). The combination of boxing and wrestling in
Greek gymnastics, getting its name from the fact that it called into play
all the powers (πᾶν
of the fighter. At Sparta the name was applied to any rough, irregular fighting that was not
conducted according to any
Wrestlers in the Pancratium. (Krause, |
rules, but in which even biting and scratching were not uncommon. The Greeks
ascribed the invention of the pancratium to Theseus, who thus fought against the Minotaur.
(See the Schol. on
Nem. v. 49
; and Theseus
made its way into the four great games of Greece, and there was a pancratium for boys as well
as for men (Pausan. v. 8 fin.
). It was fought partly standing and
partly on the ground, and the boxing was the chief feature of it (
Nem. iii. 17
Anach. 8, 24
). The caestus
(q. v.) was not used, however, and the blows were given, not with the
closed fist, but with the hands curved, as in the second illustration. When two παγκρατιασταί
began to fight, they stood with outstretched arms,
Pancratium. (Krause, |
feeling for an opening, and each tried to get the other into such a position as to
have the sun shine in his eyes. With the clinch the real fight began. Biting and butting were
against the rules (Lucian,
). The victory was not decided until one of the combatants was
killed, or held up a finger in token of defeat (Imag.
At Rome the pancratium is first mentioned in the time of Caligula (Dio Cass. lix. 13), and
it soon became very popular.
For the training of the fighters, see Athletae
The chief works are those of H. Mercurialis, De Arte Gymnastica
, and Krause,
Die Gymnastik und Agonistik der Hellenen
, i. pp. 534-556.