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John Frederick Drinkwater
J. F. Healey
Aramaic, a *Semitic language, was used in the ancient near east from early in the 1st millennium
Arnold Wycombe Gomme and P. J. Rhodes
Philip Rousseau and M. J. Edwards
“Discipline” is the common translation of the Greek noun askêsis. Its English derivative “asceticism” denotes a sustained routine of abstinence, more severe than the occasional self-denial which was enjoined before rites and festivals. Motives for such austerity were seldom religious: sexual continence was enjoined on particular orders like the Vestal Virgins, but not on Jewish or polytheistic priesthoods. Philosophers were more likely to adopt a lifelong regimen to maintain their equanimity or free the soul from bodily attachments. Thus Epicureans and certain Platonists shunned the ties of marriage, though absolute continence was not prescribed. Pythagoreans starved the concupiscent element of the soul by abstaining from meat (and thereby also spared themselves the guilt of shedding the blood of a kindred being). Diogenes the Cynic set an example of self-sufficiency which was sometimes hyperbolically imitated and sometimes ostentatiously violated by his followers. Among Jews the nomadic Rechabites drank no wine, while Nazirites neither drank wine nor cut their hair; but only in the Hellenistic era do we hear of Essenes whose frugal regimen precluded meat and the knowledge of women. Philo’s treatise on the Therapeutae attests the cohabitation of male and female celibates in a community devoted to prayer and worship. It is, however, in Christian circles that abstinence is first prescribed as a norm for all and not merely for the elect. Jesus had “nowhere to lay his head”, while Paul declared virginity superior to marriage. Their teachings presupposed the imminent and of the world; abstinence from flesh and sexual intercourse was said to imply contempt for all things created in encratites, Marcionites and Manichees, yet orthodox Christians also held that the clergy should not take wives after ordination, and Eusebius commends the rigorous practices of Origen.
G. J. Toomer and Alexander Jones
At the core of Greek athletics was an individual's hard physical struggle in order to gain victory over an opponent; hence, it included not only (as ‘athletics’ implies nowadays) track and field events but also *boxing, *wrestling, and equestrian events (see
The first substantial description of Greek practice comes from *Homer's account of the funeral games for *Patroclus (Il. 23. 262–897; cf. Od. 8. 120–30). Eight events are mentioned there (chariot-racing, boxing, wrestling, running, *javelin, an event similar to fencing, throwing the weight, and archery); the five in italics regularly formed the central part of all later games.
At Rome colourful *circus spectacles (especially chariot-racing) and *ball games were the most popular sporting activities. But Augustus promoted traditional athletics, staging athletics competitions in the Campus Martius and exhibition-running in the Circus (Suet. Aug. 43. 1–2); he himself was keen on watching boxing (45. 2). Ultra-distance running was also practised: ‘Some men can do 160 [Roman] miles in the Circus’ (Plin. HN 7. 84). Interest in athletics was maintained by the establishing of Greek-style games at Rome and elsewhere. In (?)4
Atomism, a term used of theories that posit the existence of small indivisible particles as the ultimate components of matter. The Greek term atomon, used by some ancient philosophers to describe these ultimate components, means ‘uncuttable' or ‘indivisible'. The theories in ancient philosophy that fall under the general term ‘atomism' share certain features: all posit an infinite number of these microscopic particle-type entities (atoma, atoms) as the physical occupants of the universe; these atoms are in motion through empty space, and the space itself has neither boundaries nor distinct places within it; atoms come in different varieties, which are differentiated in shape and have certain fundamental features such as solidity, resistance, texture, and possibly weight. The atom's intrinsic features never change, but when the atoms gather together to form larger bodies (either collections of several atoms of the same sort, or an assortment of different kinds) their intrinsic or primary qualities account for other secondary effects that are features of larger bodies, including the appearance of colour, flavour, and scent (what we might call secondary qualities). These derivative effects can change as the arrangement of the atoms in a body or collection of bodies change, even though the atoms themselves do not acquire or lose any properties of their own.