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Sports festivals

(3,926 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] I. Introductory remark The general term SF is broader than the Greek cultural phenomenon of the ἀγών/ agṓn. The Greeks did not invent SF, but undoubtedly brought them to a peak with the institution of the agṓn. Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne) [German version] II. Egypt The Pharaonic culture of the Nile valley, according to Hdt. 2,58-59,1 the birthplace of the festival ( panḗgyris), provides clear indications for combining sports and festival in a single event [1]. The jubilee festival, the pivotal royal celebration, had a strong athletic accent…

Demaratus

(514 words)

Author(s): Meier, Mischa (Bielefeld) | Strothmann, Meret (Bochum) | Kinzl, Konrad (Peterborough) | Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne) | Badian, Ernst (Cambridge, MA) | Et al.
(Δημάρατος; Dēmáratos). [German version] [1] Corinthian aristocrat 7th cent. BC Corinthian aristocrat, member of the  Bacchiadae family. D. made his fortune as a merchant around the middle of the 7th cent. BC, mainly through trade with Etruria. When he had to leave Corinth during the rule of  Cypselus he settled in Tarquinii with his followers and married an Etruscan aristocrat. According to ancient tradition the marriage produced two sons, one of whom became the first Etruscan king of Rome,  Tarquinius P…

Akoniti

(191 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] (ἀκονιτί; akonití). Honorific technical term in the language of the agon: ‘without a fight’, literally ‘dust-free’, i.e. not required to sprinkle the body with fine sand after oiling, as laid down in the athlete's regimen (Philostr. De Gymnastica 56). Akoniti victories occurred when only one athlete had entered (e.g. Paus. 5,21,14), or, more often, when opponents withdrew out of fear or when they had no prospect of victory. This occurred most often in combat sports, but not only in wrestling, as Philostratus indicates …

Isthmia

(568 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] The Isthmia, held in the sanctuary of  Poseidon on the Isthmus of Corinth from 582 BC, belongs to the   períodos (περίοδος, circulation) of the Panhellenic agons. Myths connect the founding of the Isthmic Games with funeral games for the drowned Melicertes (Paus. 2,1,3) or with Theseus (Plut. Thes. 11e) [1]. Archaeological finds for athletic competitions do not precede the 6th cent. BC [2. (jumping-weight); 1. 76 (chariot)]. As early as 229 BC, the Romans were permitted to take par…

Pankration

(255 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] (παγκράτιον; pankrátion). The third kind of fighting besides  wrestling and boxing in the programme of Greek agones (Sports festivals). Its goal was to “totally dominate” an opponent, with any means but biting and scratching being allowed for the purpose  (Philostr. Imag. 2,6,3). It is distinguishable in iconography from boxing by the lack of fist straps and from wrestling by the representation of fighting on the ground (Philostr. De gymnastica 11). The famous marble sculpture in F…

Olympia

(6,171 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart) | Sinn, Ulrich (Würzburg) | Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
This item can be found on the following maps: Dark Ages | Macedonia, Macedones | Mycenaean culture and archaeology | Oracles | Punic Wars | Athletes | Aegean Koine | Education / Culture (Ὀλυμπία/ Olympía, Latin Olympia). I. History [German version] A. Prehistory O. was located in the Pisatis (eastern Peloponnese), i.e. in the region of Pisa. The existence and location of Pisa  was already disputed in antiquity. However, the town is an important element in the myth of the origin of the shrine of O. and the games held there (Oenomaus [1], …

Wrestling

(658 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] I. Egypt and the Ancient Middle East In ancient times, wrestling, an age-old form of martial art, was widespread. The earliest representations in Egypt go back as far as the First Dynasty ( c. 3000 BC) [1. 533-564, L 1]. In seven Middle Kingdom graves of district princes in Banī Ḥasan there are depictions of in all some 500 wrestling pairs, some arranged in cinematographic sequences [1. L 15-21; 2. 70-72]. Wrestlers are also documented for the New Kingdom, including at sports festivals; Nubians among others are me…

