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The Maya
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The Maya

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  1. The Maya

  2. I. Maya Create City-States • Homeland: southern Mexico into northern Central America (Yucatan Pen.)

  3. A. Urban Centers • 250-900 CE: the Classic Prd. of Maya civ. • Built great cities • Tikal, Copan, Palenque, Uxmal, & Chichen Itza • Ruled by god-king • Centers of religious ceremonies & trade • Giant pyramids, temples, palaces

  4. Temple IV pyramid (Tikal)

  5. Hip ulama ball court • Chichin Itza (545’ long, 225’ wide) • WINNER?!

  6. B. Ag. & Trade Support Cities • Mayan comms: • Based on ag., handicrafts, & long-distance trade • Intensive Ag. = BASIS OF LIFE! • –cleared (slash/burn), irrigated, terraced • Squash, chili peppers, & maize (80% of food) • Maya city-states = linked by trade • Metal work, cotton cloth, flint • Used currencies (cocoa beans, polished beads, salt, & lengths of cotton)

  7. C. Kingdoms Built on Dynasties • Maya social classes: • Nobility (priests & warriors) = no labor • Merchants & artisans • Peasants = majority • PRIEST KING (top) • Descendent of a god • Hereditary • Govt. levied taxes & controlled outlying villages • Also made war (stone-bladed weapons)

  8. II. Religion in Mayan Life • Religion = permeated all phases of life • Life = burden (time is a measure) • Need to appease the gods thru pain/suffering • Complex • Worshiped over 160 gods • gods of corn, of death, of rain, of war • Could be good or evil (both) • Each day was a living god

  9. A. Religious Practices • Prayed, made offerings • Pierced & cut bodies (nourish the gods) • Human sacrifice • Threw captives into deep sinkhole (“cenote”)

  10. B. Math & Religion • Time = burden carried on back of gods • Important to have accurate calendar • 2 calendars: • 260 day religious calendar (thirteen 20 day mos.) • 365 day solar calendar (eighteen 20 day mos.) • Identified best times to plant crops, attack enemies, crown new rulers) • Based on observation of planets (better than Euro.) • Calculated solar year at 365.2420 days • Math system based on #20 w/concept of zero

  11. C. Mayan Written Language • Only complete writing system in Amers. • 800 hieroglyphic symbols (glyphs) • Recorded history in stone or bark-paper • Codex • Spanish documented Maya history • “Popol Vuh” – Maya version of creation • Before the world was created, Calm and Silence were the great kings that ruled. • Nothing existed, there was nothing

  12. III. Maya Architecture & Art • Plaza = pyramid topped w/temple • Religious structures, tombs • Temple I (Tikal) – tomb of Ha Sawa Chaan K’awil • Mural painting • Stele – inscribed or carved marker

  13. IV. Maya Decline • 900 CE—abandoned cities (mystery) • Toltec invaders moved in • Why did Maya decline? • 1. internal conflict that disrupted trade = economic hardship? • 2. over –farming of soil = food shortages, famine? • 3. peasant revolts? • Early 1500s—Maya were small, weak city-states