Ancient Egyptian Recreation.
Evidence of ancient Egyptian recreation in the form of depictions and artifacts show that the ancient Egyptians were not just about spending their days toiling in the fields or lugging two tonne stones on a pyramid construction site. They did allow themselves some down-time also.
So what does an ancient Egyptian do when they have some time off from work?
Although fishing was a living for some, it was a pastime as well. Drawings from the Old and New kingdom display fishing in a recreational context.
In fact, this evidence suggests that the Egyptians were the first to fish for pleasure.
Many different fishing artifacts such as rods and various types of hooks have been unearthed to show the versatility of their equipment. Fishing for survival was traditionally carried out with a net or spear, while the angler used a rod and line.
With the advent of farming and agriculture, hunting for survival became obsolete in ancient Egypt. It did make good sport for the nobility and pharaohs though.
Long before European monarchs took to the woods in top hats a rifle and a blood hound, pharaohs hunted gazelle, hares and antelopes from chariots. They also used dogs, some of which, found in ancient drawings resemble a greyhound type of breed.
Lions were also hunted with a bow and arrow from a chariot. The archaeologist JH Breasted, recorded the ancient records of Egypt in which it is mentioned that Amenhotep III hunted and killed fierce lions; 102 to be exact.
The ancient Egyptians enjoyed their sport. Many athletic events and some team sports have descended from this land of long ago.
One team sport was very similar to hockey. Wielding clubs made of palm branches, they would hit a ball made of leather stuffed with papyrus and stitched.
The bow and arrow was not only used in hunting and warfare but as sport as well. One of the oldest sports, archery was practiced in ancient Egypt. The contestants were judged on accuracy on the target as well as strength to pull the bow.
The Nile provided calm waters for another of ancient Egypt's more popular sports; swimming.
Some of the wealthier classes had pools built for princes to learn and practice the sport.
Just chilling out.
We have looked at some of the more vigorous activities and sports that ancient Egyptians indulged in, but what about those a little less physical.
Not all pastimes involved raising the heart rate. The ancient Egyptians also had their own board games. The most popular of these was the game Senet.
There were thirty spaces on a rectangular board and the game symbolised the passage of the deceased through the netherworld.
It was a popular game, so much so that Tutankhamun's tomb held four examples of Senet.
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