The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.


by the strictest rules. As we, however, find that adults also frequented the gymnasia, we must sup­pose that, at least as long as the laws of Solon were in force, the gymnasia were divided into different parts for persons of different ages, or that persons of different ages took their exercise at dif­ferent times of the day. (Bockh, Corp. Inscript. h. 246 and 2214.) The education of boys up to the age of sixteen-was divided into the three parts mentioned above, so that gymnastics formed only one of them; but during the period from the sixteenth to the eighteenth year the instruction in grammar and music seems to have ceased, and gymnastics were exclusively pursued. In the time of Plato the -salutary regulations of Solon appear to have been no longer observed, and we find per­sons of all ages visiting the gymnasia. (Plat. De Rep. \. p. 452 ; Xen. !$ympos. ii. 18.) Athens now possessed a number of smaller gymnasia, which are sometimes called palaestrae, in which persons of all iRges used to assemble, and in which even the Hermaea were celebrated by the bo}'s, while for­merly this solemnity had been kept only in the great <nrmnasia, and to the exclusion of all adults.


(Plat. Lys. p. 206.) These changes, and the laxi-tude in the superintendence of these public places, caused the gymnasia to differ very little from the Schools of the athletae ; and it is perhaps partly owina: to this circumstance that writers of this and


subsequent times use the words gymnasium and palaestra indiscriminately. (Becker, Charikles^ vol. i. p. 341.)

Married as well as unmarried women were, at Athens, and in all the Ionian states, excluded from the gymnasia ; but at Sparta, and in some other Doric states, maidens, dressed in, the short %tT.coz/, were not only admitted as spectators, but also took part in the exercises of the youths. Married women, however, did not frequent the gymnasia. :(Plat. De Leg. vii. p. 806.)

' Respecting the superintendence and administra­tion of the gymnasia at Athens, we know that Solon in his legislation thought them worthy of

•great attention ; and the transgression of some of his laws .relating'to .the gymnasia was punished .with death. His laws mention a magistrate, called the Gymnasiarch (yv^j/affiapxos or yvfj.vacridpx'ns') .who was entrusted, with the.whole management Df the gymnasia,, and with every thing connected therewith. His office was one of the regular litur­gies like .the choregia and trierachy (Isaeus, De

•philoctem. her. p. 154), and was1 attended with

•considerable expense. He had to maintain and pay the persons who were preparing themselves for the games and contests in the public festivals, to 'provide .them with oil, and perhaps with the .wrestlers' dust. It also devolved upon him to fidorn the gymnasium or the place where the agones look place. (Xen. De Rep. A then. i. 13.) The gymnasiarch was a real magistrate, and invested with a kind, of jurisdiction over all those who fre­quented or were connected with the gymnasia ;

•and his power seems even to have extended beyond the .gymnasia, for Plutarch (Amator. c. 9, &c.) states that he watched and controlled the conduct of the general. He had also the power to remove from the gymnasia teachers, philosophers, and sophists, whenever he conceived that they exercised an injurious influence, upon the young. (Aeschin. c. Timarch.} Another part of his. duties was to conduct .the solemn games at.certain great


festivals, especially the torch-race (A.ajU7rafo7<£o/?fa)5 for which he selected the most distinguished among the ephebi of the gj'innasia. The number of gym­nasiarch s was, according to Libanius on Demos­thenes (c. Mid. p. 510) ten, one from every-tribe. (Compare Demosth. c. Philip, p. 50, c. Boeot. p. 996 ; Isaeus, De Mened. c. 42.) They seem to have undertaken their official duties in turns, but in what manner is unknown. Among the external distinctions of a gymnasiarch, were a purple cloak and white shoes. (Pint. Anton. 33.) In early times the office of gymnasiarch lasted for a year, but under the Roman emperors we find that some­times they held it only for a month, so that there were 12 or 13 gymnasiarch s in one year. This office seems to have been considered so great an honour, that even Roman generals and emperors were am­bitious to hold it. Other Greek towns, like Athens, had their own gymnasiarch s, but we do not know whether, or to what extent their duties differed from the Athenian gynmasiarchs. In Gyrene the office was sometimes held by women. (Krause, Gymnastik und Agonistik d. llellenen, p. 179, £c.)

Another office which was formerly believed to be connected with the superintendence of the gym­nasia, is that of Xystarchus (£i>crTapxo<0. But it is not mentioned previous to the time of the Ro­man emperors, and then only in Italy and Crete. Krause (Ib. p. 205, &c.) has shown that this office had nothing to do with the gymnasia properly so called, but was only connected with the schools of the athletae.

An office which is likewise not mentioned before the time of the Roman emperors, but was neverthe­less decidedly connected with the gymnasia, is that of Cosmetes. He had to arrange certain games, to register the names and keep the lists of the ephebi, and to maintain order and discipline among them; He was assisted by an Anticosmetes and two Hy-pocosmetae. (Krause, //;. p. 211, &'c.)

An office of very great importance, in an educa­ tional point of view, was that of the Sophrom'stae (<T(a<ppoi'i(rTai). Their province was to inspire the youths with a love of awcppocrvj/Trj^ and to protect this virtue against all injurious influences. In early times their number at Athens was ten, one from every tribe, with a salary of one drachma per day. (Eiymol. Mag. s. v.) Their duty not only re­ quired them to be present at all the games of the ephebi, but to watch and correct their conduct wherever they might meet them, both within and without the gymnasium. At the time-of the-em­ peror Marcus Aurelius only six Sophronistae, as­ sisted by as many Hyposophionistae, are mentioned. (Krause, Ib. p. 214, &c.) .. . The instructions in the gymnasia were given by the Gymnastae (yv^vao-rai) and the Paedotribae (iraiSoTpigai) ; at a later period Hypopaedotribae -were added. . The Paedotribes. was required to possess a knowledge of all the various -exercises which were performed in the gymnasia ; the Gym- nastes was the practical teacher, and was expected to know the physiological effects and influences on the constitution of the youths, and therefore assigned to each of them those .exercises which lie thought most suitable. (Galen. De Valet, tuend. ii. 9. 11 ; Aristot. Polit. yiii. 3. 2.) These.- teachers were usually athletae, who had left their proles.- sion, or could not succeed in it. (Aelian, F. H. ii. .6 ; Galen, /. c. ii. 3, &c.)

The anointing of the bodies .of the youths, and

p.p 3

About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of