Friday, August 10, 2012

Name Round-Up: Names of Ancient Olympic Athletes

When you watch the modern Olympic games you can always find a lot of new, interesting names. Looking through the names from the ancient Olympics will yield some interesting finds too, although they are admittedly a lot less varied in terms of language of origin. Here's some that I found:

1. Leonidas. You know, with a name like Leonidas you're kind of obligated to be a great athlete. Leonidas of Rhodes was the most famous runner of his time. His record of twelve crowns in four Olympics was unmatched.

2. Horus. I found this one back when I profiled the name Horus. He was a boxer from Roman occupied Egypt. He's not one that historians pay a lot of attention to. I'm not even sure if he won anything. Still, I love his name.

3. Nero. Yup, it's that Roman Emperor Nero. He won as a steerer of a ten-horse chariot, but you kind of have to wonder if he really earned it.

4. Cynisca. The only woman on this list, she won the four-horse chariot race. The ancient Olympic games were almost entirely male-dominated and women were not actually allowed to ride chariots. The award for this type of event did not go to the actual rider, but to the person who trained and owned the horses. Since women weren't allowed in the stadium, it's highly unlikely that she saw her victory. Cynisca was a Spartan princess.

5. Diagoras. He was a celebrated boxer, but was also celebrated for producing sons and grandsons who also competed and won in the Olympics. Legend has it that he died from happiness when his sons won.

6. Milo. This name's probably the most likely to be used today. Sometimes called Milon, he competed several times as a wrestler and achieved near mythical status. He is the subject of many works of art and is referenced in literature.

7. Koroibos. The very first Olympic champion ever was not a member of royalty or a man with great fame, but a humble baker. Koroibos, sometimes written as Coroebus, competed as a runner.

8. Astylos. He was very successful as a runner and won several times. Unfortunately, Astylos led an unhappy life. When he decided to compete for another city-state, the people in his hometown demolished his statue and turned his home into a prison, while his family disowned him.

9. Orsippus. Although he was a runner he is most well known for being the first to compete naked, though some might argue that.

10. Tiberius. He was a steerer of a four-horse chariot. I'm sure that the fact that he was the stepson of Emperor Augustus didn't hurt his chances.

11. Chionis. If what records say are true, Chionis could compete in the long jump today and stand a good chance of winning. He could jump at a then-record of 7 meters and 5 centimeters.

12. Dorieus. Diagoras had three sons who were all Olympic champions. But his youngest son, Dorieus, was the most successful of them all. I cannot, however, find out what event he competed in. His name has an uncanny similarity to Dorian.

13. Varastades. The last recorded winner of the ancient Olympic games. He competed in boxing. He was also the crown prince and future king of Armenia.


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1 comment:

  1. We have a chocolate drink Milo, named after the wrestler. For some reason it's promoted as a health product, although it's basically just sugar.


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