(a combination of 5 events)

The pentathlon was added in 708 BC in the 18th Olympiad. It consisted of 5 events: discus, javelin, long jump, running, and wrestling

Running and wrestling were separate events in the Panhellenic games, but jumping, the discus, and the javelin were only held as part of the pentathlon.

According to mythology, the pentathlon was invented by Jason. He combined the five events, and awarded the prize to his friend Peleus (who had come in second in everything but wrestling, in which he placed first).


See discus equipment, javelin equipment, jumping equipment, and running equipment. (There was no wrestling equipment.)

Rules of the Game:
The pentathlon was a combination of two types of events that existed in ancient world:

  • The light events: jumping, running and javelin
  • The heavy events: discus and wrestling.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the order in which the events were held, but it is known from the ancient texts that wrestling was last.

The question of how it was decided who the winner was, also remains unsolved, as it is not clarified by the sources. Thus, it is not known whether it was the winner of all five games or only the three of them (one of which was wrestling) who was declared the winner. It has been supported by some researchers that the athletes competed in all five games and the last two winners confronted each other in wrestling. The final winner of the pentathlon was declared victor.

Characteristics of a Good Pentathlete:
According to Aristotle, "
The pentathletes are the best, because they are naturally endowed with both strength and speed."

To participate in the pentathlon required a combination of qualities: speed, strength, skill, and endurance. These qualities were not always found in combination with competitors of each individual sport.

Boxing | Discus | Equestrian Events | Javelin | Jumping | Pankration

Pentathlon | Running | Wrestling | Back to main page