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Love gift
Man presents a leg of mutton to a youth with a hoop, in an allusion to boylove.[1] Athenian red-figure vase, ca. 460 BCE


The Greeks referred to the hoop as the trochus. Hoop rolling was practised in the gymnasium, and the hoop was also used for tumbling and dance with different techniques.[2] Although a popular form of recreation, hoop rolling was not featured in competition at the major sports festivals.[3]

Hoops, also called krikoi, were probably made of bronze, iron, or copper, and were driven with a stick called the elater.[4] The hoop was sized according to the player, as it had to come up to the level of the chest. Greek vases generally show the elater as a short straight stick. The sport was regarded as healthful, and was recommended by Hippocrates for strengthening weak constitutions.[5] Even very young children would play with hoops.[6]

The hoop thus held symbolic meanings in Greek myth and culture. A bronze hoop was one of the toys of the infant Dionysus,[7] and hoop driving is an attribute of Ganymede, often depicted on Greek vase paintings from the 5th century BCE. Images of the hoop are sometimes presented in the context of ancient Greek pederastic tradition.[8]




  1. Antike Welten: Meisterwerke griechischer Malerei as dem Kunsthistorischen Museum Wien, 1997, pp.110-111
  2. A dictionary of Greek and Roman antiquities By Sir William Smith, Charles Anthon; p1020
  3. Athletics and literature in the Roman Empire By Jason König; p281
  4. Athletics and Games of the Ancient Greeks By Edward M Plummer; p50
  5. "Hippocrates recommended playing with a hoop as a cure for weak people" Psychoanalytic perspectives on art: PPA, Volume 1 - Page 97 by Mary Mathews Gedo
  6. The history of the manners and customs of ancient Greece, Volume 1 By James Augustus St. John; p148
  7. Forerunners and Rivals of Christianity: Being Studies in Religious History from 330 B.C. to 330 A.D. by Francis Legge; 1915 p. 125
  8. The ancient Olympics By Nigel Jonathan Spivey; p48