Greece and Rome broke new ground in organised sport, giving the world the Olympic Games and gladiatorial contests. Join us and our experts for a free one-hour webinar to find out why ball games, even though being part of everyday life, were somewhat relegated to the margins in these heroic times.
In both Greece and Rome, there were other sports that were far more popular and important than ball games – sports that were a mass spectacle, with records, famous athletes and even governing bodies. They included ancient chariot racing, the Olympics and, to a lesser extent, gladiatorial contests. But there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the Greeks and Romans played many kinds of ball games and that they were very much part of everyday life. The balls they used were as varied as the games they played, but the emphasis was mainly on exercise and relaxation.
Given that the Romans bequeathed so much to future generations throughout their known world, it is surprising that ball games were not part of that legacy. The English founders of association football interpreted a direct lineage from episkyros to harpastum and then on to calcio fiorentino in Italy and folk football in Great Britain. Join our live talk webinar where we talk about the role ball games played in ancient Greco-Roman times and why it is impossible to establish a link to association football.