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Pulydamas

(136 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] (Πουλυδάμας/ Poulydámas; also Polydamas/Πολυδάμας/ Polydámas) of Scotussa (Thessaly). Victor at the Olympic Games (Ol. 93 = 408 BC) in the pankration , of unusual body size whose deeds were embellished by legend (Paus. 6,5,4-9). His fight with the lion and his appearance at the royal Persian court where he was said to have killed unarmed three armed bodyguards of Darius II are depicted on the base of his victor's statue in Olympia, which was sculpted by Lysippus [2] and was alleged …

Capitolea

(182 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] ( Agon Capitolinus). In contrast to the Neroneia, the Capitolea festival, introduced by the emperor Domitian in Rome in AD 86 (Suet. Dom. 4,4), considerably outlasted their founder because of their name connection with Jupiter Capitolinus. The highly regarded contest based on the Greek model and consisting of an athletic (held in the stadium Domitiani, now the Piazza Navona [1]), musical and hippic programme, certainly won by 64 victors [2. 123-155], still existed in the middle of the 4th cent. During Domitian's rule, it also comprised a cursus virginum (‘race of yo…

Age groups

(346 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] The athletics programme of the Greek agones ( Sport festivals) was mostly designed for the age groups παῖδες ( paîdes; boys, approximately 14-17 years), ἀγένειοι ( agéneioi; youths, actually ‘beardless ones’, approximately 17-20 years) and ἄνδρες ( ándres; men). At the Olympic Games, where, it is said, in 632 BC the track event was supposedly the first competition for youths (here called παῖδες, age limit probably 18 years), and the Pythian Games, the two most prestigious games of all, there were only two age groups…

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…

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 …

Running (competitions)

(579 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] Running first appears in Sumeria as a royal attribute [1]. The Egyptian pharaoh showed his running ability in the ritual of the Jubilee Feast (Egyptian ḥb-sd) [2]. The first evidence of competition is among the Hittites, where the office of royal bridle-holder was awarded as a prize in a competitive race [3]. Soldiers of the Egyptian king Taharka performed a race over a distance of c. 100 km after a long period of daily training in 686/685 BC [4]. Running was an essential part of Patroclus' funeral agon (Hom. Il. 23,740-797), held by the 'fleet-footed' (πόδας ὠκύς, pódas ōkýs)…

Actia

(269 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] Augustus founded the penteteric Actia in commemoration of the decisive victory won by him over Marcus Antonius in the sea battle off Cape Actium on 2 September 31 BC (Str. 7,325; Suet. Aug. 18; Cass. Dio 41,1); they were probably celebrated for the first time on the anniversary of the battle in 27 BC [1.105-106] and elevated to the status of periodos. Cited in many victory rolls during the Imperial Age, sometimes in the same breath as the Olympic and Pythian games [2.275]. They comprised a programme that included gymnastics, the arts (Stat.…

Swimming

(387 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] (Egyptian nbj; Greek κολυμβᾶν/ kolymbân; Latin natare). Swimming was a basic cultural skill as early as in ancient Egypt ([1]; likewise later in Greece, Pl. Leg. 689d; in Rome, Suet. Aug. 64,3: Augustus teaches his grandsons to swim) and was part of the education syllabus of high-ranking people, even of the king's children (biography of nomarch Cheti, end of 3rd millennium BC [2. document 3]). There are also sufficient sources for the Ancient Near East to assume that swimming was known …

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…

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…

Mnesibulus

(227 words)

Author(s): Engels, Johannes (Cologne) | Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
(Μνησίβουλος/ Mnēsíboulos). [German version] [1] Athenian defendant, after 356 BC The Athenian M. was involved after 356 BC in a lawsuit for false testimony ( pseudomartyrías díkē ) on behalf of his brother-in-law Theophemus in an earlier aikeía suit ( aikeías díkē ) (cf. Dem. Or. 47,5 and 53 = Apollodoros; Din. fr. 97 Conomis). Apollodorus [1]; Demosthenes [2] Engels, Johannes (Cologne) Bibliography Davies, 225-226  PA 10265  Traill, PAA 655710. [German version] [2] Condemned Athenian, before 324/3 BC Athenian from the deme of Acharnae, was condemned at first before 324/…

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 …

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…

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 …

Phrynon

(209 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne) | Kinzl, Konrad (Peterborough)
(Φρύνων; Phrýnōn). [German version] [1] Olympic victor Victor at Olympia. Moretti [1. no. 58] dates his victory (in the pankration rather than the stadion) [2. 213: A 68] to the 36th Games = 636 BC. According to ancient tradition he died in 607/6 in a duel with  Pittacus of Mytilene over the ownership of  Sigeum. His activities as an oikistḗs (founder of a colony) suggests an aristocratic origin ([3. 63], otherwise [4. 160 note 59]). Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne) Bibliography 1 L. Moretti, Olympionikai, 1957 2 D.G. Kyle, Athletics in Ancient Athens, 21993 3 H.W. Pleket, Zur Soziologie…

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…

Theogenes

(485 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne) | Schmitz, Winfried (Bielefeld) | Ameling, Walter (Jena)
(Θεογένης/ Theogénēs). [German version] [1] Athlete from Thasos, 5th cent. BC Famous fighter from the island of Thasos, Olympic champion in 480 BC (against Euthymus of Locri [1. nos. 191; 214; 222]) in fist-fighting [1. no. 201] and in 476 BC in pankration [1. no. 215]. This constellation of victories was first documented for T. on an inscription in Delphi [2. no. 37] dating from the 2nd cent. BC, which attests that the athlete was adored by his home polis for as long as four generations after his death. Pausanias tells of three victories in Delphi, ten in the Isthmia a…

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. …
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