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