Bull Leaping in Minoan Crete

Minoan Crete is the first culture in the Aegean to provide us with ample iconographic evidence of sporting activity held in the Bronze Age.

From the representations on stone vases, frescos and sealstones it appears that the Minoans practiced a number of sports, such as boxing, wrestling, bull-leaping and acrobatics.

Bull-leaping in Crete was a complex and dangerous acrobatic game during which young men mostly and women would perform spectacular leaps on the back of running bulls. Naturally, using the bulls required catching them and taming them. Although bull games were known in other prehistoric cultures as well – such as the Egyptian – it is the Minoans who reached the highest level of competency in this sport.

Bull Leaping Minoan Fresco

bull leaping