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Victorious athlete: The Vaison Daidoumenos

Roman version of a Greek bronze original of about 440–430 BC, found at Vaison, France.

Known as the Daidoumenos (ribbon wearer) this statue shows a triumphant athlete tying a ribbon round his head immediately after a victory.  Winners in the ancient Olympics were allowed to set up statues of themselves at Olympia. If they won three times they could set up specially commissioned portrait statues which could cost up to ten times the average yearly wage.

© Trustees of the British Museum

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Created by British Museum.

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  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user VersuchenPi
    Would the Greeks put the woolen ribbons on the statues as well? I see a place on the sculpture where it should be.
    (12 votes)
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  • leaf orange style avatar for user Jake Suzuki
    This video mentions that the victors didn't receive material prizes; however aren't there vases and bowls dedicated to certain victors/games? Another article here explicitly states that the victors got a 40L jar of olive oil even.

    Have I misconstrued something?
    Or rather is it the differences in the 600 years of Olympic history that caused the discrepancy?
    (7 votes)
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    • female robot grace style avatar for user Inger Hohler
      I too have heard that prices were given. However, when I looked into it that was for the Pan Athenian games. http://www.kendowden.bham.ac.uk/relsrc/greek/festsrc.htm
      "75 ARISTOTLE, Constitution of Athens 60.1-3
      That is the position with regard to the nine archons. Ten men are appointed by lot as athlothetae, one from each tribe. After being scrutinized they hold office for four years: they administer the procession at the Panathenaea, and the musical contests, the athletic contests and the horse race; they are responsible for the making of the robe, and together with the council for the making of the vases, and they present the olive oil to the winning athletes. The oil is collected from the sacred olives. The archon exacts it from each tree. Formerly the state let out the contract for collecting the crop, and if anyone dug up or cut down a sacred olive he was tried by the council of the Areopagus and, if convicted, sentenced to death. Nowadays, however, the oil is levied from the owners of the land, and the law remains but trials are no longer held: the state now obtains the oil simple from the property, not specificaly from the sacred trees. The archon collects the oil produced in his year of office, and hands it over to the treasurers of Athena on the Acropolis: he is not allowed to take his place in the council of the Areopagus until he has handed all the oil to the treasurers. The treasurers keep the oil on the Acropolis for the meantime, and then at the Panathenaea they measure it out to the athlothetae and the athlothetae give it to the victorious contestants. The prizes are money and gold for winners of the musical contests, shields for the contest in manliness (euandria), and olive oil for the athletic contests and the horse race."
      (3 votes)
  • hopper cool style avatar for user Madeliv
    Would this athlete have been a slave?
    (3 votes)
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    • leaf orange style avatar for user Jeff Kelman
      I don't think we have any indication that this athlete was a slave. Many athletes competed for "fame and celebrity" and I don't recall many Greek athletes competing for freedom. This would be different of course to how we think of the Colosseum and much of Roman sporting competitions which WOULD utilize many slaves...
      (6 votes)
  • piceratops seedling style avatar for user AdamM8690
    Does anyone happen to know this particular athelete's name?
    (1 vote)
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  • marcimus pink style avatar for user Asiyah
    is there a specific reason why Greek sculptures were carved in nude forms?
    (2 votes)
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  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Dragan Pecanac
    It makes complete sense that there were no material prizes. I would rather have a portrait of myself in the White House or a statue of myself somewhere in Washington D.C. than any material prize. The symbology of it, in my opinion, is more important and meaningful than any golden trophy or amount of cash.
    What does everybody else think?
    (1 vote)
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    • aqualine tree style avatar for user David Alexander
      As I was told in the Army, "that medal and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee". Of course, persons wearing the congressional medal of honor, though having no material reward beyond the medal, were (and are) eligible for several cups of coffee without payment at all!
      (4 votes)
  • piceratops tree style avatar for user CHARRON.L.ALLEN.JR
    Who exactly was this person.
    (2 votes)
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  • aqualine sapling style avatar for user mya.bertrand
    the paitting looks kinda weird it doesnt have hands
    (2 votes)
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  • piceratops tree style avatar for user czamador29
    Who was the most famous athlete during this time period.
    (1 vote)
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  • scuttlebug green style avatar for user naniieatspeople
    hi
    I like tacos, do you?
    (1 vote)
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Video transcript

this is actually a statue of an athlete who won at one of the major contests in ancient Greece died Oona Munoz literally means tying something around his head and what he's actually doing is tying a red woollen ribbon around his head because the ribbon was something that was given to victors in the ancient games it may come as a surprise to know that in the ancient Olympic Games there were no material prizes the athletes were given simply the ribbons and crowns and the privileges setting up a statue of themselves in the sanctuary at Olympia what mattered to athletes in antiquity was Fame and celebrity