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Only the wealthy could afford the expense of maintaining horses and a chariot. And while the owners of chariots claimed the glory of any victories, they generally hired charioteers to face the risks of competition for them.

Crashes were common, spectacular, and often deadly, with the most dangerous moment usually coming at the narrow turns at each end of the stadium. One famous charioteer was the Roman Emperor Nero, who in A.

It was hardly a fair contest. Nero entered the four-horse race with a team of 10 horses. He was thrown from his chariot and was unable to complete the race, but he was proclaimed the champion on the grounds that he would have won had he finished the race.

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Boxing, wrestling, and a combination of the two called pankration all rewarded strength and tactical cunning. Boxers wore thin gloves made of leather thongs and fought on the open ground, which made it impossible to corner an opponent and extended the length of fights. If a bout dragged on for hours, the boxers could agree to exchange undefended blows—a pugilistic equivalent of sudden death. In at least one case, sudden death was exactly what resulted.

The Greek geographer Pausanias tells the story of a fight between Damoxenos and Kreugas that ended when the former jabbed the latter with outstretched fingers, piercing the skin and ripping out his entrails.

Grecian Laurel: The tree that represents a Greek goddess - CGTN

Two athletes compete in the pankration , a freestyle brawling and wrestling contest that allowed everything except biting and gouging. Wrestling and pankration could also be brutal. Wrestlers had to throw their opponent to the ground three times to win. Because there were no weight classes, the largest wrestlers had a distinct advantage. In pankration everything but biting and gouging was allowed.


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Despite all of their martial overtones, the ancient games promoted at least temporary peace between the frequently warring Greek city-states. It serves as a guide to beautiful plants from different countries. If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at nature cgtn.

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