"Athyrma" Ancient Greek Toy
Coloured Ancient horse toy on wheels. In Ancient Greece the word "athyrma" is etymologically connected to the verb "athyro", which means "I play". The favorite toy of the older boys was a clay horse on wheels, which they dragged all over the house.The Ancient Greeks gave great importance to toys as they were contributing to the self-education of children. Toys were considered to develop companionship, cultivate the spirit and learn children to respect the rules. Some of the most widespread toys were the rattle, the plaggona (doll) and the athyrma (little horse), as well as other ceramic animals on wheels. Boys in Ancient Athens, wanted to show that they had grown up, therefore they imitated the adults who used real horses in races by playing and dragging the little horse toy. Those toys were even dragged by dogs, small horses or children themselves. The main sources in relation to the athyrma, were found in the works of Plato, Aristophanes and Aristotle. These refer to the importance of nature, the characteristics and the significance of toys during childhood. Finally, the phenomenon of the existence of toys, played by both boys and girls, or toys for which one of the two sexes played was observed, without yet implying that it was forbidden for children of the opposite sex to play as well.
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