Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Some Things Never Change

April 5th, 2010 · No Comments


Staying on the ancient sports theme, we’d like to call your attention to the clip above, which depicts the not-so-delicate art of bull leaping. (We’ve got it cued up to the good stuff, so click away in the knowledge that you’ll be wasting zero time.) What fascinates us about this sport is not so much its danger, but rather its age—jumping over charging male cattle was basically the Minoans’ version of basketball. The full knowledge here, including this lovely tidbit:

There was apparently more than one technique: the frontal leap over the horns, which seems to have given way to an elevated leap from above, and also a vault from the side…Given the contextualized nature of Minoan art—at most, some scens depict an unsuccessful figure lying prostate on the ground under or near a bull—it is hard to say whether the participants were voluntary elite males and females, impetuous young men trying to showtheir courage, professional acrobatic performers at court, or captives and slaves enduring a dangerous ordeal.

What we do know, however, is that the ancients were mad for bull leaping, to the extent that they celebrated the sport on toothbrushes. Sound familiar?

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