Olympic Games: why can we throw discs? | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

HAS just like the battle scenes within the movie The War of the Buttons (1962), stone throwing has, for the reason that daybreak of time, been a staple of cheap assaults. During historic instances, it’s a pastime and a weapon of battle often called ” lithobolos “. Already in The Iliadthe Myrmidons, who’re bored through the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon, throw stones to go the time.

Then, there are blocks of iron which might be thrown so far as potential through the Games given in honor of Patroclus. Throwing heavy and blunt objects has all the time been a part of the straightforward joys of civilized human beings. And these lithic leisure actions are usually not meant to kill or injure anybody; if the inevitable occurs, it’s inevitable.

The night newspaper

Every night at 6 p.m.

Receive the knowledge analyzed and deciphered by the Point editorial employees.

Your registration has been taken into consideration with the e-mail handle:

To uncover all our different newsletters, go right here: MyAccount

By registering, you settle for the final circumstances of use and our confidentiality coverage.

Stone, iron, lead or bronze

During the Hellenic period, stones and iron blocks gave solution to discs that have been thrown in competitors on the second day of the Olympic Games. The self-discipline is a part of the pentathle, alongside lengthy leap, working, wrestling and javelin.

The historic discs unearthed differ in diameter and weight. However, Pausannias (115-180), geographer and traveler of Antiquity, implies the existence of a standardization of discs when he acknowledges (e-book VI, chapter XIX) “three discs of those used in pentathle.”

READ ALSO Olympic Games: where does the olive crown come from? Archeology and historical sources testify to discs made of stone then iron, lead or bronze. They measure from 16.5 to 34 cm in diameter and weigh from 1.2 kg to more than 6 kg without us being able to rule out the possibility, for the heavier ones, of votive objects. Let us remember that, although the characteristics of the discs varied depending on the era, the Games reserved lighter discs for the youngest competitors than those for adults.

Unintentional murderers

These objects could be decorated with concentric lines, patterns or even engraved after a victory. This is the case of the “speaking” bronze disk dated VIe century BCE and preserved in the British Museum. It bears witness to the victorious throw of its owner, Exoidas, and the latter’s wish to dedicate the object to the Dioscuri, the divine twins and famous discoboles.

As for the way of throwing the object, there is no shortage of ceramics or sculptures to get an idea of ​​the technical movement which is more or less always the same today. As a precaution, modern athletes are advised to throw in an area protected by nets.

READ ALSO Where does the Olympic stadium come from? A lesson learned from practice and from ancient discoboles who were regularly unintentional murderers. Perseus killed his grandfather Acrisios, Apollo his lover Hyacinth and Hermes smashed the skull of Crocos who was stupidly in the path of the projectile.

If these fatal accidents leave the throwers helpless, they sometimes promote life: from the blood of Hyacinth and Crocos are born the hyacinth and the crocus. The disc – the only discipline that is not directly related to military practice – thus seems linked to agrarian rites. Its shape and trajectory evoke the sun and, if it causes death when it hits a head, it gives life when it hits the ground.

Between life and death

Another Olympian record opposes the war. This is the bronze disc engraved with the agreement of the sacred truce (ekecheiria) which suspends hostilities throughout the Hellenic world for the duration of the Olympic Games. Aristotle (384-322 BC) testifies to this and Pausanias says he saw it. This disc on which was inscribed the name of Iphitos, king of Elis and instigator of the Olympic truce – perhaps with the mythical Spartan legislator Lycurgus – was crucial for Greek temporality.

READ ALSO Why the distance covered in a marathon is 42.195 kmBy establishing this first truce in 776 BCE, the disc became a time marker used to define a period of four years, an Olympiad. L’ekecheiria pacified hieromenia, the period before, during and after the Games, so that everyone could travel safely to Olympia.

Ironically, the truce agreements commemorating Iphitos’ initiative are inscribed on the identical object with which Oxylos, ancestor of the king of Elis and restorer of the Olympic Games, killed his personal brother Thermios: a disc. Once once more, the item balances between life and loss of life.

In 1934, 5 copper discs have been made on the event of the assembly of the International Olympic Committee in Athens. They have been engraved with the names of Heracles, Iphitos and Lycurgus. One of them is seen on the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. They are proof that wars all the time resume when the truce ends. A fatality much like that which makes data both helpful or lethal objects.