Play and childhood in ancient Greece
By Eliseo Andreu Cabrera, Mar Cepero, Fco. Javier Rojas, Juan J Chinchilla-Mira
Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, Vol 5, No 3 (2010)
Abstract: The traditional games of children are the maximum exponent of a people’s culture of play, and though these games are sometimes derived from adult ceremonies, in spirit they belong to the world of children. Most authors assume that games depend on biological, cultural and psychological influences; they are considered a typical anthropological phenomenon in humans that is always transformed by culture. In Mediterranean countries, the climate was favourable for open-air play, which may have meant that it was possible to go without toys to have fun; the imagination developed with the natural surrounding elements, such as water, animals, flowers and shells. Play, childhood and physical education have formed an inseparable union throughout history, and Greece is no exception. Classical authors provided ample documentation on how children played, making it possible to identify analogies in play over the centuries. The agon as play applied from the very first instant of life and survived generation after generation.