Body and Mind: Sport in Europe from the Roman Empire to the Renaissance (Sport in the Global Society)
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This is the first book to address the gap in the literature linking the physical culture of the ancient world with the beginnings of modern sport, this original book traces the history of the evolution of a variety of sport, games and physical education from 450-1650AD across Western Europe.
Drawing on primary sources, this book takes a thematic approach, looking at the changing nature of geopolitical structures, educational systems, religious institutions and the practice of warfare and medicine and goes on to trace the disappearance of ancient physical culture with its gymnasia, gladiators and chariot races, the invention of a new physical culture based on chivalry around 1000AD, the transformation of that culture in the Renaissance, and its disappearance around 1650 under the influences of new science.
Offering a new and original perspective on the relationship between sport and society, this unique study will be of great interest to all historians of sport and culture.
for pleasure, can be analysed, i.e. in the literal sense of the term, deconstructed into its component parts, in the same way as scientific phenomena and purely mental pursuits; and that these parts can then be classified and organized into a pedagogy. In short, that hunting with falcons – and by extension all forms of physical sport – can be apprehended intellectually and executed by applying sound a priori concepts grounded in reason and personal experience.21 Other books on hunting would
athletic (mis)adventures of a certain Philomathius who was of the highest senatorial class but was now too old and out of shape to play this strenuous game with men who were half his age (Letters, Loeb, 5.17). When in the sixth century Gregory of Tours compares his poor skills at writing Latin to a sluggish donkey running into the middle of a ball game (‘asinus segnis inter spheristarum ordinem celeri volatu discurrat’, Gregory 1922: 5), the clear implication is that ball play is the preserve of
length of ‘exercises that are apt to the furniture of a gentleman’s personage’. The two lists are not identical, though there is a good deal of overlap, but the point is the diversity of sports that had become available to the physically active noble in a short period of time. Humanistic research into ancient sport had validated as athletic pursuits running, swimming, wrestling, and long-jumping, heretofore restricted to peasants or to single-minded knights in training like Boucicaut (1985/1400).
articulated. Second, tournaments were organized to coincide with the signing of peace treaties and pacts of mutual assistance, and as such were enactments of battles that might have taken place if there had been no pact or no treaty. But just as Von Clausewitz advanced a famous proposition about war being ‘the continuation of 102 Sport in the service of res publica the political process by the adjunction of other means’,6 the function of the sham battles that the Medici and Henri organized
can best be understood by taking that dictum and adding a codicil to it: ‘tournaments are the continuation of war by other means’. That is, tournaments were also symbolic of battles that might still take place if any of the signatories failed to live up to the terms of the agreement (McClelland 1997b). Not so much war without weapons as weapons without war, at least for the time being, as in the ancient epics. There is evidence that as much as two years before his fatal joust, Henri had envisaged