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Handball- Its Fascinating History
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James W Kelly

 
By James W Kelly
Published on February 10, 2009
 
Handball has been around us for thousands of years. There are evidences that signifies that the sport was also played in its various forms in the ancient world. It is in fact one of the oldest ball games, that was being played in Egypt over four thousand years ago, as well as in ancient Rome, and many South American cultures.

Handball has been around us for thousands of years. There are evidences that signifies that the sport was also played in its various forms in the ancient world. It is in fact one of the oldest ball games, that was being played in Egypt over four thousand years ago, as well as in ancient Rome, and many South American cultures.

The ancient Egyptians have played a variety of ball games. Drawings of Egyptians playing handball can be found at the old tombs at Saqqara, which depict girls in teams of two playing the game. Balls that were used in Egyptian handballs were light and durable. They were believed to be made of a leather skin stuffed with hay or other plant fibers such as papyrus.

In the Roman Empire, the game was known as expulsim ludere, which was played on courts called sphaeristas. The history says that Alexander the Great was responsible for spreading the game amongst Greek colonies in Italy in the first millennium BC, and from there it spread to other countries of the Roman Empire.

Handball was also played in France during the Middle Ages. It was called jeux de paume (palm play), and was popular with both nobility and peasants. Their ball was made from pieces of tightly-rolled cloth stitched together, and once the game evolved gloves were used to allow more forceful hitting of the ball.

Handball has been around the Americans over three thousand years. American handball has its root in Mexico. Handball players are depicted on painted pottery items, sculptures, and wall paintings are found at archeological sites in many parts of Central America.

Handball has been a popular game since the ancient times and it continues to be one of the most popular sports in modern times as well. It has become part of the Olympic Games, and many international tournaments are dedicated to handball.