How Was Football Played in Ancient Times?

Football, also known as soccer in some parts of the world, is a sport that has been played for centuries. The modern version of football that we see today has evolved significantly from its ancient roots. In this article, we’ll take a look at how football was played in ancient times.

Ancient Football Games

Football games have been played by various civilizations across the globe. In ancient times, football games were played in different forms in different parts of the world.


The Chinese played a game called Cuju which involved kicking a ball through an opening into a net. Cuju was played during the Han dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE) and was popular among military troops.


The Greeks had a game called Episkyros which was played between two teams with 12-14 players each. The objective of the game was to throw a ball over the heads of the opposing team.


The Romans had their own version of football called Harpastum. Players would use their hands and feet to pass and kick the ball around on a rectangular field. The objective was to get the ball over the opponent’s goal line.

The Evolution of Football

Over time, these ancient games evolved into what we know today as modern football. The first official rules for football were established in England in 1863 by the Football Association (FA).

The modern version of football involves two teams with 11 players each playing on a rectangular field with goals at either end. The objective is to score more goals than your opponent within 90 minutes of playtime.


In conclusion, while modern-day football may seem vastly different from its ancient origins, it’s important to remember that it’s still rooted in history and tradition. Understanding how football was played in ancient times helps us appreciate the evolution of the game and the impact it has had on societies across the globe.