ERIC Number: ED370951
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994
Women of Ancient Greece: Participating in Sport?
Mills, Brett D.
Based on evidence obtained from Greek literature and artifacts, this paper examines the extent to which women in ancient Greece participated in physical activity, sports, and games. Homer's "Odyssey" describes women playing ball and driving chariots; vases dating back to 700-675 B.C. portray women driving light chariots in a procession; a girl juggling 12 hoops appears on an Attic cup dated around 475-450 B.C.; feminine acrobatic performance was portrayed in Xenophon's "Symposium"; aquatic activities were not only recreational but a necessity of everyday life--the earliest known evidence of women involved in swimming was found once again in Homer's "Odyssey"; the only known artifact depicting women in the act of swimming is a red figured vase, dated around 500 B.C.; accounts of women hunting are found in mythological Greek writings; there is some evidence for women being involved in horseback riding; wrestling for women was introduced by Lycurgus in the ninth century B.C.; and mythology and art indicate running was the most popular physical activity for women in ancient Greece. Although women were banned from participating in the Olympic games, they had their own running competitions at Olympia. (Contains 38 references.) (LL)
Publication Type: Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A