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Looking at Winners


Looking at Winners

This seminar invites you to examine the way in which athletic winners were portrayed in the ancient Greek world in free-standing statuary, and also, crucially, to evaluate the settings in which these sculptures were placed and how those setting impacted on the way in which these representations were interpreted.

General Questions:

• What did a winner look like?
• How much scope was there for individualization?
• What were the important things to emphasize?
• Where were statues of winners erected?

Section 1:

Look at the images of winners in the (PDF Document) Images Pack:

1. The Doryphoros (‘Spear Carrier’)
2. The Delphi Charioteer
3. The Boxer at Rest
4. The Westmacott boy

5. Myron Discobolus

6. Sui Jianguo Discus-Thrower in Mao Suit

Consult some of the following:

On the specific statues:

• Doryphoros: Woodford, S. (1986) Introduction to Greek Art pp. 130–4
• Charioteer: Adornato, G. (2008) 'Delphic enigmas? The gelas anasson, Polyzalos and the charioteer statue', American Journal of Archaeology 112: 29–56
• Boxer: Smith, R. R. R. (1991) Hellenistic Sculpture pp.51–62
• Westmacott Boy: Newby, Z. (2005) Greek athletics in the Roman world: victory and virtue pp.93–5; 99–102

Base your research on the following questions:

• Which sports do each of these sculptures represent?
• Do they all represent victors?
• Where were each of these sculptures set up?
• What periods do they date to?
• How realistic are these sculptures?
• What messages do these sculptures seek to convey?
• To what extent and why are there differences between them?
• How do the messages these sculptures offer about victory differ from those offered in literary texts composed about and for victory?

Section 2:

Read Pausanias Guide to Greece 6.1-18.

Look at the map and image of the sanctuary and sporting facilities at Olympia in the Images Pack.

Things to think about:

• What picture of Olympia do we get from reading Pausanias?

• What are the statues of?

• What are Pausanias's main interests and concerns?

• Who paid for and erected the statues?
• What does Pausanias tell us about the importance of victors?
• What is religious about victory statues?