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twenty to thirty feet in height. It is a native of Surinam and Cayenne. GUTTA serena, a disease in which the patient, without any apparent fault in the eye, is entirely deprived of sight. GUTTE, in archtecture, are drops depending from the soffit of the mutules under the corona of the entablature, being in shape either the frustra of cones, or cylindrical sections half their diameter in height. In the Greek doric each mutule contains three rows of guttae, six in number; they are also six in number at the base of each triglyph, immediately under the regula. GUTTER, in architecture, a channel on the roofs of houses, serving to receive and carry off the rain. GUTTURAL, a term applied to letters or sounds pronounced or formed as it were in the throat, viz. yrinx, which, for memory's sake, are termed ahachah. GUTTY, in heraldry, a term used when any thing is charged or sprinkled with drops. In blazoning, the colour of the drops is to be named, as gutty of sable, of gules, &c. GUY, in a ship, is any rope used for
keeping off things from bearing or fall.
ing against the ship's sides when they are hoisting in. That rope, which at one end is made fast to the fore-mast, and seized to a single block at the pendant of the garnet, is called the guy of the garnet. GYBING, the art of shifting any boomsail from one side of the vessel to another. By a boom-sail is meant any sail, the bottom of which is extended by a boom, (see Boom) the fore-end of which is hooked to its respective mast, so as to swing occasionally on either side of the vessel, describing an arch, of which the mast is the centre. As the wind changes, it becomes necessary to change the position of the boom, together with its sail, which is accordingly shifted to the other side of the vessel, as a door turns upon its hinges. GYMNANTHES, in botany, a genus of the Monoecia Monodelphia class and order. Essential character: male ament naked; perianth and corolla none; stamina pedicels three-parted or threeforked, anther bearing; female ament or germ pedicelled; corolla none : style trifid; capsule tricoccous, three-celled. There are two species, natives of the West Indies. GYMNASTICS. This word, derived from the Greek, comprehends all those WOL. VI.
athletic exercises by which the ancients rendered the body pliant and healthy, and enabled the muscles to do their of. fices with treble effect. The variety of methods contrived for this purpose was very, numerous, and the ardour with which they were pursued, at every opportunity, j to banish all dread of personal danger, and prepared #: youth of each nation for the military ife. Persons were appointed to teach the various sports, and the gymnasium was a Public receptacle for their performance . the exercises amounted to nearly sixty descriptions, and the parties, concerned in them originally appeared in drawers, but afterwards oft, naked, in order to give full scope to their limbs. The mnasium was under the superintenance of a master, styled gymnasiarch, who had two assistants, the xystarch and the gymnastis. The master was selected from the higher classes of the people, as his office was of considerable importance, and his deputies presided over the inferior persons employed in teaching; the former directing the wrestlers, and the latter the progress of the other exercises, that the youths might neither suffer through accident or too violent exertion. It has been asserted, that the whole system of education amongst the Greeks was comprehended in two essential points, gymnastics and music; dancing, under several divisions, invariably accompanied their music in warlike, festive, and bacchanalian movements, to which they added, at proper times, tumbling, numerous modes of playing with the ball, leaping, foot-races, pitching the discus, throwing the javelin, wrestling, boxing, &c. Tumbling was entitled cubistics; the amusements of the ball they comprehended under the term spheristics; the exercises of leaping, foot-racing, the discus, the javelin, and wrestling, they included in the word palestrics. The moralists and medical men of antiquity highly approved of those sports which were calculated to bring health, strength, and grace, in their train ; but were energetic and vehement in their censures of the athletes, who wrestled and boxed with angry violence, and afterwards indulged in vicious excesses. Leaping a considerable distance with ease was one of the innocent and useful acquirements of the Grecian youth, which they soon attained, but which they appear to have despised, as incapable of difficulty; therefore, to render the art laborious, and increase their weight, they adopted the practice of bearing lead on their heads and shoulders, fastening it to their feet, and holding it in their hands. A youth, thus loaded, and almost pinioned to the earth by attraction, who sprung a greater distance than his competitors under the same circumstances, was hailed with loud plaudits, proportioned to the surprise excited by his uncommon strength of muscles. The pedestrian races admitted of more ardent endeavours than leaping ; not a moment could be lost or granted for relaxation; the shouts of the teachers, and of the spectators, were incentives for exertion, and, divested of clothing, the ef. forts of the least successful were wonderful. Homer illustrates this part of the subject in his inimitable “Iliad.”
