Ancient Greek Sports: Seven Sports That Continued with Interest

Sport was a very important activity in ancient Greece. Physical power; it was a sign of bravery, diligence, and discipline. On the other hand, physical fitness and physical health were also manifestations of high morale … Sports, which are required for physical and mental health, were also a means of social entertainment and competition. So which sport was popular in ancient Greece? Take a short journey in history and take a closer look at the seven sports that continued with great interest in ancient Greece.

Ancient Greek Sports and Olympics

The first Olympic Games were held in ancient Greece in 776 BC. With the Olympic Games held in a crowded arena, the view of sports as a form of entertainment emerged in ancient Greece. Some “star athletes” even had passionate fanatics!

Ancient Greek sports shows and competitions were not limited to the Olympics. A sporting event was held with almost all the spectators gathering. During festivals, festivals and coronations for the gods, sports organizations were always held.

However, in ancient Greece there was no team sport, only individual sports. Also, women were not allowed to participate in the competition. In some cases, married women were even forbidden to watch the competition!

1. Chariot race

Ancient Greek sports

Chariot racing was one of the first sports to appear in ancient Greece. Origin BC It dates back to the 1600s. The horse-drawn chariot race reached the BC Olympics. Incorporated in 680. During the race, tank drivers typically used carts pulled by four or two horses.

The race lasted 24 laps in the Hippodrome. Not only was it popular, it was also a highly competitive sport. For these reasons, chariot racing has become a dangerous sport and can be seriously injured or even dead over time.

2. Horse racing

Ancient Greek sports

Horse racing, on the other hand, participated in the Olympics in BC. Incorporated in 648. The race was held on a 1.2km long track. The jockey was chosen from among the young slaves. Meanwhile, they used a whip and bridle to steer the horse. But unlike today, they rode horses without abumi or saddles …

3. Running

Running was a very important sport for the ancient Greeks. Even in BC. It was the only sport in the Olympic Games from 776 to 726. The Greeks especially liked the sprint, called the “stadium,” which took place at a distance of 200 meters. “Stadium” was a unit of length in ancient Greece. In the next period, in addition to the 200-meter running competition, races of various lengths were added. Of these races, the 400-meter and 7.5-9-kilometer races were also very popular … but there was another popular running competition in ancient Greece. In a race called “Hopritodromos,” athletes in military uniform ran to imitate Greek soldiers and challenged runners …

4. Wrestling

The wrestling competition held in ancient Greece was a little different from today. For example, the rule of winning a match with the opponent’s shoulder on the ground has not yet come out. Therefore, if the wrestler can throw his opponent three times in the air, he can win the match. Also, unlike today’s wrestling, there was no rule to divide athletes according to their weight and regulate the competition accordingly.

5. Pentathlon

Pentathlon is the Greek word for “pentathlon” (5) and athlone (competition). Many of today’s athletics games in ancient Greece were not held alone. The Greeks generally regarded these sports together and as a single sport. In ancient Greek pentathlon; “long jump”, “javelin throw”, “disc throw”, “run” and “wrestling” competitions were held. In today’s pentathlon, “swimming,” “shooting,” “riding,” “fencing,” and “running” competitions are held.

6. Boxing

Unlike modern boxing, ancient Greek boxing had no time limit. To end the fight, one side had to be able to give up or continue the fight! Like wrestling competitions, boxing competitions had no classification. Ancient Greek boxers, on the other hand, did not wear gloves, unlike today’s boxers. Instead, they wrapped a leather strap called “Himantes” around their wrists and entered the ring!

7. Pankration

Ancient Greek sports

Pankration is an ancient Greek word meaning “perfect power” and “perfect victory.” This concept; we can define it as a “little ruleless” version of mixed martial arts. For the “freedom” that sports provide to fighters in competition. Punches, kicks, knee kicks, elbows, and even strangling opponents were allowed. However, biting opponents was strictly forbidden, which was the only rule of Pankration Sports. It was a bloody and ruthless sport in which athletes’ combat skills and thresholds of their tolerance to pain were measured.

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