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Lion.Kanzen

[Design] guide to make Mesoamerican mod.

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This guide is conceptual and visual about mesoamericans cultures, this in order don't make mistakes like others RTS representing the culture of the ancient of the land where I'm ( Honduras in my case).

 

 

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Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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Architecture.

Mayans.

The tradition of Maya architecture spans several thousands of years thorough the Mesoamerican. A region that extends approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica, within which pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries.

mesoamerica-map.jpg?w=580

 

The Maya were certainly aware of, and were often admirers of, the Mesoamerican cultures which had gone before them, especially the Olmec and at Teotihuacan, and so they took inspiration from this Mesoamerican heritage when developing their own unique architecture. The most recognizable as Maya buildings are the stepped pyramids from the Terminal Pre-classic period and beyond.

Chichen Itza facts - Yucatan, Mexico

Chichen Itza // Yucatan, Mexico

Maya architects used readily available local materials, such as limestone at Palenque and Tikal, sandstone at Quiriguá, and volcanic tuff at Copan. Blocks were cut using stone tools only. Burnt-lime cement was used to create a form of concrete and was occasionally used as mortar, as was simple mud. Exterior surfaces were faced with stucco and decorated with high relief carvings or three-dimensional sculpture. Walls might also have fine veneers of ashlar slabs placed over a rubble core, a feature of buildings in the Puuc region. Walls in Maya buildings are usually straight and produce sharp angles but a notable idiosyncrasy is seen at Uxmal’s House of the Governor (10th century CE) which has outer walls which lean outwards as they rise (called negative batter). The whole exterior was then covered in stucco and painted in bright colours, especially red, yellow, green, and blue. Interior walls were often decorated with murals depicting battles, rulers, and religious scenes. Mansard roofs were typical and made in imitation of the sloped thatch roofing of the more modest wooden and wattle dwellings of the majority of the population.

  • So the houses weren't of  stone.

Town Planning

Maya sites display evidence of deliberate urban planning and monuments are often laid out on a radial pattern incorporating wide plazas. Topography usually determined where larger buildings were constructed – see, for example, Palenque where use was made of natural rock rises – but they could also be connected via elevated and stuccoed roadways (bajos) within a single sacred complex. Buildings themselves were oriented along, for example, a north-south axis, and were so positioned to take advantage of solar and other celestial events or sight lines. Buildings might also be sited to take advantage of natural panoramas or even mimic the view itself such as in the ballcourt at Copan.

Copan

Copan Siteplan
Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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Pyramids

Pyramids were used not only as temples and focal points for Maya religious practices where offerings were made to the gods but also as gigantic tombs for deceased rulers, their partners, sacrificial victims, and precious goods. Pyramids were also periodically enlarged so that their interiors, when excavated, sometimes reveal a series of complete but diminishing pyramids, often still with their original coloured stucco decoration. In addition, individual shrines could be amalgamated into a single giant complex over time as Maya rulers attempted to impress their subjects and leave a lasting mark of their reign. A good example of this development can be seen at the North Acropolis of Tikal.

Palaces

The larger Maya buildings used as palaces and administrative centres, like the temples, very often have sections with corbelled roofing – that is flat stones were piled one upon another, slightly over-lapping so that they formed a narrow enough gap that it could be spanned with a single capstone.

Doorways are often multiple and of the post and lintel type in wood (usually sapodilla) or stone. They can also present relief carvings of rulers. Doorways could be carved to represent, for example, the mouth of a fierce monster, as in Structure 22 at Copan and the Pyramid of the Magician at Uxmal. These portals represented the mouths of sacred caves, traditionally considered portals to another world. Finally, besides halls, sleeping quarters, cooking areas, and workshops, some palaces, as at Palenque, also had luxury features such as lavatories and steam rooms.

Nunnery, Uxmal, Mexico

https://archispeaking.net/2015/11/07/historybite-mayan-architecture/#more-1147

Nunnery, Uxmal, Mexico
Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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War.

