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Posted on 10th of October 2014
The Olmec were good at firsts. They were the first major civilization in the so-called “New World.” Around 350 BCE they vanished and accepted history has no idea why. They were also one of the first civilizations to develop the concept of the Zero. They also had zero problem knowing what day it was because they invented the Mesoamerican calendar.
Name: The Olmec Civilization
Continent: North America
Time Period: 1200-400 BCE
Succeeded/Conquered By: Unknown
The Olmec believed in blood. In its power, in its value. And in shedding it whenever possible. To the Olmec, blood was currency, loyalty, and magic. But they also knew the limits of the land and were extremely careful not to hyper-exploit their resources. They also knew the value of sport, with some believing they were at the forefront of conceiving the Mesoamerican ballgame, also known as Ōllamaliztli -- a pastime often featuring human sacrifice.
Though it goes without saying, the Olmec were much more than a hard-bitten warrior culture who profoundly advanced human knowledge. Their wisdom paved the way for both the Aztecs and the Mayans. With every ounce of blood spilled to sustain their people, an ounce was returned to the earth -- as the Olmec realized the key to survival was reciprocation and balance. Codes of conduct our modern society abandoned a long time ago.