Bronze Statuette of a Greek girl running
source: Wikimedia Commons
author: Judith Swaddling
A small bronze statue is fashioned in the image of a running girl. She is wearing a tunic covering only the left shoulder and left breast, extending down to just above the knees. Her upper body is turned, looking behind her to the right, with her left leg and arm forward. Her left arm is holding the front of her dress.
Artifact: c. 520 BC
Photo: October 2010
This figure depicts a female runner, likely participating in the Heraean Games, as her clothing matches the description of competitors in this festival as given by the Greek geographer Pausanias in the 2nd century AD. As opposed to competing in the nude as men did in the ancient Olympic Games and other Panhellenic festivals, competitors in the Heraean Games (all women) donned the type of tunic men wore for physical labor.
Some sources suggest this figurine depicts a dancing girl. While not impossible, this is highly unlikely, as there are no known accounts of women wearing this men’s tunic for any activity except competing the ancient Heraean Games.
The statuette may have been produced in ancient Laconia, a region primarily dominated by the Spartan state at the time. At the time of photograph, this artifact was on display at the British Museum.
Sansone, D. (2009). Ancient Greek civilization. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
P., & Frazer, J. G. (1913). Pausanias’s Description of Greece. London: Macmillan and, Limited.