The real origins of bullfighting.

Ancient Spectacle.

Whether you love it or abhor it, there is no doubt that bullfighting is a a tradition with extremely ancient roots.

While these roots have not always been so apparent there are those who believe that bullfighting goes back further than anyone has ever dared imagine.


Bullfighting – Where does it originate?

In most peoples eyes bullfighting is to be associated exclusively with Spain. However the truth is that to a varying extent bullfighting can also be found in some regions of Portugal, France and even Mexico across the Atlantic Ocean. Yet for all this it seems that considering the world in general, bullfighting has a fairly limited geography. But what then unites the countries that do share a common passion for bullfighting?  What is the common link that has led them to this shared heritage?

Great Antiquity.

Although there have been many words written as to the true origins of bullfighting it is clear that whatever the truth we have in bullfighting something of a ceremonial ritual that seems to be of very great antiquity. Now some observers believe this background of a shared passion goes back further than anyone has ever dared imagine. They believe it to originate on the lost island of Atlantis. Whether you believe this island existed or not, the fact is that over the millennia the notion of  Atlantis has captivated the imagination of countless writers mystics and adventurers. For further details on this see our special topic on the subject.

Atlantean Worship.

According to Plato, Atlantis existed immediately westwards of the Pillars of Hercules. That is immediately opposite the coastline of those nations for whom bullfighting is a firm tradition. Even more revealing is the fact that according to Plato the hunting and killing of bulls was fundamental to Atlantean worship. In Plato’s own words:

“There were in the Temple of Poseidon bulls roaming at large. The ten kings after praying to the God that they might secure a sacrifice that would please him entered alone and started a hunt for a bull, using clubs and nooses but no metal weapon; and when they caught him they cut his throat over the top of the pillar so that the blood flowed over the inscription.”

Strange connection.

We see then that the hunting of bulls was fundamental to the most solemn of Atlantean ceremonies. Strange then that the only countries in the modern world that keep alive the tradition of bullfighting are exactly those that look out towards where Atlantis is once said to have existed.


As if this was not enough we find yet further connections. For these same countries are also passionate for their love of fine horses and horsemanship. Significantly Plato tells us these were also qualities deeply revered on Atlantis. Indeed the inner sanctum of the island, which rested on a concentrically arranged ring of islands possessed a "special course for horse racing."

From the above accounts  we can plainly see how both the emblem of the bull and the horse were deeply etched into the symbolism and practice of Atlantean worship – a symbolism still very much alive and duly celebrated in the Iberian love of equestrian sports and bull fighting.

Did Atlantis really exist?