• Rang'd in a line the ready racers stand; Pelides points the barrier with his hand; All start at once ; Oileus led the race ;
The next, Ulysses, measuring pace with
ace; Bohol him, diligently close, he sped, As closely following as the running thread The spindle follows, and displays the charms Of the fair spinster's breast and moving arms: Graceful in motion thus, his foe he plies, And treads each footstep ere the dust can rise:
His glowing breath upon his shoulders plays; The admiring Greeks loud acclamations raise ; To him they give their wishes, hearts, and eyes, And send their souls before him as he flies.”
Iliad, book xxiii. 885, 895
Rapidity of motion might be useful to the ancients in many particulars, though less so than to the uncivilized nations, generally termed savage ; the inhabitants of the latter seem indeed compelled to acquire swiftness in running, as the pursuit of wild animals is absolutely neces. sary to maintain their existence; and some of the native chiefs of India and its dependencies retain persons to convey dispatches from station to station by pedestrian exertion.
Throwing the dart or spear was of decided importance in ancient warfare, and the skill of their soldiers was probably very great. In this instance, however, it may be doubted, whether all the ad.
vantages of their gymnasiums enabled them to excel some of the tribes of Hottentots, exclusive of savages in a superior state of civilization; the debased people alluded to possess wonderful ability in throwing and arresting the progress of spears; the writer of the present article had an opportunity of knowing, from a witness of the scene, that a Hottentot frequently caught a heavy pole hurled at him by a strong man, ere it had power to injure him.
Throwing the discus, now known by the name of the quoit, required equal strength and skill; the shape of the discus was nearly oval, about a foot in length, and three or four inches thick in the centre, whence it tapered on each side to the extremity, in the manner of a lens, and a hole was perforated in the middle. Statues of persons employed at this game exhibit them with the discus “rested on the four fingers, which were closed, with their ends pointing upward on the inside of it; the thumb was extended horizontally along the outside."
Salzmann says, the thrower obtained the necessary impulse by swinging the arm, and at the proper moment he gave the discus a rotatory motion, and sent it through the air to the mark. Kennet asserts, in describing the Roman Circensian shows, that they obtained their quinquertium, or the five exercises of running, wrestling, leaping, throwing, and boxing, from the Grecian games, and adds, that the discus or quoit of the former people “ was made .# stone, iron, or copper, five or six fingers broad, and more than a foot long, inclining to an oval figure; they sent this to a vast distance, by the help of a leathern thong tied round the person's hand that threw.” The latter particular has been disputed, and the position is maintained, by observing that, had a thong been used, it was unnecessary for the discobuli to rub their hands on the earth, to prevent the discus from slipping ; besides, the strap would have interrupted the rotatory whirl, thought indispensable for its steady course.
If we may depend upon Homer, the weight of the discus was an object of some importance :
“Then hurl’d the hero, thund'ring on the ground, A mass of iron, (an enormous round,) Whose weight and size the circling Greeks admire, Rudi from the furnace, and but shap’d by re,
This mighty quoit Aëtion wont to rear,
And from his whirling arm dismiss in air ;
The giant by Achilles slain, he stow'd
Among his spoils this memorable load.
For this he bids those nervous artists vie,
That teach the disc to sound along the ‘sky.”
JBook xxiii. 975.
Galen classed the discus in the medicinal, gymnastics, in hurling which he was declared the victor, who sent it highest in the air, the greatest distance, and the nearest to the mark. Circular quoits, resembling a broad ring, and made of iron, are still used in England, but it is extremely doubtful whether the most experienced player could rival the inferior discobuh of ancient times.
Wrestling was the only exercise, of those already mentioned, which could be said to be improper or dangerous. Tertullian reprobated it, and Galen suffered a dislocation of his shoulder when wrestling, which satisfactorily accounts for his enmity to the sport. It is rather singular, that this method of trying muscular strength should have prevailed, when it is reinembered that strains of the muscles and dislocation of the joints, and even fractured limbs and skulls, were consequences not improbable: in addition to these objections, it must be allowed, that no method more certain could be devised for the excitement of sudden anger and blows. To obviate the first of these disadvantages, the Grecian athletes anointed their bodies with oil, hoping by this means to render their joints more flexible, though some authors have supposed the Practice originated from an intention to prevent their adversaries obtaining a firm grasp of the limbs, and others think it was done to check profuse and debiliating perspirations. The node adopted to save the limbs from fractures was absurd indeed: they lived well, and contrived every possible way to make themselves corpulent, that their flesh might act, between their bones and the earth, ` as a medium or cushion, forgetting that, as their gravity increased, the bruises they received were proportionably more violent, and a fracture more difficult to reduce.
