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AE Sports

 
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Segereh
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 9:05 am    Post subject: AE Sports Reply with quote

Came across the following rather coincidentally. Thought it was nice to see "Olympic disciplines" happening in Egypt, way before the Greek era already. Does anyone here know a little more about sport in Ancient Egypt? I'm not quite a jock and I never really payed much attention to such things (if mentioned), but still, now I'm intruiged. Smile

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A number of literary and iconographic sources from Egypt and Mesopotamia, starting approximately about 3000 BC and on, indicate the existence of athletic activities. Egypt and Mesopotamia did have regular sport meetings, in some even food was granted to the athletes. Although the competitive spirit was not unknown in such events, there is hardly any evidence that the aim of these contests was the recognition of outstanding individuals.


Sports in Egypt seem to have included wrestling, stick fighting, boxing, acrobatics, archery, equestrian events, boating and ball games. The oldest reliefs with wrestling scenes, dated from 2400 BC, decorated the tombs of Ptahotep and Akhethotep. There, the wrestlers are depicted naked, much alike later Greek wrestlers.



At Beni Hasan more than 4000 wrestling scenes were found, dated from 2000 BC. There, you can see a number of athletic movements and postures of athletes in pairs. The wrestlers, wearing belts, attempt to turn their opponents to their back by back or shoulder movements. I'll try to find some decent web-pictures for that one.

In a relief in the temple of Ramses III at Madinet Habu, Egyptians and foreigners are competing in wrestling and stick-fighting in front of the pharaoh. Whenever a score in falls is achieved, the Egyptian is proclaimed the successful competitor. In one case, there is evidence of interference by an official. In another scene, the Egyptian wrestler applies a choking neck hold to his opponent, possibly a foreigner. An inscription below refers to him warning: "Take care! You are in the presence of pharaoh". The defeated lays on the ground, whereas another raises his hands in victory.

Most likely, athletic festivals were limited to the court and athletic activities were mainly the concern of the members of the higher class. Egyptian texts reveal the importance of physical training for the pharaoh and the members of the court. An inscription about pharaoh Amenhotep II describes how he challenged other nobles to excel in bow shooting. A stone from Giza boasts: "that was a deed that had never been done before and which man had never heard of... except in the case of the King who is rich in glory". We are also told that Thutmose III's achievements in bow shooting "fulfil the wish of his followers for success in might and victory".
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anneke
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only sport I had seen depicted was chariot racing. There are the scenes from Amarna which showed the King, Queen and princesses participating.
I had mentioned before somewhere that they have found the remains of a stadium which includes a running track near the palace at Malkata.

Were most of these sports engaged in by nobles and royals? Would the common man have participated in these sports? Or would they have had their own events?
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anneke
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aren't there late 17th-early 18th dynasty palaces which had frecoes reminiscent of the Minoan culture? Including bull leaping? Would that be a sport or sacred ritual? (Or just a copy of foreign themes? Very Happy )
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anneke
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Almost forgot: They went hunting. Lion hunting, duck hunting...
But again this seems the be sport for the nobility.

They have found some of the workers villages. Any evidence there that the workers engaged in sports on their day off?
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