Terra Incognita? Ancient Sport in Polish Historiography (Beginnings)
PDF (Język Polski)


ancient greek sport
roman games
early modern antiquarianism
polish literature
polish early historiography

How to Cite

Słapek, D. (2019). Terra Incognita? Ancient Sport in Polish Historiography (Beginnings). Sport and Tourism Central European Journal, 17(2), 11–56. https://doi.org/10.16926/kf.2018.17.12


Contemporary Polish sport historiography clearly focuses its attention on the history of domestic, national sport (since the end of the 19th century). This seems quite natural, but it is worth remembering that in the native literature of the early modern epoch, as early as the 16th century, attention was paid mainly to the ancient sport. This phenomenon has never taken on a scale as great as in the case of works of Western European antiquarians. The treaties of the latter aroused the interest of native researchers of antiquitates, however the notion of antique sport in Poland was shaped not only by the influence of European antiquarianism. The strength of latinitas and romanitas of Polish culture and customs of the 16th to 18th centuries caused relatively considerable interest in "Roman sport" (eg venationes and gladiatorial fights). There is no clear condemnation of the Roman Games in the writings of many Polish authors of this period perhaps because the references to them appeared mainly in the context of the political role of the roman games (and in the climate of the imitation of Roman customs and traditions). The Greek sport was little known at the time and its elements was used a model that could only be imitated in the sphere of education. This situation has not significantly changed by the influence of European neohellenism and the first trips of Poles to independent Greece since around the middle of the 19th century. Specific dualism in the perception and understanding of ancient sport appeared, however, before the birth of the modern olimpic movement. The initiator of this process was the creation of the Falcon Gymnastics Society, which in the ideological and practical layers referred only to the tradition of physical culture of the ancient Greeks.

PDF (Język Polski)