Philostratus, On Athletics
43, tr. Waldo E. Sweet, Sport and Recreation in Ancient Greece: A Sourcebook with Translations
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. 222-223:
In the old times "athletics" meant any
kind of physical exercise. Some trained by carrying heavy weights, others
by chasing hares and horses or by bending and straightening thick rods of
wrought iron; others yoked themselves with strong oxen to pull wagons or
bent back the neck of bulls; and some did the same with lions. Such activities were the training of men like Polymester, Glaukos, Alesias, and Poulydamas from Skotoussa. The boxer Tisander from Naxos used to swim
around the headlands of his island, and went far out to sea, using his arms,
which in exercising the rest of his body also received exercise themselves.
These men washed in rivers and springs; they learned to sleep on the ground,
some of them lying on stretcher beds made of oxhide, others on beds made
of straw they gathered from the field. Their food was bread made from
barley and unleavened loaves of unsifted wheat. For meat they ate the flesh
of oxen, bulls, goats, and deer; they rubbed themselves with the oil of the
wild olive and phylia. This style of living made them free from sickness,
and they kept their youth a long time. Some of them competed in eight
Olympic games, others for nine; they were also excellent soldiers and fought
under their city's walls, where they were not defeated, but earned prizes for
valor and trophies. They made war a training for athletics, and they made
athletics a military activity.
Greek text, from Philostratos, Über Gymnastik
, ed. Julius Jüthner (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1909), pp. 168, 170 (lunate sigmas not retained):
γυμναστικὴν δὲ οἱ παλαιοὶ καὶ αὐτὸ τὸ ὁτιοῦν γυμνάζεσθαι· ἐγυμνάζοντο δὲ οἱ μὲν ἄχθη φέροντες οὐκ εὔφορα, οἱ δ’ ὑπὲρ τάχους ἁμιλλώμενοι πρὸς ἵππους καὶ πτῶκας, οἱ δ’ ὀρθοῦντές τε καὶ κάμπτοντες σίδηρον ἐληλαμένον εἰς παχύ, οἱ δὲ βουσὶ συνεζευγμένοι καρτεροῖς τε καὶ ἁμαξεῦουσιν, οἱ δὲ ταύρους ἀπαυχενίζοντες, οἱ δ’ αὐτοὺς λέοντας. ταῦτα δὲ δὴ Πολυμήστορες καὶ Γλαῦκοι καὶ Ἀλησίαι καὶ Πουλυδάμας ὁ Σκοτουσσαῖος. Τίσανδρον δὲ τὸν ἐκ τῆς Νάξου πύκτην περὶ τὰ ἀκρωτήρια τῆς νήσου νέοντα παρέπεμπον αἱ χεῖρες ἐπὶ πολὺ τῆς θαλάσσης [παραπεμπόμεναι] γυμναζόμεναί τε καὶ γυμνάζουσαι. ποταμοί τε αὐτοὺς ἔλουον καὶ πηγαὶ καὶ χαμευνίαν ἐπήσκουν οἱ μὲν ἐπὶ βυρσῶν ἐκταθέντες, οἱ δ’ εὐνὰς ἀμήσαντες ἐκ λειμώνων. σιτία δὲ αὐτοῖς αἵ τε μᾶζαι καὶ τῶν ἄρτων οἱ ἄπτιστοι καὶ μὴ ζυμῆται καὶ τῶν κρεῶν τὰ βόειά τε καὶ ταύρεια καὶ τράγεια τούτους ἔβοσκε καὶ δόρκοι κότινου τε <καὶ> φυλίας ἔχριον αὑτοὺς λίπα· ὅθεν ἄνοσοί τε ἤσκουν καὶ ὀψὲ ἐγήρασκον. ἠγωνίζοντό τε οἱ μὲν ὀκτὼ Ὀλυμπιάδας, οἱ δὲ ἐννέα καὶ ὁπλιτεύειν ἀγαθοὶ ἦσαν ἐμάχοντό τε ὑπὲρ τειχῶν οὐδὲ ἐκεῖ πίπτοντες, ἀλλὰ ἀριστείων τε ἀξιούμενοι καὶ τροπαίων, καὶ μελέτην ποιούμενοι πολεμικὰ μὲν γυμναστικῶν, γυμναστικὰ δὲ πολεμικῶν ἔργα.