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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


Discus thrower: the Townley Discobolus

The dynamic art of discus throwing inspired a number of ancient Greek sculptors. The method of throwing was then very different. Athletes seem to have used only a three-quarter turn, unlike the two and a half spins of modern throwers.

Curators describe the Townley Discobolus

More about the Discobolus 

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Discus thrower: The Townley Discobolus

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Discus thrower: the Townley Discobolus

The dynamic art of discus throwing inspired a number of ancient Greek sculptors
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Victorious athlete: The Vaison Daidoumenos

Winners in the ancient Olympics were allowed to set up statues of themselves at Olympia
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Model of ancient Olympia

The ancient Olympics were always held at Olympia in western Greece
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The Motya Charioteer

Chariot-racing was a hugely popular sport in antiquity, much like Formula One nowadays
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Prize amphora showing a chariot race

Chariot-racing was the only Olympic sport in which women could take part
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A competitor in the long jump

The long jump was the only type of jumping contest in the ancient Olympics
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Stele of Lucius who 'competed in a manner worthy of victory'

In the ancient Olympics, it was only coming first that mattered. Second and third places were not recorded
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Sprinter on a vase from Rhodes and a bronze running girl

The greatest Olympic runner of all was Leonidas of Rhodes who won all three running events
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Hercules mosaic

According to legend, Hercules (Herakles) inaugurated the first Olympic Games
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The victory of a cheating pankratiast

The pankration was a brutal form of wrestling where anything went except biting and gouging
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The goddess Nike crowning an athlete

Nike was the personification of victory
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Gold medals from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

There were no medals for winners in the ancient Olympics
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