• Athletes trained in gymnasion & palaistra (usually collectively referred to as gymnasion)gymnasion-ancient-greek
  • Vitruvius (Roman architect) defined the ideal palaistra as: 1) large central courtyard (open to the sky; surrounded by roofed colonnades) [known as PERISTYLE (surrounded by columns) -> area was used for boxers, wrestlers, pankration
  • Single colonnades found on three sides; double colonnade on the north -> protect against storm
  • Behind the colonnades were exedrai; seats where classes were held (philosophy, rhetoric, etc.)
  • One wall of the exedra was usually found open
  • XXII: double colonnade; larger exedra with seats; known as the Ephebes (where young men train to become citizens)
  • XI: Korykeion (punching-bag room)
  • X: pool room (only one at Olympia as opposeto the two that Vitruvius recommends)
  • IX: konisterion (dust or powder room)
  • XIII: oil room (elaiothesion) [funded by anointing accounts]
  • XIV: apodyterion (undressing room)
  • Greeks lacked furnace room and hot bath
  • V: undressing room at Olympia
  • XIX: Not mentioned/ not sure: Sphairisterion (ball room): handball court (but could have been for exercise or storage)
  • Palaistra: where the body and mind were trained
  • Where the palaistra was located effected it building; I.e palaistra at Delphi lacked giant courtyard, but put great emphasis on bath room (Delphi and Nemea has monumental bath rooms with intricate design)
  • Gymnasion: building made of 3 colonnades (surrounded an open space) no wall for the 4th side
  • Double colonnade of the gym would attach to the north wall of paliastra. Two perpendicular walls would contain a stadion (~200m) known as Xystoi (list of Olympia victors were kept there)
  • Parallel to each xystos is an open-air track called paradromis
  • Olympia differed from the ideal by having double colonnade for its xystos
  • Large open space in the middle (MILLER): was used for javelin/ disko throwers
  • One xystoi for running, the other for long distance
  • Separate space for jumpers
  • Behind the xystos there was sittings for large crowds of people
  • In city competitions, the xystos was used for both practice and festival
  • Where at larger festivals (i.e Olympia) the stadium and gymnasium are separate buildings
  • The palaistra-gymnasion contained: oil, powder, shields, helmets, torches, trophies (trophy room), jars, tubs, stools, urn, basin of holy water, amphoras, sundials, statues
Classical Greek Art and Architecture


  • Also found was Herm: semi-aniconic statue of the god, Hermes. Sqaure pillar with bearded head. A large ret phallus was attached to it, found throughout the ancient world. Worshipped for speed by runners/ pentathletes
  • The gymnasion was (~20,000 sq meters); remember the intellect aspect of these establishment (i.e Plato’s Akademy & Aristotle’s Lykeion)
  • Gymnasiarchos: learder of the gym; in charge of the building, staff, education program. Elected each year and between 40-60. Depicted holding a cane and watching the lessons
  • Paidonomos: appointed, 40+. Decided which boys has completed their studies satisfactorily and could advance to next year’s lessons. Helped to select staff and settle disputesancient-greek-gymnasiarchos
  • Didaskalos: Teachers of each subject matter
  • Teachers’ pay and class size were dictated by the value placed on what they taught
  • Most studies only received basic grammar/ writing skills (only the rich could afford more)
  • Though the music teachers were paid the most, their skills ranked below grammar and physical skills
  • Military training was only given to older boys. Athletics were not considered enough training for war
  • Paidogogos (Boy Leader): long time slave, responsible for taking the boys to school
  • PEOPLE NOT ALLOWED IN THE PALAISTRA-GYMNASION: no women, no slaves, no freed slaves/ son, no cripples, no homosexuals, no drunks, no madmen or those that engaged in commercial craft
  • They didn’t want any corrupters of youth or those that didn’t benefit society to be allowed in the rooms
  • Entering a room with young children was punishable by death
  • Choregos: producer; paid for training of the youth must be 40+; “must have self-control to be around the young boys”
  • Homosexual activities did transpire in the gym between the boys [whom were divided by age, attractive males= kalos “beautiful”
  • Relationships between boys and young men were deemed as socially acceptable
  • Homosexuality in a loving context was promoted; promiscuous homosexuality was frowned upon
  • Men were to marry at 37. This reduced the chances of them being killed in warfare and leaving orphan children that the state must care for. Homosexuality allowed men to engage in sexual activity without the risk of illegitimate children. However older men were expects to restrain these urges
  • Annually, the boys were divided into age groups and competed in festivals, Hermaia (physical competition) and Mouseia (musical competition).
  • Acted like an annual review/ yearly exam of what the youth learned
  • Ephebeia: 2 year training for young men to become citizens. [existed in all city states; at age 18 men would spend two year training and then active military service]
  • Sophronistes: (teacher-trainers) 40+, selected to train the epheboi and organize meals
  • Kosmetes: 40+, took the epheboi on tours of temples/ shrines [general education]
  • Boys were trained, issued equipment (shield, cloak, petasos) and send to border patrol
  • Highly talented and especially their kosmetes were congratulated by the city

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