The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1906

Other than biting or eye-gouging, any form of unarmed combat was tolerated in the brutal sport of pancratium, a kind of extreme fighting that did, on occasion, result in death. Strangling, kneeing the genitals, kicking, punching, locking onto limbs and joints—all were legal means of gaining a submission. Pancratiasts usually fought bare-fisted, but in this black-figure Attic vessel by the Theseus Painter, dating to around 500 B.C.E., they wear oxhide thongs similar to those used by boxers.