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

Iliad and even though his presence is short, it really is significant because he personifies unheroic, even antiheroic characteristics, and these are revealed 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
Grasp for physical prowess and beauty as is evidenced in many passages
in his epics. Hector desired to fight with Achilles and die young and attractive
instead of expiring and nasty.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 nude. But in a young man all
is beautiful when he still possesses the shining bloom of wonderful youth.10

that the Minoan athletes exercised in the nude. The close arty ties of Crete with
the Cyclades, in general, and Thera, in particular, seem to obtain the approval of
many writers. The recent excavations of . Marinatos casts awesome light upon the
relationship of Crete with Thera in prehistoric times. Numerous objects of art
found on the island of Thera show that the connections with Crete were quite close. An
impressive fresco from Thera, found in 1970, and dated 1500 B.C.,
Signifies two youngsters boxing. Marinatos is of the view that this fresco is “the
oldest existing example of artwork representing 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 apparently attached. Both kids, between eight
and ten years old , wear loincloths. Thus Minoan Crete and the Cyclades offer
no solution to the issue of the origin 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 especially 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 pictures. 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 therefore, were considered appropriate themes
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 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.” Proceedings 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 periphery of the water three nude slingers stretched
full height, act as a shielder for four or five nude archers as they pull their bows.
In exactly the same scene a nude warrior comes rushing past them. Moreover, the Siege
Rhyton shows six collapsed naked guys, 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
Things in his hands; in front of the bare guy there’s a robed male figure who
wears a sword; in this composition small vases are put in the field; in
front of the robed guy there is 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 this scene by M. I. Davies is
that the naked figure “may well be an average sportsman with what in classical
times were two of his common traits: a pickaxe and either a pointed
Indicating position or strigil.” Davies believes this interpretation “would project
some light upon the traditional transmission of athletic customs and equipment from the Mycenaean into nudist vid of another krater from Enkomi signifies two nude figures
13. George Mylonas, “The Figured Mycenaean Stelai,”American Journal of Archaeology 55 (1951): 137-147