For thousands of years, different variations of handball have been played all over the world. The game was played for over four thousand years ago, in ancient Rome, and is known to be one of the oldest ball games.
It is believed that the ancient Egyptians used to play a variety of ball games. Various drawings found at Saqqara made by the Egyptians during that period depict inhabitants playing handball. The handballs used in that period were designed to be both light and durable. They were specifically made from leather skin stuffed with hay or other plant fibers.
The game was known as expulsim ludere, during the Roman Empire and was played on courts called sphaeristas. It is also believed that the person behind the popularity among Greek colonies was Alexander the Great. The popularity of the game went on to spread in other countries of the Roman Empire. Though, the exact details of the game is not known, but it is believed it was similar to one-wall handball.
During the middle ages the game of handball was called jeux de paume (palm play) in France. The game was known to be popular among noblemen and peasants. The ball used in the game was made from pieces of tightly-rolled cloth stitched together. However, as the game evolved,players started using gloves for more forceful hitting of the ball. Eventually, players began using items, which resembled early tennis rackets.
It is believed that the game of handball is considered to be more than three thousand years old. Various drawing, painting and sculptures found at archaeological sites in many parts of Central America, depicts handball players. Out of all these games, the one that closely resemble the modern handball game is Rebotea a mano con pelota dura, or “Hardball pelota rebounded with the hand”. Chichimeca people are believed to be the first players of this game. Many ancient ruins sites along with the multitude of art, depicts the game as an important part of life for these ancient cultures.
However, over the years, handball is believed to be an increasingly popular sport. Which explains its inclusion in the Olympic Games. Today, many international tournaments are solely dedicated to the game of handball.