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Old November 12th, 2012, 06:09 AM   #1
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Is the boxer of quirinal really a boxer?


Im not sure of this has been done before, and I only read history as a hobby, but my years as an amateur fighter could bring something else to the table as far as "The Boxer of Quirinal" is concerned.

It is my belief that this statue is not of a boxer, but is instead a statue of a pankration fighter. Pankration as most of you I'm sure know was an Olympic sport of ancient Greece that combined both boxing and wrestling techniques closely comparable to modern mixed martial arts competitions. Bouts were fought with no time limits until one competitor was unconscious or submitted to one of various types submission holds.

The reason I believe this statue is of a pankration fighter comes down to one important detail. The fighters ears. The ears on the statue are sculpted showing both ears damaged from traumatic aricular hematoma, more commonly know as cauliflower ear. Cauliflower ear is the definitive mark of an experienced grappler. Anyone who has spent any significant amount of time involved in a grappling sport(wrestling, judo, Brazilian jujitsu, Russian sambo, mixed martial arts) will at some point in their career suffer from this affliction.

Cauliflower ear has been known in some cases to be caused by punches to the ears and so naturally some boxers have it. However in my experience these cases are few and far between. Nearly all of the greats in boxing show no signs of cauliflower ear, Ali, Tyson, Marciano, Dempsey, Mayweather, and the list goes on. Mixed martial arts(pankrations modern equivalent) on the other hand shows us that nearly all competitors suffer from cauliflower ear. Even the amateur ranks of this sport are filled with scarred and mangled ears.

Cauliflower ear is more often than not caused by the folding, compression, and grinding of the ears while escaping headlocks and choke holds found both in modern mixed martial arts and ancient Greek pankration. It is not usually caused by even repeated blows to the ear. This is why I think "The Boxer of Quirinal" is a pankration fighter and not a boxer as he is labeled.

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File Type: jpg The-bronze-Boxer-of-Quirinal-2.jpg (71.1 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg 2012-11-12_09-15-32_343.jpg (70.5 KB, 6 views)

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Old November 12th, 2012, 07:15 AM   #2

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Handy-with-the-steel View Post
Im not sure of this has been done before, and I only read history as a hobby, but my years as an amateur fighter could bring something else to the table as far as "The Boxer of Quirinal" is concerned.

It is my belief that this statue is not of a boxer, but is instead a statue of a pankration fighter. Pankration as most of you I'm sure know was an Olympic sport of ancient Greece that combined both boxing and wrestling techniques closely comparable to modern mixed martial arts competitions. Bouts were fought with no time limits until one competitor was unconscious or submitted to one of various types submission holds.

The reason I believe this statue is of a pankration fighter comes down to one important detail. The fighters ears. The ears on the statue are sculpted showing both ears damaged from traumatic aricular hematoma, more commonly know as cauliflower ear. Cauliflower ear is the definitive mark of an experienced grappler. Anyone who has spent any significant amount of time involved in a grappling sport(wrestling, judo, Brazilian jujitsu, Russian sambo, mixed martial arts) will at some point in their career suffer from this affliction.

Cauliflower ear has been known in some cases to be caused by punches to the ears and so naturally some boxers have it. However in my experience these cases are few and far between. Nearly all of the greats in boxing show no signs of cauliflower ear, Ali, Tyson, Marciano, Dempsey, Mayweather, and the list goes on. Mixed martial arts(pankrations modern equivalent) on the other hand shows us that nearly all competitors suffer from cauliflower ear. Even the amateur ranks of this sport are filled with scarred and mangled ears.

Cauliflower ear is more often than not caused by the folding, compression, and grinding of the ears while escaping headlocks and choke holds found both in modern mixed martial arts and ancient Greek pankration. It is not usually caused by even repeated blows to the ear. This is why I think "The Boxer of Quirinal" is a pankration fighter and not a boxer as he is labeled.

Thoughts? Flames?
What is the difference between greek boxer and pankration fighter? As far as I'm involved(also as a amateur boxer) and professional historian, greek boxing was much more what we can call "mixed martial art" rather than the sport we call boxing today, so grinding, wrestling and low - kicking was common as well as other moves which in today's boxing can not even nearly be executed.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 08:30 AM   #3

