Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

winning of three events was a familiar case.

The appointment of only three Hellânodikae for the pentathlon is to my mind almost an argument against pairs being set to work simultaneously; for one official is required at the starting line to see that the leap or throw is fair, and another to determine the lengths, unless the one walks backwards and forwards, so wasting a great deal of time.

Then again an extra judge might well be wanted to see that in the first two contests, or one of them, competitors did not purposely take it easy, which would give them a considerable unfair advantage in the last three or four contests.

The placing of several competitors in three or four contests, which I have assumed, takes more judging than merely placing the first two. But after all the appointment of three Hellânodikae is fully accounted for by the pentathlon taking such a much longer time than the other contests.

It is not easy to see why the question of stopping the pentathlon owing to the disqualification of a competitor (pp. 222, 224) should be raised by Dr Pinder with respect to Nem. vII. 72-74. The notion of disgrace does not generally attach to the verb кéμw; and in the case of a competitor who had won in the leaping alone with a strong chance of winning either the discus-hurling or the foot-race, success in the spear-throw would "send him off" in triumph from the wrestling. Since a false throw would presumably make a competitor last in the second contest, he would therefore on Dr Pinder's theory retire beaten whether disqualified or not. It does not even follow that a false throw would disqualify in the spear-throwing alone; but even if another try were allowed a false throw would be highly detrimental to success. I have often seen the best jump or throw (of ball or hammer) disallowed at an early stage of the contest to the discomfiture of the competitor who had thus wasted his best effort.

Even if my interpretation were wrong, and the poet were

alluding to a false throw often preventing a man wrestling, it is mere assumption to talk of disqualification and stoppage of the pentathlon. For the competitor who won the discushurling would often if he had lost the spear-throwing be debarred from wrestling by his principal rival beating him (or being first) in leaping, spear-throwing, and running. Now Prof. Gardner, though he speaks of "five very various contests" (p. 217) calls discus- and spear-throwing "two very kindred contests" (p. 217) suggesting that "perhaps there was no absolutely fixed order" for these two. But Flavius Philostratus tells us that the discus-throwing was Bapus and spearthrowing koupos. It seems to me that a frequent distribution would be that suggested by the actual case of Tisamenos and Hierônymos.-Tisamenos superior in leaping and running, and Hieronymos in discus-hurling, so that the spear-throwing was a crucial point in this contest. Had Tisamenos won it, the words ἐξέπεμψεν παλαισμάτων would at any rate have applied to Hieronymos. I take it that the representatives of Kovoórns and Bapos were not seldom more evenly matched in this contest than in the four others. Hence perhaps its prominence on vases (p. 216) and Pindar's allusions Nem. VII. 72-74.

I am fortunate in being able to correct and supplement my own remarks by the subjoined letter.

MY DEAR FENNELL,

The only information bearing on the special question you are treating of, which I am capable of giving, is based upon a study of the general history of athletic games and palaestric institutions in their relation to Greek social and political life and more especially in their relation to Greek art.

Let me point out one interesting point which has strongly impressed itself upon me. The principle of the pictorial decoration of a large number of athletic prize-vases is identical with the principle on which Pindar forms his odes. In both vase-paintings and odes we have an indication of the special victory for which they were composed, while in both cases the individual victory and game b

F. II.

are illustrated and glorified by a corresponding contest or association from the mythological world. As Pindar generally introduces some feat of prowess of a hero or demigod, so the prize-vases generally have on the one side a representation illustrating the special game from actual life, while the other side contains the supposed mythological prototype of such a contest, Peleus and Atalante, Herakles and the Nemean Lion, Theseus and the Minotaur, &c., &c.

