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The Maya

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  1. The Maya

  2. What is a civilization? • A culture that has developed systems of government, religion, and learning. • The Mayan civilization dominated a large part of Mexico and Central America.

  3. Where did the Maya live? • The area the Maya, and other ancient civilizations, lived in is known as Mesoamerica. • Mesoamerica included five countries. The countries are Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. • Mesoamerica is the land that stretches between the United States of America and South America.

  4. Maya Timeline • The Maya Civilization started in 500 B.C. • The Maya Civilization started to decline in 900 A.D. • Today, more than six million modern Maya live in rural areas of Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize.

  5. Architecture • What structures did the Maya build?

  6. Architecture • Pyramids were used as tombs and temples for religious ceremonies. • Pyramids were memorials to Mayan rulers. • Mayan rulers and their wives were often buried inside of the pyramids.

  7. Architecture • Pyramids were built without the use of metal tools. Mayan builders used tools made of stone.

  8. Architecture • The Pyramid of the Sun, built by the Mayas, is the world’s largest pyramidal structure.

  9. Architecture • Mayan homes were rectangular with a palm roof and walls of boards. • The Mayan adobes were located near the ceremonial centers. • Outside of the villages, Mayan people slept on the floor or on animal skins.

  10. Religion • The Mayas believed in many gods. Some of the gods the Mayas believed in were the rain god, a moon goddess, and god of the sun. ITZAMNÁ - He was the head god, lord of the heavens and lord of the night and day. YUN KAAX - He is the god of maize (corn) CHAC – The rain god KINICH AHUAU - He was the sun god

  11. Religion • The Mayas believed in the practice of giving blood to the gods. The Mayas believed the gods would die without the sacrifice of blood. • Giving blood was a daily ritual of Mayan life. • The household elder was responsible for giving blood every day. • The queen of the Mayan village would drag a rope of thorns through her tongue to give blood to the gods and goddesses. • Animals and humans were also sacrificed for the gods and goddesses.

  12. Religion • The greatest sacrifice was to have a heart removed. • The victim would be held down by minor priests and while the main priest would use a sharp stone to make an incision under his right rib. • The priest would remove the heart from the victim and hold it up before burning the heart in bowl.

  13. An inscription in Maya hieroglyphics from the site of Naranjo, relating to the reign of king Itzamnaaj K'awil, 784-810. Communication • The Mayas were probably the first civilization in the Western Hemisphere to develop a complex system of writing. • The writing system of the Mayas is represented by human figures, masks, animals, and symbols. • Each figure, animal, or symbol has a meaning.

  14. Communication • Hieroglyphics- the symbols, signs, or pictures used in ancient writing. • Hieroglyphics carved into stone covered the buildings in Mayan cities.

  15. Communication • What did the Maya write about? • The Mayas wrote about their leaders and the key events in their cities. • The Mayas also wrote about the creation of the world, their gods, heroes, and demons.

  16. Communication • The Mayas were excellent mathematicians. • The Mayas created a number system that included zero. • The Mayas also perfected the calendar. The Mayan calendar was the most sophisticated of any ancient civilization.

  17. Communication • The Mayan people spoke one language. • The Mayan language has not been linked to any other language in the region.

  18. Arts What did the Maya people creatively design? Late Classic codex plate from Chaak.

  19. Arts • This shell contains the image of a nobleman. • His headdress represents the quetzal bird, the symbol of royalty. • Shells were often used as jewelry.

  20. Arts • Much of the art made during the collapse of the Mayan civilization gives a first hand account of the events.

  21. Arts • Many murals created by the Maya have been discovered. The murals often represent royal life and rituals.

  22. