Posted On April 8, 2017
aThe Ancient Mayans
The mayans were one of the highest advanced cicilizations at their time. They were the first civiliation to have a writing system in south america. The mayans civilization was astablished in 600 Bc and hit their peak in 900 BC. We do not know an awful lot about this antique and fascinating civilzation, because the spanish came killed and burned all the Mayan hieroglyphs because they believed that the Mayans worshipped Satan. They thought so because the Mayans sacrificed young people, salves and prisoners. The Mayans had a valid reason to sacrifice those people, they believed that the sun god needed blood in order to go through the ground to heat and fertilize the ground. The Mayans were polytheistic meaning that they believed in many different gods. Like the Greeks and many other cultures the Mayans have a god for death: Chack. The Mayans believed that a god has a corresponding female god that has the same duties as the male god. Even though we dont know what role woman played in this ancient civilization we think that woman and man were equal. The creator god was called Izanami meaning reptile house. The Mayans believed in an underworld and a place where rightful poeple would live eternity in peace. The Mayans also have many different stories of the origin of life. Their stories particularly focus on the role of mankind and the cosmos.(freidel)
The Mayans had a very different definition of looking good than we do today. The Mayans purposely broke their nose, in order to get a long and funny shaped nose. Parents also inserted object in the infants eye to make the infant cross eyes. The Mayans also strapped something on the infants head to make it longer. All this was considered beautiful back than and for the Mayans that survived still today, this is still considered beautiful.(mcKillop)
The Mayans had a caste system which consisted of the King who represented a god. He did not have a particular role like many other kings in history. His role was to look good and kill people to set an example. The priest who were called shamans would do all the rituals and studies. Mayans were very good in architecture. Their houses looked very basic, they were rectangular and made of stone. (raineld)
The Mayans also had huge temples that look very much like pyramids. Festivals and sacrifices were held on top. Shamans contacted the gods on this structure. Every temple worshipped a different god just like the Greeks. Just like in Egypt the great emperers and kings were buried under this massive structure. Another amazing thing aobut those structures is that each temple resembles a calendar with 93 bases and 365 steps resembling the days of the year and the number of cyles. The Mayans also had ball court and manors for wealthy people. They also had sweat baths. The Mayans used limestone, lime plaster and some kind of cement to hold their shelters together. The Mayans used construction techniques very much like ours today. The Mayans had 13 languages which are still used today. (sharer)
Like the Egyptians the Mayans had hieroglyphs, their hieroglyphs were very complex and artistic. The Mayan hieroglyphs are found on temples and bones. They used leather as paper back than. Only shamans coiuld read and write. Most of the time the king oculd not even perform this task. The Mayans had a very complex economy made of trade and industry. They knew where to plant the crops and where they can use the water source more efficient. They had a water resource management, which was made of man made ditches and little rivers. The used their land very wisely and had farming strategies which helped them to get the most out of their soil. Evidence showed that the Mayans knew about crop rotation and the effect of replacing nitrogen. They used nitrogen rich beans in order to fertilize the ground. They also burned the fields aftyer two – four years.(raineld)
Planting was very hard for the Mayans because they did not have any steel tools or oxes to pull planting technology. Mayans used patience and basic stone tools to farm. The Mayans had little household gardens which they used all year around. It was close to the kitchen. The Mayans planted root veggies like sweet potatoes, because they are easy to grow and they can be used all year round. Other plants they would plant are maizes and beans. (freidel).Cotton and Cacao was the major export for Mayan civilizations. Cacao need a very specific environment to be able to grow. This environment is made up of a hot most place with heavy rain. Other food production include animals, Mayans did not bree danimal they hunted them. The only domestic animal waas the dog. Other than that Mayans hunted down their food. The Mayans also practiced fishing and foraging. Foraging is when roots and herbs are gathered from the forest. The Mayans also used honey as a sweetener it is believed that honey was hard to get in the Mayans area, thats why it was a big part of their economy. It was one of the biggest imports. The Mayans also had alcoholic beverages and used tobacco. Those drugs were only consumed during religious rituals. The Mayans also had a big salt production which is unusual for a civilization for their time. They used the salt in order to trade. This was the major export and the biggest part of their economy. The Mayans were also very skillful in Dyes, waving cotton and basketry. Trade was very important for the Mayans and the reason of a collapse of a big Mayans cities was often the blockage of a trade route. Because Mayans were not in possession of any pack animals the wheel was rather useless for them. They used canoes to transport good from point a to b. The currency of the Mayans were cacao beans. They were so valuable that people ofught over them. A rabbit costs 10 cacao beans and 650 beans are quivialent to 25 cents. (mcKillop)The mayans daily life constisted mostly of farming and finding gfood. About 75 % of all the mayans were farmers or hunters. The others 25 % were shamans, nobles and the kings. (freidel)
