« EelmineJätka »
meetings in Greece, and even preserved which corresponded to what are now for them some celebrity. The sacred vulgarly called callisthenics, but also truee proclaimed during the national gymnastics, in which boys were trained games was of inestimable convenience to those exercises which they afterin the times of long and bitter hostili- wards practised as men. In addition ties, and doubtless enabled friends to to the palæstras, which were kept for pset who had else been separated for the benefit of boys as a matter of life. But the Panathenaic festivals private speculation in Athens, and were better exponents of fourth cen- probably in other towns, regular gymtry taste in Greece. There music nasia were established by the civic and the drama predominated. Pro- authorities, and put under strict superfessional displays became equally ad- vision, as state institutions, to prevent mired as a pastime and despised as a either idleness or immorality. In profession, and I have no doubt that these gymnasia, where young men The athlete who spent his life going came in the afternoon, stripped, oiled about from one contest to another in themselves, and then got a coat of search of gymnastic triumphs was dust or fine sand over the skin, runequally despised by Brasidas and by ning, wrestling, boxing, jumping, and Cleon, by Xenophon and by Agesilaus. throwing with the dart were commonly
In the days of Solon things had been practised. very different. He appointed a reward This sort of physical training I conof 500 drachmas, then a very large ceive to have grown up with the growth sum, for victors at Olympia, 100 for of towns, and with the abandonment of those at the Isthmus, and for the hunting and marauding owing to the others in proportion. Pindar sings as increase of culture. Among the arisif, to the aristocrats of Ægina, or the tocrats of epical days, as well as among tyrants of Sicily, no higher earthly the Spartans, who lived a village life, prizes were attainable. But we must surrounded by forest and mountain, I not transfer these evidences--the habit conceive field-sports to have been quite or the echo of the sixth century B.C.- the leading amusement, nor ought to the days of political and educated competitions in a gymnasium to be Greece, when public opinion altered compared for a moment to this far very considerably on the advantage higher and more varied recreation. and value of physical competition.
The contrast still subsists among us, This being once understood, I will and our fox-hunting, salmon-fishing, proceed to the main object of this grouse-shooting country gentleman has study, and will attempt to criticise the the same inestimable advantage over methods adopted by the old Greeks the city athlete, whose special training to obtain the highest physical condi- for a particular event has a necessary tion, the nature of the competitions tendency to lower him into a profesthey established, and the results which sional. There is even a danger of they appear to have attained.
some fine exercises, which seemed
common ground for both, such as The Greeks of Europe seem always boating and cricket, being vulgarised to have been aware that physical ex- by the invasion of this professional ercise was of the greatest importance spirit, which implies such attention to for health, and consequently for mental the body as excludes higher pursuits, vigour, and the earliest notices we have and reward by special victories and of education include careful bodily training. Apart from the games of 1 The very stringent laws quoted in Æschylus children, which were much the same in Timarch, may possibly be spurious, since we as ours, there was not only orchestic
know from other allusions that they were not or rhythmical dancing in graceful dead letter, which could be revived if occasion
enforced. But more probably they existed as a figures, in which girls took part, and
by public applause, rather than by the remembered that meat diet was not intrinsic pleasure of sport for its own common among the Greeks, who, like sake. Thus the Spartans not only most southern people, lived rather upon objected to boxing and the pancratium, fish, fruit, and vegetables, so that the in which the defeated competitor had meat dinners of Bæotia were censured as to ask for mercy; they even for general heavy and rather disgusting. However, purposes preferred field-sports, of the discovery of Dromeus was adopted which they could command plenty, by Greek athletes ever after, and we to any special competitions in the hear of their compulsory meals of large strength of particular muscles. But quantities of meat, and their consein such places as Attica, where close quent sleepiness and sluggishness in cultivation had caused all wild country ordinary life, in such a way as to make and all game to disappear, it was us believe that the Greeks had missed necessary to
to supply the place of the real secret of training, and actucountry sport by the training of the ally thought that the more strong nutrigymnasium. This sort of exercise ment a man could absorb the stronger necessarily led to contests, so that he would become. The quantity eaten for our purpose we need not separate by athletes is universally spoken of gymnastic and agonistic, but may use as far exceeding the quantity eaten by the details preserved about the latter ordinary men, not considering its to tell us how the Greeks practised the heavier quality. former.
