Leisured Life: The Gymnasia

Leisured Life: The Gymnasia The Colonnades bordering the agora, from The Greeks documentary

The word gymnasium is derived from gumnazo, meaning exercise, and gumnos, meaning naked or loin-clothed. The gymnasia were the ancient Greek equivalent of a sports centre, and several were located just outside Athens' city walls. The ancient Greeks regarded a healthy body almost as highly as a good education, and young men of wealthy background would spend a good portion of each day exercising there. Favourite sports included wrestling, javelin and discus throwing, and boxing.

Gymnasia usually consisted of a large exercise yard surrounded by a series of outhouses including changing rooms, practice rooms and baths. Athletes wore no clothes and it was common practice for them to oil or dust their bodies before and after taking part in sports activities.

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