Erich Lessing

A wrestler lifts his opponent off the ground, holding him firmly in his grasp, in this 6-inch-tall, second-century B.C.E. bronze statuette discovered in Alexandria, Egypt. The philosopher Plato (427-347 B.C.E.) encouraged Athens’s youth to wrestle, and the historian Plutarch (c. 46-120 C.E.), in his Quaestiones conviviales, calls wrestling “the most technical and the trickiest” of sports. A Greek wrestling manual, dating to the first or second century C.E., confirms Plutarch’s view, illustrating the intricacy of drills the Greeks used to teach tactics and counter tactics.