Mesoamerican Ball Game (Aztec History)

The Mesoamericans were huge fans of a ball game known today as ulama. I was first captivated by the sport in the DreamWorks movie “The Road to El Dorado” and decided that today we would dig into its history!

Support future documentaries:

“Daily Life of the Aztecs” by Davíd Carrasco
“The Symbolism and Ritual Function of the Middle Classic Ball Game in Mesoamerica” by Marvin Cohodas
“Extreme Sport” by Colleen P. Popson
“Games and Other Amusements of the Ancient Mesoamericans” by Barbara Voorhies


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  1. A lot of archeologist be live that the chichen itza ball court was mainly for ceremonies

  2. seems a lot like soccer, if you lose your coach will sacrifice you to the fake gods of the other team. Edit: I mean in the road to el dorado where they were going to be sacrificed to the protagonist.

  3. In my opinion u are missing some important points. 1. There was always 2 marker stones on the playground. One in each squares. Most of which has been removed and sendt to museums today. 2. The ball players never hit the ball with there bare hips, shoulders, elbows or knees. They always used stones fastened to the arm, knee or waist (stone on a belt) Look around on the web for reliefs, figurines, paintings on vases and codesis. 3. The ball was of masive rubber. It was quirt heavy and did jump very high, like 99,8%. And last. The idea that the mayas was sacrificing ballplayers in according to the game, is a falls myth. There is absolutely no evidence of that. What we know is that both the Aztecs and the maya used the ballgame as a place for public executions of criminals. They also used the playing field to conduct duels among nobels, when they had a twist. An some times the loosing nobels where executed. But that has nothing to do with human sacrifice.

  4. Love your channel, can you do a video with the Olmecs? Thanks

  5. my eleven year old just pointed out that if they killed the winners then there would be no professional players…

  6. does the game look and sound hard?!

  7. Why do I feel like i watched Dora the explorer play this game when I was little.

  8. if any of my class mates are seeing this from ms lewelyns class hey 🙂

  9. What would the penalties be?

  10. It still goes on today. players been sacrificed by elites with their sick games based on specific numerology. R.I.P Kobe 🙁

  11. Is Anyone here from rob gavagan ?

  12. Aztec history has me dead, I learned it this year and honestly…WhY?

  13. That was a very sexy Amerindian girl

  14. they were many variants of the ball game, the aztecs called it "teotachtli" the mayans called it "Pok-Ta-Pok"..the sacrifice was symbolic, and it was played by all cultures in mesoamerica since
    1600 b.c until the arrival of europeans..

  15. i have the movie on DVD, when i was little i would always watch the movie.


  17. Fun fact the ancient incas also played this ball game but they called it tlachtli

  18. I'm just going to leave a little exert from my history book here "Balls were around 2 feet in diameter and weighted 8 pounds" also they were made out of solid rubber and the game is called pitz

  19. If I had to guess, it was the slaves playing this game and getting sacrificed.

  20. You probably have an IQ of 10

  21. Looking back… El Dorado was a very adult movie. There's a hinted sex scene on it lol

  22. El dorado = atlzclan= atlantis@atlantic sea = Américan natives.
    Also Moroccans and Belgians have Aztec dna regardless their skin color.
    This is why Aztecs had huge cuantity of gold because they carried it out of the atlantis before the catastrophe. And is the same reason why their records were burnt

  23. Happy unofficial 1,620 anniversary, Mayan ball.

  24. I went to Mexico and learned about this during summer it was way to hot and it was summer not school so I didn’t listen but now we are learning about it in school so dang it

  25. Imagine if this year in the super bowl the losers had to be sacrificed.

  26. I can't help but wonder if soccer has some influence from this sport. Especially because of it's popularity in Central and South America

  27. Bro, in elementary I learned soccer was not a "ball sport". It was a bloody, head sport. More handcore than boxing. It's just that- the head didn't fight back. The Aztecs took the deceased enemy warriors head (alien or traitor) and kicked the 5H17 out of it. Who tells that one? Tarascans and Oaxacan tribes had to defeat these guys. White 90s teachers knew this. Where's that story explained? I'm Mexican, and yet their details were beyond me even at my age(what old school American teachers told us).

  28. They had 7 players on each team and the teams weren't supposed to have any contact and I'm pretty sure they sacrificed the winning teams captain to the gods. They didn't want to sacrifice the losing team because that would he an insult to the gods

  29. i just learned is social studies that they do sacrafice if they lose but i never knew that when i first watched the movie.

  30. Absolutely brilliant. Thank you so much for these Aztec documentaries. Really, you could discuss any aspects of Aztec culture and you would make it fascinating. Please could we just have more. Thank you

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