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Roman games were much like Greek games, but there was more physical contact sports such as Gladiator combats, man against beast, and water battles.
Chariot races were the same as the Greek chariot races. Rome had many different types of chariots. Biage were chariots pulled by two horses, and quadrigae chariots were pulled by four horses. Each race had 12 chariots going on one track at once. The racers would take 7 laps around the arena which would be a total of 5 miles long. Teams of four chariots would be either red, blue, green, or red in the chariot racing.
Gladiators combat was where two men fought until one was dead. The gladiators would be armed with a weapon to make the battle more interesting. The gladiators were usually slaves or captives. Rich people would pay gladiators to go to school that taught them to fight. Many gladiators had armor mostly on their arm area or their legs. Some gladiators didn’t have any armor but just a weapon and a shield. Some times they would flood the arena with water and have battles with ships. Alligators would be in the water so that when a gladiator fell off he would get eaten by the alligator. Another reason why the arena would be flooded was because they would face crocodiles as well. Man against beast battle was when one man fights with a snake, a deer, a lion, a bear, or even an elephant.
Roman Ball was more of a recreational sport. The rules as described by W.J.Kowalski on the Internet is : “There were 2 concentric circles on the ground, 5 feet and 20 feet in diameter. Players ( 3 or more ) stand or run anywhere outside the large circle. The ball must bounce in the inner circle and pass beyond the outer circle. If the ball is not caught and hits the ground, the thrower gets a point. The player who catches or retrieves the ball throws it next. The first player to get 21 points wins. The player with the ball may run around the circle and try to catch his opponents out of position. The player who catches or retrieves the ball may return to the circle quickly and he becomes the thrower. The first throw may be taken by anyone, and should be thrown standing still. The game begins on the second throw. If the ball goes pass the outer circle the throw should be replayed.” Children and adults could play this game and it was very popular. They called the !
game ball or ball-playing.
Towards the decline of the Roman empire, the Romans became good at archery and even kings began to enjoy it, but sometimes they were cruel. The story goes, that the Emperor Commodus shot ostriches with a special arrow and at gladiator combats, he sat in his royal box with a bow and arrow. From there he watched men being chased by wild animals, like lions, and leopards, and just when the animal was about to jump on the gladiator he shot his arrow and killed it. To him, this was a sport.
There were many sports in Greece such as foot racing, chariot racing, boxing, horse racing, racing, wrestling, javelin & discus, and the long jump.
There were three different types of foot racing. The first was the long race or as they called it, a Dolichos. The runners would have to run two laps around a stadium. The second race was a stade race which was a sprint six-hundred foot sprint down the stadium. The third race was called the double stade race or Diaulos. It was the same as the stade race but was twice as long. Instead of six-hundred feet it would double to one-thousand two-hundred feet which was two times the length of the stadium.
Chariot races were held in a Hippodrome which was an open, large, flat, rectangular shaped arena. The chariots were moved up to an aphesis or the starting gate. After the announcer announces all the competitors and the trumpeters signal the start, the chariots go off. They race real fast but collisions would rarely happen. The Greeks took chariot racing seriously such as in the story of a king named Oinomaos. He had a daughter named Hippodaneia.
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Chariots, Animal-powered vehicles, Panhellenic Games, Chariot, Indo-European, Iron Age, Ancient Olympic Games, Roman Empire, Gladiator, Hippodrome, Track and field, Ancient Egypt
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