Ancient Egypt and The History of Baseball

Welcome to our History of the Game series!

Batting the Ball (or “seker-hemat”) was an Egyptian bat-and-ball game, played by the Egyptian pharaohs (with their priests as catchers)! Significantly, this game had certain physical and thematic similarities to modern American baseball, and in certain ways, might be understood as an ancient precursor to baseball and softball—as Peter A. Piccione, Ph.D. also notes the possibility of professional female ball players in Egypt.

Very early in their history, Egyptians applied cosmological associations to their bat-and-ball game similar to the cosmology that Americans apply to baseball (e.g., as a rite of spring and a renewal of life, a conduit for channeling national political loyalty, a source of heroic figures with whose achievements society could identify).