Pankration (/pænˈkreɪtiɒn, -ˈkreɪʃən/; Greek: παγκράτιον) was a sporting event introduced into the Greek Olympic Games in 648 BC and was an empty-hand submission sport with scarcely any rules. The athletes used boxing and wrestling techniques, but also others, such as kicking and holds, locks and chokes on the ground. The only things not acceptable were biting, striking the groin, and gouging out the opponent's eyes.
In Greek mythology, it was said that the heroes Heracles and Theseus invented pankration as a result of using both wrestling and boxing in their confrontations with opponents. Theseus was said to have utilized his extraordinary pankration skills to defeat the dreaded Minotaur in the Labyrinth. Heracles was said to have subdued the Nemean lion using pankration, and was often depicted in ancient artwork doing that. In this context, pankration was also referred to as pammachon or pammachion (πάμμαχον or παμμάχιον), meaning "total combat", from πᾶν-, pān-, "all-" or "total", and μάχη, machē, "matter". The term pammachon was older, and would later become used less than the term pankration.
The mainstream academic view has been that pankration developed in the archaic Greek society of the 7th century BC, whereby, as the need for expression in violent sport increased, pankration filled a niche of "total contest" that neither boxing nor wrestling could. However, some evidence suggests that pankration, in both its sporting form and its combative form, may have been practiced in Greece already from the second millennium BC.
Pankration, as practiced in historical antiquity, was an athletic event that combined techniques of both boxing (pygmē/pygmachia – πυγμή/πυγμαχία) and wrestling (palē – πάλη), as well as additional elements, such as the use of strikes with the legs, to create a broad fighting sport very similar to today's mixed martial arts competitions. There is evidence that, although knockouts were common, most pankration competitions were decided on the basis of submission (giving up). Pankratiasts were highly skilled grapplers and were extremely effective in applying a variety of takedowns, chokes and joint locks. In extreme cases a pankration competition could even result in the death of one of the opponents, which was considered a win.
However, pankration was more than just an event in the athletic competitions of the ancient Greek world; it was also part of the arsenal of Greek soldiers – including the famous Spartan hoplites and Alexander the Great's Macedonian phalanx. It is said that the Spartans at their immortal stand at Thermopylae fought with their bare hands and teeth once their swords and spears broke. Herodotus mentions that in the battle of Mycale between the Greeks and the Persians in 479 BC, those of the Greeks who fought best were the Athenians, and the Athenian who fought best was a distinguished pankratiast, Hermolycus, son of Euthynus. Polyaemus describes King Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great, practicing with another pankratiast while his soldiers watched.
The feats of the ancient pankratiasts became legendary in the annals of Greek athletics. Stories abound of past champions who were considered invincible beings. Arrhichion, Dioxippus, Polydamas of Skotoussa and Theogenes (often referred to as Theagenes of Thasos after the first century AD) are among the most highly recognized names. Their accomplishments defying the odds were some of the most inspiring of ancient Greek athletics and they served as inspiration to the Hellenic world for centuries, as Pausanias, the ancient traveller and writer indicates when he re-tells these stories in his narrative of his travels around Greece.
Dioxippus was an Athenian who had won the Olympic Games in 336 BC, and was serving in Alexander the Great's army in its expedition into Asia. As an admired champion, he naturally became part of the circle of Alexander the Great. In that context, he accepted a challenge from one of Alexander's most skilled soldiers named Coragus to fight in front of Alexander and the troops in armed combat. While Coragus fought with weapons and full armour, Dioxippus showed up armed only with a club and defeated Coragus without killing him, making use of his pankration skills. Later, however, Dioxippus was framed for theft, which led him to commit suicide.
In an odd turn of events, a pankration fighter named Arrhichion (Ἀρριχίων) of Phigalia won the pankration competition at the Olympic Games despite being dead. His opponent had locked him in a chokehold and Arrhichion, desperate to loosen it, broke his opponent's toe (some records say his ankle). The opponent nearly passed out from pain and submitted. As the referee raised Arrhichion's hand, it was discovered that he had died from the chokehold. His body was crowned with the olive wreath and returned to Phigaleia as a hero.
