that there was an archaic nude image of Heracles which was considered to be the

procession was detected in Nigeria. [See E. R. Dennett, The Spiritual and political System of the Yoruba
(London, 1910). p, 951. At Trani, by Naples, a huge wooden phallic picture called "II Santo Membro" was carried
in procession yearly until the eighteenth century. (See Rawson, Crude Erotic Art, p. 75). During the latter
part of the nineteenth century, in huge cities of Japan phallic festivals happened in which tremendous floats were
Displayed. At several of these holidays, a surging mass of almost nude young men taken a massive papier-mch
phallus. sometimes forty feet long. [See Micheal Czaja, Gods of Myths and Stone ( , 1974). p. 1741.
There's enough evidence to show that phallic processions were customary in many countries and were of great
40. pp. 162. 163.
41. "Heracles at Olympia and . Bonfante, Etrusron Clothing, p. 28. The Chaldaeans covered as a rule with considerable drapery the types of their
85 (1981): 121-132; John Boardman, Greek Sculpture: The Archaic period (Fresh York and Toronto, 1978), p. 261;

pl. 266.
44. p, 221. figs. 111,112


Journal of Sport History, Vol. 12, No. 3 (Winter, 1985)
work of Daidalos.45 Generally, the hero is depicted nude in early Greek art
which signifies old legends. One cannot escape the judgment that these early
Naked appearances of the hero were based on the uncontestable ability of
tradition. On Heracles and his nudity, Evelyn Harrison stressed that:
nudity, the short hair and the strong physique are all truly characteristic and that
is Heracles. He alone comes bare into the presence of Zeus and the other gods.
The nudity of the sportsman, the fighter, the laborer is his, and it is the authentic symbol of his
identity, the badge of his career.46
Heracles' nudity is in accordance with the observations made above about the

He was the most
popular hero of the Greeks, known as alexikakos and apotropaios (an averter of
evils) as strong and great, as founder of the Olympic Games, as a helper in all
Issues, as a great athlete, as the protector of the race, as an averter of death,
as a naked warrior-athlete par excellence, as the hero of heroes, and as a
guardian angel.
It truly is practical to suppose that since Heracles was the hero in whose honour

the Olympic Games were perhaps held, afterward his protges, the sportsmen, were
Attempting to copy the nudity as well as various other characteristics of their patron.
From earliest times, the Greek gods and heroes boastfully shown their
physical energy and needed such a display from their zealots and enthusiasts.
The stuff evidence demonstrates that the warrior-athlete was not a winning
theme for the artists of the late Geometric period (750-700 B.C.). The athletes
of this period carried no weapons and wore no helmets. More emphasis has
been given to the bodies of the athletes and especially to their long arms and
Formidable legs, rather than to their competitive and warlike characteristics. In the ProtoAttic and Proto-Corinthian art, there aren't any hints of the warrior-athlete. The
last fifty years of the 8th century was probably the period when the nudity of the
warrior-athlete grown into athletic nudity. This was the same span when
the widespread practice of hero cults, linked with competitive games
occurred. The popularity of sport and several practical concerns
were responsible for the change from the warrior-athlete's nudity to athletic
nudity. It is very important to keep in mind that the last part of the 8th century is
by convention the eve of the start of nudity in Greek sport and is the
45. Pausanias 2.4.5. Farnell (Greek Hero Cults, p. III) regarded this naked image of Heracles as Dorian
46. Evelyn Harrison, "Athena and Athens in East Pediment of Parthenon," AJA 71 (1967): 44.

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