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WHAT IS THE OLDEST SPORT? Mystery Revealed By An Ancient Text

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

We will demonstrate in this article that wrestling is the world's oldest recognized sport. Humans have been fascinated by sports since ancient times. As mankind's oldest and most basic form of combat, wrestling dates back to the dawn of ancient civilization. Evidence is found in tombs, cave drawings, statues, slabs of stone, and ancient instructional text.

Running is the most natural human activity, so you may think it is running. Even the earliest known sporting event, the Olympics, included running. As you trace signs of human existence, you'll find that wrestling is the oldest known sport!

Why wrestling is the oldest recognized sport in the world:

1) The sport was introduced into the ancient Olympics in 708 BC

2) The Palaeolithic cave paintings depicting wrestlers found in Lascaux Cave in southwestern France date back more than 15,000 years

3) The oldest carvings and drawings found in caves in southern Europe are estimated to be 15,000 to 20,000 years old.

4) 5,000 years ago, the Sumerians carved wrestlers on stone slabs

5) There were two bronze statuettes of wrestlers found in the ruins of Khafaji, dating from 2600 B.C.

6) Paintings of wrestlers dating approximately 2500 B.C. have been found in tombs of kings and high officials in Egypt.

Not only is wrestling the oldest sport, but it also has indisputable artifacts.

According to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, a Papyrus ancient text with instructions was written in Greek on an 18-inch wide fragment of papyrus and dated between 100 and 200 A.D. It’s such a historical find! It’s the oldest written instruction on any sport known to man to date.

Papyrus instructional text written in Greek dated between 100 to 200 AD

The wrestling instruction document is displayed at Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

A couple of graduate students from Oxford University in England found the document in Egypt in the late 1800s. The site was discovered in a region southwest of Cairo that had been favored by Greek colonists.

The Greek word "pleckson" appears throughout the text. In a translation published by Yale University Press in 1987, that word translates as "fight it out."

Here of some of the translated instructions:

• "Stand to the side of your opponent and with your right arm take a headlock and fight it out.”

•”You underhook with your right arm. You wrap your arm around his, where he has taken the underhook, and attack the side with your left foot. You push away with your left hand. You force the hold and fight it out.”

•”You stand up to his side, attack with your foot and fight it out.”

Bringing Home The Hardware

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