Game with a ball (episkyros?)

Material: ╠arble
Provenance: From a tomb in Athens.
Date: Around 510 BC
Dimensions: Length: 0.79m, height: 0.29m.
Exhibition place: Room 13, inv. no. 3476.

The scene decorates the lateral side of a rectangular base of a funerary statue representing a youth (kouros), very probably from the cemetery at Kerameikos. Traces of red color are preserved on the background of the low relief.

Six nude youths are depicted training for an athletic event or playing a game with a ball, which is held by the youth on the left end of the lively scene. ďhe ball was made of fabric or leather and was stuffed with wool. The next youth and the two on the right end of the scene look in his direction, waiting to follow the trajectory of the ball so that they can catch it and send it back into the opposing part of the pitch. According to one interpretation the youths are participating in a team sport, a ball game called episkyros. As the opposing stances of the two central figures show, episkyros was played by two teams of players. A line was etched on the ground between them with a sharp pebble, called skyros. Two more lines defined the ends of the long court. The goal of the game was to eliminate, one after the other, the rivals who had gone beyond the ground lines or had not caught the ball.

The two other sides of the base show scenes from the life of the youths in the palaestra.

┬ibliography: ╠. Fitta, Spiele und Spielzeug in der Antike. Unterhaltung und Vergnugen im Altertum, Stuttgart 1998, 100-101. Ch. Tsountas, Mind and Body. Athletic contests in ancient Greece, Catalogue of an Exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, 15 May 1989-15 January 1990, Athens 1989, 278-280 no. 167 [Bert Kaeser]. ═. Kaltsas (ed.), AGON, Catalogue of an Exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, 15 July-31 October 2004, Athens 2004, 145-146 ß˝. 36 [Charikleia Lanara].

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Position in the museum