Marriages were arranged by a third party, to make sure the rules were obeyed. The couple shpuld not have the same last names to ensure they would come from different lineages. They had to come from the same village and had tpo be in the same class. For the first year of the marriage the couple would live at the wifes place so the husband can work his depths off. After those years the husband would build a house next to the parents house and livetheir until he dies. The husband would often be buried in the house after his death. Divorce was a legal act and man who did not share their work could be banned forever. The mayans started tio make a faemily by the age of 20 and were supposed to have as many chiildreen as possible. Kids had to stay naked untill the age of 5, then a ceremony was held to celebrate the child. Children usually carried both surnames from the father and mother. Parenting was very important to this civilization. Even though inheritence goes theought he male line, it was very important to have a mother. Orphans were often slaves and used for human sacrifice. Children were often named by the calendar time they were born. Trade was considered an education back than. Kids were taught morally by their parents and followed their duty in society. It is unknown if all welathy people were educated but we know for sure the some woman could read, because they could to the arts of scribes. (sharer)
Astronomy and medical knowledge requred education. And because many wealthy people could perform those tasks, we think that the Mayans had schools
The Mayans also had punishments for crimes. Those punishments were determined by class. A underclass thief often had to repay the debt or be a slave until the debt is paid, just like the Greeks But if a nobleman stole something his whole face would be tattooed to show people what he had done. It was like a sign that said: “Watch out! Thief!” Woman and man often had different punishments for the same crimes. The Mayans liked to use public embarrrassment as a punishment. If a violent crim ewas committed the excused would be presented to a jury which would base the decision on evidence. It was easy to manipulate the judges because when non nobles talked to nobles they had to brin ggifts as a greeting. Murdererers would often be stoned, shot with an arrow in the head, or sacrificed to a god.
The Mayans had a big interest in entertainment. Mayans would travel big distances to attent big dances and ceremonies. The Mayans also had a sport which consisted of rubber balls and stone rings. This game was kind of like basketball, you tried to get the rubber ball in a basket that was vertically on the wall. There were two teams with two captains. A game could last for days. When one team lost the captain would be sacrificed. The Mayans loved to dance and make music. Being a musician was very common back then. A musician would follow you everywhere you go even to the battlefield. The Mayans believed that you can have a musician that will go with you to the underworld.
The Mayans also had people that were in charge of the military. Spanish intruders said that the Mayans were holding war dances. War banners and special tools that owuld help the Mayans to win a fight. The Mayans also had officers to keep peace in the villages and cities. Those officers were called batab, they were responsible for local armies.
The Mayans also had special elite warriors name Bate.(bandez )
They were most likely rulers of a city and trained and skillful warriors. It is believed that woman also assisted in war and that they could have the title of a Bate. The warriors of ancient Maya used spears. Those warriors were called atlatl. They carried a wooden stick usually half a meter long. They also used blow guns and other deadly weapons. The Mayan military also wore uniforms in order to represent their village. Before every fight, they would have a war dance, and a sacrifice to the war god. Warfare came three different ways: Ritual, Territorial and Destruction. Ritual warfare was often used to raid little neighbouring villages in order to obtain victims for rituals and take all the valuables from the village. The second king of warfare is territorial, those wars were fought because of economic and political reasons. The Mayans often did this in order to take over farms and raid the village resources. The third kind is wars of destruction. Those wars were tributes to god. If you destroy somebodies territory the gods would appreciate it, and help you. Those wars were also fought to eliminate a monopoly. If one of the villages was the head of the salt trade other villages destroy this town in order to sell salt for a good price.(mcKillop)
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The Mayans were excellent in mathematics too. They even had a number system with base 20. This number system works really good, even better than the number system they used in antique Rome. They represented the number five, with a solid vertical line. Singe digit number are represented by dots. If you want to write the number ten in Mayan, you would draw two vertical lines. The number eleven would have two vertical lines and one dot above it. Numbers over twenty would be represented by the number zero plus one. Whenever you are above the number nineteen, you would times this number by twenty. In this case the number hundred would be represented by the zero sign and a vertical line, meaning zero plus five. Now you times this number by twenty and you get one hundred. After the number 400 you wold times the dots and line by twenty times twenty. So the number five hundred would have three sections. The bottom part would just be the Mayan numeral for zero, the next section would be five dots. Meaning one hundred. (5×20). The third section would be just a dot, meaning 400 (1x20x20). Now you add all those numbers and this should equal five hundred.(bandez )
