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.
• 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?
Look at the images of winners in the Images Pack:
5. Myron Discobolus
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?
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?