Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD REFERENCE ( (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single entry from a reference work in OR for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 20 January 2021

ball games 

The Oxford Classical Dictionary
Frederick Adam WrightFrederick Adam Wright, Antony J. S. SpawforthAntony J. S. Spawforth

Playing with a ball (σφαῖρα) was at least as old as *Homer (Od. 6. 100, 8. 370). It is shown in Athenian art, notably two late Archaic reliefs, one (Athens 3476) apparently showing a throw-in from the touch-line in a team game, the other (Athens 3477) what looks like a hockey match; a black-figure vase (London B182a) depicts ball-play by piggyback. Sparta was credited with the invention of ball-play (Ath. 1. 14); a Spartan wrote a lost work on the subject (Ath. 1. 15c), and the ephebes of imperial times fielded 14-strong teams of ball-players (... ...

Access to the complete content on Oxford Reference requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.