April 3, 2013
Competitiveness in Gk society
- Historians calls the ‘agonisitc spririt’ contest (agon)
o Draws attention to where we get the word agony..because it wasn’t a friendly
competition. Painful struggles….
- Thinking of competitiveness. In gk soceity, it worked out in more that atheletic world but place
in politics, social relatiosn and between individuals within communities as a whole in shaping
behaviour of pal in gk society
- Idea of competition brought us to the 4 big stephanitic games
- 4 stephanitic/panhellenic games
o Olympia, pythia, isthmia, nemea
- Origin= funeral game and heroic contests
o Pelops vs oinomaios (olympia)
o Apollo vs. python (delphi)
o Theseus vs sinis/ for melikertes (isthmia)
o 7 against thebes for opheltes (nemea)
- Prizes= stephanos (wreaths/crown)
o Olive (altis at olympia), laurel (honor of apollo), pine (isthmia), wild celery (nemea)
o Zeus&Hera, Apollo pythios, Poseidon, Zeus
Sharing similar characteristics of events, process of celebrating with statues, sanctuaries, infratructure
(stadium expands, buidlings for atheletes for activities and training.. as larger and greater temples and
treasuries for visiotrs and housings for votive offerings) infrastrurcture and insistution on how they were
- Pentathlon (jump, javelin, discus, wrestling , stadion race)
- Combat sports (boxing, wrestling, pankration)
- Ball sports
- Foot races (stadion, diaulos, dolichos, hoplitodromos, lampadedromia)
- Equestrian races (horseback, chariot, apobates)
While each had own distinctive characteristics, there were few themes emerge having to do with gk
appraoch to sports
- Use of equipment
o Assist them in doing the task better. Cloest comparison today is the high jump (jumping
over unaided vs. pole vult because of the gigantic pole) in that line,
o Ex. Himantes, stones… and less gears of no protective coverings or professional atheltes
in this sense
o Turning posts… clearly the engineering of these races and because of the tradition in
running in the stadion… straight lines , used turning post for the races.
- Runnign track o Run aroudn in circle and don’t break stride.. because their refernece to circular runs in
trainings but circular traiing activity wasn’t te official competition.
- Cunning & outstmarting
o Mental apporach to a contest
o Idea of using cunning to outsmart opponent. Necessity in combat sports and probably
for horse races as well where you need to cut off opponents
o This idea extneded to wear opponent out.
o Include bending ppls’ finger (pankration)
- Role of judges
o Referees visible on vase, texts, etc
o Punished for cheating, false starts and punished fousl or even stopping competittor for
o No indication that referees in combat sports were keeping score like today.
o Combat was not to score certain number of points and hits of oppoent from manuver
more highyl… those combat was to yeid… from keeping tally. Making sure cheating and
fouling didn’t take palce.
o Scoring in pentathlon were keeping score
o Pentatholon all around competition and refereences to atheltes all round even if they
didn’t win all events
o They were keeping score in some way.
- Gymnasium and palaistra
o Education along with assoiated wrestling school
- These institution were most simple open area for running around, throwing and multi activity
and water supply, shelter for onlookers and beleonging and clothes.
- As time went on, served as embele for Greek cuture
o Arhceitcture large opponent style of column perimeter and beyond were rooms and
chambers for changing, clthes, bathing, classroooms
o manager who was elected appointed magistrate in a commnity and prominent and well
respected citizen and was in charge of running institution/finance and members for
hiring and supervising trainers and teachers who woked there and manage the slaves
who worked there
- City conscious of benefit of state control or education for youngs, gymn had state oversight
o Propriety of the instittuon (time of day, age groups, permitted members, permitted
behaviours) needs to be a respectable place
o Citizens do hiring themselves.
o Scope of leson proscribed by city and teachers the city hired.. wehther hired to
trainliteracy,numeracy, physical training, in arcery, javelin… miliary and music.
o Care of young ppl was a major concern..
o In hellenistic period, lawcodes formalized as solon’s laws… these laidout time of day,
social classes and could and could not attend gyms.
- Pphysical training
- Education for young people= creating suitable adult citizens - Sparta’s agoge strict physical traiingn and harsh condition.. progression to age categories
distincit and lasted a lot longer… different way of imaginign what youth was and age of adult
- Hellenistic athens: ephebeia (lycurgus’ reform
o A matter of social status (formal system of segration, trainig, exam, patrol in attica)
Warfare always an elite activitiy.
Old days, only men wealthy enough were citizens went out on campgain… different matter to defend
city and attack. Including old women and children. Going for campgain wealhty and afford time
equipment for soliders. After shor phase all young citienss sent out from sponsordships, it was generally
Spartan citizens were at the top and many more semi- totally unfree citizens/ noncitiens in the lower
Spartans as a group were elite soceity… agoge was an elite education
We moved on from thinking of educaiton and training and looking at how victors were celebrated
- Parts of agonistic spirit
o Statue…. Epikinion odes, feasts, cahs prises
- Prizes at contests
- Epnikina odes
- Cash prizes
Habbit of celebrating victory was the agonistic spirit.
Competing for prize,it was honor and fame. Thus point of contest itself was to win and win honor and
fame for yourself.
Agones mousikois&dramatikoi (contests)
- Pythia and isthmia
o Music had connection to heroic ideals, education, to production of appropirate citiens
o Integral for every part of greek life. Daily taks and occupations and rituals puncate life…
o Marriage, funerals, celebrations all had music
Role of music in gk society because music was a nother way to train apporiate ciiens and participate in
comeptition and win fame nad glory.
- Ethos of mousike
o Pervading all of life
Powerful force to shape caracter and transmit truth and values called the ethocs of mousike
Being achoreutos person not lacking music in their life… but this iss osmething lacking in
- Musical theory and practice: changes/ innovations
o Professionalism very important and disintictive. Competition was for professionals.
Thus prize for winnign was potential of the member of the synodoi
o Synodoi of Dioysian technitai professional guilds with significant rights and freedom in
the political realm. Asbolute top in the musical profession*
o Other proffessionals made a living by performing in orchestra, coemptte in local
regional circuits and worked as teachers Popular taste change and innovations improving instruments. It led to developenet of new forms and
genres of new performances and cahnges in practice of msic led to professionalization.
Historical change in competitive world in gk soceity as politcal change took plce, opporuntity for
- Iso-pythian & iso-olympian games all over gk world… where evver they w