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This is for my dear Aldric with whom we discussed the ancient Greece and how beautiful it was, so I wanted to draw something about it :3
The paintings on ceramic vases were one of the very first known cases of depiction of various random life aspects, other than the standard deities, heroes and myths. After having discovered the ceramic painting around 550 BC, the ancient Greeks had finally started to look around themselves in the search for themes.
Of course, the beautiful athletes attracted the most attention of the ceramic artists as the Greeks believed in the nude human body being the reflection of the soul. The richer one's body was in expression, the richer was his soul.
Because of this, the Greeks taught their youths to do various beautiful things with their bodies since an early age. Teenagers were sought to be very pliant, soft and flexible. Many youths enjoyed wearing tight belts to accentuate the softness of their bodies, they practiced the art of acrobatics and body bending, then switched to muscle building and all kinds of athletic games after entering their twenties.
The athletes enjoyed the privilege of being nude whenever they wanted, there was no prejudice against the naked human body as long as it was fit and beautiful.
It wasn't a rare sight to see a beautiful man proudly crossing the street in the shade of stone pillars and green trees, wearing nothing but a headband protecting his long curly hair from the wind, his muscled chest lifted up, stomach sucked in and his back bearing the most graceful curve from the shoulders down to the toned cheeks. Children looked up to him as a hero and old men smiled at him like shepherds who saw a beautiful animal in the wild.
The Olympics Games were the greatest celebration of the nude body as hundreds of athletes of all ages and from all the nearby countries, including Egypt, Persia and all the Hellenic kingdoms, gathered to perform their very best for a whole week, every four years.
Many ceramic vases were destroyed by the Romans who tormented the Greek civilization, but many of them were sold to the merchants and rulers of China, Persia, India and Egypt where they remained unharmed to the present day.