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5133.  Thu Jan 22, 2004 8:01 pm Reply with quote

They do take it seriously, don't they?

5310.  Tue Jan 27, 2004 9:03 pm Reply with quote

Going back to the Maya and their ball games - I watched a Nova programme called Lost King of the Maya on PBS tonight, which included a section on the ball game. Link to the programme and some interesting stuff about Maya hieroglyphs here:

According to the programme, the Maya ball game was a symbolic way of asserting control over the sun (represented symbolically by the ball) and it was the defeated team who were sacrificed, their blood going to 'nourish' the sun, controlled symbolically by the winners. However, given that the king was in charge of all of this, one feels it may have been rigged.

Incidentally, one QI thing that was highlighted in the programme was that the Maya were one of only five groups to develop a form of writing independently. I can think of the cuneiform writing of ancient Sumeria, and the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt, and I seem to recall that the Phoenecians developed an alphabet that became the Greek alphabet and ultimately the Latin alphabet, but what were the others? The Arabs? The Indians? The Chinese? That takes us to more than five already.

5313.  Wed Jan 28, 2004 5:33 am Reply with quote

Here's something interesting about cuneiform: the existence of Sumeria was postulated from an analysis of Assyrian-Babylonian cuneiform (which used the same script for a different language) years before the physical evidence for Sumer or any of its writings were discovered.


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