Knattleikr (English: 'ball-game') was an ancient ball game played by the Vikings of Iceland. The term is also applied to a modern sport created by re-enactors, and now played at a few United States institutions as a college club sport, based on what is known about the historical game.
The game was probably similar to early versions of the Irish sport of hurling, which also dates to antiquity. Today, no one knows exact rules of Knattleikr, but some information has survived from the Viking Age in Iceland (beginning around the 9th century).
We know that players were divided into teams, each with a captain. The game demanded so much time that it was played from morning to night. It was a spectator game, with tournaments drawing huge crowds from all over Iceland.
Game-play involved a hard ball was hit by a stick, although players could also use their hands. Body contact was allowed in the fight for the ball where the strongest had the best chance to win. Thus, intimidation was a vital ingredient; several wars of words have been recorded in the old sagas. There were penalties and a penalty box.
It is conjectured by some that the playing field was lined, usually played on a flat ice‐covered surface, e.g. a frozen pond (though bumpy, land‐based ice, svell, is also mentioned). The Vikings may have used tar and sand under the soles of their boots for traction.
Today, knattleikr is often re-enacted at medieval fairs and by Norse culture enthusiasts. It is also played on some college campuses. Brandeis University, Clark University, Providence College, and Yale University in particular are known for their teams. The first annual New England intercollegiate knattleikr competition (right) was played in April, 2007 at Clark University between Clark's team and Brandeis.
The most complete descriptions of the game are to be found in the following Icelandic sagas:
Hurling or GAA
Cuju or Ts'u-chü is an ancient Chinese football game. It is a competitive game that involves kicking a ball through an opening into a net. The use of hands is not allowed. Invented in the Han dynasty, it is recognized by FIFA as the earliest form of football for which there is evidence, being first mentioned as an exercise in a Chinese military work from 3rd–2nd century BC. It is also played in Korea, Japan and Vietnam.Egil's Saga
Egil's Saga or Egill's saga (Old Norse: Egils saga; listen ) is an Icelandic saga (family saga) on the lives of the clan of Egill Skallagrímsson (Anglicised as Egil Skallagrimsson), an Icelandic farmer, viking and skald. The saga spans the years c. 850–1000 and traces the family history from Egil's grandfather to his offspring.
Its oldest manuscript (a fragment) dates back to 1240 AD, and comprises the sole source of information on the exploits of Egil, whose life is not historically recorded. Stylistic and other similarities between Egil's Saga and Heimskringla have led many scholars to believe that they were the work of the same author, Snorri Sturluson. The work is generally referred to as Egla by Icelandic scholars.Field hockey
Field hockey is a team game of the hockey family. The game can be played on grass, water turf, artificial turf or synthetic field as well as an indoor board surface. Each team plays with eleven players, including the goalie. Players use sticks made out of wood, carbon fibre, fibre glass or a combination of carbon fibre and fibre glass in different quantities (with the higher carbon fibre stick being more expensive and less likely to break) to hit a round, hard, plastic ball. The length of the stick is based on the player's individual height. Only one face of the stick is allowed to be used. Goalies often have a different kind of stick, however they can also use an ordinary field hockey stick. The specific goal-keeping sticks have another curve at the end of the stick, this is to give them more surface area to save the ball. The uniform consists of shin guards, shoes, shorts, a mouth guard and a jersey.
Today, the game is played globally, mainly in parts of Western Europe, South Asia, Southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and parts of the United States (primarily New England and the Mid-Atlantic states).
Known simply as "hockey" in many territories, the term "field hockey" is used primarily in Canada and the United States where ice hockey is more popular. In Sweden, the term "landhockey" is used and to some degree also in Norway where it is governed by Norway's Bandy Association.During play, goal keepers are the only players who are allowed to touch the ball with any part of their body (the player's hand is considered part of the stick if on the stick), while field players play the ball with the flat side of their stick. If the ball is touched with the rounded part of the stick, it will result in a penalty. Goal keepers also cannot play the ball with the back of their stick. Whoever scores the most goals by the end of the match wins. If the score is tied at the end of the game, either a draw is declared or the game goes into extra time or a penalty shootout, depending on the competition's format. There are many variations to overtime play that depend on the league and tournament play. In college play, a seven-aside overtime period consists of a 10-minute golden goal period with seven players for each team. If a tie still remains, the game enters a one-on-one competition where each team chooses 5 players to dribble from the 25-yard line down to the circle against the opposing goalie. The player has 8 seconds to score on the goalie keeping it in bounds. The play ends after a goal is scored, the ball goes out of bounds, a foul is committed (ending in either a penalty stroke or flick or the end of the one on one) or time expires. If the tie still persists more rounds are played until one team has scored.
