Ancient Greek Recreation And Pasttimes: The Athenian philosophers strongly believed in the concept of the unity of mind and body and also in building up of the strong relationship of all forms of human qualities as well as skills.

These ancient philosophers gave equal importance to play activity as they felt that such activities were vital for the healthy physical as well as the social growth of children.

Ancient Greek corinthian

Ancient Greek Recreation And Pasttimes

It will be very interesting to note the importance of sports in the life of the ancient Greeks by quoting the thoughts of Plato who believed that education should be made compulsory and should begin with the right direction of children’s sports as he believed that the plays of childhood contributed immensely to the maintenance or non-maintenance of laws.

The ancient Greeks played games seriously as well as with full dedication, especially physical athletic competition. The Greeks attached a religious flavor to Ancient Greek Recreation And Pasttimes as well as leisure activities as they believed that they loved to see their people strong, fit, graceful human bodies, particularly boys’ and men’s bodies.

Girls playing knucklebones

Hence, one sure way of pleasing the gods was by exercising, to eating right, to oiling their skin, thereby creating a beautifully toned body that the gods would love. The ancient Greeks were fiercely competitive and one of the famous example of the same being the commencement of the Olympic Games.

Ancient Greece Games

Many of the games played in ancient Greece are included in the Olympics of today. Some of these games are boxing, weightlifting, and the pentathlon. Boxing was much the same in ancient Greece as it is today.

Boxers padded their hands in cloth and fought until one of them was knocked out. The pentathlon as the name suggests was made up of five different events: discus throwing, javelin throwing, wrestling, running, and long jumping.


All of these events are still included in the Olympics today. Another sport played by the ancient Greeks was the chariot racing which was some sort of a dangerous sport. Young men particularly from the rich families who didn’t need to work spent a lot of their time training for these competitions, and then the best of them were chosen to compete against the best young men from other cities.

Then they would all meet, at the Olympic Games or the Isthmian Games or elsewhere, and compete for prizes and for the favor of the gods. However, only men could compete.

Greek boys also played games which were not part of the Olympic Games, like field hockey. Greek boys usually played games without their clothes on and hence girls were not allowed to watch.

Apart from this, the ancient Greeks also played some less active games like dice and marbles, knucklebones, and checkers. Even while playing these games, the ancient Greeks were equally competitive as they had a belief that losing at games implied that the gods didn’t like them.

The Athenean Treasury

History has records showing the ancient Greek girls throwing balls, though the Greeks were much less interested in physical activity for girls. The girls from Sparta were believed to exercise naked, while their Athenian counterparts wore clothes.

Having said that, an important thing to note that women did not enjoy an equal status with men as far as enjoying leisure was concerned in spite of few women getting the benefit of decent education and participating in some of the athletic events as according to the ancient Greeks citizens involved only the men.