Definitions for hoplitodromos

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  1. Hoplitodromos

    The hoplitodromos or hoplitodromia was an ancient foot race, part of the Olympic Games and the other Panhellenic Games. It was the last foot race to be added to the Olympics, first appearing at the 65th Olympics in 520 BC, and was traditionally the last foot race to be held. Unlike the other races, which were generally run in the nude, the hoplitodromos required competitors to run wearing the helmet and greaves of the hoplite infantryman from which the race took its name. Runners also carried the aspis, the hoplites' bronze-covered wood shield, bringing the total encumbrance to at least 50 pounds. As the hoplitodromos was one of the shorter foot races, the heavy armor and shield was less a test of endurance than one of sheer muscular strength. After 450 BC, the use of greaves was abandoned; however, the weight of the shield and helmet remained substantial. At Olympia and Athens, the hoplitodromos track, like that of the diaulos, was a single lap of the stadium. Since the track made a hairpin turn at the end of the stadium, there was a turning post called a kampter at each end of the track to assist the sprinters in negotiating the tight turn — a task complicated by the shield carried in the runner's off hand. At Nemea the distance was doubled to four stades, and at Plataea in Boeotia the race was 15 stades in total.

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