As other civilizations throughout time, Mayans made use of time. Other civilizations were interested in time but not the Mayans, they were obsessed with it. Mayans were excellent in astronomy and mathematics. They used the naked eye to establish theories that we still use today. Their calendar had a long count which was very accurate. 1 day = 1 Kin, 20 Kin = 1 Uinal (20 Days), 18 Uinals = 1 Tun (360 Days), 20 Tuns = 1 Katun (7,200 Days), 20 Katuns = 1 Baktun (144,000 Days) and 20 Baktuns = 1 Pictun (2,880,000 Days) ( lausner)
Even the famous Mayan calender in more accurate than the calender we use today. The Mayan Calendar is very complex. The mains calender is made up of three sub calendars. They all work together like wheels one wheel turn another and so on. Our calendar and the Mayans is almost identical beside the fact that the Mayan calendar has a base 20 instead a base ten like we are using today. The calendar was so accurate that it could predict eclipses and other astronomical phenomena. They followed the paths of plants in detail. They could calculate the 584 day Venus cycle with a standard deviation of two hours. Because the Mayans did not have any telescopes or other tools that help you to look into the stars, they used architecture to help. The Mayans constructed buildings that had windows pointing to a specific planet. (freidel)
The Mayans had sacred numbers that represent a special symbol value. For example the 4 is very sacred because the Mayans thought that the middle word had 4 levels. 9 was sacred because the upper world had 9 levels. Nobody exactly knows where the Mayan calendar has its origin. The Mayans calendar was very precise: it had 360 days and it had a 52 year cycle. The Mayan calender ends at December 12, 2012. This is the day when the Pictun, the long cycle ends. Whenever one cycle ends something big happens in the world. The world travels around the sun in a 23 degree angle. The north pole is always pointing towards the sun. The earth wobbles. Which means it does circles around its centre. The last time one of the cycle ended the earth went into an ice age. And the last time a smaller decade cycle ended was when the American and french revolution took place. Scientists today believe that the planents change our emotions. The Mayans believed that when the cycle ends, the world would destroy itself, they called it the beginning. The Mayans predicted that in 2 years. All the planent will align and something big will happen. We call it the end of the world but the Mayans called it the start. It is very interesting, and lots of people still believe in this. The Mayans believed that the world was created 5 times and destroyed 4 times. And 2012 the world will end again, and a new beginnning takes place.(raineld)
There are a lot of mysteries regarding the Mayas. Since all the text were burned by the Spanish. We do not k now that much abouit the Mayans. The last mystery is the collapse of the Mayans. There are a few theories, that work together and could give you an overall picture of why the Mayan civilization collapsed. One of the theories is that because the climate changes a lot in Mexico. The solid became very bad and farmers could not produce as much resources anymore. And because the Mayans grew to big to fast. People had not enough food. There was a huge demand for food but little or no supply at all. Thats why civil wars broke out. The Mayans fought against themselves. This weakened the economy and the military. Now just like the Romans and Germans. Neighbours saw that the Maya civilization was unprotected. The Germans attacked Rome now. The king and other nobles could not deal with this problem. Never before did they have to deal with some big issues. Overall the Mayans grew too big too fast.
Overall the Mayans were a great civilization. They were far ahead that most other civilizaiton. They had a numerical system which worked perfect for them. They could add, multiply, divide and subtract. This helped a lot in trade and in the Mayan economics. Their ability to analyze stars was superb too. Far more precise than any other calender from different civilizations back then. Also the fact that they could write and that they wrote, stories, poems, songs, recipes and even primitive forms of books is amazing for a civilizaiton that lived such a long time ago. The fact that they had numbers and letters is very interesting and makes you think how far advanced this particular civilization really was. (sharer)
They had amazing skills and were very good in logic. Most people in the eighteen hundreds believed that the world was square, but not the Mayans. They knew back then that our planet was round just like the Sun or Venus. Trade and other prouductions were very important for this civilizaiton. Looking at all those factors that proof that the Mayans were one of the highest advanced societies of all time. There is one thing that we cant and never will fully understand: Why did this great civilization fall
Of course there are many theories, one of the is listed above. But even though we try to understand this highly advanced civilizaiton and we think and we do understand them. It is unclear to use why this civilizaiton fell. They had an amazing government and worked very well at their time. And they had pretty much unlimited resources. This is and will be a secret to us, until we fince evidence or text that will tell us what really happened. (bandez )