Cover image for Sports and games of medieval cultures
Sports and games of medieval cultures
Wilkins, Sally (Sally E. D.)
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
viii, 325 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Introduction -- Africa -- Asia -- Europe -- Latin America -- Middle East -- North America -- Oceania.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1200 .W55 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
GV1200 .W55 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



From the beginning of time, humans have created and passed on to their children sports and games that teach skills, promote leisure, and encourage friendly competition. By studying these sports and games, we learn much about the culture and traditions of our ancestors. "Sports and Games of Medieval Cultures" focuses on those sports, games, and play rituals from across the globe that were invented and played during the time of the Middle Ages. Teachers, students, and sports enthusiasts will enjoy discovering the early origins of their favorite sports and games, and how they have evolved into the familiar versions of today. They will also learn about many games otherwise lost to history, and find instructions on how to adapt them for modern play.

As one of four books in the series Sports and Games Through History, it is divided into seven regions of the world including: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, The Middle East, North America, and Oceania. Each section describes sports, games, and play rituals for that region, and students can compare and contrast similar sports and games from different regions. Descriptions of equipment, with instructions on making or adapting the game pieces, are given for those students who would like to recreate the games for either multicultural assignments or for fun. This unique book belongs in every library's sports history and multicultural collections.

Author Notes

SALLY WILKINS is a freelance writer and has contributed to Greenwood's Louisa May Alcott Encyclopedia.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The Middle Ages are defined as spanning from 466 to 1476 for the purposes of this text. It is part of the Sports and Games Through History series, which for now also includes Sports and Games of the Ancients (2002) and Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th Centuries (2002). Each chapter of the book covers a separate geographical area: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America, and Oceania. Within each chapter, there is an opening summary of sport in that part of the world, followed by sections on games ("sedentary pastimes with recognized rules of play"), play ("active games and outdoor play"), and sports ("organized, competitive physical activity"). Within each section, entries for individual activities are alphabetically arranged. Discussions generally range from a paragraph to a page and a half and cover development, equipment, and rules. Familiar sports, many of which appear in more than one chapter because they occurred in different parts of the world, include swimming, tennis, lacrosse, chess, and dice. Lesser-known examples include the Xhosa stone game (a version of jackstones, or jacks); tsoro yematatu (a version of ticktacktoe), from Zimbabwe; and tako-no kiri-ai (or kite fighting), from Japan and Korea. Many entries include suggestions for adapting games for modern use, and the appendix includes how-to instructions for making some of the sporting or gaming equipment using available materials. Black-and-white photos and some explanatory diagrams enhance understanding of the activity being described. The bibliography lists a variety of sports history texts, articles, and Web sites. There are a geographical index listing countries within the larger regions and a subject index listing specific games or sports. Though its topic is specialized, this readable volume could be useful in several kinds of collections: sports, the Middles Ages, and multicultural studies.

Choice Review

Published in the "Sports and Games through History" series edited by sportswriter Andrew Leibs, this volume joins Steve Craig's Sports and Games of the Ancients and Robert Crego's Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th Centuries (both, 2002). Each volume in the series undertakes the daunting task of covering Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, North America, and Oceania. The chapter on each region begins with a very brief historical overview, and each section consists of entries on specific physical activities. Entries are more descriptive than historical or analytical. For this volume, Wilkins sought to trace each game's development, describe the rules of play, and explain how the necessary equipment was made. She also provides instructions on teaching students how to play the games. Coverage is very broad: for example, the Asian section includes discussion of 26 games, 23 sports, and 29 play forms, and the coverage varies from seven lines (on puukhal, Mongol archery) to two pages (kung fu). Useful for general readers and basic collections of international sports history. S. A. Riess Northeastern Illinois University

Table of Contents

Series Forewordp. vii
Introductionp. 1
Africap. 9
Asiap. 43
Europep. 97
Latin Americap. 151
Middle Eastp. 187
North Americap. 225
Oceaniap. 267
Appendixp. 293
Bibliographyp. 301
Geographical Indexp. 309
General Indexp. 313