacrifice, etc.
Dolichos (Distance Race) (720 BCE)
Origins in War
Distance: 20-24 laps of stadion track (7.5-9km)
Philostratus ch.4: o Couriers were accustomed to go from Arcadia to Hellas as heralds of war, and they were required not to ride,
but to complete the course on foot. The fact that in the brief course of a day they always covered as many
stades as the distance race comprises, made them distance runners and trained them for war.
Myth of the Marathon
One of the most popular events
Began in 1896 with first modern Olympics
Battle of the Marathon- Persian wars
o 490 BCE
o 10,000 Athenuans vs. 20,000
o 3 runners, 2 stories
o Pheidippides (Herodotus)
o Thersippuius or Eucles (Plutarch)
Two stoties collapsed by Robert Browining in his Poem Pheidippides
Ran from Athens to Sparta
o Major event in the first modern Olympics
Pheidippides and Marathon
(Herodotus) Herodotus Histories 6.105-106:
First, while they were still in the city, the generals sent as a herald to Sparta Pheidippides an Athenian, who
was a long-distance runner (hemerodromes) and made this his calling. This man, as he himself said and told the
Athenians…met with Pan..When their city won prosperity they founded a temple of Pan beneath the acropolis,
and for that message sought the god’s favour with yearly sacrifices and torch races.
This Pheidippides was at Sparta on the day after he left Athens. (Distance of 150 miles)
Rejoice, we are victorious!
• Plutarch, Moralia,347c
• Again, Thersippus of Eroeadae brought back the news of the battle of Marathon, as Heracleides Ponticus
relates, but most historians declare that it was Eucles who ran in full armor, hot from battle and bursting in at
the doors of the first men of the state, could only say” Rejoice! We are victorious!” (Chairete, Nikômen). And
then right away breathed his last breath.
Robert Browning, “Pheidippides”
Unforeseeing one! Yes, he fought on the Marathon day:
So, when Persia was dust, all cried "To Akropolis!
Pheidippides, one race more! the meed is thy due!
'Athens is saved, thank Pan,' go shout!" He flung down his shield,
fire once more: and the space 'twixt the Fennel-field
And Athens was stubble again, a field which a fire runs through,
Till in he
broke: "Rejoice, we conquer!" Like wine thro' clay,
Joy in his blood bursting his heart, he died--the bliss!
Athlete dies at the end of the marathon
Relationship between dying and achieving athletic victory
Can create a modern myth
Hoplitodromos (Race in Armor) 520 BCE
• War between Eleans and Dymanes: Soldier ran into the games announcing victory
• Same story about Delphians and Phocians (Pythian Games)
• Argives vs. Spartans (Nemean Games)
• Corinthians waged war in Peloponnesus (Isthmian Games)
As a signal to resume war indicating that the truce of god has passed and one needs weapons. Contest of prizes is over and the
trumpet of Enyalios (Ares) calls youths to arms.
• Starting Line – Balbis
• Leg/Hip Drive and foot dorsiflexion (toes up):
Review KNOW THIS FOR EXAM
• Stadion, 776-724 BCE, 180-200 meters ***
• Coroebus of Elis, first Stadion victor
• Diaulos (double Stadia), 724 BCE • Dolichos (20-24 double stadia) 720 BCE
• Marathon: Know the sources, how the modern myth came about.
• Hoplitodromos (2 stadia) 520 BCE
• Hysplex, balbis
• KnTH the images attached to each running event
October 9 Heavy Events
AGA 46-60: Wrestling
First event ot be added rhat wasn’t footrace was wrestling
o Pale, or the adjective orthe (upright, erect) as a basic feature
o Beginning from a stamding postio, must throw opponent to the ground
o The notion of pinning down an opponent did not exist
The starting stance was called systasis, or standing together
o Wrestlers lean into eachothers forheads, and must throw opponent ot the ground
o He might lunge forward and grab his opponent by the shoulders; ten reach down and grab him in a bear hug
OR gripping the opponents forearms or legs
Popular hold meson or labein to have, or grab the middle (waist)
o Defensive hold
Trachelizein neck hold in which leverage was exerted against the upper body
o Legs used to knock opponent off balance
Ankyrzein to catch with a hook
Hedran strephein to turn the rear of the opponent
o Also involved turning the back, dramatic body slam into the ground
Wrestling took place in the scamma; dug up place
o No evidence of pits, not standardized Ad hoc arrangement
Competitors sorted into lots based on size of a bean alpha vs alpha, etc.
