:"For the sports arena in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), see Palestra. For the blister beetle genus, see "Palaestra (beetle).The palaestra ("παλαίστρα") was the ancient Greek wrestling school. The events that did not require a lot of space, such as boxing and wrestling, were practiced there. The palaestra functioned both independently and as a part of public gymnasia. A palaestra could exist without a gymnasium, but no gymnasium could exist without a palaestra.

Architecture of the palaestra

The architecture of the palaestra, although allowing for some variation, followed a distinct, standard plan. The palaestra essentially consisted of a rectangular court surrounded by colonnades with adjoining rooms. These rooms might house a variety of functions: bathing, ball playing, undressing and storage of clothes, seating for socializing, observation, or instruction, and storage of oil, dust or athletic equipment. Vitruvius, through his text "On Architecture", is an important ancient source about this building type and provides many details about what he calls “palaistra, Greek-style”. Although the specifics of his descriptions do not always correspond to the architectural evidence, probably because he was writing around 27 BC, his account provides insight into the general design and uses of this type of space. As Vitruvius describes, the palaestra was square or rectangular in shape with colonnades along all four sides creating porticoes. The portico on the northern side of the palaestra was of double depth to protect against the weather. Spacious halls ("exedrae") were built along the single depth sides of the palaestra with seats for those enjoying intellectual pursuits, and the double depth side was divided into an area for youth activities ("ephebeum"), a punching bag area ("coryceum"), a room for applying powders ("conisterium"), a room for cold bathing, and an oil storeroom ("elaeothesium").

Good examples of this building type come from two major Greek sites: Olympia and Delphi.

ee also

*Palaestra at Olympia
*Palaestra at Delphi

External links

* [ Perseus Digital Library, Olympia]
* [ Perseus Digital Library, Delphi]

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  • Palaestra — Pa*l[ae]s tra, n. See {Palestra}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Palaestra — PALAESTRA, æ, des Chorikus, Königs in Arkadien, Tochter, hatte ihre Händel mit dem Mercurius, und entdeckte ihm daher ihrer Brüder, des Plexippus und Enetus, Erfindung der Ringekunst, wofür er denn machte, daß ihr zu Ehren alles Ringen und… …   Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

  • palaestra — (n.) see PALESTRA (Cf. palestra) …   Etymology dictionary

  • palaestra — [pə les′trə] n. pl. palaestrae [pə les′trē] or palaestras alt. sp. of PALESTRA …   English World dictionary

  • PALAESTRA — I. PALAESTRA Herculis filia, nuditarem obtegendi consuetudinem inter Mulieres, quae cursu aliisque exercebantur, introduxit: quemadmodum Pater eius, ne unquam Athletae in publicum ad certandum sine subligaculis prodirent, instituit; teste Clem.… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Palaestra — Große Palästra (Campus) in Pompeji Das Wort Palästra (Plural Palästren; griechisch παλαίστρα palaístra „Ringplatz“, lateinisch palaestra) leitet sich von dem griechischen Pale ( …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • palaestra — Palestra Pa*les tra, n.; pl. L. {Palestr[ae]}, E. {Palestras}. [NL., fr. L. palaestra, Gr. ?, fr. ? to wrestle.] [Written also {pal[ae]stra}.] (Antiq.) (a) A wrestling school; hence, a gymnasium, or place for athletic exercise in general. (b) A… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • palaestra — noun (plural palaestrae) Etymology: Middle English palestre arena, from Latin palaestra place for wrestling, from Greek palaistra, from palaiein to wrestle Date: 1580 1. a school in ancient Greece or Rome for sports (as wrestling) 2. gymnasium …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • palaestra — n. (also palestra) Gk & Rom. Antiq. a wrestling school or gymnasium. Etymology: ME f. L palaestra f. Gk palaistra f. palaio wrestle …   Useful english dictionary

  • Palaestra at Olympia — The palaestra at Olympia is part of the gymnasium at the sanctuary. This sixty six meter square building dates to the end of the third or beginning of the second century B.C. Architecture of the palaestra at OlympiaThe palaestra is oriented… …   Wikipedia

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