 

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Although the Maya were once thought to have been peaceful (see below), current theories emphasize the role of inter-polity warfare as a factor in the development and perpetuation of Maya society. The goals and motives of warfare in Maya culture are not thoroughly understood, but scholars have developed models for Maya warfare based on several lines of evidence, including fortified defenses around structure complexes, artistic and epigraphic depictions of war, and the presence weapons such as obsidian blades and projectile points in the archaeological record. Warfare can also be identified from archaeological remains that suggest a rapid and drastic break in a fundamental pattern due to violence.

 

It is thought that enemies would project missiles at long range, then as they advanced on each other, discipline probably declined, allowing individuals to attempt to personal feats of bravery [3] The main body of the population does not appear to have been active in most conflicts unless it involved the overthrow of a ruler.

 

Aguateca is a Classic Maya site located in the south-western Petén department of Guatemala. Aguateca was a member of the Petexbatún States among which included such polities as SeibalItzanDos PilasCancuénTamarinditoPunta de Chimino,and Nacimiento.

The city was built on a 90 m. escarpment with defensive fortifications surrounding the city. Archaeological remains, along with epigraphy and iconography at the site reveal an expansion of power and military influence from Aguateca by the ruling dynasty during the 8th century, a period noted for endemic warfare in the region. During this time, 4 km. of defensive walls were hastily constructed concentrically around the site.

Misconceptions 

The prevalent theory on the ancient Maya at the beginning of the 20th century held on to the notion that they had a predominantly peaceful society, idealizing the indigenous culture much like a noble savage. This view erroneously shifted as the result of poorly documented analysis of iconography and the content of Maya script.

 

Maya warfare was a major theme in Apocalypto (2006), directed by Mel Gibson. The film depicts the attack on a small village by warriors from a larger polity for the purpose of capturing men to be sacrificed atop a pyramid during a solar eclipse. The warfare depicted in the film, like most other aspects of Late Postclassic Maya society, should not be taken as factual. Richard Hansen, who acted as the historical consultant for the film, has worked mostly on early Maya civilization, more than a millennium before the time period depicted in the film.[20]

Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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Differences between precolumbian civs.

The Maya were the first Mesoamerican civilization, starting around 2600 B.C. They lasted the longest of all and are often viewed as the greatest Mesoamerican civilization. They built most of their great cities between A.D. 250 and A.D. 900. Although they were around first, the Maya only really rose to greatness in those later years after adopting much of their culture from the younger Olmec civilization. The Maya went on to leave behind a longer, more prosperous legacy, encompassing parts of Mexico, Guatamala, El Salvador, Belize, and Honduras. They were ruled by kings and priests and were not wiped out like some of the other cultures, but gradually dissipated. Their exact relationship with the Olmecs remains unclear.

So the Olmecs were the first major Mesoamerican culture, despite being younger than the Mayans. The name “Olmec” was almost certainly not what they called themselves but is derived from Aztec writings. The Olmecs established themselves around 1400 B.C. and lasted about 1,000 years, occupying a reasonably large amount of land. They were good farmers, artists, mathematicians, and astronomers. They wrote in hieroglyphics, as did most of the cultures that followed them. They never built any major cities that we know of, but they did leave one pyramid behind before they gradually disappeared. Their most famous legacy is the mystery of the Olmec heads: 3-meter (9 ft) tall heads resembling African warriors made from stone found over 130 kilometers (80 mi) away.

The Inca civilization can be traced back to about A.D. 1200. They lived in the mountains of Peru, far removed from the Olmecs, Maya, and Aztecs, and at the peak of their power, the civilization extended for 4,000 kilometers (2,500 mi) and included 16 million people. They were extremely advanced and had an army, laws, roads, bridges, tunnels, and a complicated irrigation system far ahead of its time. However, they never invented a system of writing, instead using knotted ropes for record-keeping. A civil war over the rightful heir to the throne meant that when the Spanish invaded, the Inca were easily defeated. The empire fell in 1533.

The Aztecs founded their biggest city, Tenochtitlan, in A.D. 1325, meaning they were much younger than any of the other three. Tenochtitlan was built on an island in a Mexican lake called Lake Texcoco. They gradually conquered the rest of the area, until they fell in 1521 at the hands of Spanish invaders. Although they were not as advanced as the Inca, they did have a 365-day calendar and used hieroglyphics.

