Greek Women and Athletics Female Recreation Women as Entertainment Women as Athletic Benefactors Women as Athletic Prizes Women as Spectators? Women as Participants/Athletes
Athenian Attitude toward Women “To a woman not to show more weakness than is natural to her sex is a great glory, and not to be talked about for good or for evil among men.” From Pericles’ Funeral Oration in Thucydides’ History. II.VI.
Women as Athletic Benefactors • Goddesses as Sponsors • Wealthy Women as Supporters of Athletics
Goddesses and Sports Artemis at Brauron in Attica Hera at Olympia
Tatia CIG XVII, 3953c from Asia Minor (Turkey) The council and the people and the senate honored Tatia, who was the daughter of Glykon, who was the son of Glykon, who twice received the honor of wearing a crown. He was the director of the gymnasium and a priest of Herakles and head of the council. They thought Tatia worthy of this honor because she was a faithful wife, was directress of the gymnasium, and was honorable in all aspects of her life.
Tata CIG 2820 The council and the people and the senate honored with highest honors Tata, daughter of Diodoros, who was himself the true son of Diodoros, who was born the son of Leon. She was the virtuous priestess of Hera all her life, mother of her city, who became the wife and remained the wife of Attalos, son of the Pyptheos who received the honor of wearing the crown. She herself came from a leading family, one that was illustrious. When she was priestess of the emperor Augustus for the second time, she twice supplied flasks of oil for the baths in great abundance and great expense, even through most of the night.
Women as Athletic Prizes WAR PRIZES In Funeral Games of Patroklos (See Arete #1) SUITOR CONTESTS Chariot Race of Pelops Running Race of Atalanta Wrestling Match of Peleus and Thetis
Chariot Race of Pelops Detail from an Athenian red-figure clay vase, about 410 BC. Arezzo, Museo Nazionale Archeologico 1460
Guido Reni. Atalanta and Hippomenes. c. 1612Oil on canvas, 206 x 297 cm. Museo del Prado, Madrid
Peleus and Thetis Volute Krater, 4th cent. B.C. Villa Guilia, Roma
Women as Spectators • Priestess of Demeter (Arete #97/150)
Story of Kallipateira(Arete #111/170 #96/149) On Diagoras of Rhodes, see also Arete 248 (Pindar Olympian 7).
Women as Athletes • in Myth (Atalanta and Thetis) • in Reality (Kyniska et al.)
Thetis as Wrestler • Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, 106, Detail of interior (tondo), ca. 500, Signed by Peithinos, inv. no. F 2279
Women Athletes at Delphi • See Arete #106/162 Tryphosa and Hedea, daughters of Hermiesianax
Dorian or Spartan Women Known as phainomerides or “thigh showers” Euripides’ stereotypical image of Spartan women: Arete 154 Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus (see next two slides)
These public processions of the maidens, and their appearing naked in their exercises and dancings, were incitements to marriage, operating upon the young with the rigour and certainty, as Plato says, of love, if not of mathematics. But besides all this, to promote it yet more effectually, those who continued bachelors were in a degree disfranchised by law; for they were excluded from the sight those public processions in which the young men and maidens danced naked, and, in winter-time, the officers compelled them to march naked themselves round the marketplace, singing as they went a certain song to their own disgrace, that they justly suffered this punishment for disobeying the laws. Moreover, they were denied that respect and observance which the younger men paid their elders; and no man, for example, found fault with what was said to Dercyllidas, though so eminent a commander; upon whose approach one day, a young man, instead of rising, retained his seat, remarking, "No child of yours will make room for me."
Phainomerides: “thigh shower.” Used pejoratively of women of loose morals. Athenian Idealization of Spartan Woman Plato’s Laws: Arete #105
Image from a Corinthian Aryballos from the Apollo Temple in Corinth, first quarter of the sixth century BC. Text includes the names of Polyterpos and Pyrrhias Bibasis, a Spartan dance, "The dance consisted in springing rapidly from the ground, and striking the feet behind...The number of successful strokes was counted, and the most skilful received prizes. We are told by a verse which has been preserved by Pollux (iv.102), that a Laconian girl had danced the bibasis a thousand times, which was more than had ever been done before " William Smith , A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.
ARISTOPHANES Lysistrata Good day, Lampito, dear friend from Lacedaemon. How well and handsome you look! what a rosy complexion! and how strong you seem; why, you could strangle a bull surely! Lampito Yes, indeed, I really think I could. 'Tis because I do gymnastics and practise the kick dance. Calonicé And what superb bosoms!
Religious Festivals for Women • Heraia at Olympia (Arete #158) • Brauron in Attica
The Heraia ARETE #103/158
Heraia(Arete #103/158) • Celebrated every four years • Footrace only • Three age-groups • Shortened track (158 m) • Run by “Sixteen Women”