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Interesting post Handy, and interesting reply Lucius. I'd say you are both correct.
Modern day boxing was born from the bare-knuckle fights of the 18th/19th centuries.
Do modern boxing gloves prevent cauliflower ears?
The Romans and Greeks wore strips of leather wrapped around the fist, so would that be a cause of the damage?
He certainly has a boxer's face with his broken nose and thickened forehead.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 09:02 AM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by OccamsRazor View Post
Interesting post Handy, and interesting reply Lucius. I'd say you are both correct.
Modern day boxing was born from the bare-knuckle fights of the 18th/19th centuries.
Do modern boxing gloves prevent cauliflower ears?
The Romans and Greeks wore strips of leather wrapped around the fist, so would that be a cause of the damage?
He certainly has a boxer's face with his broken nose and thickened forehead.
Well, from my experience ear can be damaged pretty badly in boxing match or sparing. Usually when I was in sparing I haven't wore mask, so gloves of the opponents in clinch could catch the ear and hurt it. However, I wouldn't say that cauliflower ears are possible in amateur boxing, since most of the boxers wear protection, in professional it might be possible, especially in heavier categories in which clinch is more common fight style.

As far as ancient warriors are concerned, there was no so strict rules. Sometimes boxers wore leather with iron finishes so combats were pretty bloody and relentless, and cases of heavy injuries and death were pretty frequent. There was no rounds or ring space, but fighters fought until exhaustion and at the open field. The ancient boxing was combination of wrestling and boxing in fact. but, also, I remember that I've red about fighter from Greece which was so beautiful that his opponents were amazed. He managed to keep his face untouched because his moves were fast so he hadn't received so many hits. I'll try to find some pics and sources about this, just to refresh my memory.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 01:03 PM   #5

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To make it simple...By modern means it was MMA they were practicing. The Olympic sport was just a less deadly version of their real life combat training.

You know btw, that one guy won although he died (the only dead olympic victor ever)? He broke the finger of his opponent while being chocked. The opponent submitted immediately when his finger broke and the refs appointed the victor, who had lost his senses and died right after.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 01:30 PM   #6

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OLYMPIC GAMES - this could be helpful. Authors clearly distinguished pankration and boxing.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 01:33 PM   #7

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Homer, Epictetus, Pindar, Lucian, Pausanias and Philostratos are the sources you should check. If I remember correctly, Plutarch somewhere wrote pretty nicely about boxing and pankration, but I'm not really sure where.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 01:39 PM   #8

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I'm apollogizing everyone, but the topic is so interesting that I just can't resist. Here's the depiction I found:

