P071Throwing the javelin was one of the five events of the pentathlon. It was not put on as a separate event. The competition took place on the running track. The athletes began a few meters before the start with a short preliminary run and threw the javelin as far as possible from the starting line. The javelin was made of wood and about as long as a man.
The main difference with the contemporary method of throwing is the leather loop the Greeks attached to the spot where they held the javelin. By placing one or two fingers in the loop, the athlete could extend his arm artificially, with the advantage that the javelin could be accelerated over a longer distance. Moreover the use of the loop made the javelin rotate around its axis, which made it more stable.P072

Throwing the javelin towards a target, usually on horseback, had no place at Olympia, but was an important event at the games for Hera at Argos.


© KU Leuven, 2012