Though the cultures are alike in many ways, such as their building of pyramids, human sacrifices, and use of hieroglyphics (bar the Inca), they are four distinct cultures that rose and fell at different times for different reasons. To quickly sum up, the Maya were first but learned a lot from the Olmecs, who started 1,200 years later. The Aztecs followed about 400 years after the Mayan civilization began to shrink. The Inca were from a completely different area and lasted less than 300 years before being wiped out, while still managing to become the most advanced in their short life.

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Mistakes by Apocalyto.

https://vandenhoogenband.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/everything-wrong-with-mel-gibsons-apocalypto-an-archaeological-standpoint/

 

--------in AoE------

The Mayan and Aztec civilizations have one, huge difference from the other civs in the game; their lack of Cavalry (they also lack Gunpowder, but so do the British, so they're not unique). Horses were in the Americas for sometime, but in the very distant past about 8000 BC. They were probably hunted to extinction by the ancestors of the Native Americans.

mistakes from AoE 2 expansion.

The Mayan and Aztec Trade Cart has a funny sprite of a dude pulling a cart behind him.

  • The Eagle Warrior was clearly developed as the equivalent of the Scout line,
  • although the Eagle Warrior is actually an Aztec specific class of warriors, though the Mayans

the developers made the Mayans very defense-oriented (they planned for the Maya to be defensive, but the Mayans end up being good at both) and sort of stereotyped them to the tree-hugger Native American, on purpose. This is great because it works with the eurocentric nature of the game AND it makes the two civs, who share lots of similarities, totally different. Many past archaeologists, having not found much evidence for Mayan warfare, assumed the Maya were super peaceful. As evidence of cities being burnt, old weapons, and mass bruial grounds came to light people realized the Maya did engage in war but this bonus is very, very good at playing to the stereotype. The Celts chop down trees quick, the British put up new Towns very quickly, the Teutons and Franks cut down forests and put up lots of Farms, etc. The Mayans are conservative and extract more from the environment. I'll explain the idea of a defensive, peaceful Maya civilization when I get to the tech tree.

 

There isn't really much evidence for the Maya having used lots of Archers. Mesoamerican archery tech was pretty terrible compared to the rest of the world; they didn't have a big animal with strong bones like the West Asians did to make their Composite bows. They didn't have iron-tipped arrows because iron is hard to maintain in that part of the world. The Maya and Aztecs, however, did not lack for strong missile technology. Arguably, their missile tech was just as good as Bows or Crossbows or Cannons of the world. The Spanish dreaded the simple Atlatl 

 

Atlatl-illustration-1024x460.jpg

 The Atlatl was a shaft with a cup to hold the projectile, and the shaft would act as an extension of the arm, held by the hand. Imagine the centrigual force generated by a yo-yo or a nunchuk, now transfer that into a projectile. That's basically how the atlatl worked. The atlatl threw "darts," that were not quite small enough to be arrows, not quite long enough to be javelins. These darts would go straight through Spanish armor, and today's reconstructions can send darts flying over 93 mph (150 kmh). The upper range of a Longbow would be 136 miles per hour (about 219 kmh). That's fairly comparable speeds, especially at mid range, and with a cheaper production cost. I'm sure a Mayan or Aztec atlatl thrower could fire darts as fast as a Longbowman, if not faster. Maybe due to the atlatl, maybe not, but the Maya get a bonus to their decidedly defensive Archers as opposed to the offensive Infantry of the Aztecs. If the game were a bit more historical, the Maya would also be a melee infantry civ.