Sports

(4,101 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin)
[German version] I. Introduction The modern generic term 'sports' for physical exercise in the broadest sense, comprising the multi-faceted cultural phenomenon in a generally understandable way, was coined in England in the 18th cent.; it goes back to the late Latin deportare with the secondary meaning 'to enjoy oneself'. Within Classics and sports history as an institutionalized part of sports studies, concentrated work far beyond the traditional area of Graeco-Roman Antiquity has been established in recent decades [1]; the earlier a…

Xenombrotus

(151 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] (Ξενόμβροτος/Ξενόνβροτος; Xenómbrotos/Xenónbrotos). According to [1. no. 340], X. was victorious in horse riding (the first from his home island of Cos) at Olympia in 420 BC, while his son Xenodicus [1. no. 363] won in the youth class of boxing in 400 BC. Paus. 6,14,12 describes a shared monument to the two, for which there have been attempts to connect it with IvOl 170. As [2. no. 49] has shown, however, this inscription refers only to the victory of the father, whose father also …

Rowing

(302 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] Egyptian images of large ships being rowed allow the reconstruction of an ancient Egyptian technique characterized by an alternating cycle of sitting and standing while working the oars [1. 106-108]. In the rowing scene on the sphinx stele of Amenophis II (18th Dynasty: 1428-1397 BC), the king, as steersman, markedly outperforms his crew of rowers [2. 59]. Under Tutankhamon (18th Dynasty), teams performed on the Nile in a full-scale regatta [3]. In the Greek world, too, rowing competitions were far from unknown, though infrequent [4; 5]. There was an annual rowing ago…

Long jump

(341 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] (Greek ἅλμα; hálma; Lat. saltus). In Egypt a type of high long jump was known as a children's game already in the Old Kingdom [1. 619 f.]. In Graeco-Roman antiquity there is evidence of the long jump (LJ) as an individual competition only in myth (e.g. Hom. Od. 8,128). In actual athletic practice, however, it always occurs (presumably as the second discipline) in the context of the péntathlon . According to [2. 57-60], this is a continuous quintuple jump (cf. Them. in Aristot. Ph. 5,3) from standing. It was often performed to th…

Leontiscus

(136 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne) | Ameling, Walter (Jena)
(Λεοντίσκος; Leontískos). [German version] [1] Olympic winner from Messana of Messana (Sicily). Two times Olympic winner in wrestling (456, 452 BC) [1]. He won his fights (in a similar manner to the pancratiast Sostratus) by breaking fingers (Paus. 6,4,3). His victor's statue in Olympia is by Pythagoras of Rhegium [2]. Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne) Bibliography 1 L. Moretti, Olympionikai, 1957, no. 271, 285 2 H.-V. Herrmann, Die Siegerstatuen von Olympia, in: Nikephoros 1, 1988, 154, no. 40. [German version] [2] Son of Ptolemy I, late 4th cent. BC Son of Ptolemy I and Thais, brother …

Diaulos

(252 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] (δίαυλος; díaulos) ‘double flute’ and by analogy ‘double run’; Greek athletic event, run over two lengths of the stadium or about 385 m overall [1. 69f.]. To prevent the runners on the outermost track from being disadvantaged during the relatively short distance, each runner had a separate turning-post and the neighbouring track was kept free for the second lap [2. 106-110; 3]. In this way the number of actual starting places was half the number of those actually available. A central turn as at Dolichus would inevitably have caused scrimmages and fouls. At Olympia the dia…

Diagoras

(491 words)

Author(s): Hölkeskamp, Karl-Joachim (Cologne) | Robbins, Emmet (Toronto) | Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
(Διαγόρας; Diagóras). [German version] [1] of Eretria Politician 6th cent. BC Towards the end of the 6th cent. BC (between 539 and 510?), D. overturned the ‘oligarchy of the knights’, allegedly for personal motives (Aristot. Pol. 5,5, 1306a 35-37) [1]. In posthumous tribute, a statue of D. was erected (Heraclides Lembus fr. 40 Dilts). Whether D. as nomothetes introduced a ‘democratic constitution’ [2], has to remain a moot point. Hölkeskamp, Karl-Joachim (Cologne) Bibliography 1 F. Geyer, Topographie und Gesch. der Insel Euboia 1, 1903, 66f. 2 H.-J. Gehrke, Stasis, 1985, 63f. …

