Which is a famous statue of a Greek athlete? How was it sculptured and by who? - Quora

In a certain country there was a city that had a crown without a king and a throne without a monarch.  Elders ruled the place until a king should come.  The people were not just waiting, no.  Because in fact there was a test.  From time to time the elders would approach a likely candidate and test him to see if he was the new king.  The details of the test were not generally known, but the people did know the test was administered from time to time, though so far no candidate had been successful.  It was not known exactly what criteria the elders used.  They seemed to pay particular attention to the gleaming athletes in the gymnasia, but there were other ways too.  Again, the details were not generally known.

There was a man in that place who one day wondered why the king should not be him?  He was already fit but now he dedicated himself to athleticism and beauty.    He was frequently seen in the gymnasium, gleaming with olive oil, wrestling in the nude or hurling a discus or running.  He grew stronger and swifter and more handsome.  The people began to glory in him and as he did he felt the taste of kingship coming stronger over him.  But still no call from the elders came, so one day he went to them.

“I wish to test for the crown,” he said.  They made no fuss about him coming to them.  There was a temple in the city that kept a sacred cock.  They told him the next morning when he heard  the first dawn crow of the temple bird he should meet a servant of the elders at the north gate of the city who would give him further instructions.

He did what the elders said.  The servant took him a little ways off in the darkness and pointed.  Now near by that city was a mount called the Mount of Ascent.  It was said that the gods in their affairs came and went from its summit.  There was a small shrine there where the people of the city performed certain sacred functions from time to time.  In the darkness of that very early morning, the servant pointed to the even deeper blackness that was the Mount of Ascent and told him he must climb it to the elders who were waiting to judge him at the top, and he must do so before the sun rose.  The servant also explained to him that he must do so without any aid whatsoever.  The man quitted himself of his staff and his knife and his waterskin and even his clothing and sandals.

“The nature of the trial becomes more clear to me,” the man said.  “It would take a man of the highest vigor to climb from this side in the time allowed, even in daylight under the best of conditions.  In this near darkness, only a man who has known this area from his childhood up can hope to make it.  And to do so without clothing and with unshod feet requires real hardihood.”  Then he set off.

The brambles tore at him.  The rocks cut and scraped.  He had to climb down a ravine and then up the other side to even start on the mountain and there were more rocks to climb at top speed.  His toes and his fingers were both bloody and raw before he had gone very far up.  He came to a smoother stretch covered with pines.  He sprinted–it was grey now–and the needles and the branches slapped his face.  His foot caught at a root and he went sprawling, his face smashing into the rough side of a tree.  Without a pause he picked up and sprinted on.

His lungs were on fire.  His whole body burned.  But he did not slack.  Some detached part of the mind was still filled with the glory of the crown, and the glory of his ascent against all odds, and drove him on.

The sky was lighter now, much lighter.  Incredibly, he picked up his pace.  Now at the last the mount rose in a spires and pillars and outcroppings in a rocky butte, and he must climb.  Climb he did.  He did not pause to see his way.  He hurled himself with one powerful thrust after another,  he almost flew up the side.  And if his grip was slippery with his own blood, what of it?  He flew on.  With one last incredible heave he vaulted himself on to the summit just as the sun peeked over the horizon and shouted aloud in his gasping triumph.  He stood tall in glory, ruddy with effort, bright with his own sweat and blood, upright, bathed in the rays of the rising sun.

“You made it time,” the elders said.  “Now you must be judged.”


“Judged.”  “I see blood and flesh on his knee,” one elder said.  “I see scores on his arm,” another said.  “His toe is mangled,” a third said.  And one by one they described all the dozens or even hundreds of little injuries that covered his once-perfect athlete’s body.

“The king must be without blemish,” the elders said.  “You are not.”  The man almost fainted in his shock and fatigue, but anger kept him on his feet.  “You claim to be looking for a king but a man would have to have the stones literally flow for him, and the branches and thorns bend away!”

“Yes,” the elders said.

“And yet,” the  man said defiantly, “I prophesy one day a man will come who will be your king!”

When the man said this the elders took him to a certain place, cleaned him, and robed him in the robes of an elder, and made him one of themselves.  Because, they said, he had wisdom and understanding.

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