The governing body of field hockey is the International Hockey Federation (FIH(,Fédération Internationale de Hockey) in French), with men and women being represented internationally in competitions including the Olympic Games, World Cup, World League, Champions Trophy and Junior World Cup, with many countries running extensive junior, senior, and masters club competitions. The FIH is also responsible for organizing the Hockey Rules Board and developing the rules for the game.
A popular variant of field hockey is indoor field hockey, which differs in a number of respects while embodying the primary principles of hockey. Indoor hockey is a 5-a-side variant, with a field which is reduced to approximately 40 m × 20 m (131 ft × 66 ft). With many of the rules remaining the same, including obstruction and feet, there are several key variations: Players may not raise the ball unless shooting on goal, players may not hit the ball (instead using pushes to transfer the ball), and the sidelines are replaced with solid barriers which the ball will rebound off. In addition, the regulation guidelines for the indoor field hockey stick require a slightly thinner, lighter stick than an outdoor stick.Gísla saga
Gísla saga Súrssonar (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈcisl̥a ˈsaːɣa ˈsur̥sɔnar̥] (listen), the saga of Gísli Súrsson) is one of the sagas of Icelanders. It tells the story of Gísli, a tragic hero who must kill one of his brothers-in-law to avenge another brother-in-law. Gisli is outlawed and forced to stay on the run for thirteen years before he is finally hunted down and killed. The events depicted in the saga take place between 860 and 980. The saga existed in oral tradition until it was recorded, most likely in the 13th century. In 1981, it was made into a film titled Outlaw: The Saga of Gisli.Ice hockey
Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice, usually in a rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent's net to score points. The sport is known to be fast-paced and physical, with teams usually consisting of six players each: one goaltender, and five players who skate up and down the ice trying to take the puck and score a goal against the opposing team.
Ice hockey is most popular in Canada, central and eastern Europe, the Nordic countries, Russia and the United States. Ice hockey is the official national winter sport of Canada. In addition, ice hockey is the most popular winter sport in Belarus, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Latvia, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, and Switzerland. North America's National Hockey League (NHL) is the highest level for men's ice hockey and the strongest professional ice hockey league in the world. The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is the highest league in Russia and much of Eastern Europe. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is the formal governing body for international ice hockey, with the IIHF managing international tournaments and maintaining the IIHF World Ranking. Worldwide, there are ice hockey federations in 76 countries.In Canada, the United States, Nordic countries, and some other European countries the sport is known simply as hockey; the name "ice hockey" is used in places where "hockey" more often refers to the more popular field hockey, such as countries in South America, Asia, Africa, Australasia, and some European countries including the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands.Ice hockey is believed to have evolved from simple stick and ball games played in the 18th and 19th centuries in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. These games were brought to North America and several similar winter games using informal rules were developed, such as shinny and ice polo. The contemporary sport of ice hockey was developed in Canada, most notably in Montreal, where the first indoor hockey game was played on March 3, 1875. Some characteristics of that game, such as the length of the ice rink and the use of a puck, have been retained to this day. Amateur ice hockey leagues began in the 1880s, and professional ice hockey originated around 1900. The Stanley Cup, emblematic of ice hockey club supremacy, was first awarded in 1893 to recognize the Canadian amateur champion and later became the championship trophy of the NHL. In the early 1900s, the Canadian rules were adopted by the Ligue Internationale de Hockey sur Glace, the precursor of the IIHF and the sport was played for the first time at the Olympics during the 1920 Summer Olympics.
In international competitions, the national teams of six countries (the Big Six) predominate: Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the United States. Of the 69 medals awarded all-time in men's competition at the Olympics, only seven medals were not awarded to one of those countries (or two of their precursors, the Soviet Union for Russia, and Czechoslovakia for the Czech Republic). In the annual Ice Hockey World Championships, 177 of 201 medals have been awarded to the six nations. Teams outside the Big Six have won only five medals in either competition since 1953. The World Cup of Hockey is organized by the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), unlike the annual World Championships and quadrennial Olympic tournament, both run by the International Ice Hockey Federation. World Cup games are played under NHL rules and not those of the IIHF, and the tournament occurs prior to the NHL pre-season, allowing for all NHL players to be available, unlike the World Championships, which overlaps with the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs. Furthermore, all 12 Women's Olympic and 36 IIHF World Women's Championships medals were awarded to one of these six countries. The Canadian national team or the United States national team have between them won every gold medal of either series.Kåre Johannessen
Kåre Johannessen (born 1964) is a Danish historian, writer, lecturer and presenter. He is the former curator at the museum of Trelleborg and Middelaldercentret, where he worked from 1994 to 1999 and again from 2004 to 2015. Today he is a self-employed historian. While working at Trelleborg he recreated the Viking game of knattleikr and injured his knee so badly that he had to use crutches for a time.Johannessen has written several non-fiction books about both the middle ages and the viking age and historical novels. Furthermore, he has hosted a series of programs on the regional TV Øst (sub-channel of TV 2) about historical location Region Zealand and he has participated in historical quiz shows such as Historiequizzen (The History Quiz) on DR K. He also acted as historical expert in documentaries and series. He is very interested in World War I and has founded a reenactment group that portraits a group of German soldiers at the Western Front.Kī-o-rahi
Kī-o-rahi is a ball sport played in New Zealand with a small round ball called a 'kī'. It is a fast-paced game incorporating skills similar to rugby union, netball and touch. Two teams of seven players play on a circular field divided into zones, and score points by touching the 'pou' (boundary markers) and hitting a central 'tupu' or target. The game is played with varying rules (e.g. number of people, size of field, tag ripping rules etc.) depending on the geographic area it is played in. A process called Tatu, before the game, determines which rules the two teams will use.