 

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  • BARRACKS: no Champion

The Maya get a pretty good Barracks, lack of Champion notwithstanding. The Mayans would be, if historically accurate, more of a melee Infantry civilization. Now, the Maya get all of the relevant Blacksmith techs (they miss the Cavalry armor ones of course), and that isn't technically accurate. But that's for gameplay. The Maya and Aztec DID have iron, they just didn't use it because it easily rusted in the hot jungles of Mesoamerica. They were excellent metalworkers, and if they needed to, they could easily have made quality iron weapons. They used a few substitutes. In particular were their obsidian weapon. Obsidian is volcanic glass, and it's extremely sharp. It chips and loses it's edge pretty easily but while it's sharp, it's darn sharp. Obsidian is so sharp, it's currently used for surgery! The Maya and Aztecs would stick obsidian blades in wooden clubs and they would perform the same function as swords. The Jaguar Warrior visibly uses such a weapon, but that's for another day.

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  • TEAM BONUS: Walls cost -50%

A real obvious defensive bonus. Although most of the Mayan cities do not have defensive walls that stand to this day, they existed; take a look at Tulum, which has walls, gates, and towers. The Maya were excellent stone workers, and so this bonus makes even more sense.

 

 

 

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Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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AoE 2 accuracy.

 

The Mayans and Aztecs did not have developed Siege Warfare. That's not because they were technologically deficient (the Vikings didn't have much siege, either, nor did the Japanese). However, playing a civ with 0 Cavalry AND 0 Siege would be nightmarish. Age of Empires 3 actually features the Aztecs without any siege, but in that game, each unit has a separate attack versus buildings, and their Archers would have flaming arrows that sufficed for destroying buildings in that game. In this game, that would be all kinds of horrible. To contrast the Aztecs, the Maya miss Siege Onager but get Heavy Scorpion. Probably because their Eagles and Plumed Archers demolish archers already. They also do not get Siege Engineers, but their defenses are way better. That's a bit later.

  • MONASTERY: no Redemption, no Illumination

The Mayan Monks are pretty good, and for good reason. We don't know everything about their religion, but they are the forerunners of much Mesoamerican thought and philosophy. The Maya had lots of sacrificial rites, but often sacrificed food and drink and animals, only rarely humans. They participated in bloodletting. The Priests served a cultural function just like those in the New World, keeping records, teaching writing, maintaining the calendars, etc. So their Monks are strong, just not Aztec strong.

  • DOCKS: no Cannon Galleon

Another contrast to the Aztecs are their full Docks. They don't get gunpowder, but interestingly they get Demolition Ships. Actually, the Maya and Aztecs did not have much of a navy, at least not in the European sense. They definitely used the waterways to transport men and supplies, and there was canoe to canoe combat. They had trade routes along the ocean, but no massive galleys or anything like that. The strength of the Mayan Docks could be a nod towards the wild theories of the Maya taking to the seas and going around the Caribbean, spreading their influence there, as well as into the Southern United States and founding the Mississipi Culture and what not. So, uh, yeah.

 

The Mayans are an economical juggernaut in gameplay, so of course they get most of the techs. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but according to Wikipedia, the Maya had lead merchants who would analyze the trade of materials going in and out of their cities, and set prices. The King of a city would also be involved in the trade. The Mayans apparently had a contracter system for mathematicians and engineers. It makes sense that the Mayans are a strong economic civ, and they were probably planned to be THE economic civ of the game, along with the Persians.

------- THAT DON'T FIT GOES HERE

  • WONDER: Temple of Masks, Tikal, Guatemala

Contrary to popular belief, the Mayan Wonder is NOT the Temple of the Great Jaguar AKA Temple I at Tikal. The Mayan Wonder much more closely resembles the Temple of the Masks, Temple II of Tikal. Temple I has 9 steps; Temple II has 3, just like the Mayan Wonder. 

  • LANGUAGE: Maya

This is probably modern Mayan.

The Mayan languages form their own language family.

The languages of Mesoamerica are really interesting because most of them are unrelated to each other, at least on a macro scale. We can say for certain that Persian is distantly related to English, that Hindi is related to Russian, etc. but we can't say the same for the Mesoamerican ones. We know that the Aztec language is distantly related to various languages spoken in North America, such as the Comanche language or the Shoshone, as well as a few groups in Northern Mexico. The various Oto-Manguean languages of the Zapotecs, Mixtecs, and the Tlapatecs are distinct.

source:

https://www.reddit.com/r/aoe2/comments/qvfbd/aw_hell_nah_what_up_dawg_gameplay_vs_historicity/?st=iwnb5q8y&sh=da40ad1a

Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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"The word "Holcan" means "warrior." Maya warriors formed a separate class in their society. In battle they would often capture rather than kill enemy soldiers to provide slaves or human sacrifices. The Holcan used many different weapons including spears, slingshots, clubs, knives, and even bombs made of hornet's nests. In times of need Maya used a form of conscription to force farmers or others to become soldiers."

