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Be an Apollo: Exercise in the Roman Legions and the Armies of Alexander
 
 
MikeNY MikeNY is offline
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04-29-2010, 02:53 PM
 
As a boy I lived in a old fashioned neighborhood where the men were 98% Sicilian and Southern Italian. Our grandfathers, great uncles, fathers and uncles passed onto us knowledge about the Romans and Greeks. One thing they taught us was that the Roman Legions used lacquered leather armour for battle, and shields made of the same material, while the Greeks used lacquered cloth armour. In an article in the 1990's, a historian tested that thesis and found that lacquered leather armour was 96% as strong as steel armour. Our school teachers said the Roman's carried heavy metal shileds and we were told at home that the Romans carried a shield of lacquered leather with a metal boss, in fact three layers of bull's hide over a light wicker frame with a metal rim and boss, it was said to be light, easy to use and deadly, same for the armour, light and easy to use as well as strong as steel; and think about what cost more steel or lacquered leather, no question which was easier to buy.

The Romans Legions and the Armies of Alexander were built on pushups, situps, squats, bridging and calisthenics, as well as slow motion muscle tension "shadow boxing" staa-ma-tah was what we were told! In the 1950's I saw slow motion shadow boxing (DVRs); my uncle trained professional boxer's; said it made a man strong! I didn't know about the Atlas course but that was the way men exercised, most of them had never seen the Atlas Course. Now my family came from about 50 miles from Acri, Italy where Charles Atlas was born and raised in Calabria (just checked the distance on a map). I think the older men were right, the Legions of Ceasar and the Armies of Alexander were doing what is taught on this forum! The armies of Alexander took slow motion, muscle tension exercises to India with them.

To the ancients a Gym was originaly just an open place; later an enclosed place where they exercised, had sand pits for wrestling; boxing and bath. They did not need machines or weights, they were thier own gym. If you want to be a Spartan warrior, one of the 300 or as strong an healthy as a Roman Legionaire workout like them! Be an Apollo! This forum teaches what the ancient Romans and Greeks knew!

 
 
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Andy62 Andy62 is offline
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04-29-2010, 03:13 PM
 
Mike, Those are some great thoughts and we are lucky that both the Greeks and the Romans preserved evidence of the effectiveness of that training in the statues of their athletes. Gordon
 
 
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CecilS CecilS is offline
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04-29-2010, 03:29 PM
 
MikeNY, Thanks for the history lesson. I always like hearing about warriors of past cultures. Someday I will do more reading on some of those subjects.
 
 
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04-29-2010, 04:31 PM
 
CecilS: I love the history of the ancient Romans and Greeks. As a kid read every book could about them. Dad always told us we were Romans, and he taught us about Ceasar and Alexander, as though they were alive and it was cool.

I think that the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians and peoples of the Middle East all used the same sort of exercises as the Greeks and Romans. I saw the Hindu pushup as a kid and it was called a Greek pushup.

Malcom I've always thought that Western Civilization is an extendtion of those first Middle Eastern Cultures. We forget that the Persians, Middle Easterners and Indians are all our brothers and part of the West. Ancient Israel is where our Western faith was born and even the Romans came from Troy, were Anatolian Greeks mixed with Anatolian peoples. Greeks, Sicilians and Native Italic people all mixed with the Romans in Italy and the Balkans. The West is really diverse and all Europe became part of the West, we all share the same heritage and blood.

 
 
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shamus23 shamus23 is offline
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04-29-2010, 05:04 PM
 
very interesting tidbits about how training knowledge was passed down, thank you
 
 
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ShrinkingGuy ShrinkingGuy is offline
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04-29-2010, 05:05 PM
 
Wow....Mike what a great post!
 
 
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John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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04-29-2010, 06:36 PM
 
Hey Mike,

That was a fantastic post. The ancient Greeks and Romans certainly knew how to train and they certainly how to protect their body's from unnecessary injury. Think about it. These ancient soldiers needed to be strong and enduring. Injury of any type was a major liability to them. There is no way they would have intentionally performed exercises that would have destroyed or even compromised joints, tendons, or ligaments. Back then there were no antibiotics. No joint replacements. Men did everything in their power to avoid a hernia because if it ever happened to them, they had it for life.

---John Peterson
 
 
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MikeNY MikeNY is offline
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04-29-2010, 07:19 PM
 
John I agree with you. I do not think this was secret knowledge or that one group had a lock on this! Bernarr Macfadden was talking about this very topic in 1900 or before, and if you look at his system of exercise you see it at work. I think we in the West have only recently forgot what was handed down for generations.

If anyone reads the Sandow site http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/ they'll see that knowledge is there from the start of Physical culture and Sobowda. There in books, articles all on what works and what will make you strong and fit. John you had a version passed down to you by your Grandfather and Uncle Wally. This is just common sense, but the commerical makers of exercise equipment, weights, gym and exercise industry can not make a fortune with whats good for you. My bet is they also helped push all the corn products, garbage and fat into the US diet. What Atlas taught always works and has been in the mainstream since the 1920's and before him we had Macfadden and others including Swoboda. The remarkable thing is how fast people forget. I think everyone that went to High School after 1900 had a really great foundation in physical culture until the 1970s when they pushed the new and improved methods. I recently read that 75% of American men now are to fat to be in the military. Why the wave of obesity? Why do school push junk and fat on kids now, there is a load of money pushing garbage food into Americans.

 
 
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Andy62 Andy62 is offline
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04-29-2010, 08:16 PM
 
Mike, This is really an interesting topic. I think in the ancient world isometrics were much more wide spread that we realize toiday. They are so natural and so effective that it only stands to reason that they would have been discovered and used. I came across one source that claimed that isometrics were used by the Knights Templars because they could build great strength without draining energy. It is believed that these exercises go back 5,000 years in yoga. I have read theories that the trade routes between east and west were open long before the time that can be proven historically. It is very possible that these exercises were first discovered in the west and then transferred to the east, Really interesting.
 
 
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04-29-2010, 09:28 PM
 
Gordon my bet is this stuff has been around since the dawn of mankind, because as you say it is intuitive. History tells us that the Armies of Alexander brought Pankration into India, Mas Oyama wrote about this as well as other sources. The Ancient Greeks took things from the Minoan Greeks and other earlier peoples. The Sea Peoples that swept through the Mederterrian were said to be Greek Speakers. That link between Europe, the Middle East and North Africa is ancient. My guess is that body weight exercises and all forms of Isometrics were all over the ancient world, and discovered and rediscovered over and over. That the templars used Isomstrics wouldn;t surprise me. Look at Macfadden or Swoboda and thier work, remarkable.

As you noted Gordon, the Exercise Industry had a lot to do with the end of this type of training, plus the Food Industry pushed corn products & carbs that lead to obesity. The Exercise Industry does not want people to know they can become fit and healthy using basic methods, and the Food Industry wants people eating garbage because of the profits. I've a friend that had a private trainer for over two years, results, gained weight and paid a great deal for garbage. Tried the Miracle 7, results it works!

If people just try Transformetrics, the Atlas Course or any sensible method it will work.


Last edited by MikeNY; 04-29-2010 at 09:30 PM.
 
 
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