(See Greek Hero Cults p.’357) Farnell was likely right since the so-called “Finger of Attis” is interpreted by
“Hand”). The ancients considered that the middle finger of either hand had
a phallic connotation. Early Roman authors mention that the middle finger fully extended and held erect
represented the Dick and the shut fingers and thumb on each side signified the testicles. (For references see
Scott. For more about Heracles and the phallic symbolism see: My wife and I and 6 other couples that are good buddies have been going to the . C. P. Deanna, “Du
Source of Nudity in Greek Sport
Span that scholars imputed the so called “heroic nudity” which rather signals that nudity in Greek sports had something to do with heroes or warriors.
The late 8th century is also when the start of the series of statues of naked Greek
kouroi seemed. All kouroi usually do not represent Apollo, since many have been
discovered in cemeteries where they must have functioned as tombstones representing human beings. Also in archaic times kouroi were used for victors in
Why was nudity in athletics a unique Greek phenomenon, since the primitive
human response in using nudity for aggression, from which fit nudity was
developed, was common in other cultures as well?
question, one should consider another aspect of Greek life, fairly unique in
Greek lands, the hero cult,49 which was associated with games.’O Greek heroes
and gods proudly displayed their physical energy and demanded the same thing
from their devotees. The presence of Heracles at Olympia was of prime
importance for the survival of the custom of nudity in Greek sport because
he was, by tradition, a nude hero and a naked warrior-athlete par excellence
whose nudity was copied by the sportsmen.
If nudity was seen as valuable to the warrior-athlete, why was it kept only
in athletics since classical warriors needed protection and assertiveness at least as
Substantially as athletes?
The Greeks while winning their way to classical culture
Kept the custom of nudity in athletics but they weren’t conscious of the
aggressive facet of it as were their remote ancestors. In other words, the custom
of nudity persisted into a higher culture but the practice of endeavouring to
Safe protection in this mode had been lost or abandoned. This was the primary
Motive the classical warrior had no comprehension of this feeling of
protection. This is also the case with several current tribes among whom the
Custom of nudity for aggression prevailed but is rapidly disappearing as they
gradually come under the influence of modern civilization.
felt so strongly about their nudity that they believed that to be ashamed to be seen
Nude in the gymnasium was the characteristic, the evidence and the signal of a
barbarian. The reason the Greeks fell in love with their nudity isn’t the
Objective of this paper. That job has been nicely done by other writers. 51
48. G. M. A. Richter, Kouroi:Archaic Greek Yourhs (London, 1960), p. 1. Additionally see Bonfante, (Efruscan, pp.
century, as the interval of the change from the warrior-athlete nudity to athletic nudity, should be viewed with
some reservations because the scanty material signs may be misleading. Moreover, one cannot exclude the
role of artistic tradition in the material evidence cited here.
49. Herodotos (2.50) mentioned that heroes have no place in the faith of Egypt.
Geometric Art,” in The Archaeology of Cyprus: Recent Developments, ed. Noel Robertson (Park Ridge, N.J.:
Noyes Press, 1975). 185. For an exhaustive investigation of the hero cult in both ancient and historic Greece see
Erwin Rohde. Soul: The Cult of Souls and Belief in Immortality Among the Greeks (London. 1950), pp. 115-155;
Farnell, Greek Hero Cults.
50. See Rohde, Psyche, pp. 116-l 17; Mircea Eliade. A History of Religious Thoughts from the Stone Age to the
EIeusinian Mysteries (Chicago, 1978), pp. 285, 313. For references found throughout ancient Greek literature,
concerning the matches held in I’ve been a nudist for three years now. of the Greek heroes find: Lynn E. Roller, “Funeral Games in Greek Art,” AJA
85 (1981): 107.119.
51. Fardiner (AAW, p. 58) wrote: “It is not just that exposure to the atmosphere and the sunlight-tub are. as doctors now