In 2005 kī-o-rahi was chosen to represent New Zealand by global fast-food chain McDonald's as part of its 'Passport to Play' programme to teach physical play activities in 31,000 American schools.
The programme will give instruction in 15 ethnic games to seven million primary school children.The New Zealand kī-o-rahi representative organisation, Kī-o-Rahi Akotanga Iho, formed with men's and women's national teams, completed a 14 match tour of Europe in September and October 2010. The men's team included 22-test All Black veteran Wayne Shelford who led the team to a 57–10 test win against Kī-o-Rahi Dieppe Organisation, the French Kī-o-Rahi federation.
Shelford's kī-o-rahi test jersey made him the first kī-o-rahi/rugby double international for NZ. The women's team coached by Andrea Cameron (Head of PE at Tikipunga High School) also won by 33–0. These were the first historic test matches between NZ and France.La soule
La soule, later choule, is a traditional team sport that originated in Normandy and Picardy. The ball, called a soule, could be solid or hollow and made of either wood or leather. Leather balls would be filled with hay, bran, horse hair or moss. Sometimes the balls had woolen pompons.List of sports
The following is a list of sports/games, divided by category.
According to the World Sports Encyclopedia (2003), there are 8,000 indigenous sports and sporting games.Medieval football
"Medieval football" is a modern term used for a wide variety of localised football games which were invented and played in Europe during the Middle Ages. Alternative names include folk football, mob football and Shrovetide football. These games may be regarded as the ancestors of modern codes of football, and by comparison with later forms of football, the medieval matches were chaotic and had few rules.
The Middle Ages saw a rise in popularity of games played annually at Shrovetide throughout Europe, particularly in Great Britain. The games played in England at this time may have arrived with the Roman occupation but there is little evidence to indicate this. Certainly the Romans played ball games, in particular Harpastum. There is also one reference to ball games being played in southern Britain prior to the Norman Conquest. In the ninth century Nennius's Historia Britonum tells that a group of boys were playing at ball (pilae ludus). The origin of this account is either Southern England or Wales. References to a ball game played in northern France known as La Soule or Choule, in which the ball was propelled by hands, feet, and sticks, date from the 12th century.These archaic forms of football, typically classified as mob football, would be played between neighbouring towns and villages, involving an unlimited number of players on opposing teams, who would clash in a heaving mass of people struggling to drag an inflated pig's bladder by any means possible to markers at each end of a town. By some accounts, in some such events any means could be used to move the ball towards the goal, as long as it did not lead to manslaughter or murder. Sometimes instead of markers, the teams would attempt to kick the bladder into the balcony of the opponents' church. A legend that these games in England evolved from a more ancient and bloody ritual of kicking the "Dane's head" is unlikely to be true. These antiquated games went into sharp decline in the 19th century when the Highway Act 1835 was passed banning the playing of football on public highways. In spite of this, games continued to be played in some parts of the United Kingdom and still survive in a number of towns, notably the Ba game played at Christmas and New Year at Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands Scotland, Uppies and Downies over Easter at Workington in Cumbria, and the Royal Shrovetide Football Match on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday at Ashbourne in Derbyshire, England.Few images of medieval football survive. One engraving from the early fourteenth century at Gloucester Cathedral, England, clearly shows two young men running vigorously towards each other with a ball in mid-air between them. There is a hint that the players may be using their hands to strike the ball. A second medieval image in the British Museum, London clearly shows a group of men with a large ball on the ground. The ball clearly has a seam where leather has been sewn together. It is unclear exactly what is happening in this set of three images, although the last image appears to show a man with a broken arm. It is likely that this image highlights the dangers of some medieval football games.Most of the very early references to the game speak simply of "ball play" or "playing at ball". This reinforces the idea that the games played at the time did not necessarily involve a ball being kicked.Quidditch (sport)
Quidditch is a sport of two teams of seven players each mounted on broomsticks played on a hockey rink-sized pitch. It is based on a fictional game of the same name invented by author J. K. Rowling, which is featured in the Harry Potter series of novels and related media. The game is also sometimes referred to as muggle quidditch to distinguish it from the fictional game, which involves magical elements such as flying broomsticks and enchanted balls. In the Harry Potter universe, a "muggle" is a person without the power to use magic.
