The New International Encyclopædia/Gymnasiarch

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The New International Encyclopædia
Gymnasiarch
Edition of 1905. See also Gymnasiarch on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

GYMNA'SIARCH (Lat. gymnasiarchus, from Gk. γυμνασίαρχος, gymnasiarchos, from γυμνασίον, gymnasion, gymnasium + ἀρχός, archos, leader, from ἄρχειν, archein, to lead). The name of a Greek official, whose rank and duties varied widely in different places and at different times. In Athens during the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. a gymnasiarch was chosen annually from each tribe to bear the expenses of the torch races. (See Lampadephoria.) The duties included the payment of all expenses connected with the training of the competitors, and the office was one of the most expensive of the public services demanded by Athens of her wealthy citizens. The name seems to imply that the gynmasiarch had also certain rights and duties in the gymnasia during the training of the youths, but there is no definite information on this subject. After the establishment of the Macedonian power we find a change at Athens. There is now one gynmasiarch chosen annually, and his office is one of great dignity. He has the general oversight of order and discipline in the gymnasium of the ephebi (q.v.), and sometimes undertakes heavy expenses from his own purse. The same name is given to rich ephebi, who undertake for a longer or shorter period, generally one month, to bear certain heavy charges for their comrades, such as the expenses of festivals, or of furnishing the oil needed in the gymnasium. Outside of Athens and the States which copied her gymnastic system, the term denotes either magistrates who have charge of the gymnastic and literary instruction, or those who have to provide for certain expenses connected with the gymnasium or festivals, either from their own property or from the public funds. The wide diversity in details cannot be discussed here. Consult Glatz, “Gymnasiarchia,” in Daremberg et Saglio, Dictionnaire des antiquités (Paris, 1896).