Our suspicion that, in consequence, There is no doubt that the pursuit of Greek athletic performances were not high muscular condition was early as- greater, if even equal, to our own, is sociated with that of health, and that however hard to verify, as hygiene and physical training were without any information as to the soon discovered to be closely allied. time in which their running feats were Thus Herodicus, a trainer, who was performed. They had no watches, or also an invalid, was said to have dis- nice measures of short subdivisions of covered from his own case the method time, and always ran races only to see of treating disease by careful diet and who would win, not to see in how short regimen, and to have thus contributed a time a given distance could be done. to the advancement of Greek medicine. Nevertheless, as the course was over Pausanias also mentions (vi. 3, 9) the soft sand, and as the vases picture case of a certain Hysmon, an Elean, them rushing along in spread-eagle who, when a boy, had rheumatism in fashion, with their arms like the sails his muscles, and on this account of a windmill--in order to aid the practised for the pentathlon, that he motion of their bodies, as the Germans might become a healthy and sound
healthy and sound explain (after Philostratos)---nay, as man. His training made him not only we even hear of their having started sound, but a celebrated victor.
shouting, if we can believe such a It would be very interesting to know thing, their time performances in runin detail what rules the Greeks pre- ning must have been decidedly poor. scribed for this purpose. Pausanias In the Olympic games the running, tells us (vi, 7, 9) that a certain which had originally been the only Dromeus, who won ten victories in competition, always came first. The long races at various games (about Ol. 74), was the first who thought
cheese for keeping in wicker baskets to the
present day, and distinguish it from xawpòs of eating meat in his training, for
Tópos, which still means cream-cheese, and that up to that time the diet of which they carry to market in woollen bags. athletes had been cheese from wicker There was a special market for it in Athens in baskets (éx TÛV talápwr).' It must be
Aristophanes' day. This is one of the innu
merable points which can be explained by a 1 This must mean dry, as opposed to cream- knowledge of the present customs in Greece. cheese. The modern Greeks make their It was pointed out to me by Mr. Gennadius.
short race was once up
and an odd man over, the owner of the last seems to have been about 125 yards. lot drawn could sit down till the About the year 720 B.C. races of double winners of the heats came together, the course, and long races of about 3,000 and run against them without any yards, were added ; ' races in armour previous fatigue. The limitation of were a later addition, and came at the
each heat of four competitors arose,
I end of the sports. It is remarkable fancy, from their not wearing colours that among all these varieties hurdle
(or even clothes), and so not being races were unknown, though jumping easily distinguishable. They were accorwas assigned a special place, and
special place, and dingly walked into the arena through thought very important. We have an underground passage in the raised several remarkable anecdotes of en- side of the stadium, and the name and durance in running long journeys cited country of each proclaimed in order by throughout Greek history, and even a herald. This practice is accurately now the modern inhabitants are re- copied in the present Olympic games markable for this quality. I have held at Athens every four years. seen a young man keep up with a horse The next event was the wrestling ridden at a good pace across rough match, which is out of fashion at our country for many miles, and have been prize meetings, though still favourite told that the Greek postmen are quite sport in many country districts. There wonderful in their speed and endur- is very ample terminology for the ance. But this is compatible with very various tricks and devices in this conpoor performances at prize meetings. test, and they have been explained
There were short races for boys at with much absurdity by scholiasts both Olympia of half the length. Eighteen ancient and modern. It seems that it years was beyond the limit of age for was not always enough to throw your competing, as a story in Pausanias adversary,' but that an important part implies, and a boy who won at the of the sport was the getting uppermost age of twelve was thought wonder- on the ground, and in no case was a fully young.
