Following on from our previous list Top 10 Ancient Inventions You Think Are Modern, we have put together this list. It includes items that were omitted from the first but are still fascinating. Most of the things found here are considered by most to have come from the modern world (or the medieval world at the earliest) but all pre-date the birth of Christ. Feel free to mention others you might know in the comments.
The Ancient Greeks and Romans are known to have played many ball games, some of which involved the use of the feet. The Roman game harpastum is believed to have been adapted from a team game known as episkyros. The Roman politician Cicero (106-43 BC) describes the case of a man who was killed whilst having a shave when a ball was kicked into a barber’s shop. These games appear to have resembled rugby football. Also, documented evidence of an activity resembling football can be found in the Chinese military manual Zhan Guo Ce compiled between the 3rd century and 1st century BC. It describes a practice known as cuju (literally “kick ball”), which originally involved kicking a leather ball through a small hole in a piece of silk cloth which was fixed on bamboo canes.
A variety of oral hygiene measures have been used since before recorded history. This has been verified by various excavations done all over the world, in which chewsticks, tree twigs, bird feathers, animal bones and porcupine quills were recovered. Many people used different forms of toothbrushes. Indian medicine (Ayurveda) has used the neem tree (a.k.a. daatun) and its products to create toothbrushes and similar products for millennia. A person chews one end of the neem twig until it somewhat resembles the bristles of a toothbrush, and then uses it to brush the teeth. In the Muslim world, the miswak, or siwak, made from a twig or root with antiseptic properties has been widely used since the Islamic Golden Age.