Mayans Ball Game

Topics: Maya civilization, Aztec, Mesoamerica Pages: 5 (1888 words) Published: April 15, 2013
Mayan civilization: Mesoamerican ball game
Mayans are one of the bloodiest civilizations that are known, had also their own kind of entertainment. It is known as the Mesoamerican ball game and the first notes about this game were around 3,000 years ago. This game was a symbol of a battle for a life, not just because it was very dangerous, but also because players that participated in this game offered their lives to the Gods. The Mesoamerican ball game was played all over Central and Latin America, but it has origins in the Olmecs culture. The balls that were used for this game were made out of rubber and 20 inches in diameter and weight up to 8 pounds. The Olmecs were also the first people that used rubber from the trees. Rubber gave ball an ability to bounce, but they were still hard enough to caused injuries (Pacaritambo, 1). Even if it was played by many civilizations the Mayans are the best known because out of them. Game had a different meaning for this culture. Of course it was a kind of entertainment and people supported one or the other team, but it had more spiritual and religions purposes, which played a main role in Mayan civilization. The players had one more motivation than just winning. Team that lost the game was sacrificed to the gods. Question is why they would sacrifice their lives so easily and for what? Mayans were very skillful in gathering food from their land, but it was not the only one source of their food. They were also good farmers and the main crops, like in the most of this continent were corn and beans. Mayans were also the first who ever used cacao beans. They did not eat them like we do now (cacao beans are a source of chocolate), Mayans used them as a currency (Traditions, 1). For Mayans it was very important to have enough rain and that means also enough food and currency. Nature was destructive and unpredictable and Mayans had a lot of days without any rain and because they were very ritualistic and religious civilization they had to found a way how to make gods happy so they can send them some rainy days. One of the ways that Mayans did this was Mesoamerican ball game. It was a game just for the strongest, fastest basically for the best men that Mayans have, so they will sacrifice the best for their gods. This shows the importance of this game for a whole Mayan civilization. People can consider this as one of the first team game, but they were not as advanced as Romanians´ or Greeks´. Mayans used for Mesoamerican ball game public ball courts, which were also used for some other cultural or ritual events, but mainly for this ball game. Around 6,000 ball courts were found all over Central and Latin America. A structure of these courts was basically really simple and similar. All of them had a field where players run, two parallel walls on the sides, and some kind of small temple or just a place for ceremonies at the end. In the middle of the walls on the sides were attached little stone circles. All these courts looked like capital “I”. Archeologists found courts in different sizes, from small, just for a few players, to large courts about a size of today’s football fields (Meaning, 1). Ball courts were surrounded by other buildings and low platforms from where people observed this game. Almost every bigger Mayan city had at least one ball court. It was really important part of Mayan culture and they showed the power and wealth of their city in these ball courts. Very interesting is that archeologists did not find any ball courts in Teotihuacan, which was the major city of Central America. There was found just an image of this game on some mural in this city, but no ball courts. The largest ball court was in the city of Chichen Itzá and this ball court was comparable to 17 volleyball courts (Mesoamerican, 1). These ball courts were very important part of the Mayans´ culture so they took a care of them. Ball players represented their cities and it...
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