Games have been a part of human existence since ages. From public gatherings to events meant for choosing leaders, sports have been used for several purposes since a very long time. While all major games have today evolved into career options. However, it was not always the same. Sports have been played for entertainment activities and other several events since eternity. The games such as cricket, hockey and football that we see today are evolved forms of ancient games. But people managed to find ways of entertaining themselves even with limited resources and knowledge. That’s how games were invented.
What’s interesting is that some of the ancient sports are in business even today. I’ve compiled a list of 8 of the world’s oldest games.
Centuries before the great Muhammad Ali blessed the boxing ring with his string-like punches, boxing emerged as a strength development game in Greece in 687 BC. It was a spectator sport in ancient Rome that was played to test strength, speed and stamina of the fighters. The only difference- there were no gloves or padded rings. However, the sport evolved as a professional event only in the 16th and 18th centuries in Great Britain. It soon became a popular sport in the modern Olympics. It still remains to be a popular sporting event in the Olympics as well as other events.
Just like strength, flexibility and agility were also key constraints of measuring an individual’s value in the ancient world. The game is believed to have Greek-origin and is considered as the seventh oldest sport in the world. Horse riders who used to mount or dismount from horse using acrobatics invented the game. The game requires a perfect balance of flexibility, balance, agility and strength. Gymnastics was included in the modern Olympics in 1896. Men and women compete in different categories at global stages. Floor Exercise, Pommel Horse and Still Rings are some popular gymnastics events.
Polo is an ancient team sport that is believed to have been invented in the 4th century. The links of sports with the Sassanid dynasty provide some proofs regarding the origin of the game. Horse riders try to push a small wooden ball into the opponents’ goal using a long handle mallet. It is one of the most glorious games that were particularly popular among the royal kingdoms.
Discus throw is another major Olympics sport whose roots are ancient. Discus throw is a track and field event. The sportsperson has to throw a heavy disc to a farther distance. The origins of the sport can be traced back to the fifth century BC in Europe. This game has six key movements namely wind up, move in rhythm, balance, right leg engine, orbit and delivery. It was also one of the most played games in ancient times. It was one of the ancient Pentathlons in 708 BC.
Just like Discus throw, Javelin throw is another track and field event. It involves throwing as well. The only difference is that the Discuss is replaced by a long stick-like object called javelin. In ancient times, the game was practiced in the Ancient Mycenaean and Romans. However, the stick in those days was lighter. The javelin used today in the Olympics is heavier. Just like discus throw, javelin throw is also one of the oldest sports in the world. It also finds a mention in the Ancient Olympics.
Since there was a limitation of equipment and facilities in the ancient world, it is understandable that most of the ancient sports were played with minimum equipment or with bare human bodies. Long Jump is one such sport. Long Jump has ancient roots and it was contested in the Ancient Olympics of 656 BC. In the long jump, an athlete is required to jump the farthest distance from the take-off point. It is the only jumping event in the original Olympic games. The game remains to be a popular Olympic game till today.
A lot of ancient games were played to find the better one out or to determine who was the strongest. Wrestling is one of the oldest forms of combat that requires beating the opponent without using any external weapon, just by using human strength. This game is more than 15,000 years old and its roots can be found in France and several parts of Asia. It was also a part of the ancient Olympics. Till today, wrestling is an important sporting event.
What could be the best way to compete without hurting the opponent or spending too much on equipment or accessories. Running is one such sport that is regarded as the oldest sport in world history. It was a part of the Ancient Olympics in 776 BC. Running is probably the only sport that is both- a sport and a form of training. This tests the stamina, power and endurance of the player. A runner is required to have swiftness and agility along with the skill to run longer to win a race.