Aztec Sports vs. Roman Sportsby Rit Nosotro
Sports have often been interconnected with religion, for example, Greece offered praises and sacrifice to Zeus before they started their Olympic games. Aztecs played ball to honor their gods, whereas, the amusement of Roman bloodsports were related to their pantheon of capricious deities. Compare the religious significance of sports in the Roman and Aztec culture.
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Spartan power had crushed Athenian intelligence and beauty. Philosophers were out, fighters were in. As Rome rose to power on the same Italian peninsula, the violence of Romus and Romulas gave rise to the Colosseum of live slasher sports. Like Sparta, Romans held physical strength in high admiration and their sports reflected this violence. The Roman Empire was the most expansive and powerful empire of its time. Out of absolute power grew absolute corruption. Unchecked sin, whether political or physical, grows to corrupt the whole body. That is what occurred to the Roman people. Their corrupt and bloody gladiator sports abused slaves which were captured in battle or imprisoned as debtors. Most of these slaves were trained to annihilate their enemies, and later Christian martyrs who refused to bow in worship of the Emperor. Gladiators were trained to give the crowd amusement or die.
To prolong the spectacle, gladiators were given few weapons. A sword to make their opponent bleed to death and a shield for protection. If a gladiator gained popularity throughout Rome, he might go to the Colosseum for his fights. A gladiator had to gain the crowd's respect in order to survive. If the crowds fancied him they might ask for his life to be spared by raising their thumbs. Putting their thumbs down for the desire of death. Their entertainment was in watching Gladiators plea for their mercy or die. Arising from the religious glorification of physical prowess, one famous emperor, Comodus, went as a gladiator to try and win respect from his subjects. [The movie "Gladiator" kills Comodus only a year into his actual twenty year reign.]
Although Roman sport did not honor any particular god, it was a reflection of a capricious pantheon of deities. It was a crude entertainment of an amoral society which glorified carnage much like the virtual video slaughter games of today. Sparta continues to triumph over Athens.
The Aztecs were hardly more civilized. Central Mexican sports of old were far more challenging than what we have today. Aztecs played a sport called Tachli that was a little like basketball and soccer. It had differences, for example, their "basketball hoop" was a vertically hung stone ring. Their "basketball" was a heavy solid rubber ball.
Aztecs believed Tachtli was the sport their gods played with the stars in the stadium of the heavens. Tachtli was replicated on earth in honor of the gods. The winning team was allowed to take any possession from the spectators. The people of the audience would quickly escape before their clothes were taken away. Worse than being in the audience, was being on the losing team. They were sacrificed. Aztec sports, like Tachtli, were made to honor and imitate Aztec gods.
Roman and Aztec sports were not all that different in that losing players
were killed. Whether to incite the Roman throng, or please the Aztec gods, death
was carried out before an audience accustomed to blood. Violent bloodshed was
the common factor in these Roman and Aztec sports. How do people living worlds
apart have such tragic commonalties? It is the result of false religion. Both
cultures designed their deities to suit their political and moral aims.
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Puzzle of Roman Coliseum Graph of Stadium Capacities Gladiator Spectator Observing Gladiators in Battle. Facts About Sports Commodes
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