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  • Egyptian Sports

  • Comparison between ancient Egyptian and Roman sports

    Criteria Egyptian Sports Roman Sports and Games
    ImagesEgyptian Sports Roman Sports
    State Involvement - Inscriptions on monuments indicate that Pharaohs took great interest in sports
    - Amenhotep 2 and Thutmose 4 were skilled in archery, running, rowing and horse riding.
    - Initially rich private individuals organized sports championships, and were honored with official signs
    - Later the emperors exerted a complete monopoly on staging public sporting championships, and used such events to gain political favor with the public
    Sportsmen - The general population engaged widely in sports, including men, women and children
    - The Stela of Amenhotep 2 found near in the Great Sphinx is proof that sports were practiced by nobles as well as the general population
    - The oldest historical inscriptions relating to sport were found in Saqqara, depicting Zoser himself participating in the running marathon of the Heb Sed festival,
    - Professional Gladiators, slaves and convicted criminals were the main contestants in the brutal sports events which often ended in death. Gladiators were trained in special schools, The Ludus Magnus was a school connected to the Coliseum by an underground tunnel.
    - Free Roman citizens did not practice these life threatening sports, but instead risked the lives of their slaves.
    Popular Sports
    - Combat sports - wrestling, boxing and stick fighting
    - Athletics - weightlifting, long jump, shooting, knife and javelin throwing
    - Running - marathons were recorded in a number of ancient texts, these running contests played a part in the coronation festivals of Pharaohs, the new king used to run in these ceremonies to reveal his physical strength to the public.
    - Ball games - hockey and handball. Balls were fashioned from compressed papyrus fibers covered with leather, while bats were made of long palm-tree branches
    - Water sports - swimming, fishing and rowing
    - Archery - practiced by nobility for entertainment purposes
    - Acrobatics and dancing - were considered an honorable career for women and required a great degree of grace and athleticism.
    - Chariot races - were the most popular of the Roman games, chariots were pulled by two or four horses, and were driven seven times around the ring at extremely fast speeds. Deadly accidents happened on a regular basis
    - Gladiator fights - death combats between humans, using weapons such as long shields, short swords and helmets The winning Gladiator could raise a hand if wanting to forfeit, then the audience would decide to let leave or stay and die.
    - Animal hunts - these involved exotic creatures and wild animals that fought humans
    Level of Violence - Many of today's sports were practiced by the Ancient Egyptians in a primitive manner, surprisingly modern day sports are quite similar to their Egyptian equivalents
    - Egyptian sports were peaceful in nature, their intention was physical fitness, as well as pleasure and recreation.
    - Ancient Roman sports were very brutal involving shocking levels of violence
    - Many people died in Roman sporting events
    - Spectators watched people suffer and killed for amusement
    Sports Buildings - Egyptians practiced this sports in open air, no public buildings where erected to host these events - The Amphitheatre was the centre of Gladiator fights, the best-known amphitheatre in the world is the Coliseum of Rome.
    - The Hippodrome was an ancient Roman arena used to hold chariot racing. The most famous arena was the Circus Maximus, which was 600 meters long and 200 meters wide, with a capacity of 250,000 people