FIGHT IN ANCIENTITY
The most ancient of the currently known images of wrestlers date back to 6–4 millennium BC. e. – to the culture of the South Mesopotamia (the territory of modern Iraq). One of them is an illustration of the feat of the hero of the Sumerian epos Gilgamesh – his duel with the lion. By the time of the reign of the 5th dynasty of Ancient Egypt (2470–2320 BC), there were images on the walls of the tomb of Fiohhoten in Saqqara, which depicted six pairs of wrestlers.
It is known that at the turn of 4–3 millennia BC In China, the so-called “fight day” was regularly held.
But the art of wrestling reached its peak in Ancient Greece, where they began to use it to educate a strong, diversified person. Colorful descriptions of wrestling fights can be found in Homer’s Iliad. The struggle was part of the education system for children and youths. Young men, having mastered the “general disciplines” – philosophy, rhetoric, etc., – improved their skills, learning from well-known wrestling trainers. The philosopher Aristocles trained with Ariston of Argos, who gave his ward – because of his complexion – the nickname Plato (lit. Wide), under which he went down in history. It was in Ancient Greece that wrestling – and not only wrestling – began to be given “sporting” significance. And it is in Greece that sport emerges as a competition for the sake of competition – agon (Greek: competition). In addition to Plato, many other philosophers, as well as poets of antiquity, were outstanding fighters. Some of them won the Olympic Games: Pythagoras, Plato, Pindar, Alkinad and others. Wrestling was first included in the program of the Olympic Games in 704 BC, according to tradition, it entered the final part of the competition.
Athlete Thezeus developed the first rules of wrestling. The winner was the one who throws the opponent three times to the ground. It was forbidden to strike with arms and legs: boxing already existed as an independent sport. The division into weight categories did not exist then, but the division was adopted according to the age principle.
The most titled fighter in Greece was considered Milon Krotonsky – a six-time Olympic champion. He trained according to his own very original method: the athlete lifted the calf daily – until he turned into a cow.
Initially, the fight was part of the classical Greek all-around pentathlon – along with running, javelin throwing, discus throwing and jumping. “The highlight of the program” were running and fighting. Over time, specialists appeared in individual disciplines included in the pentathlon, and wrestling schools formed. And at the 33 Olympic Games (684 BC), the pankration (a fight without rules) appears in the competition program, combining wrestling and boxing.
Having conquered Greece, Rome mastered the Greek culture. Among the Romans, wrestling became one of the most popular sports, and champion wrestlers were revered as folk heroes. In ancient Rome, the struggle was demonstrated in combination with fist fights, and in the battles of gladiators, many of whom were fluent in fighting techniques, with armed combat. The fight was also part of the training program for legionnaires. There were professional wrestlers in Rome who participated in performances like circus ones.