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History of sports in ancient Rome

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History of Sports in Ancient Rome - Summary


Since the beginning of civilization, elements have always been sought by which to maintain a series of rivalries without the need to declare war on other countries or kingdoms. Already in ancient Greece, sport was a way of competing between the various Hellenic cities. In this lesson from a TEACHER we bring you the history of sports in ancient Rome to know the civic life of this imposing civilization.

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  1. The concept of war for the Romans
  2. The Roman Coliseum
  3. The roman circus
  4. Competitions in Rome
  5. The Roman Baths

The concept of war for the Romans.

We begin with the history of sports in ancient Rome, mentioning an essential element to understand the way of life in Rome and why it would manage to dominate Europe.

Undoubtedly, war for the Roman was an indispensable element within social and political life, if we take into account that even senators and aristocrats had to carry out a military service to be able to obtain the glory and with it the sufficient reputation to rise within the social hierarchy Roman.

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In the same way, and once the way was opened to the lower classes to join the army, there would be many people who, seeking an improvement in their quality of life, enlisted to fight far away from their land.

Undoubtedly, this desire for violence would also be included in sport performed by the Romans, since it was that violence that made the Romans special, without underestimating their technical qualities that have been demonstrated throughout the centuries, as is the example of its impeccable architecture.

History of sports in ancient Rome - Summary - The concept of war for the Romans

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The Roman Coliseum.

The Roman Coliseum It is the most well-known building throughout history and it amazes the visitor when it is in the same arena of the game. The amphitheater, as it is also known, was the place where the bloodiest activities of the Empire such as the following:

Fight of wild animals against people

They are the well-known fights between slaves or prisoners of death and countless beasts, among which the lions, leopards and even elephants stood out. These used to be performances by which the emperor executed prisoners. They were very common at the beginning of Christianity to end the lives of many of them.

Gladiator fight

Without a doubt, hethe best known of the Roman world. In these they faced slaves who had been trained for hand-to-hand combat. These slaves, used to be prisoners of war or prisoners who had been sold to the businessmen in charge of providing the amphitheaters with this type of festivities.

In these clashes, the gladiators fought each other, seeking to survive; if they succeeded during a series of battles they could even take freedom. They could be differentiated:

  • Rectiarius- Agile gladiators armed with a trident and a net.
  • Myrmillion: They were the heavy gladiators and carried weapons of protection.
  • Thracian: they had a small shield and a sword.

Naval battles

On some occasions, the sand was flooded with water to be able to recreate some naval battles that had happened in reality. For this they put replicas of ships and in them they dumped prisoners and gladiators. These battles were to the death as well.

Image: Slideplayer

The Roman circus.

We can relate it to the current racetrack, except that the races that took place there were chariots. Each race consisted of 7 laps in which the participants, who on many occasions were kids 12-14 (for its weight), they had to complete this without having mishaps.

In most cases, the chariots overturned and both the cars and the pilots were left very badly, if they did not die. This was undoubtedly what the people who were going to see the show liked the most. The winner, received a palm leaf, in addition to a bag of gold and as today, bets were made by the different teams, being the owners of the horses in the vast majority of cases the richest men in Rome.

History of Sports in Ancient Rome - Summary - The Roman Circus

Image: Slideshare

Competitions in Rome.

Continuing with the history of sports in ancient Rome, we have to mention that, as in Greece, athleticism It was very well regarded, especially the javelin throw, the discus throw, the ball game, as they were fundamental characteristics of every good warrior.

Therefore, more than a game or sport, we must know that, in the same military academies, promoted this series of practices to take skills that would later have to be tested in the field of battle.

The Roman Baths.

We end this lesson on the history of sports in ancient Rome by commenting on a building that at first we would not conceive of as a place to practice sports. The hot springs were the place where wealthy people went to socialize with other people, while enjoying both hot and cold water baths, saunas and even massages.

Well no: in addition to that, the great baths such as those of Diocletian (302), served much more, it is known that even within these imposing buildings there was a library section, which could be freely consulted.

Therefore, the work of the body was fundamental in times of war, therefore, these buildings had a kind of gyms in the exteriors of the same, where the youngest competed with each other and within this, the ball game (similar to the pediment), it was one of the most famous.

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