Pentathlon is an Olympic sport
|Four pentathletes (Pentathletes)|
A Panathenaic, black-figure amphora with four depicted five-fighters: (from left to right) a jumper, a javelin thrower, a discus thrower and a second javelin thrower.
(Image: Photo by © Trustees of the British Museum licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)
The Pentathlon was held in 708 BC. Introduced into Olympia in the same year as wrestling. It consisted of the following disciplines: discus throw, long jump, javelin throw, racing (probably the stadium run) and wrestling. These five competitions were held in a single afternoon.
This short poem by Simonides pays tribute to Diophon's victory in the Pentathlon:
Diophon, the son of Philons, won the Isthmian and Pythian Games
in the long jump, in the run, in the discus, in the javelin and in the wrestling match.
In the German translation, the poem reads like a mere listing because the meter has been lost. The art of the poem was to summarize all five disciplines in one line and at the same time to take the meter into account. However, the poet did not manage to list the disciplines in the correct order.
Both the order of the individual disciplines and the way in which the winner was determined are still the subject of discussion. What is certain is that it was the last to wrestle. The first three competitions were likely to be discus, long jump and javelin throw. These three disciplines only existed in the Pentathlon. So the run must have been in fourth place.
No text clearly describes how the winner was determined. Only one thing is certain, namely that the winner had to win three out of five disciplines. Based on this finding, various solutions have been suggested, but none can be proven.
The Greeks admired the pentathletes' bodies because they combined the ideal combination of length, strength, speed and beauty. The public wasn't particularly interested in this sport. Usually the prize money for the Pentathlon was lower than for the stadium run or for wrestling.
This late 2nd century AD inscription lists prices and costs of local games in the town of Aphrodisia in Asia Minor:
for the kithara player with choir
Sports competition prizes
for the boxer (boy)
for the pankratiast (man)
5  D.
Resolution of the abbreviation
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