Agon (competition)

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A Agon ( ancient Greek ἀγών Agon , German , combat, competition, competition ' ) was in ancient Greece a sporty or in fine arts contest. Agonistics is gymnastics carried out for the purpose of competition . For Friedrich Nietzsche and Jacob Burckhardt it represented the basic principle of Greek culture : The individual can expand and improve his skills in orderly competition, while at the same time being useful to the community.

The Greeks distinguished three types of agons:

  1. gymnastic agons , which related to physical exercises,
  2. hippy agons related to driving and horseback riding as well
  3. musical agones that dealt with music, poetry and dance.

The most famous agons were the Olympic , Pythian , Nemean and Isthmic Games , collectively known as the Panhellenic Games . In addition, there were other competitions, some of which only lasted for a short period, such as the Ptolemaia or the Antinoeia .

The Greek agons found frequent imitations in Rome and other cities of the Roman Empire since Augustus . Following the example of the Olympic Games, Nero donated Neronia, which recurs every five years . The Capitoline Agon , donated by Domitian in AD 86 and held in the stadium named after him (the name of the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone still reminds of it today) , lasted until the end of antiquity . The custom of the coronation of poets connected with this found imitation throughout the Middle Ages . As a personification of the competition, Agon was portrayed as an athlete with jumping weights . The gymnastic agon did not end until the sixth century.

Sports events were an integral part of public life in ancient Greece and Rome. The competition sport was a professional activity equal. Only a high expenditure of time and staff as well as sophisticated training and nutrition plans seemed to offer a chance of victory. The professional athletes were often on competition trips and organized as a cooperative. Equal opportunities were of particular importance in sporting competitions , which was achieved through controlled training before the competitions, division into age groups, drawing opponents or starting positions, precise rules and well-trained judges . The competitive athletes strived not only for victories, but above all for titles that could be won at important events, accompanied by material or financial gains and privileges. It was of great interest to the ancient competitive athletes to portray themselves as record holders, e.g. B. with reference to the first and / or uniqueness of the performances, but also in constructed comparisons with other top athletes.