The pitch is rectangular with rounded corners 55 meters (60 yards) by 33 meters (36 yards) with three hoops of varying heights at either end. The sport was created in 2005 and is therefore still quite young. However, quidditch is played around the world and actively growing. The ultimate goal is to have more points than the other team by the time the snitch, a tennis ball inside a long sock hanging from the shorts of an impartial official dressed in yellow, is caught. Rules of the sport are governed by the International Quidditch Association, or the IQA, and events are sanctioned by either the IQA or that nation's governing body.
To score points, chasers or keepers must get the quaffle, a slightly deflated volleyball, into one of three of the opposing hoops which scores the team 10 points. To impede the quaffle from advancing down the pitch, chasers and keepers are able to tackle opposing chasers and keepers at the same time as beaters using their bludgers—dodgeballs—to take out opposing players. Once a player is hit by an opposing bludger, that player must dismount their broom, drop any ball being held, and return to and touch their hoops before being allowed back into play. The game is ended once the snitch is caught by one of the seekers, awarding that team 30 points.A team consists of minimum seven (maximum 21) players, of which six are always on the pitch, those being the three chasers, one keeper, and two beaters. Besides the seeker who is off-pitch, the six players are required to abide by the gender rule, which states that a team may have a maximum of four players who identify as the same gender, making quidditch one of the few sports that not only offers a co-ed environment but an open community to those who do not identify with the gender binary. Matches or games often run about 30 to 40 minutes but tend to be subject to varying lengths of time due to the unpredictable nature of the snitch catch. If the score at the end of the match including the 30 point snitch catch is tied (such that the team that caught the snitch was 30 points behind the other), the game moves to overtime where the snitch is constrained to the pitch's dimensions and the game ends after five minutes or when the snitch is legally caught.Royal Shrovetide Football
The Royal Shrovetide Football Match is a "Medieval football" game played annually on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday in the town of Ashbourne in Derbyshire, England. Shrovetide ball games have been played in England since at least the 12th century from the reign of Henry II (1154–89). The Ashbourne game also known as "hugball" has been played from at least c.1667 although the exact origins of the game are unknown due to a fire at the Royal Shrovetide Committee office in the 1890s which destroyed the earliest records. One of the most popular origin theories suggests the macabre notion that the 'ball' was originally a severed head tossed into the waiting crowd following an execution. Although this may have happened, it is more likely that games such as the Winchelsea Streete Game, reputedly played during the Hundred Years' War with France, were adaptations of an original ball game intended to show contempt for the enemy.One of the earliest references to football in the county of Derbyshire comes in a poem called "Burlesque upon the Great Frost" from 1683, written after the English Civil War by Charles Cotton, cousin to Aston Cockayne, Baronet of Ashbourne (1608–84):
Two towns, that long that war had ragedBeing at football now engagedFor honour, as both sides pretend,Left the brave trial to be endedTill the next thaw for they were frozenOn either part at least a dozen,With a good handsome space between 'emLike Rollerich stones, if you've seen 'emAnd could no more run, kick, or trip yeThan I can quaff off Aganippe.
Shrovetide football played between "Two towns" in Derby is often credited with being the source of the term "local derby". A more widely accepted origin theory is The Derby horse race. Whatever the origins the "local derby" is now a recognised term for a football game played between local rivals and a Derby is a horse race.
A previously unknown tentative link between Royal Shrovetide football and La soule played in Tricot, Picardy was established in 2012 by history and sociology of sport lecturer Laurent Fournier from the Universite de Nantes. Whilst undertaking a study of "folk football", he noticed that the Coat of arms of the Cockayne family (seated in Ashbourne from the 12th century) painted on a 1909 Shrovetide ball displayed in the window of the Ashbourne Telegraph office contained three cockerels in its heraldic design. He recognised this matched the emblem of Tricot (also carrying three cockerels) where La soule is played on the first Sunday of Lent and Easter Monday. He was welcomed to Ashbourne by the Royal Shrovetide Committee and was a guest at the Shrovetide luncheon. Research into Royal Shrovetide Football's lost history is ongoing (August 2012).Rugby union in Iceland
Rugby union is a minor sport in Iceland with a discontinuous history.
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