o No letter ephedros, on the seat
The winner is the wrestler who throws the opponent ot the ground 3 times without first suffering 3 falls
o Winner thricer
For boys stadion paidon, boys footrace sprint and wrestling were best regarded as expressions of strength and
Blood and Gloves signified wrestling himantes (gloves),myrmikes (ants), sores from gloves
o Himantes wrapped around wrist and knuckkes to allow blows to the opponent
Equipment included punching bag (korykos), set up in the special room (korykeoin)
Several sizes heavy for Pantratiasts, and lightweight for boxers
Sparring with padded gloves sphairai, and ear protectors (amphotidai)
Boxing competitions took place in the scamma, and matches determined by drawing lots
No rounds of time limits not allowed to hit a man when he was down
Victory decided when one competitor could not continue
Most violent Olympic sport combined pale and the pyx
Absence of himantes, flowing of blood
Dangerous brand of wrestling more violence and blood
Strangulation is permitted, BUT not biting or gauging
Brutality is a key kicking is also allowed
Gymnastics: Heavy Events
- Wrestling and Pancration were discovered for their usefulness in war.
o First, the battle fought at Marathon by the Athenians, since it appeared closer to wrestling, and adding to this
second is the battle at Thermopylae, when the Spartans fought much with their bare hands when their swords
and spears had been broken.
- Pankration valued above all else mixture of imperfect wrestling boxing.
o Eleans have considered wrestling stronger and “grievous” / “Painful” as not only for the intermixture of
wrestling moves, for which one needs a body that is fluid and flexible, but also for the fact that there are three
contests in the competition, since it requires so many falls.
Although they consider it miraculous to give a dustless victory in the pankration and boxing, they do not deny the
wrestler, since the tradition/ law (nomos) says to grant such a victory only in the crooked and painful wrestling match, and the reason for this is clear to me, for which the law is established thus: That the training is more difficult than the
competition in Olympia for one that is skilled.
The distance race is trained by 8 or ten stadia and the Pentathlon, something of three.
o Runners perform the double stade, the stade or both
o For this is the manner of (light) training, if the Eleans train the athletes, and if others do:
Heavier athlete is trained by the Eleans bright sun, poor, tough training conditions
Given these hardships, the wrestlers are the most hard-working/enduring.
o When it is time to compete, the boxer will be injured and inflict injury and get kicked in the shins, but when
being trained, he will demonstrate the shadow of competition, and the pankration competes in all manners,
however many there are in the pankration, but he is trained at one time in one way and at another time in
another, but wrestling is the same in pre-competition and competition.
For it is possible to test each aspect, how much he knows and how much he is capable of and it has rightly been called
intricate complexity of wrestling, where the Eleans crown the most well trained and indeed for training alone.
Bithynian Melie (mother of Amycus)
Telling strangers that since they are in his land of Bebrycians, no one leaves without fighting him
o Select your host and he will fight me in boxing
Polydeuces stepped forward against what he spoke
Polydeuces defeats the King of the Bebrycians breaks his bones amd makes him fall to his feet
Arete, 37, 38, 44, 45
Boxing was discovered by the Lakodaimians
They did not belive in helmets, nor was it proper in their culture
o They believed a shield could be used instead as protection
They did quit boxing for a short time, and then resumed it.
The ancient form of boxing:
o Four of the fingers were set into leather straps, and they wrapped so much of the strap that if one brought the
fingers together, a fist was possible, and it was held together by a strap, which accordingly was tied to the
forearm as a support.
o Used ox hide, not pigskin as it was more damaging for wounds
Structure of the ideal Boxer
o Someone with broad neck and shoulders, no fat calves, long hand and strong arms, small belly to be more
nimble and have advantage over opponent
Death of Arrhicon similar to that of Kreugas
Argives competition Kreugas is a boxer from Epidamnos
Crown of victory at Nemean games given to Kreugas, and given a statue
o Damoxenos, the opponent broke the agreement ripped out his intestines
Delivered multiple blows instead of one
Statue of Arrhicion winner of 2 Olympic victories
o Feet not separate, hands at the sides
o Made of stone
In his third Olympic victory, he was strangled to death by an opponent, so crowned victorious
45: Philostratus, Pictures in a Gallery
Most likely son in law of the man that wrote; Gymnastics treaty
He was a sophist had paintings to exhibit moral knowledge
o Natural contours of the land is simple, ample…
Critiqued wresting everything but biting and gauging were allowed, very violent and not necessary
Violence and Athletics:
Wrestling, Boxing, Pancration
IOC Drop and Reinstatement of Wrestling
• February 2013, International Olympic Committee dropped wrestling from 2020 Olympic program.
