The Glory That Was Greece

with his fist instead of a hammer. His father thereupon took him to Olympia to box, but as he had no skill in boxing he was badly punished and almost beaten. Suddenly his father called out, “Give him the plough-hammer, my boy!” Whereupon he knocked his adversary out, won the prize, and became a famous pugilist. “The mare of the Corinthian Phidolas was named Aura; at the start she happened to throw her rider, but continuing, nevertheless, to race in due form, she rounded the turning-post, and on hearing the trumpet quickened her pace, reached the umpires first, knew that she had won, and stopped.”

That there was a good deal of extravagance in the cult of athletes was not likely to escape the critical eye of a people who so detested extravagance in any form. The outspoken Euripides had a violent tirade against athletes in his satyric drama Autolycus. “It is folly,” he says, “for the Greeks to make a great gathering to see

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