5. Oxford University Is Older Than the Aztecs. As Colin Schultz wrote for Smithsonian, the Aztecs seem like ancient history. “Archaeologists dig up Aztec ruins, museums put on Aztec exhibits.” The central Mexican civilization flourished between the 14th and 16th centuries. But Oxford University is older. Teaching started as early as 1096. It’s 1,000-year anniversary later this century is sure to be a an epic celebration.