Lo sport ad Akragas

Valley of the Temples

Le fonti e la ricerca archeologica

I campioni di Akragas
The remarkable sporting tradition of the ancient city of Akragas is shown in the enthusiastic praise of ancient sources, celebrating the Agrigentine athletes for victories in the Panhellenic games. Esseneto, champion in stadion, sprinting, one of the disciplines of the pentathlon at Olympia, was received with full honours on his return to the city, triumphant in a chariot drawn by white horses. In the early fifth century BC, Pindar, the Theban lyric poet and composer of victory odes for contests in Olympia, Nemea, Corinth and Delphi, celebrated Theron, the tyrant of Akragas, from whom he had received hospitality, with two Olympic odes for chariot victory. The stables of Emminidi achieved another prestigious triumph in Delphi and Corinth with Xenocrates, brother of the tyrant, extolled by Pindar with a Pythian ode and an isthmus. Earlier, in the first century BC, Virgil remembered Akragas as a “generous breeder of horses” for which, according to Diodorus, the Akragantines even erected lavish tombs. Attic black and red-figure pottery found in the Greek necropolis of the city shows many scenes of wrestling and athletes in the act of throwing the javelin or shot, or being cleansed with a strigil, iconography appreciated by the wealthy Akragantine clientele, who chose to be accompanied by these fine vessels in their final journey.

Resti dell'altare monumentale del Ginnasio

Particolare dell'esedra e dei sedili scritti del Ginnasio di Agrigento

Il Ginnasio di Agrigento
No archaeological trace remains of the buildings and spaces dedicated to sporting activity in the city of the Greek period. The only evidence of a building linked to fitness activities belongs to Agrigentum, that is to the city of the Roman period. The gymnasium dates from the Augustan age, built in a public area to the north of the Hill of the Temples. Of the building, remains were found of a porch, which was used for indoor gymnastics, aligned on a north-south axis, crowned by a Doric frieze with metopes and triglyphs and topped with a sloping roof. An exedra and a monumental altar for rites connected to the athletes' sporting preparation also remain, while at the northern end the remains of a large basin have been identified. Two rows of seats have also been found, each divided into two areas, distinguished by their armrests, arranged along an outdoor track, presumably used for races. The plaster that covered the surface of the seats still shows large tracts of Greek inscriptions, which recall the rule of Augustus, the flamen Lucio and the protective deities of the gymnasium, Heracles and Hermes. The use of Greek even in Roman times in official documents and public areas is a significant sign of the persistence of Greek culture in the ancient city. At the beginning of the fourth century AD, the area underwent a major transformation. The gymnasium facilities were obliterated by the construction of four buildings, one of which is circular, interpreted by archaeologists as warehouses or covered markets. In mediaeval times the area, now countryside, was occupied by commercial buildings. Around the seventh century AD, a winery was built and, in the eleventh century, two furnaces for the production of ceramics.   

Ricostruzione del Ginnasio

Sedile iscritto

Frammento dell'iscrizione in greco su uno dei sedili

Sedile iscritto

Particolare dell'edificio circolare del IV d.C.

Edificio del IV d.C.

Ricostruzione degli edifici di IV secolo d.C.

Panoramica dell'area del ginnasio

Palmento di VII secolo d.C.

Palmento. Particolare della vasca di raccolta del vino

Fornace di età medievale

Riconoscimenti: storia

La mostra è stata curata da Giusi Messina.
Coordinamento generale: Giuseppe Parello, Direttore Parco Archeologico e Paesaggistico Valle dei Templi di Agrigento.
Testi: Maria Serena Rizzo e Valentina Caminneci
Foto: Emanuele Simonaro, Fabio Florio, Angelo Pitrone.

Ringraziamenti: tutti i partner multimediali
In alcuni casi, la storia potrebbe essere stata realizzata da una terza parte indipendente; pertanto, potrebbe non sempre rappresentare la politica delle istituzioni (elencate di seguito) che hanno fornito i contenuti.
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