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

Iliad and even though his presence is short, it is significant because he personifies unheroic, even antiheroic characteristics, and these are represented in his look. Homer and the later Greek poets and writers made a clear differentiation
between the ugly and the beautiful, the young and the old. Homer had a deep
Understanding for physical art and attractiveness as is evidenced in many passages
in his epics. Hector wanted to fight with Achilles and die young and handsome
Rather than dying old and ugly.9 Tyrtaios believed that:
It’s 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 powerful soul into the dust
clutching his bloody genitals in his hands: his flesh nude. But in a young man all
is wonderful when he still possesses the shining flower of lovely youth.10

that the Minoan sportsmen exercised in the nude. The close artistic ties of Crete with
the Cyclades, in general, and Thera, in particular, appear to acquire the approval of
many writers. The recent excavations of S. Marinatos casts fresh light upon the
relationship of Crete with Thera in ancient times. Numerous objects of art
found on the island of Thera reveal the links with Crete were quite close. An
Remarkable fresco from Thera, found in 1970, and outdated 1500 B.C.,
Signifies two kids boxing. Marinatos is of the view that this fresco is “the
oldest existing example of art representing the actual 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 apparently attached. Both children, between eight
and ten years of age, wear loincloths. Thus Minoan Crete and the Cyclades offer
no solution to the problem of the source of nudity in Greek athletics.
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 sometimes 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 signified
chariot-races. All three stelai are decorated with chariot scenes. There is one
charioteer (Fig.5) for each chariot and all three chariot motorists are naked and
unarmed, except for the sword. These chariot-races were held as part of the
funeral ceremonies for a chieftain, and as such, were considered proper subjects
for decoration of stelai erected over graves. The so called Silver Siege Rhyton

Early Archaic Corinthian aryballos. K. Friis Johansen, Les Vases Sicyoniens (ParisCopenhagen, Edouard Champion, Pio Paul Brenner, 1923) PI. 34(2). . 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 Ancient 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 Kids,” Archaiologika Analekta ex Athenon 12 (1971): 407.408.

found at Mycenae shows on the fringe of the water three nude slingers elongated
full stature, act as a shielder for four or five nude archers as they draw their bows.
In the same scene a naked warrior comes hurrying past them. In addition, the Siege
Rhyton shows six collapsed nude guys, who could be interpreted as the dead.13
A fragment of Mycenaean chariot krater from Enkomi (Cyprus) (Fig.6)
depicts a naked standing man figure who holds two variously interpreted
objects in his hands; in front of the bare man there is a robed male figure who
wears a sword; in this composition small vases are placed in the field; in
front of the robed man there’s a two horse chariot within which there are two
robed figures. It’s 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 by M. I. Davies is
that the naked figure “may well be an average athlete with what in classical
times were two of his common traits: a pickaxe and either a pointed
Indicating stake or strigil.” Davies believes this interpretation “would project
some light upon the conservative transmission of fit customs and equipment from the Mycenaean into the classical interval.”14
A fragment of another krater from Enkomi symbolizes two nude figures
13. George Mylonas, “The Figured Mycenaean Stelai,”American Journal of Archaeology 55 (1951): 137-147