Sunday, November 6, 2016

Blog post on Disabled Athletes in the Ancient World
I have just found this blog (Ancient and Modern Olympics), which is quite useful. The author is a professor at the Univ. of St. Andrews in Scotland and ancient sports seems to be his specialty. This entry describes the very few instances we know from antiquity--Greek or Roman--where disabled people competed in athletics. Not surprisingly, they were mainly "novelty" acts: dwarf gladiators, for example. I continue to be intrigued by the topic of disabled athletes, however, because surely many people suffered disabling injuries in war, injuries which cannot have been considered shameful or disgraceful. I'd think the man injured in the service of his country, but recovered, might continue to participate in physical exercise, especially if his old injury did not leave him incapable or further service. At the gym you'd have seen men with scars, limps, or imperfect limbs due to battle injuries. Maybe they didn't go on to compete in the Olympics, but maybe they did. Spartans, after all, were liable for military service until the age of 60! They must have had scars, warped limbs, limps, arthritis, etc., but they still had to train with their unit. Of course, at the moment, I'm just spouting off about this topic and haven't really researched it. Stay tuned.

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