Physical Education and sport in the ancient world. China
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China in its past, was mainly an agrarian culture, as it still is today. Tradition and superstition controlled many of the tasks carried out in daily living just as it had been completed by their ancestors. The very cohesive society was based on a strong family unit, which was controlled by its eldest member. Every individual had close family ties and followed the traditions of ancestor worship. Obedience and subservience to the family or group were stressed, rather than individuality.
Education attempted to develop a student’s intellectual, moral, and aesthetic senses. In many cultures military needs are the reasons for developing a physical training programme. This was not the case for China, which has many natural barriers including the great wall (built 200 BC). Although it should be noted much fighting went on internally.
There was an early version of soccer, polo, archery and wrestling. Much of China’s exercise forms are based on oneness with their surroundings. This is shown in many of the martial art forms. These forms of exercise enhance the philosophy of moderation in view of keeping an unchanging society.
When looking at India it is impossible to do so without understanding Hinduism as its religion. This was a social system as well as a religious practice. The caste system of this religious faith fixed people at birth socially and educationally. The emphasis in Education was on the concept of the re-cycling of life.
Exercise was used for health similarly to China’s culture. But the Indians had games and recreational sports such “Karabadi.”
Although physical education was not a major part of Egyptian life, physical activities were very important to the Egyptians. They enjoyed many games and sports, and woman frequently participated. Swimming was popular (in the Nile), as were gymnastics activities, hunting, games involving skills of fighting and war, and many types of ball games. Boating and dance activities were extremely popular.
The following quotes are from the writings of the ancient Greek’s, which gives us a great deal of information concerning physical training.
1) Plato Laches 182a
[182a] Since it is as good and strenuous as any physical exercise--but is also a form of exercise which, with riding, is particularly fitting for a free citizen; for only the men trained in the use of these warlike implements can claim to be trained in the contest whereof we are athletes and in the affairs wherein we are called upon to contend.1 Further, this accomplishment will be of some benefit also in actual battle, when it comes to fighting in line with a number of other men; but its greatest advantage will be felt when the ranks are broken, and you find you must fight man to man, either in pursuing someone who is trying to beat off your attack,
[30b] and the element of cause which exists in all things, this last, which gives to our bodies souls and the art of physical exercise and medical treatment when the body is ill, and which is in general a composing and healing power, is called the sum of all wisdom, and yet, while these same elements exist in the entire heaven and in great parts thereof, and area moreover, fair and pure, there is no means of including among them that nature which is the fairest and most precious of all.
[1.6.17] "In the first place, by Zeus," said Cyrus, "I try never to eat too much, for that is oppressive; and in the second place, I work off by exercise what I have eaten, for by so doing health seems more likely to endure and strength to accrue.""That, then, my son," said he, "is the way in which you must take care of the rest also.
"Yes, father," said he; "but will the soldiers find leisure for taking physical exercise?" "Nay, by Zeus," said his father, "they not only can, but they actually must. For if an army is to do its duty, it is absolutely necessary that it never cease to contrive both evil for the enemy and good for itself. What a burden it is to support even one idle man! It is more burdensome still to support a whole household in idleness; but the worst burden of all is to support an army in idleness. For not only are the mouths in an army very numerous but the supplies they start with are exceedingly limited, and they use up most extravagantly whatever they get, so that an army must never be left idle."
Knowing about them does not make us any more capable of doing them, since the virtues are qualities of character; just as is the case with the knowledge of what is healthy and vigorous--using these words to mean not productive of health
5) Aristotle Politics 1322b
On the other hand, peculiar to the states that have more leisure and prosperity, and also pay attention to public decorum, are the offices of Superintendent of Women, Guardian of the Laws, Superintendent of Children, Controller of Physical Training, and vigor but resulting from them: we are not rendered any more capable of healthy and vigorous action by knowing the science of medicine or of physical training
[15.181] Since this is so, certain of our ancestors, long before our time, seeing that many arts had been devised for other things, while none had been prescribed for the body and for the mind, invented and bequeathed to us two disciplines, physical training for the body, of which gymnastics is a part, and, for the mind, philosophy, which I am going to explain.
