Bullfighting is a tradition, art and athletic sport combined in one.

Bullfighting originated in the classical world. The first bullfights supposedly
took place in Knossos, Greece, "a contest of some sort is depicted in a wall
painting unearthed... dating from about 2000 BC. It shows male and female
acrobats confronting a bull, grabbing its horns as it charges, and vaulting over
its back." (Encarta) Bullfights stayed popular after the Greek era had
declined, in Rome. The spectacle of bullfighting during this time period was
scarcely an art form but pure sport. It was not until the Moors of North Africa
conquered the Visigoths of Europe in 711 AD that bullfighting started to evolve
into an art. The Moors would ride skilled horses on feast days on which they
killed the bulls. During this time period, when the Moors were redefining
bullfighting, there were those bullfighters that rode horses and killed the
bulls but there were also those men who stood on the ground with capes. The men
that wielded the capes aided the horsemen in how the bull was positioned during
the fight. These men began to draw most of the attention from the crowd due to
their expertise and craftsmanship with their capes; these men eventually became
the matadors of 2 today. With this development, a corrida de toros ("the
running of the bulls") began to take the shape in which it is seen today as
modern bullfighting. In 1726 Francisco Romero of Ronda, Spain fit the last piece
into the bullfighting puzzle when he introduced the estoque (the sword) and the:

"The muleta [bullfighting cape]... a Spanish cloak, and you can even see it
being worn at times, if rain falls, by fighters off duty... It is nowadays made
of two thicknesses of heavy silk, the outside being blotting-paper pink and the
inside generally yellow. It is very strong." (Machnad 58) The modern sport of
bullfighting is strictly an art form, having evolved from its origin in ancient

Greece and firmly taken its roots mostly in Spanish speaking countries. Bulls
used for bullfighting are a special breed of animal and their lives and breeding
reflect that fact: "This Spanish fighting bull is a long way removed from the

Hereford or the Jersey, or even the Texas longhorn. You can let cattle run loose
on the open range for generations until they are complete ?outlaws', but
they will never turn into what the 3 Spanish call toros bravos or fighting
bulls. The reason is that the race is different." (Machnad 5) There are two
races of cattle native to Spain, one domestic and the other wild. The domestic
animals came over by land from Asia and were already domesticated by the Celts.

The other race came by sea from Northern Africa and was being thoroughbred in
ancient Egypt at that time. These latter animals were only barely domesticated
and began to roam the Spanish mountainsides wild. This fighting bull is called

Bos Taurus Africanus. This bull is a descendant of Bos Primigenius or the

Primordial Bull. Some of these Primordial Bulls survived in herds in the German
forests and were hunted by men such as Julius Caesar who said, "In size they
are a little less than elephants; in species, colour and shape, they are
bulls." (Machnad 5) Most bulls that enter the ring with the bullfighter are at
least four years old, one year older than those bulls in the slaughterhouse. In
the eyes of the spectator, the last twenty minutes of the bull's life are what
matters. The fighting bull lives the life of peace in nature until it is time
for the fight, having the best pastures and rations of food than that of its
cousins, the domesticated cow. Calves are born in the winter and suckled by the
mother until just after the second summer of the calf's life. At this point
the calf is separated from the mother and branded shortly thereafter. When the
calves reach a certain age they are put through a rigorous bravery test. This
test, called a tienta, consists of most 4 everything in an actual bullfight
minus the banderillos and the kill. Experts determine which calves will become
fighting bulls by grading "the animal's attitude, style, speed, smoothness,
nervousness or calmness, nobility and mode of going for the cloth lures," (Machnad

41) After the bull has matured he is put into a traveling box and taken to his
final destination. The unboxing of the bulls is a very tense moment for all
involved because the bulls