In ancient Greece, trophies were made on the battlefields of victorious battles, from captured arms and standards, and were hung upon a tree or a large stake made to resemble a warrior. Often, these ancient trophies were inscribed with a story of the battle and were dedicated to various gods. To destroy a trophy was considered a sacrilege.
The ancient Romans kept their trophies closer to home. The Romans built magnificent trophies in Rome, including columns and arches atop a foundation.
Contemporary trophies often depict an aspect of an event commemorated. For example a trophy from a basketball tournament might take the shape of a basketball player. Trophies have been in the past objects of use such as two-handled cups, bowls, or mugs or representations such as statues of people, animals, and architecture while displaying words, numbers or images.
The oldest sports trophies in the world are the Carlisle Bells, a horse racing trophy dating back to 1559 and 1599 and were first awarded by Elizabeth I. The race has been run for over 400 years in Carlisle, Cumbria, United Kingdom.