7) Plato Republic 468e
[468e] and also with 'seats of honor and meat and full cups'1, so as to combine physical training with honor for the good, both men and women."
“… and the devotion to physical training and expertness in the game and contest of war--in all these traits it will copy the preceding state.”
9) Xenophon Constitution of the Lacedaimonians 1.4
[1.4] But Lycurgus thought the labour of slave women sufficient to supply clothing. He believed motherhood to be the most important function of freeborn woman. Therefore, in the first place, he insisted on physical training for the female no less than for the male sex: moreover, he instituted races and trials of strength for women competitors as for men, believing that if both parents are strong they produce more vigorous offspring.
[4.52] For the classes undergoing physical training will take more pains in the gymnasium when they receive their maintenance in full than they take under the superintendents of the torch races;1 and the classes on garrison duty in a fortress, or serving as targeteers, or patrolling the country will show greater alacrity in carrying out all these duties when the maintenance is duly supplied for the work done.
The Iliad and the Odyssey are the first written accounts of sport competitions, along with the first coaching advice given to his son.
Sparta was a military state. They lived for war and consequently allowed weak children to die. Education was given by the state, and it was a harsh system of physical training for males beginning at seven where they left home and lived in the barracks.
They trained in-groups under a youth leader until they were 14. Then from 14-20 years old they underwent more vigorous military training. They lived in barracks until they were thirty years old, when they were able to marry and leave, but they were still required to eat their meals with other soldiers.
For girls training also began at seven years old until they were eighteen, with weight control and conditioning to prepare the girls for motherhood. The girls participated regularly in athletics and proud fathers and brothers placed many memorial markers, honoring their sporting achievements. When she married her athletic activities ended as she was expected to stay at home.
Boxing was discouraged because men fought to the death, because Spartan’s were taught never to admit defeat. Much physical training was conducted to the sound of music. The sole emphasis of their training was purely on the physical, and consequently they were not able to govern effectively through poor development of the intellect.
The Athenian model of education has long been the theoretical balance in modern western education. The motto for education was ”a sound mind in a sound body” (mens sana in corpore sano).
The philosophy of the education system was the “beautiful and the good.” This represented the ideal characteristics of the Athenian citizen: aesthetic sensibilities, knowledge, physical skills and a strong sense of ethics. These philosophy’s culminated in the inscriptions on the temple of Delphi- “know thyself” and “nothing in excess.”
Plato suggested boys begin physical education at 6 years old, grammar at 10 and music at thirteen. At 18 years old, boys entered the military.
The program of physical education for older males was concentrated at the gymnasium. Greek athletes competed without clothing (hence the word gymnasium, from the Greek word meaning "naked," gymnos ).
The physical education teacher was called a paidotribe, and the coach was called a gymnastes. The aim of these professions was to produce the qualities of the physical and intellectual through the physical. The training was similar to the Spartans except the Athenians sought a harmonious development of the individual.
The word Olympiad means a four-year period, and the Olympic games were help every four years. The festival lasted for five days in late August.
Excellence (arete) as a competitive value for male Greek aristocrats showed up clearly in the Olympic Games, a religious festival associated with a large sanctuary of Zeus, king of the gods of the Greeks.
Although, the Olympic games were not exclusively the domain of the wealthy Greek aristocracy, with many poorer persons participating. The sanctuary was located at Olympia, in the northwestern Peloponnese (the large peninsula that forms southern Greece), where the games were beginning in 776 B.C.
During these great celebrations the men competed in running events and wrestling as individuals, not as national representatives on teams, as in the modern Olympic Games. The emphasis on physical prowess and fitness, competition, and public recognition by other men corresponded to the ideal of Greek masculine identity as it developed in this period. In a rare departure from the ancient Mediterranean tradition against public nakedness, the Olympic games grew.
The primary foot race was the stade (192 meters). A second race was twice this distance at 384 meters. Other running races were held up to 5 kilometers long. Field events included the long jump, the discus, javelin and wrestling.
In later Greek athletic competitions prizes of value were often awarded. Admission was free to men; married women were not allowed to attend, on pain of death, but women had their own separate festival at Olympia on a different date in honor of Zeus' wife, Hera. Although less is known about the games of Hera, literary sources report that unmarried young women competed on the Olympic track in a foot race five-sixths as long as the men's stadion.
In later times, international games including the Olympics were dominated by professional athletes, who made good livings from appearance fees and prizes won at various games held all over Greece. The most famous of them all was Milo, from Croton, in southern Italy. Winner of the Olympic wrestling crown six times beginning in 536 B.C., he was renowned for “showy” stunts, such as holding his breath until his blood expanded his veins so much that they would snap a cord tied around his head.
Moreover, an international truce of several weeks was declared so that competitors and spectators from all the Greek communities could travel to and from Olympia in security, even if wars were otherwise in progress along their way.
In short, the arrangements for the Olympic Games demonstrate that in eighth century B.C. the Greeks had developed the aristocratic values of individual activity, and the pursuit of excellence by one's self efforts. These ideas were beginning to be channeled into a new context appropriate for a changing society.
Greek athletes were extremely serious about their training. This is evident in part from their lengthy careers, and a 6 months a year competitive season. Professional coaches appeared, and the athletes training programs were coordinated with medical advice.
A coach’s handbook on training was written by Philostratus in the third century B.C. Amateur was not a word in the Greek language until the end of the 1800’s of our era. The athletes of that time received great benefits from their victories.
Theodosius 1 abolished the Olympic games in A.D. 394. As a Christian he considered them pagan events as they honored Greek gods.
Roman civilization grew by the Tiber River in the central part of the Italian peninsula. It was founded by shepherds and traders. As the city grew it conquered the whole of the Italian peninsular, and then progessed further into other parts of the Mediterranean . The essential characteristic of Roman civilization was pragmatism- “if it works do it.” Where as Greeks were thinkers and philosophers the Romans were doers.
The object of early Roman education was to produce children who would be true to the ideals and religion of the state. During a child’s early years the education took place at home.
Physical training for boys was directed almost entirely toward military goals. In contrast to the Greeks the Romans had no real interest in beauty, harmony or the balanced development of the individual, although a strong sense of morals were considered important.
Literature study came from the memorization of the Twelve Tables, Rome’s codification of their laws.
As the power and influence of Rome grew they saw a need to educate their citizens in being able to administer their empire. The military orientation now was more of a full time army made up of mercenaries, and non-citizens who were paid to serve in the army.
Schools were developed outside the home as Rome grew. Greek slaves, who had a broader educational background than the Romans, now provided the education.
The study included: grammar, but the Romans saw no use for gymnastics or music so these were discarded. The educational system was unbalanced, from the arts to the sciences. The Romans made great contributions in law and engineering, as they saw these were of practical use. The Roman baths were more like modern health spas although exercise was taken at them, but not on the scale of the Greeks.
As Rome grew more wealthy slaves completed many of the tasks of the former poor.
Roman moral climate declined as Romans did not have to work to survive. Food was provided free for all that were in need of it by the state.
In the latter stages of the Roman Empire, the Romans saw little reason for physical training and became a nation of spectators.
They would attend the circus or the amphitheater and watch gladiatoral fights to the death. These events became more and more debauched as time went on. The early Christian’s receiving many painful methods of dying for their faith.
Romans were not interested in the intrinsic value of sport as the Greeks were.
The Romans primary practical pursuit for physical training was in regard to war and entertainment.
Romans were mainly spectators and there is great debate whether to call the participants athletes or entertainers.
It most be noted that the Romans did not consider these events as cruel. The gladiators were criminals or slaves and not free persons. The arena was a way of entertaining the masses and distracting them from the less pleasant realities of their own lives.
The difference between the Greek and Roman cultures is shown in how they viewed sport by the words they used for it. The Greek word is “agon” meaning contest, whereas the Roman word is “ludi” which meant game, amusement or entertainment. The Roman Empire lost the concept of mind-body balance, and the idea of all-around bodily development.
The Greeks emphasized the honor of victory and the joy of competition, but this changed over the Roman era to victory alone. Few sought after this type of competition and so consequently the majority became spectators and gambled on the outcome.
At fourteen he became a squire until he was twenty-one years old. This phase of training involved serving a Knight or a group of Knights.
He trained in learning the arts of war, developing his body and performing acts of obligation to his lord. At twenty-one years old or younger if noted for bravery, he was knighted. This was a serious religious ceremony.
Physical training lay at the core of the training for knighthood at all the stages, with the goals of acquiring military prowess and developing social graces and sports skills.
It is believed the Catholic Church was opposed to Physical Education for the following reasons:
The debased character of the Roman sports and games consequently were view as an evil activity, which disturbed the early Medieval Church.
It closely associated the Roman games with pagan religions.
The church was growing in the belief of the evil nature of the body. The body and soul were becoming viewed as two separate entities. The soul should be preserved and strengthened but the body should not be catered for in any way. It should not be given entertaining or beneficial exercises.
The church attempted to suppress many games and sports at this time as they were considered frivolous and tinged with sin. Dancing was strongly discouraged because of its sensual nature. Although Thomas Aquinas advocated Physical Education being the most prominent churchmen of his time.
The role Thomas Aquinas played is crucial to understanding the development of modern thought and practice of physical education. There were two great schools of thought emerging from the Greek philosophies of Plato and Aristotle.
Platonism viewed reality from a spiritual standpoint, whereas Aristotle viewed reality as the here and now.
Thomas Aquinas revived the Aristotle world-view in the middle ages and his teaching was the precursor for the renaissance period.
The church was the provider of education in the middle ages and it consisted of seven liberal arts courses; arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music, grammar, rhetoric and logic.
Sport during the middle ages (like much of history) was mainly for the wealthy upper classes. During the Middle Ages the tradition of chivalry dominated much of the physical training. These events were tournaments where knights fought to prove the strength and prowess.
As the middle ages progressed into the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, medieval civilization began to decline. Towns, education and the arts began to flourish. Nations in Europe became united under various kings and queens and began to resemble the nations we know today. This was the beginning of the renaissance period.
As the renaissance drew near the middle and lower classes began to develop their own sports activities separately from those of the upper classes. These physical activities resembled throwing objects, running and jumping. The Middle class that had been steadily growing since the 10th Century, began to develop their own games. They developed variations of the Knights games as they attempted to train to defend their cities.
Many of the modern ball games came from this time; where the masses played games and had goals, which were often the city gates. One such influence is the French game "soule" which is similar to Rugby. All classes began to participate in these contests.
The Bayeux Tapestry (which illustrates the Norman Conquest of England in 1066) illustrates a constant thread through this period of play is ritualized aggression and that play is training for war. Cock fighting, stone and javelin throwing bear bating, hunting, ice-skating and football were some of the sports played during this period.
In the late middle ages both the church and the state began to make rules and laws against sporting activities partly because of civil disturbances and occasional deaths that resulted form sports.
The other important factor in this was national defense and the state wanted men to practice archery rather than play games.
The decline of the Knight was due to the English longbow and with it the chivalrous tournaments disappeared with the emergence of gunpowder. The field of cloth of gold in 1520 was the last tournament under Henry V111.
The view that the body is evil and the emergence of the popularity of games and sports was played out, right up to the twentieth century.
The Middle Ages did not disappear suddenly; Medieval life and civilization gradually waned for more than a century before the Renaissance burst out in full force in Italy.
The Renaissance began in Italy in the thirteenth century and spread throughout North and Western Europe for the next two centuries.
The Renaissance required a utilitarian kind of Education that could not be found within theological study. The demands of business necessitated the study of law. Scholars began to search for the Roman codes and indexes, which led to the study of other classical works from ancient Greece.
The Renaissance was endeared to the ancient philosophy of stoic-humanism, which combined the life of action and that of contemplation.
The men of the Renaissance felt obligated to serve the community as well as to learn all they could about the rational world.
This education was dispelled from the new Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Bologna, Salerno, and Paris.
The increase of humanistic thought brought the decrease of church-controlled education to a more popular secular educational model.
Physical education was a part of these universities at this time, but it was limited by the belief that physical training would interfere with academic studies.
Their sport was more intramural rather than varsity athletics. The Renaissance helped to bring back the all-round person, allowing for the development of team games and individual competitive activities (such as military skills).
One typically Roman trait that became the hallmark of the Renaissance man was universality.
The complete man had mastery of many facets of life. Leonardo da Vinci was the epitome of this ideal. He was a writer, painter, optician, cartographer, astronomer, geologist, botanist, and studied anatomy and mechanics. He was an engineer and inventor as well.
There were others during this time that excelled in many fields such as Michelangelo, Cellini and Lorenzo de’ Medici.
The study of the ancient writings that expressed many humanistic ideas brought a conflict between the church and intellectuals. The Renaissance perhaps is the clearest example of the necessity of a balance between freedom and order, individual interests and social and political stability, rights and obligations, power and responsibility.
The education of the period began to develop along the lines of the Greek ideal; it stressed a classical education combined with physical education. A major leader was Vittorino da Feltre (1374-1446). His school for children of nobility taught the Athenian model of classics but also included swimming, fencing, riding, and dancing. The universal model was vigorously promoted in this education program.
The energy and enthusiasm of the Renaissance found expression in a wide variety of sports and games.
Schoolmasters in general considered physical activity an essential part of the curriculum. Exercise was deemed a necessity for both young and old.
The fore-runners to tennis, baseball and bowling were very popular.
Physical activity was both utilitarian and enjoyable. It provided for the sound body in which a sound mind could exist, and it was fun. Other sports were ball games, horse races, boxing matches, racquet games, gambling, dancing, hunts, and dancing.
A quote from the time by Castiglione reveals the Renaissance nobleman’s perception of sport.
“Also it is a noble exercise, and meete for one living in Court to play at Tenise, where the disposition of the body, the quickness and nimbleness of every member is much perceived, and almost whatsoever a man can see in all other exercises. And I reckon vaulting no less praise, which for all it is painefull and hard, maketh a man more light and quicker than any of the rest.”
War and invasion took the ideas of the Renaissance Italy to other areas in Europe. Although during this time other European nations were developing vibrant cultures.
The working masses during the Renaissance were on the whole able to improve their circumstances and many were freed from serfdom. Their carnival festivities held on public holidays, were full of eating, drinking, games and dancing.
The struggle at this time for people to break away from the Catholic Church produced men such as Martin Luther and Calvin. The beginning of the Protestant Church gave a greater support for physical activities. Protestants believed that physical activities might help to prevent corruption of the body in word and deed, and therefore, were of moral value.
Also, the Protestant belief that everyone has the right to read the Scriptures increased the need for general education to ensure literacy. Education under the Catholic Church had been for its leaders and scholars.
The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries saw more progress toward our current educational practices than any previous time, except perhaps ancient Greece. To follow this progress of physical education during this time period, it is important to look at the educational theorists rather than organized programs, as they were none.
This period is known as the age of reason and enlightenment. The atmosphere was characterized by optimism. In education “realists” proposed that that goal of education was to tie reality to life as it really was.
The humanistic theories previously discussed were developed and broken away from. These were humanistic realists, social realists, and sense realists.
Physical education was still a minor part of the curriculum but as educational theory developed, physical education began to become a valuable part of the educational process. These realists called for physical activities in education and their primary motivation was for improved health.
Francois Rabelais (1495-1553) believed in physical education’s importance in preparation for war. The difference in Rabelais’s ideas was he believed a Knight should also be trained as a scholar. The physical activities were designed to strengthen his body and serve as recreation.
John Milton (1608-1674) the English writer believed that a classical education was useful, but felt that eight years of study should be condensed into one. He divided the study day into three parts: study, exercise and meals. The exercises were basically war orientated although play and games were used, but in a sense of honing skills for war.
A social theorist Michael De Montaigne (1533-1592) focused his education theories on aristocratic boys. He believed that experience and reason were the roads to knowledge. He said, “ to know by heart is not to know.”
Much of modern educational theory can be traced to his theories, with his use of physical activities to further a pupil’s experiences stressing the cohesiveness of mind and body. He did not link learning experiences through games though.
John Locke (1632-1704) an English social theorist used the now popular phase of physical educators “a sound mind in a sound body.” This in fact came from Juvenal, a Roman writer. Locke believed that mind and body were separate entities and all ideas came from personal experiences.
This may be better translated to the paradigm; experiences of the senses combined with mental reflection or thought which is based from those experiences. He stressed physical exercise as a way of health and recreation as a beneficial break in the normal pattern of life. Similar to Jay Nashe’s twentieth century statement of recreation as “re-creation.”
A leading sense realist was Richard Mulcaster (1531-1611) from England. He believed a tutor at home should teach students with other students, rather than individually. Mulcaster was also convinced that teachers should be trained professionally. He suggested that both men and woman should receive education, rather than only males, and he was one of the first to suggest coeducational activities among woman.
He was interested in physical and moral training through exercise and believed that mass education could use physical activities to develop social values. He strongly encouraged physical education and his works were rediscovered in the 1800’s.
Wolfgang Ratke (1571-1635) of Germany was another great theoretician of educational reform. He developed education on a scientific basis’s by teaching students what they needed to learn, and at an age they are ready to learn it. He is considered the father of modern education despite his failing to translate his ideas into practice.
John Comenius (1592-1670) a Czechoslovakian, believed that children could learn much through recreational activities as well as improve their health.
The Puritan party mistakenly supposed that Sunday was to be identified with the Jewish Sabbath. Their views had aroused great opposition and King James had ordered the Book for Sports to be read from the pulpit. The clergy refused and so the request was withdrawn until Charles 1 reissued the decree in 1633 (see handout).
The realism of the 1600’s was followed by the enlightenment of the 1700s. This move attempted to spread rationalism and knowledge to all people.
The educational theorists of the enlightenment believed in a more general education for all, growing out of the realist’s theories a century before.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1788) of France published two books Emile (1762) and The Social Contract (1767). These books expounded that all humans are free and equal by nature and that inequality appeared only after Governments had developed. Rousseau believed people to be good by nature but were corrupted by civilization.
Education was allowing the child to develop as nature intended and to avoid anything that would hamper this development. Children were given tasks that were geared toward learning from nature and experience and were considered to be age appropriate. This education was for males only.
Rousseau regarded play as both healthful and educational but did not think it should be forced.
John Basedow (1724-1790) a German educator used Rousseau’s “naturalism” and made it into an educational practice. He financed a school, which became known as the Dessau Educational Institute in 1774. He treated children as children, not as young adults.
He placed a heavy stress on physical activity, with the school day broken into 5 hours of classes, three hours of recreation (fencing, riding, dancing and music) and two hours of manual labor that taught a craft for the student. He organized camping trip, which resembles our outdoor education programs. Although this school did not survive it had great influence throughout Europe in regard to the importance of physical activities for the child.
A school that did survive was the Schnepfenthal Educational Institute near Gotha in eastern Germany. Christian Salzmann founded it in 1785. He employed Johann Guts Muths who taught there for fifty years developing the Dessau gymnastics program. Salzmann’s book on these physical activities reached the United States in 1825. Many of his practices are similar to those followed today.
