Here’s a great example, The Boxer of Quirinal, a Hellenistic Greek sculpture from the first century BC. This famous work of art shows an ancient warrior seated, likely resting after a match. This fellow certainly earned his bread, with scars and bruises inlaid with copper adding to the detail. Also of note is the Cestus, which are the leather wraps covering the knuckles of each hand. These were more for increasing knockout power than protection.
This image adorned a vase and dates to about 450BC and shows a young man lifting a smaller stone in either hand. It is said that this image shows the “weightlifting” event at the very first Olympic games, stones weighing as much as 300 lbs. were said to have been used in the contest.
He was a six-time wrestling Champion in the ancient Olympic Games and his strength was legendary.
Milo built his strength with an unusual method: Each day he would carry a new-born calf and, as the calf grew larger, so did Milo’s strength.
Eventually Milo was able to carry a full-grown bull the length of the stadium. The stamp above features Milo holding apart a split tree and was created in honor of the 1924 Olympic Games, held in Paris, France (where Charles Rigoulot won the heavyweight-class gold medal.)