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THE APOLLODOROS RACE

 

     The Upper Macedonians’ interest in athletic sports is reflected in numerous archaeological finds. The athletes scraped the dust and oil off their bodies with bronze and iron strigils, which have been found on many excavated archaeological sites. A strigil of the early 5th century BC found at Aiani is engraved with its owner’s name, Apaqos; and another, of the mid-4th century BC, is stamped with the name Adamas. A grave in the ancient necropolis at Kozani contained a black-figure oenochoe of the early 5th century BC from the Aiani workshop, decorated with a wrestling scene. The presence of Panathenaic amphoras of the 6th and 5th centuries BC in the Aiani necropolis probably indicates that Aianeans took part in Panathenaean gymnastic or equestrian contests, in which the prize was not a wreath, but a quantity of oil in a large amphora bearing a representation of Athena Promachos and an illustration of the sport concerned.

The runner Apollodorus is known from an epigram by Antipater of Thessalonike; he died at Cyllene in Arcadia, “far away from Aiani and Beroea”.

Large sanctuaries at which Panhellenic games were held preserve lists of theorodokoi engraved on stone. These were archons and distinguished citizens who offered accommodation to the theoroi, who were envoys sent from each sanctuary to announce in the various cities that games were to be held. Aristonous, son of Peisaeus, from Eordaea, who captained one of Alexander the Great’s triremes, was a theorodokos at Nemea in 323/2 BC. Menelaus, son of Nicanor, also from Eordaea, was a theorodokos at Epidaurus at the end of the 4th century BC. A Delphic list of 230–220 BC preserves the first part of the name of a theorodokos from Aiani: Agora[---]. 

 

Dr Georgia Karamitrou Mendesidi

 

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