Sports in the Renaissance
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The Renaissance was a rebirth of Greek and Roman times. The Renaissance period was mixture of Greek and Roman ideas. The renaissance started in Italy, since it was the center of the Roman Empire. The Renaissance was a time of creativity and change in many different areas. As the Renaissance ideas grew and became popular, it soon spread over most of Europe. The Renaissance started in 1350, and ended in 1650. The topic I chose was sports. Sports in the renaissance were hard and rough, and even deadly in some sports.
The ancient Greek Olympic Games created wrestling. Wrestling made it’s Olympic start in the Games of 708 B.C. It was a much more violent, punishing sport in the early days, when it had closer ties to military training. Wrestling spread through the Roman world, and became popular in the Renaissance period. Grappling and wrestling have a long tradition in Europe. In the early 1500s, many soldiers, scholars, priests, and nobles wrote how wrestling was important in preparing aristocratic youth for military service. During the renaissance, wrestling remained popular in Europe and it was enjoyed. Many monarchs went to the wrestling matches for entertainment.
Jousting is a competition between two knights or men on horseback, and each knight tries to knock the other off his horse. Jousting was at its all-time high popularity in the 14th to 16th century. The two knights that were going head to head were equipped with three weapons. A lance, a one-handed sword, and a shield. When one knight was knocked off his horse, he was considered the winner of the round. If both knights were knocked off their horse at the same time, it was considered a tie, and they would start a sword fight on the ground, and the last one standing was considered the winner. The knights usually jousted a best out of three matches. Jousting tournaments were held as military exercises between various nobles. Some tournaments started peacefully but often turned into bloody battles between rivals. Winning a tournament was a way for a lowborn knight to become popular and win riches.
The sport that was most popular among the middle class people was football and hurling. Football, in the renaissance, was played on a rectangular field, between two teams who defended the lines that marked the ends of the field. The object of the game was to throw the ball from player to player, moving forward, and eventually to throw it beyond the opponents goal-line. The defending side was allowed to tackle and kick. Football in the renaissance was much rougher in the renaissance period then it is today, with all sorts of injuries, anywhere from minor to fatal. Also football back then was very hectic. There were no limits to the number of players on the field. And also there were no lines on the field. Keep in mind they didn’t have any equipment in renaissance football. Football was called “a friendly game of fight.”
Hurling, which had two different versions, was as dangerous as football. The first form was played with a box ball. There were fifteen to thirty players per side, and the object of the game was to pick up the ball and run it through to the goal, passing the ball to teammates mates if tackled. This game is kind of like modern day rugby. The second version was played with wooden sticks and a ball. The ball was hit through the air and into a goal; it was kind of like modern day hockey.
The sports of renaissance times weren’t organized as much as they are today. Sports in the renaissance had barely any protection so it was very dangerous back then. Sports today have a lot more protection and are more organized then sports in the Renaissance. Sports and games took a big part of importance in the society of Europe. Sports weren’t just a sport, but a teaching and practicing skills that could be used for battle or survival. The government of Europe regulated sports. Those of rank were expected to take part because sporting events trained men for war. Sporting events were entertainment for all different kinds of people, anywhere from the low class to upper class. Sports in the Renaissance connects to present day sports because most of our present day sports have originated from the sports in the Renaissance for example Hockey originated from a form of Hurling, American football originated from hapastum, etc. Also as technology got better there is more protective equipment that makes sports safer and more organized.