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Greek Women and Athletics Female Recreation Women as Entertainment Women as Athletic Benefactors Women as Athletic Prizes Women as Spectators? Women as.

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Presentation on theme: "Greek Women and Athletics Female Recreation Women as Entertainment Women as Athletic Benefactors Women as Athletic Prizes Women as Spectators? Women as."— Presentation transcript:


2 Greek Women and Athletics Female Recreation Women as Entertainment Women as Athletic Benefactors Women as Athletic Prizes Women as Spectators? Women as Participants/Athletes

3 Female Recreation

4 Athenian Attitude toward Women “ To a woman not to show more weakness than is natural to her sex is a great glory, and not to be talked about for good or for evil among men.” From Pericles’ Funeral Oration in Thucydides’ History. II.VI.


6 Red-figure amphora by Andokides Painter, c. 520 B.C. Paris. Louvre



9 Women as Entertainment for Men

10 Women as Athletic Benefactors Goddesses as Sponsors Wealthy Women as Supporters of Athletics

11 Goddesses and Sports Artemis at Brauron in Attica Hera at Olympia

12 Tatia CIG XVII, 3953c from Asia Minor (Turkey) The council and the people and the senate honored Tatia, who was the daughter of Glykon, who was the son of Glykon, who twice received the honor of wearing a crown. He was the director of the gymnasium and a priest of Herakles and head of the council. They thought Tatia worthy of this honor because she was a faithful wife, was directress of the gymnasium, and was honorable in all aspects of her life.

13 Tata CIG 2820 The council and the people and the senate honored with highest honors Tata, daughter of Diodoros, who was himself the true son of Diodoros, who was born the son of Leon. She was the virtuous priestess of Hera all her life, mother of her city, who became the wife and remained the wife of Attalos, son of the Pyptheos who received the honor of wearing the crown. She herself came from a leading family, one that was illustrious. When she was priestess of the emperor Augustus for the second time, she twice supplied flasks of oil for the baths in great abundance and great expense, even through most of the night.

14 Women as Athletic Prizes WAR PRIZES In Funeral Games of Patroklos (See Arete #1) SUITOR CONTESTS Chariot Race of Pelops Running Race of Atalanta Wrestling Match of Peleus and Thetis

15 Chariot Race of Pelops Detail from an Athenian red-figure clay vase, about 410 BC. Arezzo, Museo Nazionale Archeolo gico 1460

16 Guido Reni. Atalanta and Hippomenes. c. 1612 Oil on canvas, 206 x 297 cm. Museo del Prado, Madrid

17 Peleus and Thetis Volute Krater, 4 th cent. B.C. Villa Guilia, Roma

18 Women as Spectators Priestess of Demeter (Arete #97/150)

19 Story of Kallipateira (Arete #111/170 #96/149) On Diagoras of Rhodes, see also Arete 248 (Pindar Olympian 7).

20 Women as Athletes in Myth (Atalanta and Thetis) in Reality (Kyniska et al.)

21 Atalanta as Wrestler

22 Atalanta as Runner

23 Thetis as Wrestler Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, 106, Detail of interior (tondo), ca. 500, Signed by Peithinos, inv. no. F 2279

24 On Kyniska see Arete #98a-c)

25 Women Athletes at Delphi See Arete #106/162 Tryphosa and Hedea, daughters of Hermiesianax

26 Dorian or Spartan Women Known as phainomerides or “thigh showers” Euripides’ stereotypical image of Spartan women: Arete 154 Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus (see next two slides)

27 In order to the good education of their youth (which, as I said before, he thought the most important and noblest work of a lawgiver), he went so far back as to take into consideration their very conception and birth, by regulating their marriages. For Aristotle is wrong in saying, that, after he had tried all ways to reduce the women to more modesty and sobriety, he was at last forced to leave them as they were, because that in the absence of their husbands, who spent the best part of their lives in the wars, their wives, whom they were obliged to leave absolute mistresses at home, took great liberties and assumed the superiority; and were treated with overmuch respect and called by the title of lady or queen. The truth is, he took in their case, also, all the care that was possible; he ordered the maidens to exercise themselves with wrestling, running, throwing, the quoit, and casting the dart, to the end that the fruit they conceived might, in strong and healthy bodies, take firmer root and find better growth, and withal that they, with this greater vigour, might be the more able to undergo the pains of child-bearing. And to the end he might take away their overgreat tenderness and fear of exposure to the air, and all acquired womanishness, he ordered that the young women should go naked in the processions, as well as the young men, and dance, too, in that condition, at certain solemn feasts, singing certain songs, whilst the young men stood around, seeing and hearing them. On these occasions they now and then made, by jests, a befitting reflection upon those who had misbehaved themselves in the wars; and again sang encomiums upon those who had done any gallant action, and by these means inspired the younger sort with an emulation of their glory. Those that were thus commended went away proud, elated, and gratified with their honour among the maidens; and those who were rallied were as sensibly touched with it as if they had been formally reprimanded; and so much the more, because the kings and the elders, as well as the rest of the city, saw and heard all that passed. Nor was there anything shameful in this nakedness of the young women; modesty attended them, and all wantonness was excluded. It taught them simplicity and a care for good health, and gave them some taste of higher feelings, admitted as they thus were to the field of noble action and glory. Hence it was natural for them to think and speak as Gorgo, for example, the wife of Leonidas, is said to have done, when some foreign lady, as it would seem, told her that the women of Lacedaemon were the only women in the world who could rule men; "With good reason," she said, "for we are the only women who bring forth men."

28 These public processions of the maidens, and their appearing naked in their exercises and dancings, were incitements to marriage, operating upon the young with the rigour and certainty, as Plato says, of love, if not of mathematics. But besides all this, to promote it yet more effectually, those who continued bachelors were in a degree disfranchised by law; for they were excluded from the sight those public processions in which the young men and maidens danced naked, and, in winter-time, the officers compelled them to march naked themselves round the marketplace, singing as they went a certain song to their own disgrace, that they justly suffered this punishment for disobeying the laws. Moreover, they were denied that respect and observance which the younger men paid their elders; and no man, for example, found fault with what was said to Dercyllidas, though so eminent a commander; upon whose approach one day, a young man, instead of rising, retained his seat, remarking, "No child of yours will make room for me."

29 Phainomerides: “thigh shower.” Used pejoratively of women of loose morals. Athenian Idealization of Spartan Woman Plato’s Laws: Arete #105

30 Image from a Corinthian Aryballos from the Apollo Temple in Corinth, first quarter of the sixth century BC. Text includes the names of Polyterpos and Pyrrhias Bibasis, a Spartan dance, "The dance consisted in springing rapidly from the ground, and striking the feet behind...The number of successful strokes was counted, and the most skilful received prizes. We are told by a verse which has been preserved by Pollux (iv.102), that a Laconian girl had danced the bibasis a thousand times, which was more than had ever been done before " William Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

31 Lysistrata Good day, Lampito, dear friend from Lacedaemon. How well and handsome you look! what a rosy complexion! and how strong you seem; why, you could strangle a bull surely! Lampito Yes, indeed, I really think I could. 'Tis because I do gymnastics and practise the kick dance. Calonicé And what superb bosoms! ARISTOPHANES

32 Religious Festivals for Women Heraia at Olympia (Arete #158) Brauron in Attica

33 The Heraia ARETE #103/158

34 Heraia (Arete #103/158) Celebrated every four years Footrace only Three age-groups Shortened track (158 m) Run by “Sixteen Women”





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