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Author Topic: MAGNA GRAECIA  (Read 10751 times)
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« Reply #120 on: January 03, 2009, 10:05:11 pm »

                                               Tomb of the Unknown Jock 

Volume 61 Number
5, September/October 2008 
by Marco Merola 

A great athlete's glory often lasts well beyond his lifetime—think of Jesse Owens racing across the
finish line in Berlin in 1936 on his way to capturing his fourth gold medal.

Now the story of another great athlete who triumphed in four events is living on, almost 2,500 years after his death, at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

One of the showpieces of the Games is an exhibition at the World Art Museum that showcases ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman sports. The highlights include copies of the sarcophagus and bones discovered at the famous Tomb of the Athlete in Taranto, Italy. Also on display are the original four amphorae the tomb's occupant received for winning first place in various athletic contests at a pan-Mediterranean festival similar to the Olympics.

The tomb was discovered in 1959 during construction of a building near the center of Taranto. Work was stopped and archaeologists soon came across the large stone sarcophagus and the four prize amphorae, which date to 480 B.C. and are decorated with sporting scenes. Inside the sarcophagus were the bones of a man (whose name is lost to us) holding an alabastron, a container for ointment used during sporting events.

Immediately the archaeologists knew they had found an athlete's burial.

But it wasn't until this year, when the sarcophagus and the bones were examined using modern imaging techniques, that the athlete's true story could be told.
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