Sport in Ancient Times East to West

Topics: Olympic Games, China, Ancient Olympic Games Pages: 228 (83437 words) Published: May 8, 2013
Sport in Ancient Times

Nigel B. Crowther


Sport in Ancient Times

Recent Titles in the Praeger Series on the Ancient World Daughters of Gaia: Women in the Ancient Mediterranean World Bella Vivante


Nigel B. Crowther

Praeger Series on the Ancient World Bella Vivante, Series Editor

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Crowther, Nigel B. Sport in ancient times / Nigel B. Crowther. p. cm. — (Praeger series on the ancient world, ISSN 1932–1406) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN-10: 0–275–98739–6 (alk. paper) ISBN-13: 978–0–275–98739–8 (alk. paper) 1. Sports—History. I. Title. GV571.C76 2007 796.'0901—dc22 2006032995 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available. Copyright © 2007 by Nigel B. Crowther All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, by any process or technique, without the express written consent of the publisher. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2006032995 ISBN-10: 0–275–98739–6 ISBN-13: 978–0–275–98739–8 ISSN: 1932–1406 First published in 2007 Praeger Publishers, 88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881 An imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. Printed in the United States of America

The paper used in this book complies with the Permanent Paper Standard issued by the National Information Standards Organization (Z39.48–1984). 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

RMZ coniugi amatissimae


Figures Preface Timelines for Ancient Civilizations Introduction 1. The Far East: China, Japan, and Korea 2. The Middle East (Excluding Egypt) 3. 4. 5. Egypt at the Time of the Pharaohs Minoan Civilization Mycenae and Homer

ix xi xv xxi 1 15 25 34 40 45 57 78 83 87 95 103 124 134 140 146

6. The Ancient Olympic Games 7. Ancient Greek Athletics 8. The Etruscans in Ancient Italy 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Roman Games and Greek Athletics Roman Recreations and Physical Fitness Recreational Areas in Rome: The Baths and Campus Martius Roman Gladiators Roman Chariot Racing

14. The Byzantine Empire 15. Three Sporting Heroes of the Ancient World 16. Women and Sport: Atalanta and the “Gladiator Girl”



17. Greco-Roman Ball Games and Team Sports 18. Mesoamerican Ball Games

154 160 169 177

Further Readings Index


1.1 Chinese swimming. Wall painting from Xinjiang province, about 500 C.E. Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz. 1.2 Terra-cotta statuette of a “polo” player from the Tang dynasty. Musée Cernuschi, Paris. 1.3 Terra-cotta statuette of a female “polo” player from the eighth century C.E. Musée des Arts Asiatiques-Guimet, Paris. 2.1 Early terra-cotta fragment containing part of the text of the Epic of Gilgamesh. Israel Museum (IDAM), Jerusalem, Israel. 2.2 Wrestlers take hold of each other’s belts. Copper statuette with offering stand above. Iraq Museum, Baghdad. 3.1 Tutankhamon hunting in the desert with chariot and bow. Detail from the lid of a chest. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. 3.2 Part of a sequence of wrestling scenes from Beni Hasan (2000 B.C.E.). Beni Hasan, Egypt. 3.3 Gaming board of Senet, with pieces, from Saqqara. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. 4.1 Bull leaping. Minoan fresco, 1500 B.C.E. Archaeological Museum, Heraklion, Crete. 4.2 The “Boxer Vase” from Hagia Triada, Crete. 4.3 The “Boy Boxer” fresco from Thera. National Archaeological Museum, Athens. 5.1 Portrait bust of Homer. Musei Capitolini, Rome. 6.1 Later stadium at Olympia looking toward the Altis. 7.1 Relief from the base of a kouros. National Archaeological Museum, Athens. 7.2 A vase painting by Epicterus (fifth century B.C.E.). Louvre, Paris. 7.3 Roman copy of Myron’s Discobolus. Museo Nazionale Romano (Terme di Diocleziano), Rome. 7.4 “Seated Boxer.” Museo Nazionale Romano (Terme di Diocleziano), Rome. 7.5 Four-horse chariot race with horses abreast. Black-figured amphora with white glaze (sixth century B.C.E.). Louvre, Paris.

2 5 8 16 17 28 30 32 35 37 38 41 51 61 64 65 69 72

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