Ancient Roman Games Sports

Ancient Roman Ball Games

Ancient Roman Ball Games: Romans were excellent ballplayers. Pictures and illustrations serve testimony to this. There have been a lot of references to boys and girls playing ball games outdoors.

Ancient Roman Ball Games

A variety of balls have been identified which ranged from bouncing balls to wool balls. Ball games include handballs, Trigon, Soccer, Field Hockey, Harpastum, Phaininda, Episkyros, follies, paganica and also catch games.

Ancient Roman Ball Games


Harpastum was a simple small ball game played by five to twelve players in the ancient country of Rome. It was played on a rectangular field marked by boundary lines and split by a center line.

Ancient Roman Ball rules

Each team tried to keep the balls in their sides and tried to steal them from the other side. The game did not have any complicated rules but a lot of trickery must have been involved. This game was played by Julius Caesar in order to remain physically fit.

Ancient Roman Ball Games

Ancient Roman Soccer

Soccer was a popular game in Rome, though not team soccer. A game similar to cricket was played in which the ball was hit with a bat and two players attempted to catch it. Romans played with medicine balls called paganica of oblong shape, mainly for the purpose of the exercise. There were also inflated ‘piles’ which were made like modern balls.

Ancient Roman Ball Games

A picture from an underground tomb in Rome of first century AD shows men playing the ball game. They are barefooted and one among them tries to catch the ball.

Romans used different methods to make balls. Balls made by inflating pig bladders and wrapping them tightly with animal skin were one of the types of balls used. Animal sinew was wounded and wrapped in leather. These balls bounced well.

There were also balls of chopped sponges wrapped in string and cloth. Field hockey was played balls were made of tightly compressed wool or linen and hair wrapped in string.