People love extreme sports. They are adrenaline junkies. As a matter of fact, many of the sports we have today find their roots in those gruesome sports presented in this list. Of course these days people don’t generally lose their life playing soccer. But the adrenaline rush is still the same. (so don’t try these at home). These are the 25 most intense sports of the ancient world.
At the top of our extreme sports list, comes Ulama. Although this sport is still popular in parts of Central America, the original game created by the Mayans is hands down probably the most insane sport on this list if not all of human history. Something like basketball, the players would bounce the balls off their hips and attempt to the get the ball through a hoop attached to the wall. The crazy part? Many times the balls were constructed out of human skulls. And in case you were wondering where they got the skulls from, all you’d have to do to find out is stick around until the end of the match. Let’s just say the losers make a donation…
One of the few bloodsports that are still actively sanctioned by modern western governments, this man vs beast showdown can trace its routes all the way back to ancient Rome.
23| Spartan Games
Spartans hated sports. To be honest they thought sports were for sissies. In fact, Tyrtaios, the great Spartan war poet even wrote about how unimpressive athletic achievement was. According to him “a man is not good in warfare unless he dares look upon bloody slaughter” and to a Spartan if you aren’t good in warfare then you aren’t worth the air you breathe. It was for this reason that most of the Spartan “competitions” were so mindboggingly brutal.
The national sport of Afghanistan, this game involves a number of mounted players fighting over the carcass of a headless goat after which each player tries to pitch it across a goal line.
21| Muy Thai
Although today it is practiced around the world, this lethal martial art was born on the ancient battlefields of what is today known as Thailand. Commonly referred to as the “Art of Eight Limbs” practitioners use not just their feet and hands but their elbows and knees as well.
20| Fisherman’s Jousting
Imagine two groups of guys each hopping into their boats, rowing out into the nile, and proceeding to beat the crap out of each other with their oars. Like the Roman gladiatorial games this often took place before the Pharoah and many times the bloody mess would entice crocodiles and hippos to enter the fray.
Once again taking place in the colloseum, the name of this event roughly translates to “naval warfare”. The Romans would fill the arena with water, add a bunch of war ships and recreate famous naval battles. It has been said that the spectacle was so violent that by the end of it the ships that hadn’t sunk seemed as though they had been painted red.
One of the oldest bloodsports (any activity that involves pitting animals against one another) in the world, cockfighting typically meant having two specially bred birds fight one another with specially designed barbs on their feet.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4