General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 24 Mar 2019/13 Lizard
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Professor Eric Taladoire

Question for October 2016

Would they have carried on playing the ballgame if it was pouring with rain? Asked by Hobletts Manor Junior School. Chosen and answered by Professor Eric Taladoire.

The ancient Maya site of Palenque in the rain
The ancient Maya site of Palenque in the rain (Click on image to enlarge)

Certainly not! First, we must remember that Mesoamerica belongs to the tropical area, where climate is different from what we know for our countries. Basically, there are two seasons, rainy and dry. During the dry season, the game could be performed any time. During the rainy season, of course, rain falls mostly in the afternoon, but it pours, and it would have prevented any game. We know, from several well-excavated courts, of the presence of drains to evacuate water. It means that such courts were literally flooded, thus impeding any game.
Of course, the Aztecs and the other Mesoamerican peoples had a perfect knowledge of the climate prevailing in their countries, and we may assume that ballgames did mostly occur during the dry season. Significantly, we know that two of the most important ballgames, in Aztec times, did take place at the end of the dry and of the rainy seasons. Just before the rainy season, the game was probably practiced to ensure a good crop, while, at the beginning of the dry season it would mark the beginning of warlike activities.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore.

Professor Eric Taladoire has answered 5 questions altogether:

Did the Aztecs have hospitals?

Did they have medical teams on hand [in the ballgame] in case there were injuries?

How many people watched the [ball]game?

After the ballgame, did they perform the sacrifice(s) straight away...?

Would they have carried on playing the ballgame if it was pouring with rain?

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