Wednesday, September 16, 2020


At the Gym

Red-figure calyx krater, at Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Antikensammlung, inv. no. F 2180 (attributed to Euphronios, Capua, ca. 510 BC):

Robin Osborne, The Transformation of Athens: Painted Pottery and the Creation of Classical Greece (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018), p. 64:
In the center of one side is a naked youth, against whom the name Antiphon is written. He is beginning the arm swing preparatory to throwing the discus and appears to be under instruction from another youth ("Hipp[ar]chos"). Hipparchos is draped in a himation, holds a trainer's wand, and points firmly with a long right arm, as if to reinforce a spoken point. This pair is flanked to the right by a youth ("Polyllos"), who folds his himation and is about to give it to an implausibly tiny boy, and to the left by another equally small boy ("ho pais" "the boy"). This small boy has some item of clothing over his shoulder and extends his arm as if to urge care on the youth with a thong who prepares to secure, or more probably has just untied, his penis. Beside this youth is written "Leagros [k]alos" "Leagros is fair." The stature of the boys is plausibly meant as an indicator of their slave status.
On the thong (κυνοδέσμη, dog leash) see Frederick M. Hodges, "The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome: Male Genital Aesthetics and Their Relation to Lipodermos, Circumcision, Foreskin Restoration, and the Kynodesmē," Bulletin of the History of Medicine 75.3 (Fall, 2001) 375–405 (at 381-384).

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