• July 2013, FILA hosted Wrestling event with 12 countries and over 100 wresters at Ancient Olympia to petition the IOC.
• September 2013, IOC reinstates wrestling acknowledging it was a “mistake” to drop it. • What does this “shake up” say about modern global vs. ancient perspectives on sport?
• Originally dropped it based on ticket sales – lacking popularity vs. other sports
• Problems internally with leadership – no medical advisory board, low women representation
• After negotiations they re-instated the sport (having made rule changed, and increased number of weight classes)
• Boxing and wrestling were considered the next most popular sports (next to running) in ancient Olympia
Theories of Violence and Society
Thomas Hobbes Leviathan (1651
Man is engaged in constant war, where “every man is enemy to every man.” Man’s Life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish,
violence is inherent to human kind – we are naturally violent
Safety Valve Theory
Idea that violence in sport is used to release violent tendencies and aggressive built up stress (allows us to live in a
All conflict generates from wanting what others have
We are intrigued to watch violent sports to release our aggressive and naturally violent side
Rene Girard, Violence and the Sacred (1972)
Mimetic Desire: every one wants what someone else has
Mimetic Rivalry: All conflict originates from Mimetic Desire
Scapegoat Mechanism: Single individuals blamed and violence acted upon the single individual.
• Introduced in Olympia in 708 BCE
• Performed standing up
• Starting stance – systasis
• Took place in skamma –the dug up place
• Victory goes to the wrestler who is able to throw his competitor to the ground 3 times
Victor called triakter – Thricer
• Only in Wrestling can a victor be awarded a prize with no-contest: a “dustless” Victory – akoniti
• Event for Boys (Paides) added in 632 BCE
• Judges used sticks to monitor contestants to to use form against them if broke certain rules
• There tended to be a pattern where younger Olympic victors don’t become older Olympic victors
Combat sports, War and Cultural Identity
That wrestling and the Pancration were invented for their utility in war is proved in the first place by the feat of arms at
Marathon which was so performed by Athenians that it seemed like a wrestling match. And at Thermopylae, where the
Lacedaemonians fought often with their bare hands, when their swords and lances were broken.
Why choose Marathon and Thermopylae as examples?
Battle of 490 against Persians.
10,000 Greeks vs 20,000 (?) Persians Defining victory for Athenian identity
Battle of 480 against Persians
300 Spartans, led by Leonidas
(7,000 men in total)
Vs. 100,000-300,000 Persians
Greeks betrayed by Ephialtes
300 Spartans, 700 Thespians,
400 Spartans remained.
Herodotus Bk.7, 208:
It chanced that at this time the Lacedaemonians (Spartans) held the outer guard, and were seen by the spy, some of
them engaged in gymnastic exercises, others combing their long hair.
Rules of Wrestling:
Philostratos, ch.11 The Eleans look upon wrestling as the test of strength and call it “painful,” not merely because of the intricate holds in wrestling,
which require a supple and nimble body, but also on account of the three fold contest prescribed among them, so many falls
Homer’s Wrestling Match-
Biê vs. Metis
Strength Bie (Ajax) vs. Cunning/Intelligence/Metis (Odysseus)
- Standing position resembles the building of a house (a-frame)
- Odysseus “throws Ajax” by tripping him with his leg.
- Ajax pulls Odysseus to the ground through his strength
- They were ready to go at it a third time,
- But Achilles himself rose and held them back:
- “No need to continue and wear yourselves out.
- You’re both winners. Take equal prizes and go your way, so others can compete.”
