Acanthus of Sparta

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Acanthus the Lacedaemonian, was the victor in two footrace events, the diaulos (δίαυλος) and dolichos (δόλιχος), in the Olympic Games of 720 BC.[1] He was also, according to some accounts, the first who ran naked in these games.[2][3][4] Other accounts ascribe this to Orsippus the Megarian. Thucydides says that the Lacedaemonians were indeed the first who contended naked in gymnastic games, although he does not mention Acanthus by name.[5]


  1. ^ Smith, William (1867), "Acanthus", in Smith, William, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology 1, Boston, p. 5 
  2. ^ Pausanias, v. 8. § 3.
  3. ^ Dionys. vii. 72.
  4. ^ Sextus Julius Africanus. apud Eusebius, p. 143.
  5. ^ Thucydides, i. 6.