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Pottery: Greek Sprinters
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Pottery: Greek Sprinters

Painting of Greek Sprinters on Amphora

Painting of Greek Sprinters on Amphora

license: public domain
source: Wikimedia Commons
author: Jastrow

A black painting on a Greek terracotta amphora depicts three nude Greek runners. One man is ahead of the other two and is looking back at them. Their limb positioning suggests they are sprinting, though it is possible they are competing in a race of longer distance.


Artifact: c. 500 BC

Photo: 2007


This Greek amphora painting, dated to approximately 500 BC, depicts three sprinting athletes. They were likely competing in either the stadion or diaulos races, as these were both sprints of one and two laps on the stadium track, respectively. (The dolichos, in contrast, was a long-distance endurance race.) The sprinters are nude, as was common practice for athletes competing in Panhellenic games such as the Olympic Games, as well as during training in the gymnasium.

At the time of photograph, this amphora was housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Related Articles

Greek Stadion (Race) | Greek Diaulos (Race) | Greek Dolichos (Race) | Greek Stadium | Greek Gymnasium | Ancient Olympic Games | Panhellenic Games


Miller, S. G. (2006). Ancient Greek athletics. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Findling, J. E., & Pelle, K. D. (2004). Encyclopedia of the modern Olympic movement. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.