The Dustless Victory
While they consider it extra-ordinary to award the crown in the pancration and in boxing without a contest, they do not refuse it
to the wrestler. For the rules of the game expressly permit such a victory only in the torturous and “painful” wrestling match…
Wrestling is the same in the trial as the actual contest.. Therefore the Eleans award the wreathe to the best training – indeed, for
Explain details of people training in Elis Month before the games, overseen by the Hellanodikai- the Judges of the Games.
- Before the games, the athletes would train at Olympia and be watched and judged
- Only in wrestling, the training is just as hard as the actual event – sometimes victors would be decided outside the
Boxing – Pyx/ Pygme/ Pygmachia
• Introduced into the Olympic Games in 688 BCE
• Gloves- leather straps called himantes
-4 century BCE – hard himantes- oxys
• No rounds-
• Himantes (gloves) would be used to inflict more violence
• Hard himantes were introduced to inflict even more pain
• Contest continues until someone quits – could last for days, even indefinitely
• Spartans did not want to compete in fighting in fear of having one of their fellow men quitting
• Loser quits by lifting finger or gets knocked out
Boxing and War
• Iliad 23 694ff: Epeius boasts-
Anybody want the cup as his prize?
Because no Greek alive is going to beat me in boxing and lead away this mule.
I’m the best there is. Isn’t it enough I come up short in war? A man can’t be good at everything. But let me tell you this, and it’s a
sure thing: Anybody fights me,
I’ll bust him wide open and crush his bones.
Better have his next of kin standing by
To carry him out when I’m through with him.
Symbolic that a man cannot be good at everything, realization that there was not always good athletes who were good warriors
- He was the best athlete, but one of the worst warriors
• Philostratus, ch. 9:
The ancient Lacedaemonians boxed for the following reason: they had no helmets, and they considered that fighting with such
was not according to the customs of the country, but the shield took the place of the helmet if one understood how to carry it.
In order then to parry blows and to withstand them, they practiced boxing and sought in this manner to harden the face.
In the course of time, they gave up boxing and the pancration because they considered it disgraceful to participate in contests, in
which, if one person should yield, Sparta would be open to the reproach of cowardice.
- Quitting is a huge shame
- Would train through boxing, fighting one another
- Injuries on the face of a boxer would be a huge mark of status
Boxing and Sacrifice
• Polydeukes (son of Zeus, brother of Helen of Troy) vs. Amykos; Argonautica Bk.2 (Also described in Theocritus Idyll 22, ) “Then back they rushed together again, as two bulls fight in furious rivalry for a grazing heifer. Next Amycus rising on tiptoe, like
one who slays an ox, sprung to his full height and swung his heavy hand down upon his rival”
- Symbolizes them as bulls fighting over a female
- Violence is for the benefit of spectators
- One is the winner, the other is sacrificed
• Introduced at Olympia in 648 BCE
• Only 2 rules – No Biting, No gouging out of the eyes
• Open to Paides Age Group at Olympia in 200 BCE
• Open to Paides Age Group at Delphi in 346 BCE
• Philostratus: Perfect Pankratists- better wrestlers than the boxers, better boxers than the wrestlers
• Paides (young boys)
• The Perfect Pankatist is an overall good fighter in all different aspects – no specialty
Love (Eros) and Death (Thanatos):
Philostratus, Gymnasticus, ch.21
Arrichion, the Pancratist, who had already been victor at two Olympiads, was competing for the wreath in the following Olympiad
(564 BCE), and was on the point of declaring himself vanquished but was inspired with a desire (eros) for death (thanatos) by
Euryxias, the gymnast, when he shouted, “What a beautiful memorial – ‘he did not surrender at Olympia.’”
Philostratus, Imagines (Miller, Arete #45)
“The one who is strangling Arrichion is painted to look like a
corpse as he signals with his hand that he is giving up. But
Arrichion is painted as are all victors. His blood is in full flower,
and sweat still glistens, and he smiles like a living man
who sees his victory.”
Philostratus, Imagines (Miller, Arete #45)
“The one who is strangling Arrichion is painted to look like a
corpse as he signals with his hand that he is giving up. But
Arrichion is painted as are all victors. His blood is in full flower,
and sweat still glistens, and he smiles like a living man
who sees his victory.”
