The javelin used in Greek sports is called variously ἄκων, ἀκόντιον, μεσάγκυλον, σίγυνος, ἀποτομάς. The latter term, defined by Hesychius as σχίζαν καὶ ἀκόντιον πεντάθλου, appears to denote merely a lath or stick, and apparently describes the javelin as represented on the vases. It is merely a straight pole, in length nearly equal to the height of a man, though occasionally longer, and about the thickness of a finger. It is one of the commonest objects in palaestra scenes, whether in use, or carried in the hand, or planted in the ground singly or in pairs apparently to mark the line from which the athlete is to jump or throw the diskos. These rods were formerly described as jumping poles; but of the pole jump there is no evidence, and the fact that they are precisely similar to javelins which are actually being thrown, and that they often have the throwing-strap or amentum attached, proves that they are nothing more than javelins. At the same time there is no reason why they should not have served as measuring-rods or κανόνες for measuring the jump, a use which is perhaps represented on the British Museum kelebe B. 361, published in vol. xxiv, of this journal, p. 180.
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