Note: The images on this homepage and
subsequent pages are copyrighted: copyright 1996 P.S. Neeley, all
Oh my heart!
Love only the
It is the flower
of the Giver-of-Life!
What can my
Have we come,
have we sojourned here on earth in vain?
As the flowers
wither, I shall go.
Will there be
nothing of my glory ever?
Will there be
nothing of my fame on earth?
At most songs,
at most flowers,
What can my
Have we come,
have we sojourned on earth in vain?
(an ancient Aztec poem
or 'Flower Song')
Aztec Patolli for Windows
Duran describes these Mexican gamesters walking about with a
patolliztli mat rolled up under an arm and carrying a little
basket containing colored stones used as markers. Before a game
they called for a bowl of fire and threw incense into it, or
sacrificed offerings of food to their dice and they would gamble
with all the confidence in the world. The nobility played for
high stakes in precious stones, gold beads, and very fine
turquoises.The Mexican God of Sport and Gambling was
Macuilxochitl, the God of Five Flowers, and as they played the
gamblers invoked his aid by rubbing the five beans between their
hands, and then, as they threw them on the mat, they shouted
Macuilxochitl! and clapped their hands together, craning forward
to see their score.
Patolli is an ancient Aztec board game that takes its name
from the Aztec word for bean - patolli, meaning fava or kidney
bean. The game is played on a curious diagonal cross-shaped board
with red and blue markers and 5 beans (or sometimes four beans)
as dice. It was played all over MesoAmerica: the Teotihuacanos
(the builders of Teotihuacan, ca. 200 B.C. - 650 A.D.) played it
as well as the Toltecs (ca. 750 - 1000 A.D.), the inhabitants of
Chizen Itza (founded by refugee Toltec nobles, ca. 1100 - 1300
A.D. ), the Aztecs (who claimed Toltec descent, 1168 - 1521
A.D.), and all of the people they conquered (practically all of
MesoAmerica, including the Zaptotecs and the Mixtecs). The
ancient Mayans also played a version of Patolli. Patolli was very
much a game of commoners and nobles alike and it was reported by
the conquistadors that Montezuma often enjoyed watching his
nobles play the game at court.
Anciently, Patolli was associated with gambling and
players often wagered vast treasures on its outcome. Even today
versions of Patolli like games are still played by the peoples of
MesoAmerica and although it is unclear just how these modern
versions reflect the ancient methods of play, gambling is still
very much associated with the game.
Patolli was connected, in still little understood ways,
with the famous ball game of MesoAmerica -- Tlachtli (which was
also a great occasion for gambling). It was also probably used in
a religious and ritualistic sense for divination -- the throw of
the beans was thought to be able to tell the future.
This version of Patolli is an attempt to present the
game in its ancient form as closely as possible and although we
have no ancient Aztec account of the game the Spanish Fathers
recorded much we can rely on.
Patolli was played in the Americas since at least 200
B.C. Now it is here again in the present, re-created through the
magic of electrons and phosphorus, for you to play. Welcome to a
game of the ancient Americans -- the Toltecs, the Aztecs,
Montezuma, and now you!
The only remaining question: Are you player
enough to prevent the Aztec god and demon Smoking Mirror from
winning your library card?
'The Azteca Home Page' to download Patolli
Download it right from here
(patolli.zip --731 Kb)
Interested in just the rules and history of the game?
Then download just the Windows Help file if
Note: This program requires VBRUN300.DLL
to exist on your system.
Looking for the Ancient Aztecs on the
Web? Try Mexico's
Index (Aztec World)
You should definitely, definitely visit The
Azteca Web Page.
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