Javelin throwing

(167 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] Outside the Graeco-Roman world, sporting use of the javelin (ἀκόντιον; akóntion, δόρυ; dóry, Lat. iaculum) is attested only for Etruria [1. 306-314]. In Homer (Hom. Il. 23,618-623; 629-637; 884-897: uncontested victory for Agamemnon; Hom. Od. 4,625-627; 8,229), javelin-throwing is still a separate discipline. Later on, it is almost only conducted as the third discipline in the framework of the  pentathlon. The sling-strap fastened onto the javelin (ἀγκύλη; ankýlē, Lat. amentum) increased the distance of the throw, the distance determining the winn…

Korykos

(117 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] (κώρυκος; kṓrykos, Lat. follis pugilatorius). A hanging sack of sand (filling also: flour, fig seeds), used by boxers ( Fist-fighting) and pancratists ( Pankration) as a training aid (Phil. Perì gymnastikês 57). It was also used for physiotherapeutic purposes (Gal. De sanitate tuenda 2,8,1-2; 2,10,1; Hippoc. Perì diaítēs 2,64; 3,81). For the well-known representation of the punching of the korykos on the Ficoronian Cista, see [1. fig. 119]. Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne) Bibliography 1 R. Patrucco, Lo sport nella Grecia antica, 1972, 263-265. J. Jüthner, s.v. K. (5)…

Pythia

(1,432 words)

Author(s): Scherf, Johannes (Tübingen) | Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] [1] Prophetess of the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi (Πυθία; Pythía). Prophetic seer of the oracle of Apollo Pythios at Delphi. In addition to her genuine designation as Pythía, her function is characterized by such epithets as mántis (Aesch. Eum. 29), prómantis (Hdt. 6,66), or prophȇtis (Eur. Ion 42). The P.'s establishment may have occurred after a period in which male priests were responsible for the promulgation (H. Hom. 3,393-396; [3. 215]). In the oracle's primeval period, the role of the seer was probably not fulfilled by…

Stadion

(1,137 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim) | Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing)
(στάδιον; stádion). [German version] [1] Unit of length (Doric σπάδιον/ spádion). Greek unit of length equal to 6 pléthra ( pléthron ; cf. Hdt. 2,149,3) or 600 pous (foot). Depending on the underlying standard of the foot ( pous), this corresponds to a length of c. 162-210 m; the Attic stadion is equal to 186 m. The stadion for the race at Olympia had a length of 192.3 m, at Delphi 177.3 m, at Epidaurus 181.3 m, and at Athens 184.3 m. 8  stadia correspond approximately to 1 Roman mile ( mille passus) of 1500 m. In Greek literature, larger distances are generally indicated in stádia; if other…

Cleitomachus

(368 words)

Author(s): Stanzel, Karl-Heinz (Tübingen) | Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
(Κλειτόμαχος; Kleitómachos). [German version] [1] Academic philosopher Academic philosopher, probably born in 187/6 BC in Carthage, died in 110/109. Original name Hasdrubal (Philod. Academicorum Index 25.1-2). Presumably came to Athens in 163/2 (information in Diog. Laert. 4,67 is wrong). He entered the Academy in 159/8 After an elementary education of sorts with  Carneades [1], and studies in the Peripatos and the Stoa. Occasionally, his participation in the philosophers' delegation in 155 to Rome is …

Victor statues

(501 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] Victors in Greek agones (mainly in Olympia; Olympic champions) were awarded the right to erect life-size bronze statues of themselves at the place of competition (and in their home towns), but because of the great cost (ten times the yearly earnings of a craftsman [1. 125]) this was not taken up by all of them. An athlete would therefore only rarely receive more than one VS (three recorded only for Dicon from Caulonia, Paus. 6,3,11) for all his victories. The practice started with…
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