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Athletes XXI: Athletes and “Auletai” | by Egisto Sani
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Athletes XXI: Athletes and “Auletai”

Aulete, flute player, and an athlete engaged in a long-jump competition or in a training session. Starting from the last quarter of the sixth century, the scenes on pots frequently associate playing the aulos with long-jump or throwing the javelin. While it is hard to see much role for music in boxing, wrestling, or indeed running, the timing and coordination of movement required for ancient weight-assisted long jump, and for throwing the javelin, could be materially assisted by rhythmic tunes from the aulos (which was also used to keep heavy-armed soldiers in time). The auletes on these pots, whether a youth or a man, regularly wears the more or less elaborate costume that we associate with official occasions.


Source: Robin Osborne. “The Transformation of Athens”. iBooks.




Attic black-figured lekythos

H. 35,8 cm, D. 19,7 cm.

Attributed to “The Acheloos Painter” by Haspels

Ca. 510 BC

From Sicily

Munich, Antikensammlungen, 1Inv. no. 1892, J769



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Taken on December 6, 2015