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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…

Prizes (games)

(417 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] Evidence that prizes were given out in athletic competitions exists as early as for the Sumerians [1], Egyptians [2] and Hittites [3; 4] (silver ring; banquet; cake, silver, ram, the courtly office of royal bridle keeper). The woman as a prize in the bridal agon legitimizes rule (examples: the Egyptian tale of 'The enchanted Prince' [2. 67, 78]; myth of Pelops in Olympia [5]; Odysseus' archery competition: Hom. Od. 21; Agariste, daughter of Cleisthenes of Sicyon: Hdt. 6,126-130). The riches that Achilles offers at Patroclus' funeral agon are vast: women, animals, …

Pythionikai

(225 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] (Πυθιονῖκαι/ Pythionîkai, 'victors at the Pythian Games'). Victors at Olympia were in many cases also successful at the Pythia [2] [1]. A list of Pythionîkai was drawn up by Aristotle [6] and his relative Callisthenes [1] [2. 139-144; 3]. Some of the inscriptions written in their honour have survived (FdD 2,1; 2,400; [2. 141-144]). Twelve of the odes of Pindarus [2] are dedicated to Pythionîkai. In Delphi, important anathḗmata (Anathema) have been found, such as the 'charioteer' given by the Sicilian tyrant Polyzalus  [4. no. 13] and the votive g…

Riding

(494 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne)
[German version] (Sport; κέλης/ kélēs). Although there is evidence, for instance from Egypt [1], of riding on horseback as early as the mid-2nd mill. BC, it was only in Greece that it became a sporting discipline, riding competitions having apparently taken place at the Olympic Games (Olympia IV) from 648 BC. Like chariot-racing (Circus II, Hippodromos [1]), riding was the province of the nobility. Among the 31 preserved names of Olympic victors in riding are well-known names such as Hieron [1] I, t…

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)…

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…

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 …

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…
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