Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Andrew Bisset explains how the Greeks maintained their strength:

The Greeks in their early and healthy state paid the greatest possible attention to the cultivation of bodily strength and activity by instituting public contests in running, leaping, wrestling, boxing, and throwing the quoit. And it is not unworthy of note that the prize was made of small value that the combatants might be animated by the love of distinction not of sordid gain.

Wait, quoits?

On its website, the United States Quoiting Association explains that poorer citizens in ancient Greece, who could not afford to buy a real discus, made their own by bending horseshoes — which in those days weighed as much as 4 pounds each. The practice was adopted by the Roman army and spread across mainland Europe to Britain.

The aim of the sport remained as a competition to see who could throw the object the furthest, until at some later, undocumented point in history, perhaps around a few centuries A.D., the idea of using a wooden stake or metal pin driven into the ground, to use specifically as a target to throw at, totally redefined the pastime from a game of distance to a game of accuracy.

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