Chronology:Sekar-hemat

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BC2400c.1 Was Egypt the Well-Spring of Ballplaying? Text Has “Strike the Ball” Reference

Game:

Sekar-hemat

[A]“The earliest known references to seker-hemat (translation: “batting the ball”) as a fertility rite and ritual of renewal are inscribed in pyramids dating to 2400 BC.”  Egyptologist Peter Piccione reads Pyramid Texts Spell 254 as commanding a pharaoh to cross the heavens and “strike the ball” in the meadow of the sacred Apis bull.

[B]Piccione’s reading seems consistent with Robert Henderson’s identification of ancient Egypt as the source of ballplaying: “It is the purpose of this book to show that all modern games played with bat and ball descend from one common source: an ancient fertility rite observed by Priest–Kings in the Egypt of the Pyramids.”

 

Sources:

[A] Piccione, Peter, “Pharaoh at the Bat,” College of Charlestown Magazine(Spring/Summer 2003), p.36.  From a clipping in the Giamatti Center’s “Origins” file in Cooperstown. 

[B]Henderson, Robert W.,Ball, Bat and Bishop: The Origins of Ball Games [Rockport Press, 1947], page 4.

Comment:

David Block [Baseball Before We Knew It, page 303 (note 1)] writes that Piccione’s identification of seker-hemat with baseball is “apparently speculative in nature.”

Query:

It would be good to confirm details in an academic source and to see whether Egyptologists have any other interpretations of this text – and how Egyptian rites employed the ball as a symbol of fertility. 

Circa
2400 B.C.
Item
BC2400c.1
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