Javelin Throwing

A history of the sport during the ancient Olympic Games.

The skill of throwing the javelin was taught to every boy in ancient Greek and Roman society. This paper provides an overview of the javelin’s use during ancient times, especially in competition. It examines its connection to the modern Olympic games and presents literary and archaeological evidence.
Throwing the javelin for distance was an event that was practiced and performed at a variety of festivals, including Olympia. The courtyard of the Gymnasium was the location of the javelin throw. The throwers were placed within the confines of the balbis. This was a rectangular area that was also used by discus-throwers; throwers were not allowed to step outside this area as they took their steps towards the starting line. Once the javelin was thrown, it had to land within a defined area of three sides. If the throw landed outside the area, it was declared invalid.