Ancient Games


Ancient Games is a fascinating journey through the history of sports and games. We begin with Ancient Egypt and the expectations of warriors and pharaohs. Just imagine rowing jousts in the Nile, where crocodiles and hippopotamus lie waiting! The MesoAmerican civilisations bet on their games, including board games. The conquering Europeans banned their ball games that were seen to be pagan. We know a little of the Roman amphitheatres, yet these arena also presented ‘wild animal hunts and even naval battles involving water and real ships’! The small cities in the Greek countryside were the first competing groups in the Ancient Greek games which developed into our modern Olympic games.

Through fluent timelines and clearly indexed geographical and historical sections, Iris Volant and Avalon Nuovo, present fascinating information about Ancient Games. There is so much to learn and wonder upon. This book also shares the development of games we play today, and those we have lost. Furthermore, we learn of the sporting superstars of history, and reasons at why people have always practised, competed and played.

Ancient Games is a brilliant resource for the classroom, but also a really interesting book to read. We love this series and recommend this title highly.


Ancient Games

A History of Sports and Gaming

Iris Volant & Avalon Nuovo

(Flying Eye Books)– hardback

The team behind Ancient Wonders return with Ancient Games. It seems as though games and sports have been played for thousands of years. In fact, the first evidence of sporting competition is from 9,000 year old cave paintings! While sport was played for competition and celebration, it was encouraged as a way of keeping fit. Ancient Egyptians, for example, ‘practised archery and spear-throwing and played strength ages such as boxing, wrestling and weightlifting’. Yet think of historical sporting equipment! Consider  stadia and practice pitches! Aztec annual pole-climbing contests featured 15 metre tree trunks! Viking board games included pieces made of ‘amber, bronze, wood and even whale and walrus teeth‘! What of games lost to history, that might be revived? One such could be the Mesoamerican  ball game of umama. Maybe the Korean game of Tuho is a possibility! You’d just need a ‘pitch pot‘.
Iris Volant and Avalon Nuovo feature the Ancient Greek games that formed our Olympic games. What of chariot racing, the Colosseum and the East Asian games?  Did you know, for example, that golf, cards and football are thought to have originated in China?  Furthermore, who are the famous sporting superstars of history? What of Milo of Croton, the lady of Yue, or even William Marshall?
We love the way this book is organised so that it is ordered in time and location. Thereafter, explanations, additional facts and features are included. It concludes with how games and sports feature in our lives today, with a broad timeline and clear index. Altogether, Ancient Games is a thoroughly readable, fluent and informative resource which we recommend highly.


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