The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.



strewing them with dust, before they commenced their exercises, as well as the regulation of their diet, was the duty of the aliptae. [aliptae.] These men sometimes also acted as surgeons or teachers. (Plut. Dion. c. 1.) Galen (I. c. ii. 11) mentions among the gymnastic teachers, a cr<f>ai-pi(mK6s, or teacher of the various games at ball ; and it is not improbable that in some cases parti­cular games may have been taught by separate persons.

The games and exercises which were performed n the gymnasia seem, on the whole, to have been the same throughout Greece. Among the Dorians, however, they were regarded chiefly as institutions for hardening the body and for military training ; among the lonians, and especially the Athenians, they had an additional and higher object, namely, to give to the body and its movements grace and beauty, and to make it the basis of a healthy and sound mind. But among all the different tribes of the Greeks the exercises which were carried on in a Greek gymnasium were either mere games, or the more important exercises which the gymnasia had in common with the public agones in the great festi vals.

Among the former we may mention, 1. The ball (<r<pu/pitm, cr^cupo/xaxia, &c.), which was in uni­versal favour with the Greeks, and was here, as at Borne, played in a variety of ways, as appears from the words a,ir6ppa£is, eiriffKvoos, (paii/iitfia or apTracr-r6^ &c. (Plat. dq Legg. vii. p. 797 ; compare Gronov. ad Plant. Ciircul. ii. 3. 17, and Becker, Gallus, i. p. 270.) Every gymnasium contained one large room for the purpose of playing at ball in it (cr</xuptcrT7?pioj>). 2. Uafifav eA/cucmVSa, SieA.-/cuo"rij/5a, or 5ta 7pa,u/x7/s, was a game in which one boy, holding one end of a rope, tried to pull the boy who held its other end, across a line marked between them on the ground. 3. The top (/3e/.i£?j£, /3e'/,t§i£, po/.tgos, <rrpo§tAos), which was as common an amusement with Greek boys as in our own days. 4. The Trej/raA.rflos1, which was a game with five stones, which were thrown up from the upper part of the hand and caught in the palm. 5. ^/caTre'pSa, which was a game in which a rope was drawn through the upper part of a tree or a post. Two boys, one on each side of the post, turning their backs towards one another, took hold of the ends of the rope and tried to pull each other up. This sport was also one of the amusements at the Attic IJionysia. (Hesych. s. v.) These few games will suffice to show the character of the gymnastic sports.

The more important games, such as running (S/xfytos), throwing of the slctkos and the &kcoj/, jumping and leaping (aA./m, with and without aAr/}pes), wrestling (TraATj), boxing (irvyiJi.i}\ the pancratium (iray>cpdTioi'\ Trez/raflAos, Aa/xTraSTj^o-pi'a, dancing (op%4j(m), &c., are described in sepa­rate articles.

A gymnasium was, as Vitruvius observes, not a Roman institution, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus {Ant. Rom. vii. 70—72), expressly states that the whola aycwicrTiK'f) of the Romans, though it was practised at an early period in the Ludi Maximi, was introduced among the Romans from Greece. Their attention, however, to developing and strengthening the body by exercises was consider­able, though only for military purposes. The re­gular training of boys in the Greek gymnastics was foreign to Roman manners, and even held in con-


tempt. (Pint. QuaesL Rom. 40.) Towards the end of the republic many wealthy Romans, who had acquired a taste for Greek manners, used to attach to their villas small places for bodily exercise, sometimes called gymnasia, sometimes palaestrae, and to adorn them with beautiful works of art. (Cic. ad Att. i. 4, c. Verr. iii. 5.) The emp'eror Nero was the first who built a public gymnasium at Rome (Sueton. Ner. 12) ; another was erected by Commodus. (Herod, i. 12. 4.) But although these institutions were intended to introduce Greek gymnastics among the Romans, yet they never gained any great importance, as the magnificent thermae, amphitheatres, and other colossal build­ings had always greater charms for the Romans than the^gymnasia.

For a fuller account of this important subject, which has been necessarily treated with brevity in this article, the reader is referred to Hieronymus Mercurialis, De Arte Gymnastica^ Libri vi. 1st ed. Venice, 1573, 4th ibid. 1601 ; Burette, Histoire. des Athletes, in the Mem. de PA cad. des Inscript. i. 3 ; G. Lbbker, Die Gymnastik der Hellenen, Mini­ster, 1835 ; Wachsmuth, Hellen. Alterth. vol. ii. p. 344, &c. 2d. edit. ; Miiller, Dor. iv. 5. § 4, &c.; Becker, Gallus, vol. i. p. 270, &c.; Charikles, vol. i. pp. 30,9—345 ; and especially J. H. Krause, Die Gymnastik und Agonistik der Hellenen, Leipzig, 1841 ; Olympia, Wien, 1838 ; Die Pythien, Ne~ meen &c., Leipzig, 1841. The histories of edu­cation among the ancients, such as those of Hoch-heimer, Schwarz, Cramer, and others, likewise con­tain much useful information on the subject. [L. S.]

The Relation of Gymnastics to the Medical A rt — The games of the Greeks had an immediate influ­ence upon the art of healing, because they consi­dered gymnastics to be almost as necessary for the preservation of health, as medicine is for the cure of diseases. (Hippocrates, De Locis in Homine, vol. ii. p. 138, ed. Kiihn ; Timaeus Locrensis, De Aniina Mundi, p. 564, in Gale's Opusc. Mythot.} It was for this reason that the gymnasia were dedicated to Apollo, the god of physicians. (Plut. Symp. viii. 4. § 4.) The directors of these establishments, as well as the persons employed under their orders, the bathers or aliptae, passed for physicians, and were called so, on account of the skill which long experience had given them. The directors, called ira\aicTTpo(pv\a}C€S, regulated the diet of the young men brought up in the gymnasia ; the sub-directors or Gymnastae, prescribed for their diseases (Plat, de Leg. xi. p. 916) ; and the inferiors or bathers, aliptae, iatraliptae, practised blood­letting, administered clysters, and dressed wounds, ulcers, and fractures. (Plat. De Leg. iv. p. 720 ; Celsus, de Medic, i. 1 ; Plin. H. N. xxix. 2.) Two of these directors, Iccus, of Tarentum, and Herodicus, of Selymbria, a town of Thrace, de­serve particular notice for having contributed to unite more closely medicine and gymnastics. Iccus, who appears to have lived before Herodicus (Olymp. Ixxvii. Stephan. Byzant, s. v. Tapds, p. 693 ; com­pare Paus. vi. 10. § 2), gave his chief attention to correcting the diet of the wrestlers, and to ac­customing them to greater moderation and abstemi­ousness, of which virtues he was himself a perfect model. (Plat, de Leg. viii. p. 840 ; Aelian, Vai\ Hist. xi. 3 ; Id. Hist. Animal, vi. ].) Plato con­siders him, as well as Herodicus, to have been one of the inventors of medical gymnastics. (Plat. Protagor, § 20. p. 31<3; Lucian, De Conscrib. Hist,

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