This thesis examines Greek athletic nudity within the Roman world, and demonstrates that the disparity between literary and visual evidence on the subject was based initially on distaste for 'foreign' customs as much as it was distaste for public nudity. It examines Roman and Greek literary texts that discussed the Greek games and the gymnasia and their relationship with public nudity. In addition, it examines Roman statues that represented the ideas of manliness expressed in Republican writings, but also statues that contradicted literary evidence against public nudity. This thesis relies heavily on Zahara Newby's book Greek Athletics in the Roman World for its section of Greek athletic statues in the Imperial villas and for how they represented an acceptance of Greek athletics in the Roman world. Another book that is important to this study is Christopher H. Hallett's The Roman Nude: Heroic Portrait Statuary 200 BC-AD 300. Hallett's book offered insight into views of nudity, not only within the gymnasia, but also in other public areas as well. Using these sources this thesis shows, through the examination of Greek athletic nudity, that a gradual change in the acceptance of Hellenism occurred, which transformed the way Romans viewed themselves in their own society and within the larger Mediterranean world.


Shaya, Josephine

Second Advisor

Shaya, Gregory


Classical Studies; History


Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity


greek athletic nudity, roman identity

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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