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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

Greek Papyri                        269
that those who are still unsuccessful ought not to concern themselves
with it, particularly when there is no one bringing in any money/
He then dwells on the enormities of a certain Heraclas, probably
his paedagogus or attendant slave, and suggests that he might
be set to earning some money, and after saying that when a
young brother joins him they will move into more spacious
lodgings, he ends by thanking his father for the usual supplies
from home.
But, as we have seen, the idea of the gymnasium included
education of the body no less than education of the mind. We
have already mentioned the village games of the Ptolemaic
period; in the Roman age, though towns such as Oxyrhynchus
and Hermopolis ran their own games with considerable display
and expense, the emphasis had changed and the really important
events were the great international contests. The standardiza-
tion of culture under the Roman Empire has its counterpart
in the highly professionalized and international sport of the age.
The documents from Egypt show us these professional athletes
(they describe themselves as members of cthe sacred athletic
international union, under imperial patronage') touring the
world to take part in games at Sardes, at Sidon, or at Naples,
and returning home to receive the grateful thanks of their
fellow citizens and, more important, exemption from taxes, a
monthly pension, and, in some cases, freedom from public
burdens for themselves and their descendants. Not quite in the
class of the world champions, but no less mercenary, was a certain
Dios whose letter to his wife Sophrone has been preserved. He
had gone to Alexandria with some friends to look for someone
(probably a debtor) who had disappeared: 'we did not find the
fellow', he writes, 'instead we found our lord the king'. Games
were held at royal command and Dios contrived to get himself
admitted cby an act of favour' (probably he was not qualified);
he was, however, badly beaten in the pancratium by the pro-
fessionals. Nothing daunted, he hit on the bright idea of