Pottery: Detailed Greek Hoplitodromos Runners

Pottery: Detailed Greek Hoplitodromos Runners

Greek Amphora with Hoplitodromos Painting

Greek Amphora with Hoplitodromos Painting

license: Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic
source: Wikimedia Commons
author: Marie-Lan Nguyen

A Greek amphora bears a black painting of three running men, each nude except for a helmet and shield. Thin lines have been left unpainted, using negative space to show the muscular detail of the men. The man in the middle carries a white shield, contrasting the black paint of the rest of the scene. The top and bottom of the amphora have been painted black to frame the athletes.


Artifact: c. 322 BC

Photo: March 2009


This Greek vase bears a depiction of three men competing in the hoplitodromos race, an event featured in the Olympic Games and other Panhellenic festivals. In this event, competitors would don pieces of hoplite armor and sprint the length of the stadion track – about 200 meters. In the event’s early history, competitors wore helmets, shields, and greaves. The greaves were abandoned in the mid-5th century.

At the time of photograph, this amphora was on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Related Articles

Hoplitodromos | Hoplite Armor | Olympic Games | Panhellenic Games | Greek Stadium

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Miller, S. G. (2006). Ancient Greek athletics. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Swaddling, J. (2015). The ancient Olympic games. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Sage, M. M. (1996). Warfare in ancient Greece: A sourcebook. London: Routledge.

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