Assignment 2: Book review
Jeffrey P. Blomster (2012 ). Early evidence of the ballgame in Oaxaca, Mexico. Washington: George Washington University.
According to the author, the ball game as a characteristic of the Mesoamerican civilization has a long and vaguely understood history. It is a fact I was had not learned from my past readings. The course that covers the period is on the Ancient civilizations of the Americas specifically on the Mesoamerican history. The research indicates that the ballgame is linked with the rise of the more complex societies, and understanding of its origins brought great illumination of the evolution of the socio-politically complex communities in history. According to the research, the most formal available evidence that is in the form of ceramic figurines dates 1700 BCE, and the oldest known ball courts date 1600BCE. Moreover, the rituals and the paraphernalia required for the games together with the ideology associated with it appear as from 1400BCE. The period marked the start of the Early Horizon defined by the spread of the Olmec style symbols present in the Mesoamerica. The evidence on Early Horizon of the ballgame that are both identical and different from the paraphernalia of the Gulf Coast Olmec are seen on the figurines found in the coastal Chiapas and the central highlands if Mexico. The state of Oaxaca found in Mexico has little evidence that indicates that they engaged in the ballgame. The ballplayer figurine discovered in Mixteca Alta region found in Oaxaca demonstrated the early participation of the region in the iconography and the ideology of the ballgame. The ballplayers and the sponsors held a symbolic value in that they used to be the ones that would take up leadership opportunities due to the prestige and social status that the ballgame brought with them.
The book does not present any inaccuracies with the text on the history of Mesoamerica. However, it brings an addition to what seems to be the oldest sport among the Americas. It is also a way to demonstrate how the social set up and activities that they engaged in apart from the ones that are already commonly known. It added more insight and knowledge on some of the activities that the leaders and the potential leaders engaged in to win the confidence of the people.
The author brings out a theme of the ballgame as the social activity that brought people together for interaction. It also attracted the religious activities, Economic activities and brought individuals from all the social classes together. It brought out the value of social unity and cohesion that the ancient Americas had. It is because, in the games, there were roles forever person in the society. The wealthy and the leaders acted as the sponsors; the players were the sons of the wealthy, the religious leaders engaged in the religious ceremonies and ritual conducted before and after the games and then the entire community came together to watch the game. It brought clarity on the premise that the Mesoamerica society was highly cohesive and that they use the social activities to bring the entire society together regardless of the individual backgrounds.
The book also brings out that the Mesoamerica community was highly patriarchal setup. It is because; the men highly dominated the games. They are the ones that played and played the major roles. An issue brought out an emotional reaction in the sense that the women engagement was small even at that time. The role of women is overlooked in the book depicting the sport at all levels as being controlled by the men alone. They were the organizers, the sponsors, the players and the ones involved in the religious activities.