The Ancient Library

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On this page: Gymnetae – Gymnopaidia – Hades



leather, or with nails and leaden knobs. The blow was directed against the upper part of the body, head, and face.

(7) The PancrdtiOn was a combination of boxing and wrestling, but nothing was worn on the hands, and the blow was delivered, not with the clenched fist, but with the fingers bent. This exercise was not introduced into the public games until 660 b.c. Indeed, the two latter exercises were generally confined to the professional athletes. (See athletes.) In Sparta they were not practised at all.

It Roman. Among the Romans from the oldest times until the imperial period, the youths used to assemble for exercises in the Campus Martius, the object of the exer­cises being exclusively to prepare them for military service. (See education.) The Greek gymnastic was not introduced at Rome until the decline of Roman tradition had set in, and professional athleticism had

become fashionable. The Roman sense of propriety was offended by the Greek practice of exercising unclothed, and the only game which they really adopted was that of throwing the discus.

Gymnetae (troops without defensive ar­mour). A name for the different sorts of sharpshooters employed in the Greek armies after the Persian Wars, in place of the light-armed slaves. It was only after the expe­dition of the Ten Thousand that they came to form an essential part of a Greek army. They were generally recruited from the barbarous nations who were specially dis­tinguished in the use of particular missiles. The archers (toxStce), for instance, were generally Cretans, the slingers (sphenddnetce) Rhodians and Thessalians, while the javelin men (akontistce) were taken from the semi-Hellenic populations in the west of Greece, notably the .Stolians and Acarnanians. The common characteristic of all these troops was the absence of all defensive weapons. It was among the Lacedemonians that they were introduced latest. Alexan­der the Great had a corps of 2,000 of them, with which he opened his campaign against the Persians. Half of these were spear­men, taken from the Agrlani, in the moun­tains of northern Macedonia ; the other half archers, from the lowest class of the Mace­donian population.

Gymn5paidla. A great festival held at Sparta from the 6th to the 10th of July. It was an exhibition of all kinds of ac­complishments in gymnastics, music, and dancing, given by boys, youths, and men for the benefit of the citizens and of the numerous strangers who flocked to Sparta for the occasion, and were hospitably enter­tained there. Festal hymns were written for the occasion, in honour not only of the gods but of brave citizens, notably those who had fallen at Thyrga, and later at Thermopylae.


Hades (originally Aides or Ald/ineus, i.e.

" the Invisible"). In Greek mythology, the son of CrSnus and Rhea, who received the dominion of the lower world at the division of the universe after the fall of Cronus, his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, being made lords respectively of the sky and sea. With his queen Persephone he held sway over the other powers of the infernal regions, and over the ghosts of the dead.

The symbol of his invisible empire was the helmet that made men invisible. This was given to him by the Cyclopes to aid him in the battle of the gods with the Giants. Originally he was, to all appearance, con­ceived as bringing down the dead himself to the lower world in his chariot, or as driving them down with his staff; but in the later belief, the office of conductor of souls belonged to Hermes. Hades is the

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