been due not only to his nakedness but also to Thersites’ ugly physical look which the poet described in detail. Thersites appears only once in the

Iliad and even though his presence is short, it truly is important because he personifies unheroic, even antiheroic attributes, and these are reflected in his appearance. Homer and the later Greek poets and writers made a clear distinction
between the ugly and the beautiful, the young and the old. Homer had a deep
Understanding for physical prowess and beauty as is evidenced in many passages
in his epic poems. Hector desired to fight with Achilles and die young and handsome
Rather than dying old and horrible.9 Tyrtaios believed that:
It is shocking when an old man lies on the front line before a youth: an old warrior
whose head is white and beard grey, exhaling his strong soul into the dust
clutching his bloody genitals in his hands: his flesh naked. But in a young man all
is amazing when he still possesses the radiant bloom of wonderful youth.10

that the Minoan sportsmen exercised in the nude. The close arty ties of Crete with
the Cyclades, in general, and Thera, in particular, seem to acquire the acceptance of
many writers. The recent excavations of S. Marinatos casts awesome light upon the
relationship of Crete with Thera in prehistoric times. Numerous objects of art
found on the isle of Thera show that the links with Crete were quite close. An
Notable fresco from Thera, discovered in 1970, and outdated 1500 B.C.,
Signifies two youngsters boxing. Marinatos is of the view that this fresco is “the
oldest existing example of artwork signifying the real human body of a child’s body.”12
Each kid wears one boxing glove on his right hand, and a blue cap upon which
curls of short and long hair are seemingly attached. Both kids, between
and ten years old , wear loincloths. Therefore Minoan Crete and the Cyclades offer
no solution to the problem of the origin of nudity in Greek sport.
Mycenaean and Geometric Greek artwork certainly show that games in honour of
dead heroes were a common practice among the Greeks. Mycenaean, Geometric, and early Archaic warriors (Fig.4) are occasionally represented as exposed
in the parts below their breastplate. This exposure is particularly noticeable
during funeral games and other religious ceremonies for the dead. On three tall
limestone slabs (stelai), found at Mycenae and dated 1600 B.C., are represented
Chariot races. All three stelai are decorated with chariot pictures. There is one
charioteer (Fig.5) for each chariot and all three chariot drivers are nude and
unarmed, except for the sword. These chariot-races were held as part of the
funeral ceremonies for a chieftain, and therefore, were considered suitable subjects
for ornamentation of stelai erected over graves. The so called Silver Siege Rhyton

Early Archaic Corinthian aryballos. K. Friis Johansen, Les Vases Sicyoniens (ParisCopenhagen, Edouard Victor, Pio Paul Brenner, 1923) PI. 34(2).
12. See S. Marinates, Excavations at Them. Vols. I-IV (Athens 1967.1971),passim; E. Vermeule, Greece in
the Bronze Age (Chicago, 1964), pp. 77, 116. 120; J. Caskey, “Excavations in Keos, 1963,”Hesperia 33 (1964):
314; S. Marinates. “Life and Art in Prehistoric Thera.” Event of the British Academy 57 (1971): 358.363,
367; idem, “Les Egens et les Iles Gymnsiennes,” Bulletin de correspondance hellnique 95 (1971):6; idem
“Divine Children,” Archaiologika Analekta ex Athenon 12 (1971): 407.408.

found at Mycenae shows on the fringe of the water three naked slingers stretched
Total stature, act as a shielder for four or five naked archers as they draw their bows.
In the same scene a naked warrior comes rushing past them. In addition, the Siege
Rhyton shows six collapsed nude men, who could be interpreted as the dead.13
A fragment of Mycenaean chariot krater from Enkomi (Cyprus) (Fig.6)
depicts a nude standing man figure who holds two variously interpreted
Items in his hands; in front of the naked man there is a robed male body who
wears a sword; in this composition small vases have been put in the field; in
front of the robed guy there is a two horse chariot within which there are two
robed figures. It has been presumed this scene depicts a funeral ceremony
and that the vases are prizes at funeral games, like the series of tripods on a
Dipylon vase. The most recent interpretation of this scene by M. I. Davies is
that the bare figure “may well be an ordinary athlete with what in classical
times were two of his common characteristics: a pickaxe and either a pointed
Indicating stake or strigil.” Davies believes that “would cast
some light upon the conservative transmission of fit customs and equipment from the Mycenaean into the classical period.”14
A fragment of another krater from Enkomi symbolizes two bare figures
13. George Mylonas, “The Figured Mycenaean Stelai,”American Journal of Archaeology 55 (1951): 137-147