One of the most ancient ball games, if
not the most, field hockey predates the Romans and Greeks. It was played
by the Egyptians at least as far back as 2500 BCE, and perhaps before 2800
BCE. The image below comes from the tomb of Kheti in Beni Hasan and shows
two players with crooks and a large ball.
The ancient Greeks adopted Field hockey
from the Egyptians. The marble relief below comes from Athens and shows
Greek athletes playing field hockey. It is likely that this game is still
played today in much the same as its original form.This relief is from
the National Museum in Athens.
No images survive from
Rome showing field hockey and references are scarce, but the fact that
field hockey survived into the Middle Ages in Europe seems to confirm its'
popularity with the Romans. The French, Dutch, and others played field
hockey, or variations of field hockey that went by the names Cambuca, Chole.
The British knew this game as Bandy Ball. The Dutch came up with a variation
played by teams in which the ball was hit by a crook towards a target.
Later, this game became an individual sport known as Kolf, which the Scottish