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The Zapotecs, known as the 'Cloud People', dwelt in the southern highlands of central Mesoamerica, specifically, in the Valley of Oaxaca, which they inhabited from the late Preclassic period to the end of the Classic period (500 BCE - 900 CE). Their capital was first at Monte Albán and then at Mitla, they dominated the southern highlands, spoke a variation of the Oto-Zapotecan language, and profited from trade and cultural links with the OlmecTeotihuacan and Maya civilizations.

 

The Zapotecs grew from the agricultural communities which grew up in the valleys in and around Oaxaca. In the Preclassic period they established fruitful trade links with the Olmec civilization on the Gulf Coast which allowed for the construction of an impressive capital site at Monte Albán and for the Zapotec to dominate the region during the Classic period. The city, strategically placed overlooking the three main valleys, evolved over centuries, beginning around 500 BCE and remaining the cultural centre until the demise of the civilization around 900 CE.

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By the late Preclassic period Zapotec cities show a high level of sophistication in architecture, the arts, writing and engineering projects such as irrigation systems. For example, at Hierve el Agua there are artificially terraced hillsides irrigated by extensive canals fed by natural springs. Evidence of contact with other Mesoamerican cultures can be seen, for example, at the site of Dainzu, which has a large stone-faced platform with reliefs showing players of the familiar Mesoamerican ball game wearing protective headgear. We also know of very close relations between the Zapotec and the peoples based at Teotihuacan in the Basin of Mexico. Indeed, at Teotihuacan there was even a quarter of the city specifically reserved for the Zapotec community.

 

The majority of the structures visible today on the main plaza date to the Classic period with the notable exception of the Temple of the Danzantes, a stone platform structure which was constructed when the site was first occupied (Monte Alban I). The name Danzantes derives from the dancing relief figures decorating the platform. 300 figures are identifiable, some seem to be old, single-toothed males, some have been mutilated, whilst still others seem to be almost swimming - who they represent is not known. Other relief stones from the temple also provide the first certainly identified written texts in Mexico showing an alphabet with semantic and phonetic elements (as yet undeciphered). There is also a system of numbers represented by dots and bars and glyphs for the 260-day year based on 20 day names and 13 numbers with the 52-year cycle of the Calendar Roun

In the subsequent Classic period Monte Albán III arose and, influenced by Teotihuacan, saw the construction of an I-shaped ball court and the Temple-Patio-Altar complex that would be copied at sites across the Valley. In addition, over 170 underground tombs have been excavated, many with vaults and antechambers with richly painted walls, which attest to the wealth of the city. The tombs also show signs of being regularly re-opened, illustrating the Zapotec preoccupation with ancestor worship.

Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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Teotihucan, Zapotec based their architecture in this city. But isn't the same style, is like compare Egypt to Nubians or Minoans.

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Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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QUICK REFERENCE

The Zapotec civilization of Meso-America produced buildings that were similar to those of the Maya, Toltec, Aztec, and other groups, with a clear distinction between the substructure and superstructure. The religious centre of the Mixtec-Zapotec peoples in the valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, was the Palace of the Columns, Mitla (c.1000), with an impressive platform the walls of which were decorated with elaborate geometrical patterns.

Cruickshank (ed.) (1996);Kubler (1984);Jane Turner (1984);

 

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There Zapotec buildings view from inside, so they painted as all Mesoamerican their buildings.

 

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This are possible patterns of this civilization.

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Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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They look like similar to Mayans.

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"Zapotec culture"

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Commerce 

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Governament

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Ceramic 

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Legends and origins, (probably this represent their mythology)

Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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Can you give some captions to the pictures and use spoilers ? For instance are the two first image of your previous post kings ? 

