undertook to strip and ran naked at Olympia, at the fifteenth Olympiad, was
Acanthus the Lacedaemonian.’14
There’s a competing convention told by Pausanias about Orsippos of Megara, “who
won a foot-race at Olympia running nude at a time when sportsmen used to wear
loincloths in the old style.” There’s a Hellenistic epitaph about Orsippos that
was inscribed on the sportsman’s tomb in Megara saying that he was the first of the
Greeks in Olympia crowned naked and that before him all athletes girded
themselves during the games. It truly is clear that the Megarians were making a
counterclaim to Sparta’s and desired to demonstrate that a native of Megara was the
first nude winner. The story about Orsippos seems ambiguous and dubious
since there are several different narratives about his performance in the race.
the race but he tripped, fell, and died when his loincloth came adrift. A distinct
Story mentions Orsippos not as a winner in the race but as a loser because he
became entangled in his short pants.5
Sports. A runner, according to this story, leading the field lost footing and fell
http://modestperson.com/views/there-was-a-water-park-theme-park-that-i-used-to-attend-many-years-ago.php . Thucydides 1.5.6. (The Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Mass. and London, 1928) Trans. by Charles
1928) Trans. by E. Gary.
5. Pausanias 1.44.1. (The Penguin Classics. by Peter Levi; 1.G 7.52; Joseph
Fontenrose, “The Hero as Sportsman,” California Studies in Classical Antiquity 1 (1968): 93; F. Bohringer, “Cults
Loft stamnos of the late 6th century B.C., E. Norman Gardiner Athletics of the Ancient
because his shorts floated freely down to his legs; so the Athenian archon
Hippomenes in order to prevent any recurrence of the injury, applied, by
law, that all men in the future should exercise naked.6
Thus while nearly all conventional sources impute nudity in sport as early
as the 8th century B.C., Plato and Thucydides considered that it happened not
long before their own era.
athletes girded themselves during their athletic competitions. These three
citations prompted some scholars to conclude that nudity was not a practice
One of the Mycenaean Greeks, supposing that Homer described in his epic poems
Mycenaean sport practices. But there is enough evidence to demonstrate that many of
the games and athletic practices described in Homer’s epic poems were anachronistically introduced by the poet into his epics. The Homeric epics, it has
been pointed out, reflected fit practices of many periods, including the
poet’s.7 It becomes clear the Homeric athletes girded themselves for the
contact events. Unfortunately the poet didn’t say anything about loincloths for
6. lsidoros Source. Et. 18.172.
7. See Iliad 23. 685; 23. 710; Odyssey 18.76; John Mouratidis, “Greek Sports, Games and Festivals Before
the Eighth Century B.C.” (Ph.D. diss., The Ohio State University, 1982). pp. 193.219, 235-237.
Origin of Nudity in Greek Athletics
the other games. Do we need to assume that they competed nude in these
events? It is hard to say. One might well indicate that the Homeric references to
loincloths in sports reveal a practice of the poet’s own time since the material
Signs shows that nudity wasn’t unknown in Mycenaean Greece.
It is possible that Ionia, Homer’s own birthplace, was influenced by the present practice in the oriental world. In the time of Herodotos (5th century B .C.), the
Lydians, and barbarians in general, considered that it was a disgrace for a man to be
seen naked. This Anatolian approach towards nudity was seemingly shared, to
some extent, by the Greeks who lived in places under Anatolian sway. An
Indicator of this influence is that http://nudistsplace.com/nudist-photos/my-first-public-nude-expericence/ of the coast of Asia Minor
borrowed and acquired various elements of asian dress as well as various hair
and the long-sleeved chiton were adopted by the Phrygians and Ionian Greeks
during the interval of Persian rule.8 Moreover the magnificent Ionian clothes that
Herodotos regularly describes were quite characteristic of the oriental world.
Some writers point to Thersites to reveal that to be seen naked was considered
Thersites was threatened by Odysseus with the public degradation of running naked to the Greek boats. This
punishment must have been a black and humiliating one, but this must have