Ancient Greek boxing facts for kids
Boxer resting after contest (bronze sculpture, 300–200 BCE).
|Also known as||Ancient Olympic boxing|
|Country of origin||Greece|
Most sources about ancient Greek boxing are fragmentary or legendary, making it difficult to reconstruct the rules, customs and history surrounding this activity in great detail. Still, it is clear that gloved boxing bouts were a significant part of ancient Greek athletic culture throughout the early classical period.
There are numerous legends about the origins of boxing in Greece. One legend holds that the heroic ruler Theseus invented a form of boxing in which two men sat face to face and beat each other with their fists.
In time, the boxers began to fight while standing and wearing gloves and wrappings on their arms below the elbows, but otherwise they fought naked.
The rules for the sport were:
- No holds or wrestling
- Any type of blow with the hand was allowed but no gouging with the fingers
- No ring was used
- There were no rounds or time limits
- The winner was decided when one fighter gave up or could not move
- No weight-classes, opponents were selected by chance
- Judges enforced the rules by beating offenders with a switch
- Fighters could opt to exchange blows undefended if the fight lasted too long
Unlike modern boxing, the Greeks did not enclose the competitors in a ring to encourage fighting in close quarters.
Therefore, most boxers fought defensively as opposed to offensively to encourage patience and caution. In addition, boxing in Ancient Greece was not divided into individual rounds. Competitors fought until finish, usually by surrender or mutual exhaustion.
Images for kids
Minoan youths boxing (1500 BC), earliest evidence for use of gloves
Ancient Greek boxing Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.