What Was Discus Called in Ancient Greece?

In Ancient Greece, the discus was known by several names. Let’s explore the history and significance of this iconic sport.

The Origins of Discus

The discus throw is a track and field event with roots dating back to ancient times. In Ancient Greece, it was an integral part of the Olympic Games, which were held every four years in Olympia.

The discus used in those times was not like the modern-day discus we are familiar with. Instead of a solid circular plate made of metal or synthetic materials, the ancient Greeks used a different kind of discus.

The Ancient Greek Discus

The ancient Greeks referred to the discus as “diskos”. The term “diskos” originates from the Greek word “di-” meaning through and “-skos” meaning to whirl or spin. This term perfectly describes the action required to throw a discus effectively – spinning it before releasing it into flight.

Unlike today’s standardized weight and size, the ancient Greek discus had no specific measurements. It varied in weight and size, depending on the athlete’s preference and ability.

Discobolus – The Discus Thrower

A famous sculpture known as “Discobolus” depicts an athlete preparing to throw a discus. Created by Myron during Greece’s Classical period (5th century BCE), this sculpture captures the artistry and grace associated with the sport.

Discobolus Sculpture

The Discobolus sculpture showcases the importance of physical strength, balance, and technique required for successful discus throwing in ancient times. It serves as a reminder of how highly valued sports were in Greek culture.

Ancient Greek Discus Throwing Competitions

Discus throwing was an essential event in the ancient Greek Olympics and other sporting festivals. Athletes would compete to achieve the longest throw, demonstrating their strength and skill.

The discus throw involved a series of steps. The athlete would start by holding the discus in one hand, using their fingers to grip the rim while keeping it flat against their palm. They would then spin around, building momentum before releasing the discus towards their Target.

A Symbol of Athleticism

The discus became a symbol of athleticism and physical prowess in ancient Greece. It represented not only strength but also grace and precision. The sport required both raw power and technical finesse.

Athletes who excelled in discus throwing were highly regarded in society. Their achievements were celebrated, and they often received accolades for their skills on the field.


The discus, known as “diskos” in Ancient Greece, played a significant role in sports and cultural life during that time. It was a symbol of physical strength, balance, and skillful technique. Today, we still marvel at its historical significance and continue to appreciate the artistry associated with this ancient sport.