Besides the application of oil, and rubbing it on the surface of the skin till the friction produced a glow, it is said they added dust or sand, but for what purpose, unless to close the pores, cannot
well be decided. Salzmann says, “ after this preparation the exercise itself commenced. The combatants began with handling each other slightly, each pressing or pulling his antagonist backwards and forwards, till they grew warm, then butting him with his head, thrusting him from his ground, assailing him with all his force, wrenching his limbs, shaking him, twisting his neck so as to choke him, lifting him up in his arms, &c. This kind of wrestling was called of 34* raxx, because it was performed standing: and he was declared victor who threw his antagonist thrice. Another kind was performed on the ground. This was called awaxayoraxx. Every thing was practised in this that was in wrestling erect, as far as the posture, would allow. The combatants voluntarily lay down, and he whose strength was first exhausted lost the victory, which he acknowledged b words, or by holding up one of his fingers.
“With wrestling, the athletes afterwards united the savage practice of boxing, which was known before the Trojan war. Hence arose the two-fold contest, called rayzgarlov, which was pursued to excess by the athletes, but could scarcely be considered as a part of medicinal gymnastics in the schools. No ancient physician recommends boxing in a medical view. The boxers likewise laid great stress on rendering their bodies corpulent, that they might be the better able to bear the blows of their antagomists.” The same author adds, “The boxers fought erect, never hugging their antagonist, and throwing him down, but merely striking him : the wrestlers were not allowed to strike: the pancratiasts united the two, both wrestling and striking.”
Kennet refers the Ludus Trojae, celebrated by bands of boys, to the invention of Ascanius. The youths engaged in this exercise were selected from the most honourable families of Rome, were elegantly habited, and armed with weapons of a size proportioned to their age. The commander received the title of Princeps Juventutis, and was sometimes the son of a senator, and not unfrequently the heir to the empire. Augustus was extremely partial to their infantile imitations of the ardour of manhood ; and Virgil, aware of his partiality, introduced a description of their celebrations in his Eneid. They wore chaplets of flowers on their heads, and their hair flowed loose from beneath it; their vests were purple; and twists of gold, disposed in circles, attached to the neck, spread down their breasts; quivers hung on their shoulders : they carried two spears; and were mounted on spirited horses. Virgil, in the passage alluded to, divides the youths into three troops, each consisting of twelve, under the command of a captain, amounting in the aggregate to thirty-nine individuals. Thus equipped, they walked their horses round the circus.
“when sage Epitides, to give the
sign, Crack'd his long whip, and made the course begin.”
They then started forward at full speed, and afterwards formed into divisions, returning back. “ – while, from their fingers borne, Their hostile darts aloft upon the wind Fly shivering ; then in circling numbers join'd, The manag’d coursers with due measures bound, And run the rapid ring, and trace the mazy round. Files facing files, their bold companions dare, And wheel and charge, and urge the sportive war. Now flight they feign, and naked) backs expose; Now with turn’d spears drive head. long on the foes; And now confederate grown, in peaceful ranks they close,”
The chariot races do not strictly be. long to this article, but they were so far connected with personal exercises in the Circus, that it would be almost unpardonable to pass them without notice. Strength and agility were entirely useless in the conduct of the chariot; courage and address in guiding the fiery steeds were all that was requisite in the driver. The charioteers were formed into companies in the Roman Circensian spectacles, and they excited great interest throughout Rome, the inhabitants of which were generally divided into parties, each attached to their favourite company. This, in common with their other sports, was derived from the Greeks. The different ancient divisions were distinguished by the coHours of their habits, which were green, red, white, and blue : and they were termed the Prasina, the Russata, the A]. |ba, and the Veneta.
The antiquity of the Pyrhica, or Saltatio Pyrhica, led ancient authors into many fanciful ideas, whence this warlike dance originated. Homer introduces it in its primitive state, in his description of the twelfth department of the shield of Achilles. “The skilful Vulcan then designed the figure and various motions of a dance, like that which Daedalus, of old, contrived in Gnossus for the fair Ariadne. There the young men and maidens danced hand in hand; the maids were dressed in limen garments, the men in rich and shining stuffs; the maids had flowery crowns on their heads, the men had swords of gold hanging from their sides in belts of silver. Here they seem to run in a ring with active feet, as swiftly as a wheel runs round when tried by the hands of the potter. There they appeared to move in many figures, and sometimes to meet, sometimes to wind from each other. A multitude of spectators stood round, delighted with the dance. In the middle, two nimble tumblers exercised themselves in feats of activity, while the song was carried on by the whole circle.”
