Overview

A ball, as the essential feature in many forms of gameplay requiring physical exertion, must date from the very earliest times. A rolling object appeals not only to a human baby but to a kitten and a puppy. Some form of game with a ball is found portrayed on Egyptian monuments, and is played among aboriginal tribes at the present day. In Homer, Nausicaa was playing at ball with her maidens when Odysseus first saw her in the land of the Phaeacians (Od. vi. 100). And Halios and Laodamas performed before Alcinous and Odysseus with ball play, accompanied with dancing (Od. viii. 370). The Hebrews have no mention of the ball in their scriptures. An infant (from the Latin word infans, meaning "unable to speak" or "speechless") is the very young offspring of a human or other mammal. When applied to humans, the term is usually considered synonymous with baby, but the latter is commonly applied to the young of any animal. When a human child learns to walk, the term toddler may be used instead. Ancient Greeks Among the Greeks games with balls (?) were regarded as a useful subsidiary to the more violent athletic exercises, as a means of keeping the body supple, and rendering it graceful, but were generally left to boys and girls. Of regular rules for the playing of ball games, little trace remains, if there were any such. The names in Greek for various forms, which have come down to us in such works as the ? of Julius Pollux, imply little or nothing of such; thus, ? (aporraxis) only

eans the putting of the ball on the ground with the open hand, ? (ourania), the flinging of the ball in the air to be caught by two or more players; (phaininda) would seem to be a game of catch played by two or more, where feinting is used as a test of quickness and skill. Pollux (i. x. 104) mentions a game called episkyros (?), which has often been looked on as the origin of football. It seems to have been played by two sides, arranged in lines; how far there was any form of "goal" seems uncertain. Ancient Romans Among the Romans, ball games were looked upon as an adjunct to the bath, and were graduated to the age and health of the bathers, and usually a place (sphaeristerium) was set apart for them in the baths (thermae). There appear to have been three types or sizes of ball, the pila, or small ball, used in catching games, the paganica, a heavy ball stuffed with feathers, and the follis, a leather ball filled with air, the largest of the three. This was struck from player to player, who wore a kind of gauntlet on the arm. There was a game known as trigon, played by three players standing in the form of a triangle, and played with the follis, and also one known as harpastum, which seems to imply a "scrimmage" among several players for the ball. These games are known to us through the Romans, though the names are Greek The various modern games played with a ball or balls and subject to rules are treated under their various names, such as polo, cricket, football, etc.