the Greeks had a concept called arattai or excellence they believed that practicing and becoming excellent many areas of life was good for you it was good for your city and it pleased the gods so how did the Greeks develop arattai the central place for developing our Italian Greek society was the gymnasium a Greek gymnasium would be familiar in some ways to modern observers it was a place to develop strength and fitness there was a stadium for gymnastics and running and a Palestra for wrestling and boxing it also had ornate showers for hygiene but gymnasium was much more than a modern gym a modern observers would be struck by many differences firstly there were no women the gymnasium was strictly for men and boys secondly and perhaps most strikingly it will be much less clothing than you'd see at a modern gym almost all Greek sports were done in the nude like the gods they looked up to the Greek strive for the perfect body and love to display their fitness and physique as a measure of arattai in fact the Greek word for naked was gymnast and it's from here that we derived word gymnasium and gymnastics the biggest difference though was the ancient gymnasium was aimed at training both the body and the mind there was structured gymnastic training and ball sport for boys young men took part in more military themed training like javelin wrestling and boxing past this the gymnasium was also a center for socializing and learning where men of all ages went to talk argue and where older men would train younger men in mathematics literature rhetoric and philosophy the Greeks believed developing excellence could best be achieved through competition they compared it on poetry plays music and for the best arguments the major arena for competition was the games what were the games the games of festivals held throughout the Greek world with Greek speaking men took part in athletic competitions the most famous of these festivals was the Olympic Games which were held at Olympia these were so prestigious and central to Greek life that they measured time around them most Greek history is measured from 776 BC a year of the first Olympic Games and from then on the games were held every four years each four-year cycle became known as an Olympiad the Olympics weren't the only games as well as many smaller competitions held within city states or regions there were a number of important Panhellenic games held throughout the Olympiad the Pythian games were held at Delphi on the second year of every Olympiad the Isthmian games were held every two years near Corinth then the main games were held every two years at Nemea the games didn't have gold silver or bronze medals like the modern Olympics instead only the winner was awarded and may receive ribbons and a wreath as a symbol of their arattai at the Olympic Games it was an olive wreath Pythian games laurel is through in games pine and no million games wild celery the Greeks were almost constantly in a state of war with each other but the games were so important that in the months leading up to them they held a truce this allowed athletes to prepare and to travel to the games safely the violation of this truce could get your athletes barred from competition having an athlete from your city when an event was a big deal individual athletes won honors and wreaths and the Polish shared in that glory so much that they would show their appreciation by giving winning athletes preferential treatment valuable goods like olive oil and free meals for life so when a polis had its athletes banned for breaking the truce Sparta did in 420 BCE this was a serious blow to its prestige and morale so what sports were included in the games the first ever Olympic Games was held with only a single competition a running race over 185 metres this distance was known to the Greeks as a state which is where we get the word stadium and the event gets its name from two false starts in the stadium didn't get you disqualified they got you publicly beaten and shamed in front of the crowd corabeth's of ellis the first winner of the sprint in 776 BC I was a household name even hundreds of years after his death over the years more sports were added to the games a to Stade race a 20 Stade race and many others some similar to modern sports and others very different like the hoplite race in which competitors would run 1.6 kilometers or a mile in full armor and with a shield often being forced to leap over fallen competitors there was wrestling in which the contestants would cover themselves in olive oil and the aim was to pin your opponent to the ground Milo of Croton and southern Italy was famous for his skill in wrestling and dominated the competition for nearly 25 years his strength and size made him a celebrity he was said to have built his strength from childhood by carrying a calf by the time he was fully grown he could apparently lift a fully grown ox another story says that he could hold fruit in his hand without damaging it or challenges tried to prise open his grip unsuccessfully his appetite was huge and he commanded so much respect that wrestling competitors even surrendered before starting he's also said to have died trying to test his strength he attempted to split a tree trunk with his bare hands the trunk sprang back unexpectedly trapping his hands as night fell the defenseless Milo was set upon by a pack of wolves a horrific undeniably memorable way to die another Olympic event was the pentathlon which was itself made up of the Sprint wrestling and three other sports the discus throw which inspired one of the most famous Greek statues the discobolus the javelin throw which imitated a typical military skill although with a lighter javelin and the long jump which unlike modern long jump probably consisted of five successive jumps with weights to help balance the jumper the philosopher Aristotle thought the well-rounded athletes of the pentathlon were the peak of physical fitness and beauty a body capable of enduring all efforts either of the race course or of bodily strength this is why the athletes in the pentathlon are most beautiful boxing was a brutal affair contestants would wrap their fists in leather straps without rings gloves or timed rounds would battle on to knock out later Olympics saw the addition of wooden or metal studs to the leather straps Yura Dimas of cyrene a famous boxing competitor at all of his front teeth knocked out or broken rather than spit them out and show weakness he swallowed them all oh he went on to win the fight to the pan cranium was similar to mixed martial arts or UFC set with fewer rules in fact the only real rules were no eye gouging or biting which would be punished by referees who would beat the offender with a stick one competitor saw stratasys see kyun dominated the games for over 12 years with the technique of deliberately breaking his opponents fingers leading to the nickname mr. fingertips competition in the pan crayon went on until submission which an athlete could signal by raising a single finger which is probably pretty difficult if you've been fighting against mr. fingertips the most spectacular and glamorous sport though with a chariot races two or four-horse chariot ears would race around a tight course these like chariots were hard to control and there was an ever-present danger of head-on collisions dragons and death was the charioteers who were usually slaves or brave then as now most of the glory went to the trainers who bred the horses and trained the teams this was an expensive business and was often dominated by aristocrats wanting to gain the approval of their polis one aristocrat Alcibiades into seven chariots in one race gaining a victory which he used for political advantage at home in Athens like in the gymnasium women weren't allowed to compete in the Olympics unmarried women however were allowed to attend the festival and now we're even allowed to enter teams in the chariot race Sparta where women were treated much more equally than elsewhere in Greece produced a famous princess Kanishka raised on sports hunting and horse breeding kanisky trained and entered a chariot team in the Olympics she won twice unfortunately for Kanishka though even though she won it's unlikely she ever got to see the victories because while women were allowed to attend the festival they weren't allowed in the main stadium to watch the events or prove that women could be excellent – what does the word gymnast mean what sport was Milo of Croton known for which sport did Aristotle think had the best or most beautiful athletes in which sport would you find a competitor named mr. fingertips why was chariot racing dominated by aristocrats why is it unlikely that Kanishka saw her own victories ah

Athletics & Sport – Ancient Greek Society 05
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11 thoughts on “Athletics & Sport – Ancient Greek Society 05

  • May 31, 2019 at 9:13 pm
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    Aaannnd…I almost had a heart attack at the end thanks 🥵

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  • May 31, 2019 at 9:13 pm
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    sweet from a youtuber

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  • May 31, 2019 at 9:13 pm
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    Edit:Please like this took me sooooo so long

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  • May 31, 2019 at 9:13 pm
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    GREECE
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  • May 31, 2019 at 9:13 pm
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    I need to see this History Channel doc….. for purely educational reasons.

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