John F. Lazenby
Apart from what little archaeology can tell us, our earliest evidence comes from *Homer, but it is uncertain how far the poems can be taken as depicting real warfare. To some extent, what happens on Homeric battlefields is dictated by the nature of the poetry. However, with the possible exception of those from *Locris (Il. 13. 714 ff.), all troops are implied to be of the same type, and there is no cavalry, even the chariots not being organized as a separate force and only rarely being used for a massed charge (e.g. 15. 352 ff.), despite *Nestor's advice (4. 303 ff.). Nestor also recommends subdivision into *phylai (‘tribes’) and *phratries (2. 362 f.), and other passages suggest organization into lines and files (e.g. 3. 77, 4. 90), but the constant use of the throwing-spear implies a loose formation except in particular circumstances (e.g. 16. 211 ff.).
Herbert William Parke and Michael Vickers
J. J. Pollitt
The Greeks regularly equated art with craft, τέχνη, which *Aristotle defined as the ‘trained ability (ἕξις) of making something under the guidance of rational thought’ (Eth. Nic. 1140a9–10). Until the late Hellenistic period, there is no evidence that sculpture and painting were viewed as fundamentally different from shoemaking or any other profession which produced a product. Although a number of writers betray an instinctive recognition of a qualitative difference between the visual arts on the one hand and utilitarian crafts on the other, no formal distinction was ever made between the ‘fine arts’ and other arts in Greek thought.
From an aristocratic point of view artists were regarded as social inferiors because they were obliged to do physical work for others, and this type of life was held to have a degrading effect on their bodies and minds (Xen. Oec. 4. 2–3; Arist. Pol.
Andrew F. Stewart
Herbert Jennings Rose and Simon Hornblower
Frederick Adam Wright and Michael Vickers
Astragali, knucklebones (ἀστράγαλοι), a popular pastime with Greeks and Romans of all ages. They also served as dice: the four long faces of the knucklebones were of different shapes, one flat, one irregular, one concave, and one convex, and in dicing these had the value respectively of 1, 6, 3, 4.
John McKesson Camp II
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.