The Hoplokyklodromìa is an individual sporting discipline, officially launched in 2016, as a reenactment of the ancient Hoplitodromìa.
Unlike this historical discipline, the Hoplokyklodromìa provides a combined test of cross-country race – called Hoplodromìa – and cycling – the Hoplokyklìa – characterized by the fact that the participants travel the entire planned route bringing with them the weapons, consisting of a shield in multilayer wood (the latter variable in size between 50 and 80 centimeters in diameter, depending on the stature of the participant) and a spear consisting of the handle of a rake or other gardening tool, measuring 180 centimeters in length.
Each participant, on the occasion of the Deployment (or Fielding) Ceremony described below, is awarded the title of Hoplite.
During the Hoplokyklìa, it is permissible to bring the shield folded in a backpack or other container, as long as its entire weight constantly rests on the athlete, while the lance can be fixed to the frame of the bicycle for the duration of the test. For this purpose, in the Facebook group dedicated to the initiative , detailed instructions for the construction of the foldable shield (pdf format, 955 kb) have been made available – as well as freely downloadable, as well as a guide to assemble the enarmes needed to carry it (.pdf format, 644 kb). However, it is permitted to participate with non-folding shields, by carrying them over the shoulder or on the back, without the aid of backpacks or bags of any kind.
During the Hoplodromìa, on the other hand, the shield must be constantly open and embraced, and the lance must be carried on the opposite side of the shield. In particularly steep climbs the use of the lance as a walking stick is permitted, while in the editions in the plain any contact of the lance with the ground is a reason for disqualification.
The transition zone separates the two fractions, and within its boundaries it’s permitted to perform all operations (such as deploying or folding the shield, or laying temporarily the weapons on the ground) that would otherwise be cause od disqualification, as well as all technical actions (change of footwear or clothing) impossible during the competition fractions. The order of the two fractions, running and cycling, can vary from one edition to another, depending on the route. For example, in the first edition of the World Championship (2016, with departure and arrival at Sant’Alberto, a hamlet of San Pietro in Casale in the province of Bologna) the Hoplodromìa was run first, followed by the Hoplokyklìa, while in the 2017 edition (disputed between Madonna dell’Acero and Lake Scaffaiolo, in the territory of Lizzano in Belvedere in the province of Bologna) the order of the tests was reversed.
Time is measured from the start to the arrival, including the transition phase: thus, participants must strive to minimize the duration of the transition phase. The order of arrival is determined at the end of the second fraction.
Credentials of the participants
In accordance with the culture of Ancient Greece to which the discipline refers, and in particular to the Greek Mythology, on the occasion of their first participation the athletes are seen to assign specific credentials that include:
- a Country of citizenship,
- a Guardian God,
- an Inspirer Hero (typically but not exclusively a character of the Iliad).
The assignment of credentials to the new Hoplites takes place during the Fielding Ceremony (or Deployment Ceremony), during which a talisman called the Stick of Death is exhibited, whose miraculous and historical antecedents are explained in a special online presentation. The aspirant Hoplite is called and, after kissing the Stick of Death’s knob, declares his/her credentials (in the first two editions Nation, God and Hero were represented by as many cards that remain the property of the Hoplite and which must also be exhibited in subsequent editions – since 2018 physical cards are no more required), declaiming loudly the respective names in the sequence Nation / Inspirer Hero / Guardian God, as in the following example:
For Kiribati! In honor of Lycaon! To the greater glory of the supreme Sid Addir Sardus Pater Babay!
In the first two editions, the cards representing the credentials must be worn for the entire duration of the race and were subject to verification upon arrival, under penalty of disqualification of the defaulter. Since 2018, Hoplites were relieved of these duties, but the owners of cards from the previous are free to keep them during the competition, as a trait of distinction and veteranship.
Number of practicers and editions
To this date, the discipline has not come out of the purely experimental phase.
The event takes place in Italy, on an annual basis, on the first Saturday of the month of October and typically involves about ten participants of both sexes (female participants in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 edition were respectively 1, 2 and 3).
Given the fact that the discipline is not practiced elsewhere, such competitions constitute for all purposes as many World Championships. The 2018 (Poggio Renatico, Province of Ferrara) , 2019 (Fluminimaggiore and Buggerru, Province of Carbonia-Iglesias) and 2020 editions have already been announced.
Categorie di partecipanti
Two general classifications are drawn up: absolute and female.
To reward the pioneering zeal of the participants, restricted categories were also established to the homonyms of the participants themselves.
To date, for each of these categories only one participant was present at the start, which then achieved the world title in the category regardless of its ranking in the general classification.