Wednesday, July 18, 2012
What to Wear to the Olympics
If I were an Olympic athlete on the United States team, I would object to wearing a uniform that made me look like a sissy, no matter where it was manufactured.
In the fifth century B.C., what Hippias wore to the Olympic Games was not only locally made but made by himself. See Plato, Hippias Minor 368 b-c (tr. H.N. Fowler):
You said that once, when you went to Olympia, everything you had on your person was your own work; first the ring—for you began with that—which you had was your own work, showing that you knew how to engrave rings, and another seal was your work, and a strigil and an oil-flask were your works; then you said that you yourself had made the sandals you had on, and had woven your cloak and tunic; and, what seemed to every one most unusual and proof of the most wisdom, was when you said that the girdle you wore about your tunic was like the Persian girdles of the costliest kind, and that you had made it yourself.
ἔφησθα δὲ ἀφικέσθαι ποτὲ εἰς Ὀλυμπίαν ἃ εἶχες περὶ τὸ σῶμα ἅπαντα σαυτοῦ ἔργα ἔχων· πρῶτον μὲν δακτύλιον—ἐντεῦθεν γὰρ ἤρχου—ὃν εἶχες σαυτοῦ ἔχειν ἔργον, ὡς ἐπιστάμενος δακτυλίους γλύφειν, καὶ ἄλλην σφραγῖδα σὸν ἔργον, καὶ στλεγγίδα καὶ λήκυθον ἃ αὐτὸς ἠργάσω· ἔπειτα ὑποδήματα ἃ εἶχες ἔφησθα αὐτὸς σκυτοτομῆσαι, καὶ τὸ ἱμάτιον ὑφῆναι καὶ τὸν χιτωνίσκον· καὶ ὅ γε πᾶσιν ἔδοξεν ἀτοπώτατον καὶ σοφίας πλείστης ἐπίδειγμα, ἐπειδὴ τὴν ζώνην ἔφησθα τοῦ χιτωνίσκου, ἣν εἶχες, εἶναι μὲν οἷαι αἱ Περσικαὶ τῶν πολυτελῶν, ταύτην δὲ αὐτὸς πλέξαι.