Top 5 Ancient Aztec Inventions


Well, it wasn't quite the game we know as soccer today, but the Aztecs did play a game that could very well have been a precursor. It was called ollama, and was played on a field called a tlachtli, which is often used interchangeably as the name of the game. The tlachtli was shaped like an "I" and had walls that were approximately three times the height of the men on the field. Attached near the top of these walls were stone rings said to represent the sunrise and sunset. The aim of the game was to knock a small rubber ball (which represented the sun, moon or stars) through the rings using only the hips, knees or elbows.

Ollama was played by the Aztec forebears, the Mayans, but in Aztec society, the game received an elevated status and was played only by the nobles. As with many other things in Aztec society, the game could get extremely violent. Instead of a halftime show, human sacrifices were involved in the ollama ritual. Additionally, whenever one team scored, they were allowed to try to rob the spectators.

The other way in which the audience participated in ollama was through betting, which they apparently did quite heavily. In fact, two of the great evils Aztec children were warned about were excessive ball playing and gambling. Nonetheless, there are reports of Aztec citizens betting so heavily on the game that they were forced to sell themselves into slavery to pay their debts.

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