The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Athenodorus – Athletae



It was Phidias who finally fixed the typical representation of Athene in works of art. Among his numerous statues of her, three, the most celebrated, were set up on the acropolis of Athens. These were (1) The colossal statue of Athene Parthetios, wrought in ivory and gold, thirty feet in height (with the pedestal), and standing in the Parthenon. (See parthenon.) The goddess was represented wearing a long robe falling down to the feet, and on her breast was the aegis with the Gorgon's head. A helmet was on her head; in one hand she bore a Victory, six feet in height,


(From Velletri: Paris, Louvre.)

in the other a lance, which leaned against a shield adorned with scenes from the battles of the Amazons with the Giants. (2) The bronze statue of Athene Pro-machos, erected from the proceeds of the spoils taken at Marathon, and standing between the Pro-pylaea and the Erechtheum. The propor­tions of this statue were so gigantic, that the gleaming point of the lance and the crest of the helmet were visible to seamen, on approaching the Piraeus from Sunium.

(3) The Lemnian Pallas, so named because it had been dedicated by the Athenian Cleruchi in Lemnos. The attractions of this statue won for it the name of " the Beautiful." Like the second, it was of bronze; as a representation of Athene as the goddess of peace, it was without a helmet.

Throughout the numerous and varying representations of her, Athene has an im­posing stature, suggesting a masculine rather than a feminine form; an oval face, with a brow of great clearness and purity; thoughtful eyes, compressed lips, firm chin, and hair carelessly thrown back. (See cut.) Her ordinary attributes are the helmet, the aegis covering the breast or serving as a shield for the arm, the lance, the round shield with the Gorgon's head, the olive branch, and the owl. (On her identification with Minerva, see minerva.)

Athenfidorus, A Greek sculptor, of the Rhodian school. He was associated with Agesander and Polydorus in the production of the celebrated group of Laocoon. (See sculpture.)

Athletas. This was the name given by the Greeks to the professional competitors for the prizes in gymnastic contests, such as boxing and the pancr&tlGn, a combination of boxing with wrestling. The athletce prac­tised gymnastics as a means of livelihood, whereas in general Greek society it was regarded as a liberal art, useful for the harmonious development of the body, and as a training for military service. The pro­fessional athletes adopted a special regimen, which produced an exceptional development of bodily strength and muscle, but unfitted them for any other kind of life or pursuit. The profession of athlete was accordingly adopted mainly by men of low birth, and was more popular with the multitude than with persons of intelligence and educa­tion. Greek athletes did not make their appearance in Rome before 186 b.c. In the republican age they were not regarded with great favour; but under Augustus their contests became quite popular. No social stigma attached to them, as to actors and gladiators, and under the Empire they formed themselves into regular societies, each with its own president, travelling from place to place at the festivals, at which they would appear in pairs, arranged by lot, for a high remuneration. In 80 A.D. Domitian established a contest on the Capitol for musicians and athletes, to recur every four years; and erected a special race-course for

About | First | Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.