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11 minutes ago, stanislas69 said:

For instance are the two first image of your previous post, kings ?  heroes ?

Pinterest source don't say more, but look like the first king and use very symbolic costumes.

i doubt we know they heroes... but let me search...

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The name Zapotec is an exonym coming from Nahuatl tzapotēcah (singular tzapotēcatl), which means "inhabitants of the place of sapote". The Zapotec referred to themselves by some variant of the term Be'ena'a[pronunciation?], which means "The People"

 

@LordGood

here are some info... About you request before.

Architecture ...
One of the most important features of Zapotec architecture is the important role played by light in it. The shadows are almost the only decoration of the massive constructions, of clear horizontal tendency, apart from the boards in the form of C or E lying or elongated, with a simple remetimiento of cloths.

In the stairs, the rafters are of wide width and they manage scapular boards, similar to the board on slope Teotihuacan. They also developed the concept of the hypostyle room with masonry or monolithic columns, with flat ceilings, as vestibule spaces.

http://misteriosconxana.blogspot.com/2016/02/cultura-zapoteca.html

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The Ball game.

The sport known simply as the Ball Game was popular across Mesoamerica and played by all the major civilizations from the Olmecs to the Aztecs. The impressive stone courts became a staple feature of a city’s sacred complex and there were often several playing courts in a single city. More than just a game, though, the event could have a religious significance and featured in episodes of Mesoamerican mythology. The contests even supplied candidates for human sacrifice, for the sport could, quite literally, be a game of life or death.

 

The game was invented sometime in the Preclassical Period (2500-100 BCE), probably by the Olmec, and became a common Mesoamerican-wide feature of the urban landscape by the Classical Period (300-900 CE). Eventually, the game was even exported to other cultures in North America and the Caribbean.

 

THE COURT

Courts were usually a part of a city’s sacred precinct, a fact which suggests the ball game was more than just a game. Early Preclassic playing courts were simple, flattened-earth rectangles but by the Late Formative Period (300 BCE onwards) these evolved into more imposing areas which consisted of a flat rectangular surface set between two parallel stone walls. Each side could have a large vertical stone ring set high into the wall. The walls could be perpendicular or sloping away from the players and  the ends of the court could be left open but defined using markers or, in other layouts, a wall closed off the playing space to create an I-shaped court. The court at Monte Albán, Oaxaca is a typical example of the I-shaped court. The length of the court could vary but the 60 m long court at Epiclassic El Tajín (650-900 CE) represents a typical size.

The flat court surface often has three large circular stone markers set in a line down the length of the court. Some of these markers from Maya sites have a quatrefoil cartouche indicating the underworld entrance which has led to speculation that the game may have symbolised the movement of the sun (the ball) through the underworld (the court) each night. Alternatively, the ball may have represented another heavenly body such as the moon and the court was the world.

Surviving courts abound and are spread across Mesoamerica. The Epiclassic city of Cantona has an incredible 24 courts with at least 18 being contemporary. El Tajín also has a remarkable number of courts (at least 11) and it may well have been a sacred centre for the sport, much like Olympia for athletics in ancient Greece. The earliest known court is from the Olmec city of San Lorenzo whilst the largest surviving stone playing court is at the Mayan-Toltec city of Chichén Itzá. With a length of 146 m and a width of 36 m, this court seems almost too large to be actually played in, especially with the rings set at the demanding height of 8 m.

Players were frequently depicted in Mesoamerican art, appearing in sculpture, ceramics and architectural decoration - the latter often decorating the courts themselves - and these depictions often show that the players wore protective gear such as belts and padding for the knees, hips, elbows and wrists. The players in these works of art also typically wear a padded helmet or a huge feathered headdress, perhaps the latter being for ceremonial purposes only. Zapotec relief stones at Dainzú also depict ball players wearing grilled helmets as well as knee-guards and gauntlets.

Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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Hey @Lion.Kanzen, I'm curious as to what a civ emblem would look like for these guys, I'd think it'd look a lot like the one on the macuahuitl warrior's shield in the reference image above with the interlocking swirl pattern

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