Unit 2 - Classical Greece
Boxing: Boxing tended to be more bloody than boxing of today. In the first place, almost any blow of the hand to any part of the body was allowed. Secondly, a contest would go on until one of the boxers surrendered or was knocked completely unconscious. This could take several hours.
Wrestling: There were three different wrestling events. There was upright wrestling, in which the winner had to throw his opponent three times. There was ground wrestling, which went on until one man gave in. But by far the most dangerous (and most popular) type of wrestling was called pankration. In this event every tactic was allowed except for biting and eye-gouging. Competitors were sometimes killed during pankration events. (right)
The pentathlon: One of the most difficult events of the Olympics was the pentathlon, which was designed to find the best all-round athlete. It consisted of five different events: running, jumping, javelin throwing, discus throwing and wrestling.
Chariot racing: Chariot races were run over twelve laps round two posts in the ground. There were separate races for chariots pulled by two horses and for chariots pulled by four horses. Up to forty chariots could take part in a race and there were often nasty accidents, especially in the larger races. One such accident is described here by the poet Homer:
The competitor Eumelos was thrown from his chariot close to the wheel. The skin was ripped from his mouth and nose and elbow and his forehead was smashed open. His mighty voice was silenced. What a race!