HISTORY OF SPORTS ~Ancient Period~


The history of sports probably extends as far back as the existence of people as purposive sportive and active beings. Sport has been a useful way for people to increase their mastery of nature and the environment. The history of sport can teach us a great deal about social changes and about the nature of sport itself. Sport seems to involve basic human skills being developed and exercised for their own sake, in parallel with being exercised for their usefulness. It also shows how society has changed its beliefs and therefore there are changes in the rules. Of course, as we go further back in history, the dwindling evidence makes the theories of the origins and purposes of sport difficult to support.


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The begging of Sports 

  • Ancient Egypt 

Monuments to the Pharaohs found at Beni Hasan dating to around 2000 BC indicate that a number of sports, including wrestling, weightlifting, long jump, swimming, rowing, shooting, fishing and athletics, as well as various kinds of ball games, were well-developed and regulated in ancient Egypt. Other Egyptian sports included javelin throwing, high jump, and wrestling. An earlier portrayal of figures wrestling was found in the tomb of Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum in Saqqara dating to around 2400 BC.

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  • Ancient Greece


Depictions of ritual sporting events are seen in the Minoan art of Bronze Age Crete, such as a fresco dating to 1500 BC of gymnastics in the form of religious bull-leaping and possibly bullfighting. The origins of Greek sporting festivals may date to funeral games of the Mycenean period, between 1600 BC. In the Iliad there are extensive descriptions of funeral games held in honour of deceased warriors


 Engaging in sport is described as the occupation of the noble and wealthy, who have no need to do manual labour themselves. It was predictably in Greece that sports were first instituted formally, with the first Olympic Games recorded in 776 BC in Olympia, where they were celebrated until 393 AD. The games were held every four years, or Olympiad, which became a unit of time in historical chronologies. Initially a single sprinting event, the Olympics gradually expanded to include several footraces, run in the nude or in armor, boxing, wrestling, pankration, chariot racing, long jump, javelin throw, and discus throw.


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  • Development of the Modern sports 



Some historians – most notably Bernard Lewis – claim that team sports as we know them today are primarily an invention of Western culture. The traditional teams sports are seen as springing from Europe, primarily England through its British Empire. This can be seen as discounting some of the ancient games of cooperation from Asia and even from the Americas

 European colonialism certainly helped spread particular games around the world, especially cricket, football of various sorts, bowling in a number of forms, cue sports, hockey and its derivatives, equestrian, and tennis, and many winter sports, while the originally Europe-dominated modern Olympic Games generally also ensured standardization in particularly European directions when rules for similar games around the world were merged.


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 Regardless of game origins, the Industrial Revolution and mass production brought increased leisure which allowed more time to engage in playing or observing  spectator sports, as well as less elitism in and greater accessibility of sports of many kinds.



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 With the advent of mass media and global communication, professionalism became prevalent in sports, and this furthered sports popularity in general.




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