- His coach convinces him to die rather than quiet – which in the end gave him more glory
- Other opponent was injured and gave up just before Arrichion died – so in the end he actually one
Pindar: Olympian 7
Daughter of Diagoras who coached her son disguised herself and went to watch him compete
At his victory, she revealed herself and out of respect for winner she wasn’t put to death
First women allowed to watch the games and wasn’t killed for it
Daughter of Diagoras who coached her son disguised herself and went to watch him compete
At his victory, she revealed herself and out of respect for winner she wasn’t put to death
First women allowed to watch the games and wasn’t killed for it
Conclusion of Olympian 7
The Balance between Civic and Aristocratic Ideology
I pray you honor the custom of the Olympic victor’s hymn,
And the man whose fists have won him success.
Grant him popular respect among his townsmen and with strangers,
For he walks a straight road which his upright mind,
Inherited from noble ancestors, has laid down for him.
Do not obscure the lineage of Callianax.
Truly when the Eratidae celebrate the city too holds festival.
But in one short span of time winds quickly shift direction,
Veering back and forth.
Because of Diagoras’s victory – whole city celebrates
- Civil ideology?
Diagoras of Rhodes:
Pinnacle of Life Achievement
Plutarch, Life of Pelopidas “For the death of men in the hour of their triumph is not, as Aesop used to say, most grievous, but most blessed, since it
puts in safe keeping their enjoyment of their blessings and leaves no room for change of fortune. Therefore the
Spartan's advice was better, who, when he greeted Diagoras, the Olympian victor, who had lived to see his sons
crowned at Olympia, and the sons of his sons and daughters, said: "Die now, Diagoras; you cannot ascend to Olympus.”
Aseop – dying in victory is the worst way to die, because you don’t get to celebrate victory
Plutarch – dying in victory is the best way to die, because nothing bad can happen and your life is preserved
Diagoras – desire for death, achieved victory and nothing can be better than victory, so you might as well die
October 16 , 2013
Contest of 5 events important event for ancient greek athletics
Combination of events, well-rounded
The pent-athlete is well rounded and participates in numerous events
Events: Stadion, wrestling (pale) the discus throw, the jump (halma), and the Javelin (akon)
Introduced n 708 CE along with wrestling
Exact criteria for victory n Pentathlon not known
o Tough to figure out point distribution
Paides age group competition introduced at Olympia in 628BCE, but immediately eliminated after that
Aristotle shows that Olympic victors in Boys Age division seldom won in open tournament
o Issue of overspecialization at too early of an age
o Dropping pentathlon from youth age
Best of the Worst
Anthologia Graeca (60 CE) (Miller Arete #54)
“None of the competitors fell more quickly than I, and none ran the stadion more slowly. I never came near the others
with the diskos, my legs never got strong enough to jump, and a club-footed cripple could hurl the akon better than I. I
am the first in the pentathlon to be proclaimed vanquished in all five.”
Way with the points system that you coild lose in all 5 sections yet still emerge as a victor
o Most well rounded, i.e. crossfit athlete
The Pentathlete: The Perfect Athlete? Form and Function
Philostratus, Gymnasticus, ch.31:
“He who enters the Pentathlon ought to be heavy rather than light and light rather than heavy.”
o Well rounded, feeds into notion of ideal Greek body
o Body that is well balanced and in perfect harmony
o Aristotle talks about this in physical beauty:
Aristotle Rhetoric 1361b (Miller Arete, #48):
“In youth, beauty lies in the possession of a body capable of enduring all kinds of labors, both in the racecourse and in
bodily strength, and the youth himself is a pleasant delight to look at. It is for this reason that Pentathletes are the most
beautiful. They are naturally adapted for exertion of the body and swiftness of foot.”
o Feeds into balance, ctonrol and harmony
Most common is 21cm in diameter and 2kg
Official discus, athlete did not have his own
Not a personal possession of athlete
Not clear on standardized weight, but most common discus is 21 centimeters in diameter and about 2 kgs (4.4 lbs), same
as modern discus, but some larger, some smaller.
Three discuses used in competition- kept in treasury of Sikonians at Olympia (Pausanias6.19.4, Miller Arete #56) =
discuss was not personal possession of athlete.
Odysseus among the Phaeacians
Throwing the Discus
Springing up with cloak and all, he took a discus, Broad and much bigger and heavier that the ones the Phaeacians