The study of the history of the Greek Palaestra shows most clearly one general principle, the recognition of which I believe to be essential to a correct understanding of the nature of this institution, as well as of importance in an attempt to determine any question concerning the special points of any individual game. This general principle concerning the origin and subsequent modification of Greek games is contained in the requirements of the social and political welfare of the ancient communities. At least as to historical times, it has become quite clear to me that the various games were consciously meant to meet certain political wants, or were modified by these wants, perhaps without the full consciousness of purpose on the part of those who did thus modify them. Especially after the Persian war, when the public Palaestrae became fully organised, they were more consciously meant to provide for the physical education of Greek youths, the ultimate aim of which education, as is well known, was to produce good citizens who could guard the integrity of the state as strong and agile soldiers. No doubt in the subsequent stages we find that this ultimate aim is lost sight of, and that what was to be a means to a higher end becomes the end in itself, this leading to an overstraining of the importance of the athletic games and to professional athletes. Within this palaestric organisation we can distinguish various subdivisions corresponding to the various requirements of a good physical education. When once the games had become systematised, the first broad distinction is between the heavy and light games; the Bapùs and koûpos to which you draw attention, those that tended to develop more the strength, and those that developed more the agility. Boxing and the Pankration, for instance, are heavy games; while running, jumping, and throwing the spear, are light. Every quality that tended to make a perfect soldier had its own game. A good runner, a good jumper, an agile wrestler, a boxer with powerful arms for thrusting and skill in parrying, all tended to make a good soldier. No doubt in the

schools, a man who was found deficient in any one requisite (say in fleetness) was chiefly made to practise the corresponding games. Nay, we have evidence that for weaknesses of special muscles a special course of exercise was undergone. Nothing proves this consciousness of purpose in the form that directed these organisations better than the subsequent introduction of the hoplite running, in Ol. 65, and of the mule race, when it seemed desirable to encourage the breeding of these animals.

The more the games were thus specialised and corresponded to separate requirements in man, the more did need become felt to have a game which encouraged the all-round man. Such a game is most specifically Greek. Now the aim and essence of the Pentathlon was thus to supplement the other, specialised, games, and to encourage and produce all-round strength and agility. The more we recognise this fundamental truth concerning the Pentathlon, the more shall we have to bear in mind, that the aim and intention would always be to make the victory depend as far as possible upon the best man in all the five constituent contests or at least in as many as possible.

The fact that Pentathlon prize-vases very often have only representations of three of the games, can be no guide as to the nature of the game itself, for the class of figures represented in these paintings is only influenced by artistic requirements, i.e. by the fact that certain games can more readily be represented in single figures than others. It is an easy thing for a vase-painter or sculptor to represent a youth as a jumper, a discus-thrower or a spear-thrower, for he need merely place in his hands halteres, a diskos, or a spear. It is more difficult to represent among several others a wrestler or a runner. This can only be done with clearness by representing a pair of youths wrestling, or a number running, which is often represented on Panathenaic vases destined to be prizes for one of these single games, but these are not subjects that can be easily composed into a number of figures placed together on a limited space, and each expressing part of the game illustrated by the whole group. Thus it is that of the five games of the Pentathlon, three especially serve as pictorial types, i.e. ἄκων, ἅλμα, δίσκος. But often vases evidently pentathlic have merely one scene. I have met with Pentathlon vases with merely two games of the five, diskos and spear, or spear and halteres. In some cases even the connexion between the mytho

logical scenes on the one side and the scenes from real life on the other, to which I alluded above, has served the vase-painter in giving a full illustration of the Pentathlon, the mythological scenes illustrating those games which the athletic scenes do not represent. So

a kylix in Paris is evidently pentathlic from the mythological scenes of struggle represented on the border of the outside, while in the medallion on the inside there is but one of the contests figured, namely a youth with halteres.

Finally let me point out that if in literature the Diskos is mentioned before the Akontismos, this must be from literary reasons, if there is any design in the order at all. The nature of the two games precludes the possibility of such a sequence. The Diskos as compared with the Akontismos was Bapús, while the Akontismos was light and required above all things steadiness of eye and arm. Now the effect of a great strain in hurling a heavy body at a distance is that the hand and arm tremble for some time after, and are the opposite of steady. Surely the throwing the hammer would in our day not be a good preparation for the shooting of an

arrow.

Yours very truly,

CHARLES WALDSTEIN.

« AnteriorContinuar »