- Bodily excellence in athletics (ἀγωνιστική) consists in size, strength, and swiftness of foot; for to be swift is to be strong. For one who is able to throw his legs about in a certain way, to move them rapidly and with long strides, makes a good runner (δρομικός); one who can hug and grapple, a good wrestler (παλαιστικός); one who can thrust away by a blow of the fist, a good boxer (πυκτικός); one who excels in boxing and wrestling is fit for the pancratium (παγκρατιαστικός)... (Aristotle, Rhetoric 1361b.14; LCL; Eng. trans. by Freese)
|Painting of Theseus' Battle with the Minotaur in the Labyrinth|
from an Attic kalyx crater (wine-diluter) ca. 480 BC
Photo taken by Max Lee © 2014 Athens Museum
The pancration gives us just one more example of how radical Paul's use of the athletic metaphor was to describe the kind of discipline, training, and endurance which the Christian athlete needed to exercise self-control over wrong desire.
|Picture of two pankratiasts fighting (center), a trainer (right) and onlooker (left)|
from an Attic skyphos (wine-cup) ca. 500 BC
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons