In today’s hypercompetitive world, contact sports bring about fierce rivalries between fans, between players, and even between countries. From the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines in grid iron football, to the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks in rugby, to Real Madrid and Barcelona in association football (soccer), contact sports incite a passion few other games can replicate. Though these modern contests of brawn might vary in ways both subtle and significant, they draw on a common history that dates back centuries. Overcoming rulers, conquerors, and religious leaders, the games of ancient times survived and flourished to become the sports we know and love today.
In The Shared Origins of Football, Rugby, and Soccer, Christopher Rowley reveals how ball games arose and took shape into seven distinct forms: American football, association football, Australian rules football, Canadian football, Gaelic football, rugby league football, and rugby union football. Rowley traces ball games back to the Mayans in Meso-America and the Han Dynasty in China, through ancient Egypt and Greece, and on through the Cradle of football in England and Scotland. His narrative includes the relatively recent development of rules, codes, and leagues and concludes with the current state of football around the world.
The Shared Origins of Football, Rugby, and Soccer takes the reader through this unique odyssey in world history by bringing to life the little-known games of the past. Rowley recreates ancient games from around the world based on surviving documents and illustrations, and relates first-hand accounts of fossil games still played today. Through careful research, the common ancestry of our modern seven codes of football is finally pieced together to create a fascinating history of the world of football that we know today.