Throughout the history books it was portrayed that living in these ancient times were awful and so far away from the luxuries we have today. The dirt, the smell and everything of course had to be done by hand. It was a time of slavery and cruel masters. Not at all like today where the worries we have revolve around the surfing of Internet sites for food that is delivered straight to our very doorstops for us, cheaper train tickets to get us away on our holidays and how much money we have in our banks for the rest of the month to spend on clothes and fun nights out. The olden days really were poverty stricken and people had to live food to mouth often going for a couple of days without food or supplies. That would never be heard of today, not in Britain anyway.
So it goes without saying that without TV or computer games for amusement the people of ancient times resorted to cruel sports, humiliation of others and dangerous hobbies purely for their own entertainment purposes. You have to remember these were dark days full of famine, plagues and other such horrors. This is what people saw and experienced in their everyday lives unless of course you were some kind of royalty or very rich indeed. I think seeing these kinds of things on a daily basis hardens you to suffering of other people (just like some nurses today) you don’t care if other people are hurting.
Of course, the nobility of those days would be the ones dishing out the awful punishments just because they could and probably enjoyed the spectacle! Kings, Queens and Aristocrats were often so bored that they revelled in the suffering of someone getting executed. They were not shocked by a good bit of violence to brighten their dull day like we would be nowadays. So here is a roundup of the most awful of ancient past times….
Human Sacrifice and Cannibalism
Aztecs would indeed practice the rituals of human sacrifice and sometimes even cannibalism as part of their religious ceremonies. There are numerous different theories floating around today as to why they did this. Some say it was to appease their Gods. Others say that eating their human sacrifices was simply just a way of getting more protein into their diet. Whatever it was, the Spanish colonists said it was a huge spectacle with hordes of people watching whilst others were dancing and chanting as the head Aztecs performed these grisly ceremonies.
The Romans loved nothing more than watching people kill each other.The Ancient Romans basically sat back and watched Gladiators duke it out with swords and shields until one of them had either yielded or more than likely were killed by their opponent. These Gladiators were normally slaves so the Ancient Romans couldn’t care less really whether they lived or died. These poor souls were also sometimes put up against wild animals such as bears and lions which of course wouldn’t of ended well. Hundreds would die over the course of these cruel games just to bring the spectators a bit of amusement!
Chariot racing was a hugely popular pass time in both Ancient Greece and Rome. Not only was it exciting for the public to watch but it was a huge adrenaline rush for the racers. Many of whom would suffer horrific injuries or even die in awful accidents while competing in these races. The horses too would suffer horrid injuries or even die, if things went badly and they collided with another chariot while galloping at top speed.
Orgies were very popular in Greece, where they would practice these secret religious ceremonies, to worship their God Dionysus. They would dance, sing, play instruments and get all sweaty together. But the worst of it was that they would sometimes tear live animals apart with their bare hands or even their teeth!
The Romans also were particularly fond of worshipping their Gods in this way, such as the wine God Bacchus.
Flagellation or flogging was the practice of whipping a human, normally with a cat-o’-nine-tails. This was normally used as a method of punishment on slaves but was sometimes performed on ones self willingly or used in religious ceremonies or festivals.
In Ancient Rome at the Festival of Lupercalia, young men would run through the streets in thongs cut from recently sacrificed goats. Women who wished to conceived would then put themselves in the way to receive blows, mostly on their hands.
Of course this is also continued today.
People in Ancient Egypt lived on a diet mainly of bread and beer. Meat was rarely eaten as domesticated animals were purely used for working, pulling and carrying things mainly. Wild fruits and berries were also gathered to be eaten but they did however hunt hares and gazelles. They would also fish, both as a means to feed themselves and as a hobby. There was also talk amongst scholars that this past time wasn’t just reserved for animals and that human slaves may have also been hunted for fun too!
Wolves and a Pit
Stories of Vikings or Norsemen throwing people into a pit with a wolf have been circulating for years. Whether it’s just a myth or not, I’m not 100% sure. But they did this supposedly to traitors or cowards within their clans. f they were to kill the wolf (normally with their bare hands) they were deemed to be worthy of rejoining the Clan once again after they had proved themselves.The others would drink, eat and make merriment whilst watching the match between man and beast.
Knights and Tournaments
Jousting in the medieval times was a popular form of entertainment for the masses. Of course sometimes things got out of hand and if a knight who was overpowered didn’t yield to his superior, he may be killed. Also more often than not there were horrid accidents where the knights or even their faithful steads were injured or killed while jousting with lances.
Hung Drawn and Quartered
Public executions were a real big crowd puller in the middle ages with some people even bringing their young children to witness someone being put to death. Others also brought their lunch (a bit like a picnic nowadays) and ate while the poor soul was taking their last breath. Horrible as it seems they thought of it as some kind of entertainment, albeit a sick one!
Stocks in the middle ages as you know were used as a form of punishment to those that had committed petty crimes, such as stealing. Normally you would be shackled there for a few days and would have rotten food thrown at you. You would also be laughed at and taunted by bored villagers. If you were really unlucky and had committed a more serious crime, but weren’t sent to the gallows etc, you may have been stoned to death while shackled there. In those days with no TV for entertainment, this is what local people would have done for fun!
Hope you enjoyed this grisly insight into what was considered entertainment in those ancient times. Until next time…
Demon Chick x