4.11.16

Bas-relief,hoplites performing the Pyrrhic or Korbantis dance is a c. 1st century BC Roman copy of a Greek original

This exquisite bas-relief of helmeted and shield-bearing, but otherwise naked, hoplites performing the Pyrrhic or Korbantis dance is a c. 1st century BC Roman copy of a Greek original, and is today in the collection of the Vatican Museum. It provides evidence that the helmet and other accoutrements of war were not just for battle, but that the wearing of them played a role in other aspects of Greek culture.

The following description of this martial dance comes from the article 'Ancient Greek Dance' at Carnaval:

"The dance in armour (the "pyrrhic dance" or pyrriche) was a male coming-of-age initiation ritual linked to a warrior victory celebration. The Pyrrhic dance was performed in different ways at various times and in various countries. Plato describes it as representing by rapid movements of the body the way in which missiles and blows from weapons were avoided, and also the mode in which the enemy were attacked. "

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