Pottery: Greek Pankration Fighting Stance

Pottery: Greek Pankration Fighting Stance

Pankration Stance Painted on Greek Amphora

Pankration Stance Painted on Greek Amphora

license: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
source: Wikimedia Commons
author: MisterPlus65

A painting on a Greek amphora depicts a pankration fighter in fighting stance. His right leg is back, supporting most of his weight. His hands are raised to eye level, with his left arm extended straight and his right arm bent to nearly 90 degrees.


Artifact: c. 440 BC

Photo: December 2013


This amphora painting depicts the fighting stance for pankration, an ancient Greek combat sport featured in the ancient Olympic Games and other Panhellenic festivals. It was one of the three ancient Greek combat sports – the other two being palé (wrestling) and pygmachia (boxing) – and by far the most violent. Competitors were sometimes killed in the ring, as was the case for the 6th century BC fighter Arrhichion of Phigalia, who died just before winning the pankration title at the 54th Olympic festival.

Related Articles

Greek Pankration | Greek Palé (Wrestling) | Greek Pygmachia (Boxing) | Ancient Olympic Games | Panhellenic Games | Historical Fighters and Wrestlers

[raw_html_snippet id=”bib”]

Arvanitis, J. (2003). Pankration: The traditional Greek combat sport and modern mixed martial art. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press.

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

[raw_html_snippet id=”endbib”]