TRIGGER WARNING: forced gender reveal
In via quae
Olympiam ducit cis Alpheum, Scillunte venienti, celsa crepidine praeruptus mons
occurrit: Typaeum illum appellant. Hinc de saxo feminas deiicere Eleorum lex
iubet, quae ad Olympicos ludos penetrasse deprehensae fuerint, vel quae omnino
Alphaeum transmiserint, quibus est eis interdictum diebus. Non tamen
deprehensam esse ullam perhibent praeter unam Callipatriam, quam alii
Pherenicen nominant. Haec viro mortuo, cum virili ornatu exercitationum se
magistrum simulans, Pisidorum filium in certamen deduxit: iamque eo vincente
sepimentum id quo magistros seclusos habent, transiluit veste posita. Feminam
tamen agnitam, omni crimine liberarunt. datum hoc ex iudicium aequitate,
patris, fratrum, & filii gloriae, qui omnes ex Olympcis ludis victores abierant.
Ex eo lege sancitum, ut nudati adessent ad ludicrum ipsi etiam magrstri.
κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἐς Ὀλυμπίαν
ὁδόν, πρὶν ἢ διαβῆναι τὸν Ἀλφειόν, ἔστιν ὄρος ἐκ Σκιλλοῦντος ἐρχομένῳ πέτραις ὑψηλαῖς
ἀπότομον: ὀνομάζεται δὲ Τυπαῖον τὸ ὄρος. κατὰ τούτου τὰς γυναῖκας Ἠλείοις ἐστὶν
ὠθεῖν νόμος, ἢν φωραθῶσιν ἐς τὸν ἀγῶνα ἐλθοῦσαι τὸν Ὀλυμπικὸν ἢ καὶ ὅλως ἐν ταῖς
ἀπειρημέναις σφίσιν ἡμέραις διαβᾶσαι τὸν Ἀλφειόν. οὐ μὴν οὐδὲ ἁλῶναι λέγουσιν οὐδεμίαν,
ὅτι μὴ Καλλιπάτειραν μόνην: εἰσὶ δὲ οἳ τὴν αὐτὴν ταύτην Φερενίκην καὶ οὐ
αὕτη προαποθανόντος αὐτῇ τοῦ ἀνδρός, ἐξεικάσασα
αὑτὴν τὰ πάντα ἀνδρὶ γυμναστῇ, ἤγαγεν ἐς Ὀλυμπίαν τὸν υἱὸν μαχούμενον: νικῶντος
δὲ τοῦ Πεισιρόδου, τὸ ἔρυμα ἐν ᾧ τοὺς γυμναστὰς ἔχουσιν ἀπειλημμένους, τοῦτο ὑπερπηδῶσα
ἡ Καλλιπάτειρα ἐγυμνώθη. φωραθείσης δὲ ὅτι εἴη γυνή, ταύτην ἀφιᾶσιν ἀζήμιον καὶ
τῷ πατρὶ καὶ ἀδελφοῖς αὐτῆς καὶ τῷ παιδὶ αἰδῶ νέμοντες—ὑπῆρχον δὴ ἅπασιν αὐτοῖς
Ὀλυμπικαὶ νῖκαι—, ἐποίησαν δὲ νόμον ἐς τὸ ἔπειτα ἐπὶ τοῖς γυμνασταῖς γυμνοὺς σφᾶς
ἐς τὸν ἀγῶνα ἐσέρχεσθαι.
On the road to Olympia, on your way to Scillus and before
you cross the Alpheius, there is a really tall mountain with jagged rocks
called Typaeon. According to the law of Elis, women who were caught at the Olympic
Games on days when women were forbidden* (even women who were on the other side
of the Alpheius) would be thrown from this mountain to their deaths**. But nobody
was ever caught or punished, except Callipateira [although some say it was
Pherenice, not Callipateira, who was caught].
The widow Callipateira dressed as a trainer and brought her son Pisirodus to Olympia to participate in the games. When he won, she leapt out of the dugout*** and her disguise was revealed. Outed as a woman, she nevertheless was freed of any charge out of respect to her father, her brothers, and her son (for all of them were Olympic victors). But they made the law that from then on, even the trainers had to be nude in the Olympics.
* Portions of the Olympic games were segregated by gender, but there were several documented women Olympic victors (including Cynisca and Bilistiche, both for chariot racing).
**There are numerous examples of gender-exclusive rites in ancient Greek and Roman religion being profaned by intruders, including Alcibiades' intrusion of the Eleusinian Mysteries in 415 BCE and Clodius' intrusion of the Bona Dea Scandal in 62 BCE.
*** A sectioned-off portion specifically for coaches and trainers
Date: 110 – 180 CE
Description of Greece
Pausanias was a Greek writer who lived
during the era of the “Five Good Emperors.” His work, the Description of
Greece, is an important source for geographical, historical,
archaeological, and cultural information about ancient Greece.