Athletic glory

P203Winning glory is the main objective of an athlete, more important than winning material prizes. Glory was a form of immortality and was immortalized in poetry, inscriptions and statues. Written memorials commonly mention the descent of an athlete. In victory songs, athletes were sometimes even attributed a divine birth. Athletic success was seen as a hereditary quality of an aristocratic family, which was passed on from father to son. A good example of this is the family of Diagoras of Rhodes.

Because of the growing importance of the city in the sixth century, the community of citizens became more important than the individual and his family and the value system was adapted to this. P079From then on the glory did not belong only to the athlete and his family, but also to the city. When a victor was proclaimed in the stadion, or paid homage to in an inscription, the name of his father and hometown were always mentioned. How much the city wanted to claim the glory is proven by the athletes who received multiple nationalities.

© KU Leuven, 2012