Johann Pestalozzi (1746-1827) was a Swiss teacher who taught in Yverdon, Germany. He believed humans to be social creatures and that education was a natural process where the child wanted to learn and the teacher was a guide taking them from easy to difficult activities. He saw education as having three aspects: intellectual, practical, and most importantly moral. Physical education was also important to bring mind and body into full harmony. His school offered daily one hour of gymnastics five days a week.
Phillipp Von Fellenberg (1771-1844) based his ideas on Pestalozzi who began a very successful vocational school of labor. He felt that his students had enough activity through a planned curriculum of manual labor, but allowed his students outdoor activities as free choices in their leisure time.
Freidrich Froebal (1782-1852) developed a theory of play based on his observations of Pestalozzi’s school. He stressed that play was essential to the education and development of children. He began a kindergarten in Germany and put his ideas into practice.
From about 1800 onward, educational theories in Europe moved rapidly to the United States as immigrants brought many ideas with them. Many educational developments were concurrent on both continents by 1850, but developing American educational practices were strongly based on the work of the nineteenth-century European theorist (Freeman, 1997).
The transition to modern sport began during the 1700s as some sporting activities started to develop higher levels of organization and standardized rules.
For example the Jockey Club was formed in 1750 as an organization of rich owners and horse breeders. Club members began to write rules for racing, appoint officials and assess penalties for breaking the rules. The Marlybone cricket club was founded in 1787 and they quickly standardized the sport.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club was founded in 1754 at St Andrews, Scotland and they published and standardized the rules of golf, with 18 holes being introduced by 1764. In boxing the “Broughton’s Rules” were introduced in 1741, which became the London Prize Fighting Rules in 1838 and eventually the Queensbury’s Rules in 1867.
These sports were held on Monday and Tuesday to enable spectators to view them. They were not held on Sundays. The tempo of the work increased as the week progressed and so Monday was regarded as a holiday.
The increase in town population and cities brought sports events to a greater forum and a fee paying basis, as people left villages to work in the towns.
There is no clear demarcation between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in European physical education. The philosophies and experimental schools of the 1700s produced the progress of the 1800s.
During the 1800s Napoleon was put to rest, but the unrest of the populace during 1815-1850 saw many rebellions. National pride was at an all time high. Many sought to establish educational systems to strengthen their nations. Those disenchanted with European life were leaving for the United States.
Freidrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852) a German educator is often considered the father of gymnastics. He began using an open area, which he called the turnplatz or exercise group, which was basically a playground with apparatus for exercises. It later spread and was called Turnvereins.
He went to prison for his political views and Adolf Spiess (1810-1858) carried his ideas forward. He developed the ideas of Guts Muth and Froebel into the Gymnastics Manual for Schools. This manual classified exercises by difficulty and by appropriate age and sex. He developed exercises that required almost no apparatus. He used musical accompaniment for those activities.
He also stressed that professionally trained specialists should only be allowed to teach gymnastics. He wanted indoor areas as well as outdoors to ensure all year round activity. He also stressed his gymnastics was for girls especially the free exercises. His system also included marching, and this emphasized discipline and obedience.
Franze Nichtegall (1777-1847) is the father of Danish physical education, inspired by Guts Muth in 1804 he was made director of the newly established Military Gymnastics Institute, which prepared teachers of gymnastics first for the military and then later for schools. He was also a promoter of Per Henrik Ling’s Swedish system of Gymnastics.
Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839) was the founder of Swedish gymnastics, although he was influenced by Nachegall’s work while living in Denmark. He returned to Sweden and became the Director of the new Royal Gymnastics Central Institute in 1814 where he used simple, fundamental movements for both educational and military purposes. The system was fully developed by his son.
Archibald Maclaren (1820-1884) had a major influence on physical training in England. He designed a physical training program for the military, which encompassed body exercise as well as the use of apparatus.
Above all, Maclaren stressed a balance between recreational activities and educational activities. His gymnastics never took hold in England, but his writings were a major influence on physical education in England until the late 1800s.