The same authority man declared beaten till he was thrown tells us of a man who won the short three times, and was actually laid on race at four successive meetings, thus his back. It is not worth while keeping up his pace for sixteen years- enumerating the various technical a remarkable case. There seems to terms, but it may be observed that a have been no second prize in any of the good deal of what we should call foul historical games, a natural consequence play was tolerated. There was of the abolition of material rewards. kicking, such as there was in wrestling There was, of course, a good deal of matches in Ireland, because there were chance in the course of the contest, no boots, but Pausanias mentions and Pausanias evidently knew cases (vi. 4, 3) a man who did not know how where the winner was not the best to wrestle, but defeated his opponents man. For example, the races by breaking their fingers. We shall run in heats of four, and if there was return to this point when speaking of i It is noted as a special wonder that the same
the pankration. man should win the sprint and long races at
When the wrestling was over there Olympia, which shows that the latter must followed the throwing of the discus and have been mainly a test of staying power. the dart, and the long leap, but in The Spartan Ladas died at the winning post, and this was thought rather a wonderful feat,
what order is uncertain ; for I cannot but of course may have resulted from bad accept as evidence the pentameter line training or from heart disease.
of Simonides, which enumerates the 2 “Know ye not,” says St. Paul, “that all ran, and one receiveth the crown ?”. A quite 1 Possibly this special sort of wrestling different condition of things from that of the has been confused with the pankration, from Iliad, when every competitor, like the boys which it can have differed but little, if it inat a private school, comes off with a prize. deed subsisted as a distinct form of wrestling. No. 211.-VOL. XXXVI.
games of the pentathlon, seeing that spears, can throw them with a force it would be impossible to vary them and accuracy which is to us quite surfrom the order he gives without great prising. It is reported by trustworthy metrical difficulties. Our only safe travellers that a Kaffir who comes sudguide is the date of the establishment denly on game will put a spear right of each kind of competition, as it was into an antelope at ten or twelve yards' plainly the habit of the Greeks to place distance by an underhand chuck, withthe new event next after those already out taking time to raise his arm. This established. The only exception to is beyond the ability of an English this is in the establishing of contests athlete, however trained. for boys, which seem always to have The question of the long jump is come immediately before the same more interesting, as it still forms competition for men. But we only a part of our contests. It is not know that both wrestling and the con- certain whether the old Greeks practest of five events (pentathlon) dated tised the running jump, or the high from the 18th Ol., and are not informed jump, for we never hear of a prelimiin what order each was appointed." nary start, or of any difficulty about
The discus throwing was mainly to “breaking trig," as people now call it. test distance, but the dart throwing to Furthermore, an extant epigram on a strike a mark. The discus was either celebrated athlete, Phayllus of Kroton, of stone or of metal, and was very asserts that he jumped clean over the heavy. I conclude from the attitude prepared ground (which was broken of our copies of Myron's discobolus, with a spade) on to the hard ground that it was thrown without a prelimi- beyond-a distance of fifty feet. We nary run, or rather hurled standing. cannot of course credit this feat, if it This contest is to be compared with were a single long jump, and we can our hammer throwing, or putting of find no trace of anything like a hop, weights. We are however without step, and jump, so that it seems wonderany accurate information either as to ful that such an absurdity should be the average weight of the discus, or gravely repeated in an epigram. But
distance which a good man the leap became proverbial, and to leap could throw it. There is indeed one ÜTÈp tà orduwata (beyond the digging) ancient discus extant, which found was a constantly repeated phrase. at Ægina, and is now preserved among The length of Phayllus' leap would the bronze antiquities at Munich. It be even more incredible if the comis about eight inches in diameter, and petition was in a standing jump, and something under four pounds in weight. yet the figures of athletes on vases But there seem to have been three sizes which I have seen strongly favour this of discus, according as they were in- supposition. They are represented not tended for boys, for grown youths as running, but as standing and swing(áyéveli), or for men, and it is not ing the dumb bells or ålrñpes (jumpers), certain to which class this discus be- which were always used by the old longs. Philostratus mentions 100 Greeks, as assisting them materially cubits as a fine throw, but in such a in increasing their distance. I can way as to make it suspicious whether imagine this being the case in a standhe is not talking at random, and in ing jump when a man rose with the round numbers. Similarly, we have no forward swing of the weights, but in a details concerning the javelin contest, running jump the carrying of the but I suspect that here, if anywhere, weights must surely damage rather the Greeks could do what we cannot. than assist him. I know that Irish For the savages of to-day, who use peasants, who take off very heavy boots 1 The single competitions in running and
to jump, often carry one in each hand
and throw them backward violently as wrestling were distinct from those in the pentathlon, and rewarded by separate crowns. they rise from the ground; but this
principle is not admitted, so far as I of the P.R. would with his naked know, by any scientific authority as of fists have easily settled any armed the slightest assistance.
