Class Notes (1,100,000)
CA (620,000)
York (40,000)
HIST (1,000)
Lecture 2

HIST 3838 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Class Conflict, The Jockey Club, Social Forces

Course Code
HIST 3838
Colin Mc Mahon

of 7
September 16, 2016
Sport History 3838
Lecture 2
Todays Themes
1. Pre-modern traditions of sport (religion, politics, militarism)
2. Class, gender and play in Early Modern Europe
3. Commercialized Leisure and Sport of the 18th Century
4. Key approaches to analyzing the shift to modern sport
Ball games were played with hands, ball, feet, sticks and bats in different ways
Mesoamerican Ball Games
Elastic bouncing ball passed with hands, feet, sticks
Games played in large stadiums (the most famous in Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital
15,000 ball courts discovered in the region by Archaeologists
Such courts were like temples, with games linked to religious practices, calendars, and
creation stories
The Spanish supressed these games
Most disturbing thing encountered was the ball itself
- Ball made of latex , though it had devilish features because it was hard and
could bounce. Thought people were playing with the devil
Olympics of Ancient Greece
Began in 77g BCE, the games were sacred games, honouring the Gods- Zeus, Apollo,
200 metre dash, 400 metre, 2 miles
3 Combative events: wrestling, boxing and “pancrataion”
3 field events, discus, javelin and long jump
Also featuring poetry, drama and dance
These are more individual events, the “ball” was pretty much absent in Greek sport
Olympics divided into phases
Sport was form of expression and religious devotion
Different between modern and ancient sport
- Modern = more team sports
- Ancient = more individual
Roman Chariot racing
Perhaps the oldest spectacular sport in Rome, chariot racing dates back at least to the sixth
century BCE
Races were part of funeral games and had religious ties
Later, races were also held on non-feast days when sponsored by magistrates and other
Roman dignitaries
Roman charioteers began as slaves but could earn enough to buy freedom
find more resources at
find more resources at
Romans used sport as part of their funeral games
As Roman empire expand, leaders in society started to use sport to support themselves
- Were slaves, prisoners of war or criminals
- They were outsiders in roman society
- They had to entertain the audience
- Gladiatorial Combat was a way for outsiders to show that they too are civilized
- These sports gladiators took place in were fierce and brutal sports
A Day at the Arena
Began with procession
Followed by musical performances
Exotic animal displays, staged hunts
Executions of criminals
Individual gladiatorial combats
(120,000 people could sit in the arena)
Roman Ball Games
Expulsum Ludere: a game like modern handball played in Sphaerista (indoor ball courts)
Harpastum, a game like rugby played in outdoor fields called Palaestra with a hard ball,
involving kicking, catching, tackling, running and dodging opponents
Thought to be military training exercise
Sport was used to train for combat
European Sport in the middle Ages
Sport had many functions
Fewer large spectacles of sport
Focus was on sport relating to military cultures
Jousting and archery contests, hunts sponsored by political elites (played by mainly young
Bowls and animal fighting popular among the lower ranks
Sport came more and more tied to military culture
Sport among lower orders was practices, played and performed
Hunting = sport practiced mostly by elites. Elites has leisure time and could kill animals for
leisure time and pleasure, didn’t have to kill animals for food
King Edward IV of England (1477 Statue)
“ No person shall practice anty unlawful games such as dice, quoits, football and such
games, but that every strong and able-bodied person shall practice with the bows for the
reason that the nation defence depends upon such bowmen
Class, Gender, and Play in European Early modern Societies
Greater variety of leisure time activities compared to the medieval period
Class and gender Hierarchies, these are given expression through sport more and more
See sport primarily being played on a local level
Use sport as a way of maintaining an identity
find more resources at
find more resources at
Community festivals and games
Fields of play
Class Hierarchies and Sport
Class restricts access to some groups (what they can afford to play)
Depending on class there are “values” you have to practice, so it is looked down upon to
play certain and more violent sports
Class is reconstructed in sport
The lower popular classes: played versions of football, rugby, horseshoes, bowls, billiards
- Wrestling, boxing, cudgelling
- Animal fighting, bull baiting, bear baiting
In the early modern period no distinction between different types of play
Aristocratic Athletes
Landed aristocracy enjoyed corporeal practices (hunting, duelling, fencing, horses, bowling,
tennis, archery)
Central to hunting, war and early human survival
Firearms replaced the bow and by the 18th century archery became a recreational activity
Toxophilite Society, 1781, patronized by Prince Wales
Combined target archery with lavish banquets
A social event more than a competitive sport
Society of British Bowmen, 1787
There were 74 members: 37 ladies, 37 gentlemen
Cost money to be in club, but women did NOT have to pay fees
No one could join without a ballot of the members
One guinea a year plus one guinea for each meeting, no fee for ladies
Ladies could participate if it was considered leisurely and NOT competitive, it was not
deemed unfeminine to perform in these uncompetitive activates
Archer’s uniform mandatory
Each year the Lady Paramount would be in charge of all female members and fining any for
Sport was a leisure pursuit
Archery out of fashion by the 1820s
Archery stayed in Olympic games for the first 20 years…then emerged in the 1970s
Grace and Decorum
Women encouraged to be graceful in sport
Working class women would never be playing archery
BUT working class women would play for physically demanding sports
“It is the only field diversion they can enjoy without incurring the centre of being thought
Gender and Play
Like class, gender was created and reproduced through games and sport
Working class women could play different games then the other women in other classes
find more resources at
find more resources at