details about military training in Sparta, or, in

Athens, about the historical institution of the ephebeia
before its regularization in 335 B.C. Gymnastic exercises and the Pyrrhic dance must have played an important part as a training for war.74 The Athenian
pyrrhic, or armed dance, was performed nude at the
Panathenaia and involved choruses from the Athenian
tribes.75 The custom of the warrior athlete who participated in armed dancing and races, still being held in
the Classical period, may, as Mouratidis noted, have

of the continuingdominanceof the aristocracyin a transforming
environment.”Murray’s views in Early Greece have been
developedfurther in an article, “The Symposium as Societal

Organization,” in R. Hdigg ed., The Greek Renaissance of
the Eighth Century BC: Tradition and Invention (Stock-

holm 1983) 195-99. See E. Gabba, “La societhateniese nel
‘VecchioOligarca’,”Athenaeum66 (1988) 6-10, for the situation in Athens, ca. 440 B.C.
73 “The polis derivedfrom the individuals in arms;it was essentially the state of the citizens. Both facts made the defenseof
the state the concernof its people. There was no question of
compulsory military service; it was the other way around:
the ability to serve constitutedthe fully capable citizen”:
V. Ehrenberg, The Greek State (1960) 80. E.L. Wheeler,
“Hoplomachia and Greek Dances in Arms,” GRBS 23
(1982) 223-33, summarizesrecent work on this subject.
74 R. Ridley, “The
Hoplite as Citizen: Athenian Military
Institutions in Their Own Social Context,” AntCl 47 (1978)
509-48. P. Ducrey, Guerre et guerriers dans la Grace an-

tique (Freiburg,Switzerland 1985) 69-72. For the ephebeia
at Athens and the crypteia at Sparta, see P. Vidal Naquet,
in Annales 23 (1968) 947-64, and in G. Le Goff and P.
Nora eds., Faire de l’histoire III (Paris 1974) 151-60; see
also supra n. 45.
7′ Ridley (supra n. 74) 538-48; Wheeler (supra n. 73).
For representationsof the Pyrrhicdance,see Poursat (supra
n. 33). M. Detienne, “La phalange: problkmeset contro-

verses,” in J.-P. Vernant ed., Problemes de la guerre en

GrBceancienne (Paris 1968) 123; F. Lissarrague, “Autour
du guerrier,”in La cite des images (Paris 1984) 35-47. On
the dress of the knights (not a “uniform,”and rarely bare),
see H. Cahn, “Dokimasia,”RA 1973, 3-22.


originated in earlier times before being introduced
into the Olympic plan.76
The Greeks were proud of their soldiers’ physique
and of the tan skin that was the result of their exercising in the nude. A story about Agesilaos of Sparta
illustrates how, to a proficient military eye, nakedness
allowed an accurate judgment of a man’s physical fitness: “He gave directions.., .that the barbarians
captured in the raids be exposed for sale naked. So
when his soldiers saw them white because they never
stripped, and fat and idle through continuous riding in
Buggies, they considered that the war would be just
like fighting with women.”77 The contrast between
their own bronzed men’s bodies and the white, feminine flabbiness of the Persians rekindled the nerve
of the Greek troops.
Male bodies on Attic painted vases show the meaning of physical attractiveness for sportsmen, youths, citizens,
and soldiers. Most are lithe and slim, though one
Attic red-figure vase reveals a heavy, paunchy body,
holding boxing thongs, with others at the palaestra
(fig. 3): he’s a specialized sportsman, a boxer.78 A uncommon
scene of nude men who are ugly turns out to signify slaves who prepare the palaestra, not citizens exercising in the gymnasium (fig. 4),79 indicating the dif-

Fig. 3. Red-figurecup, ca. 480 B.C.: athletes training. British Museum. (CourtesyTrustees of the British Museum)
ference between the free man who exercised naked,
gymnos, in the gymnasium, and the slave who was
naked in the line of work and out of poverty. (The
slaves on this vase, like the sportsmen, are infibulated.) A
law forbade slaves to work out and anoint themselves in
the gymnasia like free men (though obviously it did
not forbid them to enter in order to do the essential
work for their upkeep).80 The custom of frequenting
the gymnasium was of free men
Generally, but of upper class citizens, who worked out
as members of the hoplite military. The use of nudity for
Charming reasons, on the other hand, belonged to an alternate level of reality-and was limited, as we’ve
seen, to herms, satyrs, and the stage.

By , the custom-or “habit”-of
nudity had transformed, from a religious to a civil practice.
From the ritual nudity of the kouros-set up, from the
seventh century B.C. on, as picture of Apollo, votive gift,
funerary picture, offering or servant of the god-and the

Rite nudity of the sportsman who competed in the
Olympic games, dedicated to the gods, there was a
Transform to the athletic nudity of the citizen-soldier. The
transition was, I believe, initially involved with the
Rite costume suitable for initiation rites.
This passage from a religious to a civic context was