Hoop rolling | Greece

Name in Original Language

Τσέρκι

Area Where Played

Greece

History

Hoop rolling (tserki, anc. krikilasia) is a very common traditional game in many parts of the world. It is attested since Antiquity in Europe, Asia and Africa. It was a popular game in Ancient Greece; the Romans inherited it from the Greeks, according to Horace, and the tradition was continued throughout the Byzantine era, with the game known as trochos (wheel).

The game was played with a large wooden or metallic hoop, and it was considered as very good exercise, too, according to references in ancient Greek medical texts. Sometimes, the hoop was equipped with smaller links, which were making a jingle noise during the game; according to Latin author Martial, this noise was a warning to passers-by that a wheel was rolling. Latin authors emphasized more on the athletic and military aspect of the game.

Known as tserki (derived from Latin cerchio, which means circle, ring) the game remained a popular one until quite recently in Greece, as its equipment was very easy and cheap to acquire. Children were using the circular metallic parts from barrels as wheels. Sometimes, players would compete in hoop rolling divided in groups.

Nowadays, a small plastic or wooden wheel with an attached stick with handle is a common toy for babies at the age when they start walking. It usually makes a rattling noise, and it is used to help developing coordination of the babies’ motor skills.

Detailed Description

Rules

The aim of the game is to keep the wheel upright and rolling with the aid of a stick. Sometimes, instead of a stick, another item could be used for controlling the wheel, such as a hook.

The game could become a competitive one, with groups competing in rows, each team trying to keep their wheels rolling for a longer time.