tell us, the very best physic, but it functioned as a valuable incentive to the youth of Greece to keep themselves in gwd

231

Nudity survived in Greek sport because it was supported by heroic
tradition and religion. So the use of nudity for aggression and apotropaic
Objectives that is characteristic of the early stages of human society and which
reflects the animal part of human nature endured with an unusual persistency
and beyond recognition in the historical period and found refuge under the
mantle of one of the most illustrious facets of Greek civilization: the athletics.

condition. The Greek with his sharp eye for physical beauty seen flabbiness, a pale skin, want of state, or
imperfect development as disgraceful, and the ill-developed youth was the laughingstock of his companions.”
http://kors4all.com (The Nude, p. 19) remarked: “So our surmise that the discovery of the nude as a type of artwork is
connected with idealism and beliefs in quantifiable symmetries appears to be accurate, but it is just half the truth. What
other peculiarities of the Greek mind are required? One clear answer is http://nudests.net was something
to be proud of. and should be kept in perfect cut.” Yet, Clark continued, “But in fact Greek confidence in the body
can be comprehended only in relation to their doctrine. It expresses above all their sense of human wholeness.
Nothing which related to the whole man could be isolated or evaded; and this serious recognition of how much was
implied in physical attractiveness saved them from the two evils of sensuality and aestheticism (p. 21). James Arieti
[“Nudity in Greek Sports,” 4361 claims “The public nakedness which doesn’t, in the 1970’s shock us as it
shocked the Romans-though it does, perhaps, look somewhat uncivilized for the Greeks-enabled the sportsmen
to reveal the whole control they exerted over their bodies. Since they were the only folks to compete naked,
they could well believe they were the only people capable of such self-control: here, maybe, was a clear
superiority over the barbarians, who had to hide themselves both to avoid tempting others and to conceal their own
lack of control.” For more references regarding the practice of nudity in Greek sports, see ibid., pp. 434 n. 10,

LARISSA BONFANTE
Subjective
The Greeks viewed their custom of athletic man nudity
as something that set them apart from the barbarians,as

costume in Greece attempts to follow its source in eighthcentury ritual, its slow transformationfrom initiation
Meaning in various spiritual, magic, and social contexts. The characterof this association can be viewed more
clearly by comparing it with before Near Eastern approaches to nakedness, and to the after contemporary”barbarian”perspectives of the Hebrews, Etruscans,and Gauls,
as well concerning the contemporaryviews of female nudity,
before its acceptancein the Hellenistic period.*

as a costume.’ This is a surprising phenomenon. That
we have not been more surprised by it is due to the fact
that we follow in their own convention and take the Greeks
as models, forgetting how frequently their institutions and
Perspectives made them the exception, and not the rule,
among early peoples.
world didn’t forget. While not, as we shall see, completely
understanding the value of the custom, they
A study of nudity in Greece should be undertaken
from the historical standpoint. I restrict myself, in the
present post, to a concern of the signs of artwork
and literature in an effort to comprehend what lay
One of the initiations of the early Greeks that
changed our way of seeing the world, one of the most
Visible is a particular sort of public nudity-nudity
Current articlewas presentedat
I am
Glad for the support and guidance of Homer and Dorothy
Thompson, Christian Habicht, S.D. Goitein, W.S. Heckscher, Seth Benardete, Leo Raditsa, Myles McDonnell,
Hans JiorgBloesch, and the anonymousAJA reviewers.
Along with the regular AJA abbreviations,the following are used in this post:
Boardman,

Five basic motives accounting for mankind’s use of
clothing will be located to be relevant at various
Periods of our discussion of nudity: 1) as protection
against the components, especially the chilly; 2) for societal
Motives, to distinguish members of a tribe or class; 3)

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