I, Ariston, son of Eireneus of Ephesus, started training at my city's gymnasium, under the supervision of a gymnast named Kallias. I dealt with wrestling, boxing and pankration, a combination of the former two, and I excelled in all of them. My gymnast combined training with lessons about the rules of participation and the qualities needed in order to excel in the Olympic Games.
He taught me the rules of pankration: "The pankration athletes, my boy", he used to say, "train in a dangerous style of wrestling. They should withstand blows to the eyes and learn special holds, so even if they fall down they could still have a chance to win. They should possess special technique in various strangulation holds. To bent their ankles, to twist their arms, to punch and jump on their opponents. They are no forbidden holds in pankration, besides biting and attempting to pull out the opponent's eyes."
He also taught me the qualities of the good wrestler and boxer: "The neck should be straight as the horse's, which is beautiful and it knows it. The shoulders should stand straight. Suitable for wrestling are the hands that have wide veins that start from the nape and continue to the neck and the shoulders. The straight back is beautiful, but a slightly bent one is more athletic, because it adapts to the posture of wrestling while leaning forward. The flexible ribs satisfy the needs of both offensive and defensive wrestling. Most of all, the right athlete should have endurance, courage and skill".
As the Olympic Games approached, a libation-carrier came from Olympia and announced that the Games started in two months. I decided to participate in the boys' pankration. Fifty days before the contest, my trainer Kallias and me took the ship from Ephesus, our city, and headed towards Greece, to take part in the obligatory training exercise in Elis."
Athletes have already assembled to the city in order to follow the official rules of training of the Elians and continue their training for the Games. As soon as we arrived the Hellanodikai divided us according to our age and told us: "If you have worked to such an extent that you are worthy to go to Olympia, and if you haven't done anything despicable or proven idle, take heart and move on. Those of you that didn't work go wherever you want."
For thirty days I trained with other young people at the square gymnasium in the city of Elis. There we trained in wrestling. There were special rooms where we smeared ourselves with oil. The training areas were covered with dirt, so we could fall on soft ground. The oil made the opponent slippery, so we needed more strength to hold our opponents. A little dust in our hands helped us not to sweat too much, but also not to let the opponent slip with ease from our holds.
On the eve of the Games, we departed for Olympia. It was a very hot day of the sacred month. As we approached our destination, the smell of plane trees and the cicadas reminded me of stories that I have heard about famous Olympic victors. I remembered Milon of Croton (6th century BC), six times winner in wrestling, who, as they say, carried his statue himself to the Altis. Then, Thasios Theagenes, son of Timosthenes (5th century BC), who carried on his shoulders the statue of the god that lay on the market when he was nine years old, and later became a famous victor in pankration, in which he won 1,400 times.
Before we reached the river Alpheus, we passed from Mount Typaean, the famous high mountain with the steep slopes. Here, the Elians, according to their legislation, threw from the mountain every woman who, despite the prohibition during the Games, watched them in secret or even happened to be on the eastern side of the river.
We crossed the river and we found ourselves in the sacred area of Olympia. In the natural terrain we could see the Stadium. Around it there were olive trees with gray and green leaves and other trees. Filled with emotion I entered for the first time in my life into the temples of Zeus and Hera and I saw for the first time the statues of the glorious athletes in the sacred area of the Altis.
At Olympia I met other athletes, well known for their victories. First I met Sostratus the Sicyonian, famous for his technique in wrestling. He won twelve victories at Isthmia and Nemea, three in Olympia and two at Delphi. Afterwards, at the straits of Sicily, I met Leontiskos, a wrestler from Messene. He was crowned once at Delphi and twice at Olympia. His technique in pankration was similar to Sostratus.
On the day of the inauguration of the Games we all assembled in front of the statue of Zeus Orkios, to take an oath that we have rigidly followed the training for ten consecutive months. All the athletes, together with our fathers, brothers and trainers we swore over the genitals of a sacrificed wild boar that we would not commit any offence during the Games. Those that evaluated the age of the young people also took an oath that they would judge fairly and they would not receive bribes, as well as that they would keep confidential the information of every contestant.
In the day of the boys events, after we had reached the sports area, we were divided into pairs according to the following system: they put small, the size of a bean, lots, with inscriptions in the silver sacred ballot box of Zeus. One pair was represented by the letter Α, another pair by the letter Β, the third one by the letter Γ and so on. The same letter was always in two lots. Each one of us stepped out invoking Zeus and put his hand in the ballot box. One after another we drew the lots. When everybody had one lot, the judge came Πwe stood in a circleΠ and checked our lots. Then, he matched each one with the other person that had the same digit. I had the letter Γ and so I had to compete with Politis of Karia.
I looked at all the spectators cheering and I tried to prepare for the most difficult event of my life. The contest was long and difficult, but I managed to defeat my opponent with virtue and courage. Right afterwards I faced the winners of the other matches and defeated them all. The crowd cheered and applauded, as the judge crowned me with the kotinos, the wreath from a wild olive tree branch. I accepted modestly the crowd's applause, proud that I bestowed glory and everlasting fame on my city.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 01:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by OccamsRazor View Post
Interesting post Handy, and interesting reply Lucius. I'd say you are both correct.
Modern day boxing was born from the bare-knuckle fights of the 18th/19th centuries.
Do modern boxing gloves prevent cauliflower ears?
The Romans and Greeks wore strips of leather wrapped around the fist, so would that be a cause of the damage?
He certainly has a boxer's face with his broken nose and thickened forehead.
Not to discount you Lucius but im pretty sure ancient greek boxing and ancient greek pankration were indeed two separate sports, maybe someone who knows more can confirm this 100%? I do know that the Greeks first boxing matches were held with both competitors tied down in a sitting position facing each other and fought until one was unconscious. Later the rules were changed to were both fighters fought standing unrestrained.

Occams, as I said in my original post, cauliflower ear does happen sometimes in modern boxing, but it is few and far between compared to mma in which nearly every fighter has them. Being punched in the ear can cause it, but more often than not it is a condition that mainly afflicts those involved in grappling sports.

The leather hand wraps I believed were called "festus" and were used in both boxing and pankration at the time. Could they have increased the chances of getting cauliflower ear from being punched by them? Possible but in my opinion unlikely, I guess it would have depended on the hardness of the leather. That being said both modern day boxing gloves, and modern day mma gloves are both made out of leather and In my experience this does nothing to increase damage to the ears while fighting.

Also in reference to blows to the ears you have to understand that while it does happen in most combat sports, this is also rare as most punches aside from hooks are aimed squarely to the face and chin. Which brings me to my next point, which is blows to the ears are much more common in modern mma than they are in modern boxing. This comes from the rules of the two sports. In boxing the only legal fighting position is standing and facing each other. In mma, often blows are throw from behind(usually on the ground) as well as blows to the ear can occur from head kicks and elbow strikes.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 02:04 PM   #10

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Well, actually I meant that those were two different sports, but with many similarities.

However, Midas, I mentioned MMA in my first post as a comparison to ancient fighting.
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