I feel like all I do these days is research for my books. Book 3 for my Child Of Atlantis series is all but wrapped up with an October release date. In one section of the book a few of our heroes have to enter an ancient tournament called the Trials of Kratos or The Trials for short. I decided I needed to look up ancient fighting tournaments, and that is when I came across Pankration.
Pankration was a style of fighting that combined wrestling and boxing. It was introduced into the Greek Olympic Games in 648 BC but the event didn't really have any rules. The only things not allowed were biting and gouging of the opponent's eyes, so it was pretty civilized. The term Pankration is Greek, which roughly translates to "all of might" or "all power". Pan or "all" and kratos or "strength, might, power".
Greek mythology says that Theseus and Hercules invented Pankration, using it to defeat the Minotaur and the Nemean Lion respectively. Academia tells us that it was probably developed from archaic Greek society and that the sports of wrestling and boxing might have been developed from Pankration and not the other way around.
For all intents and purposes Pankration is the ancient equivalent for our modern day mixed martial arts. It is even seeing a resurgence as martial arts practitioners are discovering the value of the ancient, often forgotten martial arts.
Pankration was also practiced by the military rank and file. Even the Spartans were said to be trained in Pankration.
Tournaments would highlight a decorated soldier much like the medieval tournaments throughout Europe. In my version of the tournament, The Trials of Kratos is an ancient tradition occuring every 7 years. Winners are crowned the king or queen of the tournament and their names are added to the Shi'Tal Codex as the greatest warriors of their time. Many of the warring clans in the Atlantean culture often settle their disputes at the tournament, as is the case in Child Of Atlantis: Catalyst.
Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into ancient fighting. As always, stay curious, my ninjas.