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Medieval Islamic games

By |2018-05-08T15:25:26-07:00July 23rd, 2017|Africa, Games, Islam, West Asia|

Medieval Islamic games: Muslims playing chess in Spain Chess from India The big new game of the Islamic Empire was chess. The Arabs learned to play chess from the Sassanians when they conquered them, and probably the Sassanians learned chess from people in India. Indian people themselves seem to have learned at least some version [...]

Hero and Leander – a Greek story

By |2018-04-23T10:11:12-07:00July 14th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Leander swimming to Hero (from Pompeii) In this Greek version of an old story, Hero was a priestess of Aphrodite, whose father sent her to live alone in a tower on the European side of the Hellespont, in the town of Sestos. Leander was a young man who lived on the Asian side of [...]

Why don’t people of color swim?

By |2017-06-23T23:15:07-07:00June 23rd, 2017|Games, History|

A Tibetan swimming contest in the Kyichu River (1695 AD) In most of the world, people kept on swimming after 1500 AD pretty much the same way they had before 1500 AD. But in Europe, soon after 1500 AD, people almost completely stopped swimming. In 1567 AD, a Cambridge University student drowned swimming [...]

History of swimming in the Americas

By |2018-04-20T08:23:49-07:00June 23rd, 2017|Games, North America, South America|

Aztec swimmer from Teotihuacan (ca. 500 AD) The first people who came to the Americas probably already knew how to swim, as they got their food from fishing and gathering shellfish and seaweed. Aztec paintings from the 500s AD show swimmers using a flutter kick and possibly a crawl stroke. Arawak or [...]

Ancient Egyptian games: play and toys in ancient Egypt

By |2018-05-27T13:56:52-07:00June 14th, 2017|Africa, Egypt, Games|

Ancient Egyptian games:  knucklebones Egyptian board games: senet and mancala Ancient Egyptian games were a lot like some games people still play today. Some Egyptian games were traditional African games. (More about African games) The Egyptians learned other games from their West Asian neighbors. (More about West Asian games) People in ancient Egypt played [...]

Pearl Diving – History of Pearls

By |2018-04-08T11:21:51-07:00June 8th, 2017|Clothing|

A pearl inside an oyster Very early in human history, maybe around 100,000 years ago, many people lived along the coasts of Africa and lived mainly on seafood - seaweed, fish, clams, mussels, and oysters. This gave people a very easy, reliable (and delicious) food source. A mother-of-pearl necklace from Ancient Egypt(ca. [...]

Women in early China: swimming to foot-binding

By |2018-05-07T14:31:34-07:00June 6th, 2017|China, People|

Early Chinese women: A Chinese woman playing polo (T'ang Dynasty, 700s AD) China has always been influenced by the cultures to its south - India and Southeast Asia - where women have little power, status, or freedom. But China has also been influenced by the cultures to its north and west in Central [...]

Swimming in Ancient China – Chinese Games

By |2018-04-16T12:35:53-07:00June 6th, 2017|China, Games|

Zhou Dynasty swimmers (Sichuan bronze vessel, ca. 750 BC) The very first people to arrive in China from Africa about 50,000 BC probably already knew how to swim. People in China were certainly swimming by the time of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, about 750 BC, because the Book of Odes has a proverb [...]