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wrestling of the angel with Jacob proves.* Jacob supported the angel's attack so vigorously, that, perceiving he could not throw so rough a wrestler, he was reduced to make him lame by touching the sinew of his thigh, which immediately shrunk up.
Wrestling among the Greeks, as well as other nations, was practised at first with simplicity, little art, and in a natural manner; the weight of the body, and the strength of the muscles, having more share in it than address and skill. Theseus was the first that reduced it to method, and refined it with the rules of
He was also the first who established the public schools, called Palestræ, where the young people had masters to instruct them in it.
The wrestlers, before they began their combats, were rubbed all over in a rough manner, and afterwards anointed with oils, which added to the strength and flexibility of their limbs. But as this unction, in making the skin too slippery, rendered it difficult for them to take good hold of each other, they remedied that inconvenience, sometimes by rolling themselves in the dust of the Palestre, sometimes by throwing a fine sand upon each other, kept for that purpose in the Xystæ, or porticoes of the Gymnasia.
Thus prepared, the wrestlers began their combat. They were matched two against two, and sometimes several couples contended at the same time. In this combat, the whole aim and design of the wrestlers was to throw their adversary upon the ground. Both strength and art were employed to this purpose. They siezed each other by the arms, drew forwards, pushed
* Gen. xxxii. 24.
backwards, used many distortions and twistings of the body; locking their limbs into each other's, seizing by the neck, throttling, pressing in their arms, struggling, plying on all sides, lifting from the ground, dashing their heads together like rams, and twisting one another's necks. The most considerable advantage in the wrestler's art, was to make himself master of his adversary's legs, of which a fall was the immediate consequence. From whence Plautus says in his Pseudolus, speaking of wine, b«He is a dangerous wrestler, he presently takes one by the heels.” The Greek terms and the Latin word supplantare, seemed to imply, that one of these arts consisted in stooping down to seize the antagonist under the soles of his feet, and in raising them up to give him a fall."
In this manner the Athletæ wrestled standing, the combat ending with the fall of one of the competitors. But when it happened that the wrestler, who was down, drew his adversary along with him, either by art or accident, the combat continued upon the sand, the antagonists tumbling, and twining with each other in a thousand different ways, till one of them got uppermost, and compelled the other to ask quarter, and confessed himself vanquished. There was a third sort of wrestling called a from the Athletæ's using only their hands in it, without taking hold of the body as in the other kinds; and this exercise served as a prelude to the greater combat. It consisted in intermingling their fingers, and in squeezing them with all their force; in pushing one another, by joining the palms
• Captat pedes primùm, luctator dolosus est.
« υποσκελιζειν And στερνιζειν. 'Aκροχειρισμος. . VOL. I.
of their hands together; in twisting their fingers, wrists, and other joints of the arm, without the assistance of any other member; and the victory was his who obliged his opponent to ask quarter.
The combatants were to fight three times success. ively, and to throw their antagonists at least twice, before the prize could be adjudged to them.
· Homer describes the wrestling of Ajax and Ulysses; Ovid, that of Hercules and Achelous; Lucan, of Hercules and Anteus; and the Thebaid of Statius, of Tydeus and Agylleus.
The wrestlers of greatest reputation amongst the Greeks, were Milo of Croton, whose history I have related elsewhere at large, and Polydamus. The latter, alone and without arms, killed a furious lion upon mount Olympus, in imitation of Hercules, whom he proposed to himself as a model in this action. Another time, having seized a bull by one of his hinder legs, the beast could not get loose without leaving his hoof in his hands. He could hold a chariot behind, while the coachman whipt his horses in vain to make them go forward. Darius Nothus, king of Persia, hearing of his prodigious strength, was desirous of seeing him, and invited him to Susa. Three' soldiers of that prince's guard, and of that band which the Persians called immortal, esteemed the most warlike of their troops, were ordered to fall upon him. Our champion fought, and killed them all three.
Of Boxing, or the Cestus. Boxing is a combat at handy blows, from whence it derives its name. The combatants covered their fists with a kind of offensive arms, called Cestus, and their heads with a sort of leather cap, to defend their temples and ears, which were most exposed to blows, and to deaden their violence. The Cestus was a kind of gauntlet, or glove, made of straps of leather, and plated with brass, lead, or iron, withinside. Their use was to strengthen the hands of the combatants, and to add violence to their blows.
e Iliad l. xxiii. v. 708, &c. 5,612. Stat. 1. vi. v. 147.
Ovid Metam. I. ix. v. 31, &c. Pharf. 1. ix.
Sometimes the Athletæ came immediately to the most violent blows, and began with charging in the most furious manner. Sometimes whole hours passed in harrassing and fatiguing each other, by a continual extension of their arms, rendering each other's blows ineffectual, and endeavouring in that manner of defence to keep off their adversary. But when they fought with the utmost fury, they aimed chiefly at the head and face, which parts they were most careful to defend, by either avoiding or catching the blows made at them. When a combatant came on to throw himself with all his force and vigor upon another, they had a surprising address in avoiding the attack by a nimble turn of the body, which threw the imprudent adversary down, and deprived him of the victory.
However fierce the combatants were against each other, their being exhausted by the length of the combat would frequently reduce them to the necessity of making a truce ; upon which the battle was suspended for some minutes, that were employed in recovering their fatigue, and rubbing off the sweat in which they were bathed; after which they renewed the fight, till one of them, by letting fall his arms through weakness, or by swooning away, explained that he could no longer support the pain or fatigue, and desired quarter; which was confessing himself vanquished.
Boxing was one of the rudest and most dangerous of the gymnastic combats; because, besides the danger of being crippled, the combatants ran the hazard of their lives. They sometimes fell down dead, or dying upon the sand, though that seldom happened, except the vanquished person persisted too long in not acknowledging his defeat; yet it was common for them to quit the fight with a countenance so disfigured, that it was not easy to know them afterwards ; carrying away with them the sad «marks of their vigorous resistance, such as bruises, contusions in the face, the loss of an eye, their teeth knocked out, their jaws broken, or some more considerable fracture.
We find in the poets, both Latin and Greek, several descriptions of this kind of combat. In Homer, that of Epeus and Euryalus ;' in Theocritus, of Pollux and Amycus; in Apollonius Rhodius, the same battle of Pollux and Amycus; in Virgil, that of Dares and Entellus; and in Statius and Valerius Flaccus, of several other combatants.
Of the Pancratium. The Pancratium® was so called from two Greek words, which signify that the whole strength of the body was necessary for succeeding in it. It united boxing and wrestling in the same fight, borrowing from one its manner of struggling and flinging, and from the other, the art of dealing
+ Dioscor. Idyl. xxii. Argonaut. I. ii. Æneid. 1. i. Thebaid. I. yi. Argonaut. I. vi.