• The event consists of 5 prizes
  • Stadion/ Wrestling- was apart of both the pentathlon & Olympiaancient greek discus
  • Discus, Halma (jump) and Akon (javelin throw)
  • The competitor must do well in ALL events to have a chance of being crowned a victor
  • Not sure if discus were standardized (made of bronze (2kg) or sometimes iron), athletes could have potentially used heavy discus as they progressed into the competition.
  • Extremely heavy prize discus was given to a successful pentathlete
  • Discus start position: weight on the right leg (rear leg), hold discus at head level in a vertical position; left hand supports the weight of the discus while the right grasps the top edge.
  • Not sure if they twisted/ twisted & spun like modern discus throwers (many depictions of twisting & spun motion)
  • Diskabolos: (discus thrower) favorite of sculptors
  • Semeion: small peg used by discus throwers to mark their throw lengths; also used by jumpers, javelin throwers
  • Halteres (weights) were used in the long jump (halma); either spherical or long
  • Could be simple and carved by hand, or special pairs could be made for athletes or dedicated winners or gods. (however, nothing was standardized)
  • The jump run was made from bater; they jumped into skamma “dig-up” (did not contain sand, which is a modern invention)
ancient greek long jump halma
  • Listening to a flute player was an essential part of the halma
  • Jumping, was the most difficult of the rule-based events, and the music was used for rhythm
  • The jumpers complete an area in his jump and release the halters at the end of his jump.
  • The longest jumps win but footprints must be clear
  • Speculated it to be a triple jump, purely based on Phayllos of Kroton (who has a 16.5 meter jump)
  • Akon: third and final event of the pentathlon (2m long, diameter if a human thumb) made of wood and bronze tipped; different from the spear which consisted of a broad-iron head.
  • Ankyle: thin leather thong that was wrapped around the shaft to make a loop for the first two fingers of the throwing hand; this helped to propel the akon (wrapped around the akon, unwrapped [fall completely off] during flight and acting like a rifling effect)
  • Took great skill to precisely wrap it and it played a critical part in throwing it; “shaking-down”- the javelin was wrapping using the big toe and used the index/ second finger to throw
  • Flute player was also present at the javelin but sources are unsure about their actual purpose
  • The throw began with a run-up; javelin was raised to shoulder level, bring the right arm forward and project the javelin, ankyle then flew off.
  • A winner was determined by semeion markers [the LONGEST of five throws were marked and counted for each athlete]
  • ORDER OF EVENTS: stadion, discus, halma, akon, pale
  • DO NOT KNOW exactly how the victor in the pentathlon was determined ( speculation: win 3 of 5 otherwise)
  • The competition available to boys were restricted; perhaps to prevent them from peaking too early and performing poorly in the adult games
  • Hippikos Agon (Horse Races)- a fundamental component of the ancient games
  • Four-horse chariot race (tethrippon) was added to the Olympic games in 680
  • Horses were expensive and restricted when and who could compete in horse racesgreek chariot race
  • Consisted of 12 laps around the hippodrome (horse track). May circle around a kampter or nyssa
  • NO dividing wall down the center of the track so head-on collisions did occur between racers going toward or away from the kampter
  • The chariot was a light vehicle (made of metal or wicker) Wheels had four spokes with a central hole for the axle.
  • The Center of the chariot was attached to the two front horses; outside horses were loosely connected
  • Charioteer was a slave or professional driver; held long lash with reins (left and right hand); used to control/ steer the horses by pulling/ pushing
  • Reins were fastened to broad waistbands to prevent the rider from losing them
  • Kiman, legendary chariot rider, won 3 Olympic crowns
  • Horses were often named to mythology/ Greek heroes
  • The winner of the event was the owner of the horses, not necessarily the driver
  • HOWEVER, the city-state entered as competitors, not individuals
  • WOMEN were also allowed to win the equestrian at Olympia (Kyniska of Sparta was the first winner; even though they can’t physically be present at the Olympia events)
  • Horseback Race (keles) added in 648BC to Olympia and was six stadia long. Often racers were small boys, had reins and a whip
  • Horses were also named (i.e Pherenikos the Victory Bringer)
  • Synoris– two-horse chariot race in 408BC. 8 laps of the hippodrome (~10km). A late addition to the Olympia event.
  • Added races for foals (two-year-old horses- poloi) [young horses] distances were shorter but the same rules applied
  • Additions that failed: 1) Apene: Mule-cart race; mules pulled a low cart carrying a seated driver (considered undignified and removed) 2) Kalpe: rider would jump off their mares and run alongside them for the last lap. Also dropped
  • Ancient Greek hippodrome (“horse course” 2 turning posts, 400 years between posts, 12 laps) has been discovered via magnetic pulses. Valley, without seating
ancient greek chariot horse race
  • Modern estimation of 50-60 competitors per chariot event
  • Aphesis: starting area for all the horse races (400ft long with stalls built into it)
  • To start: bronze eagle statue would fly up, the dolphin would fall, the cord across each stall would fall. The cords would fall staggered
  • On one side of the altar was Taraxippos (horse frightener); horses passing by would seize up in fear; only a well trains jockey and horses will not be afraid
  • The need for wealth, lack of participation by actual winners, odds could be shifted by adding more horse teams under their names made the horse races more of a spectacle (more for entertainment than an expression of arête)
Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Ancient Greek Olympics: Pentathlon & Equestrian Events," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019, https://schoolworkhelper.net/ancient-greek-olympics-pentathlon-equestrian-events/.

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