Wrestlers in ancient Greece competed in the nude as spectators watched. Wrestlers at Ohio State say they showered in the nude while voyeurs watched. The difference is a matter of privacy and consent: The ancient Olympic athletes competed willingly while the former college athletes say they complained to their coaches about the creeps who they allege gawked at them decades ago. The ancient Greek word for naked — gymnos — is the root word for gymnasium, the sacred space where young Greek men conditioned their bodies as well as their minds. It sounds like there was unwanted gazing and taking advantage of medical examinations.
As participants in the oldest and most widely practised sport on the Ancient Olympic Games programme, wrestlers at Olympia received great levels of attention and adulation. With the vast majority of fans likely to have passed through wrestling schools themselves, it was the ancient equivalent of modern-day football. From carrying live bulls around the stadium on his shoulders to breaking bits of string by popping the veins on his head, more words were written about six-time Olympic champion wrestler Milon of Croton than any other ancient Olympic athlete. Part of the pentathlon, as well as an event in its own right, wrestling was innately connected to warfare. Naked and covered in oil, combatants would contest one of two disciplines. Defeat in this case was signalled by the raising of a hand with one or two fingers extended.
Male nudes are the norm in Greek art , even though historians have stated that ancient Greeks kept their clothes on for the most part. New research suggests that art might have been imitating life more closely than previously thought. Nudity was a costume used by artists to depict various roles of men, ranging from heroicism and status to defeat. Hurwit's newly published research shows that the Greeks did walk around in the buff in some situations. Men strode about free of their togas in the bedroom and at parties called symposia, where they would eat, drink and carouse.
Online Collections. The festival and the games were held in Olympia see 'Did you know' in the glossary , a rural sanctuary site model shown here, courtesy of the British Museum in the western Peloponnesos. The Greeks that came to the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia shared the same religious beliefs and spoke the same language. The athletes were all male citizens of the city-states from every corner of the Greek world, coming from as far away as Iberia Spain in the west and the Black Sea Turkey in the east.