champion of Olympian fame. Here We hear of no vaulting or jumping are my reasons :with a pole, so that in fact the leap The principle of increasing the weight seems an isolated contest, and of little of the fist as much as possible is only interest except as determining one of to be explained by the habit of dealing the events of the pentathlon, in which swinging or downward strokes, and is a man must win three in order to be incompatible with the true principle declared victor. This pentathlon, as of striking straight home quickly, and comprising gentlemanly exercise and giving weight to the stroke by sending little brutality, was especially patro- the whole body with it. In Virgil's nized by the Spartans. It description a boxer is even described attempted for boys, but immediately getting up on tip-toe to strike his abandoned, the strain being thought adversary on the top of the head-a excessive for growing constitutions. ridiculous maneuvre, reproduced in
There remain the two severest and one of Canova's boxers in the Vatican, most objectionable sports, boxing and who has his arm so raised aloft as to the pankration. Boxing came first make his instant ruin certain, if his (01. 23), the other test of strength not opponent knew the first elements of being admitted till ol. 33.
But one the art. That this down stroke was special occasion is mentioned when a used also
from the anecdote in competitor, who was contending in both, Pausanias, where a father saw his son, persuaded the judges to change the who was ploughing, drive in the share, order, that he might not contend which had fallen out, with strokes of against a specially famous antagonist his fist, and without a hammer, so he when already wounded and bruised immediately entered him for the boys' with boxing. For boxing was, even boxing match at Olympia. The boy from Homeric times, a very dangerous got roughly handled from want of and bloody amusement, in which the skill, and seemed likely to lose, when vanquished always severely the father called out : “Boy! give punished. The Greeks were not con- him the plough stroke!” and so entent with naked fists, but always used couraged the lad, that he forthwith a boxing apparatus, called ipartes, knocked his adversary out of time. which consisted at first of a weight It is almost conclusive as to the carried in the hand, and fastened by swinging stroke that throughout anthongs of hide round the hand and tiquity a boxer was not known as a wrist. But this ancient cestus came man with his nose broken, but as a to be called the gentle kind (mechigai) man with his ears crushed. Virgil even when a later and more brutal inven- speaks of their receiving blows on the tion introduced “sharp thongs on the back. Against all this there are only wrist," and probably increased the two pieces of evidence-one of them weight of the instrument. The suc- incredible-in favour of the straight cessful boxer in the Iliad (Epeius) home stroke. In the fight between confesses that he is a bad warrior, Pollux and Amykos, described by though he is the acknowledged cham- Theokritus (Idyl 22), Pollux strikes pion in his own line; but evidently his man on the left temple, kal énéutethis sport was not highly esteemed in gev üuw, which may mean, “and follows epic days. In historical times it the stroke up from the shoulder.” But seems to have been more favoured. this is doubtful. The other is the There was no doubt a great deal of story of Pausanias (viii. 40, 3), that skill required for it, but I think the when Kreugas and Damoxenos boxed body of the evidence goes to prove that till evening, and neither could hit the the Greeks did not box on sound prin- other, they at last agreed to receive ciples, and that any prominent member stroke about, and after Kreugas had