Often termed “indefensible but irresistible,” the spectacle of bullfighting has existed in one form or another since ancient days. For example, a contest of some sort is depicted in a wall painting unearthed in Crete, dating from about 2000BC. It shows male and female acrobats confronting a bull, grabbing its horns as it charges, and vaulting over its back.
As bullfighting developed, the men on foot, who by their capework aided horsemen in positioning the bulls, began to draw more attention from the crowd, and the modern corrida began to take form. Today the bullfight is much the same as it has been since about 1726, when Francisco Romero of Ronda, Spain, introduced the estoque (the sword) and the muleta (the small, more easily wielded cape used in the last part of the fight).