By the Imperial Period, the Romans had adopted the Greek combat sport (spelled in Latin as pancratium) into their Games. In 393 A.D., the pankration, along with gladiatorial combat and all pagan festivals, was abolished by edict by the Christian Byzantine Emperor Theodosius I. Pankration itself was an event in the Olympic Games for some 1,400 years.
Le pancrace (grec ancien : παγκράτιον pankrátion) est un sport de combat grec, permettant au temps des Jeux olympiques antiques quasiment toutes les techniques. Il était interdit d'introduire quoi que ce soit dans le corps de l'adversaire (exemples : le doigt dans l’œil ou dans la bouche) et d'en extraire quoi que ce soit (exemples : tirer l'oreille ou les parties génitales), ce qui en fait un sport très technique, mais pas le plus dur : le pugilat était en effet réputé plus violent. De grands champions olympiques de cette époque ont marqué l'histoire comme Polydamas de Skotoussa qui fut champion olympique en 408 av. J.-C. , Théagène de Thassos, ou encore Milon de Crotone. Le lutteur de pancrace est appelé pancratiaste.
Das Pankration (griechisch παγκράτιον „Allkampf, Gesamtkampf“; gesprochen „Pankrátion“, von griechisch pan „alles“, kratos „Kraft“) bezeichnet eine Kampfkunst bei den altgriechischen Festspielen, die erstmals 648 v. Chr. bei den 33. Olympischen Spielen nachweisbar ist. Nach dem Scholiast zu Pindar wurde das Pankration vom mythologischen Theseus erfunden, als er ohne Waffen gegen den Minotaurus kämpfen musste.
Il pancrazio è un antico sport da combattimento, un agone atletico, che faceva parte dell'atletica pesante di origine greca antica e consisteva in un misto di lotta e pugilato. Il termine in greco antico: παγκράτιον, pankrátion, significa ‘tutta forza’, da πᾶς pâs (in combinazione πᾶν pân) ‘tutto’ e κράτος krátos ‘potere, forza’, ad indicare che il lottatore sconfiggeva il suo avversario utilizzando tutta la sua forza e tutte le parti del corpo, con ogni tecnica a mano nuda ammessa, tranne togliere gli occhi all'avversario.
Pancrácio (em grego: Παγκράτιον; transl.: Pankrátion) foi uma antiga arte marcial e antigo desporto de combate sem armas, que segundo a mitologia grega teve início com os heróis Héracles e Teseu.. Uma mistura de boxe clássico e luta olímpica com golpes e técnicas de lutas que incluem socos, chutes, cotoveladas, joelhadas, cabeçadas, estrangulamentos, agarramentos, quedas, arremessos, derrubadas, imobilizações, torções, chaves e travamento das articulações.
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(Translation based on the reversal of Mijnwoordenboek's Ancient Greek to Dutch dictionary)
ast: Pancraciu; az: Pankration; be: Панкратыён; bg: Панкратион; ca: Pancraci; cs: Pankrátion; da: Pankration; de: Pankration; el: Παγκράτιο; en: Pankration; es: Pancracio; et: Pankraation; eu: Pankration; fa: پانکریشن; fi: Pankration; fr: Pancrace; he: פאנקרטיון; hu: Ókori görög pankráció; id: Pankration; it: Pancrazio; ja: パンクラチオン; ka: პანკრატიონი; ko: 판크라티온; la: Pancration; lt: Pankrationas; mzn: پانکریشن; nl: Pankration; nn: Pankration; no: Pankration; oc: Pancraci; pl: Pankration; pt: Pancrácio; ru: Панкратион; sh: Pankration; simple: Pankration; sk: Pankration; sr: Панкратион; sv: Pankration; uk: Панкратіон; zh: 潘克拉辛