At the period when the dance was practised in the Roman amphitheatres, it had assumed a warlike appearance, the performers advancing and flying alternately, as if engaged in battle. Claudian says,
Scaliger informs us, with some degree of vanity, that he had often danced the pyrhic in presence of the Emperor Maximilian, to the admiration and amazement of the inhabitants of Germany, and, as it appears, to that of the Emperor, who, he adds, exclaimed, “This boy either was born in a coat of mail, instead of a skin, or else has been rocked in one instead of a cradle.”
Real or supposed improvements in the customs of the European nations have now nearly abolished or altered almost all of the ancient gymnastic exercises; active feats and sudden turns of the body, or tumbling, are totally despised and confined to the most pitiful public exhibitions; playing with the ban is very little practis
ed; leaping and foot-races are limited to a few wagers; pitching the quoit seldom extends beyond the apprentice and the labourer; throwing the javelin is entirely discontinued; wrestling, long a favourite athletic exercise in England, belongs almost exclusively to the wanton schoolboy; boxing, (thanks to our morals) to the lowest wretches in society; the tournament, evidently derived from the Ludus Trojae, is nearly forgotten; the chariot race is in the same state of disuse; and we have nothing which resembles the military pyrhic; and even the faint similarity of the games enumerated are supported by the caprice of a few individuals, who are often condemned for employing their time to so little purpose. On the other hand, if we turn our attention to the rest of the world, we shall find that many of the gymnastic sports are in full use at this moment, without the inhabitants suspecting that nations very remote from them had similar some thousand years past. Two instances of this fact are so exactly in point, that we cannot refrain from giving them. Mr. Cordiner, who very lately presented the public with an excellent work, descriptive of the island of Ceylon, relates the particulars of a Cingalese play, in the following words: “Gay and noisy amusements do not of. ten interrupt the predominant repose of the genuine Celonese; but a sort of comical representation is sometimes attempted, to gratify a man of elevated rank, or to celebrate an occasion of extraordinary festivity. On the 28th of December, 1803, while Lord Viscount Valentia was visiting Governor North, at Columbo, a numerous company of the British inhabitants were favoured, after dinner, with the sight of an exhibition, called by the natives a Cingalese play, although, from the rude nature of the performance, it can hardly be ranked among the productions of the dramatic art. The stage was the green lawn before his Excellency’s villa at St. Sebastian, and the open theatre was lighted with lamps supported on posts, and flambeaus held in men's hands. The entertainment commenced with the feats of a set of active tumblers, whose naked bodies were painted all over with white crosses. They walked on their hands, and threw themselves round, over head and heels, three or four times successively, without a pause. Two boys embracing one another, with head opposed to feet, tumbled round like a j, but necessarily with a slower motion, as a momentary stop was required, when each person
touched the ground. . The young performers, singly, twisted their bodies with a quickness and flexibility which it would be difficult to imitate in a less relaxing climate. Some of the movements produced sensations by no means j. as they conveyed the idea of occasioning uneasiness to the actors. After this, six or seven professed dancers appeared on the stage. They were dressed like the gay damsels on the coast of Coromandel; but the greater part of them appeared not te be females, and an inferiority of gesticulation was visible in the style of their performance. Two men, raised upon stilts, walked in amongst them, &#. a most gigantic stature ; pieces of bamboo were tied round their legs, reaching only a little above the knee, and elevating them three feet from the ground; they moved slowly, without much ease, and had ...; to support them but the equipoise of their own bodies: a man then appeared masked, armed with a sword and switch, and habited in the old Portuguese dress; two others, resembling Dutchmen, and masked, preceded, who skipped about and drove all before them in an imperative manner; groupes of horrible masks, set with teeth, one of which had the head and proboscis of an elephant, followed; the persons who bore them carried lighted torches in each hand, those they whirled rapidly round, alternately lighting and extinguishing them in the course of their revolutions; these personified devils, and sometimes laughed to excess, but said little; imitations of wild animals next appeared; “but the prettiest part of the entertainment was a circular dance, by twelve children about ten years of age; they danced opposite to one another, two and two, all curtsied at one time down to the ground, shook their whole bodies with their hands fixed in their sides, and kept time to the music with two little clattering sticks, one in each hand. Going swiftly round, being neatly dressed, of one size, and perfect in the performance, this youthful dance produced a very pleasing effect, and brought to remembrance the pictures of the fleeting hours.” Captain Cook relates, in the second volume of the account of his voyage to the Pacific Ocean and the Sandwich Islands, that the natives play at bowls with pieces of whetstone, in shape resembling a small cheese, rounded at the edges, highly polished, and weighing about a pound. “They also use, in the manner that we throw quoits, small, flat, round pieces of the writing-slate, of the diameter of the