Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963992 | Print ISBN: 9781412906784 | Online ISBN: 9781412963992| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Physical Education, History of
Ronald D. Flowers
Evidence of physical education as a discipline can be traced to the early Greeks. The great philosophers of the Greek world posited that the human is composed of body and mind (soul) and that training is required of both. The writings of these philosophers reveal that they believed in the need for organized physical activities for all citizens. Plato claimed that swimming and gymnastics were of great value and that participation in them should be obligatory for all youth, girls as well as boys. However, the notion that physical activities should be provided for all citizens would be lost in subsequent civilizations as the demand for physical fitness would be reserved for the privileged class in preparation for the elite games they played. A revival in the need for physical education would not occur until after the Reformation. The Reformation marked the beginnings of the desire to provide a common ...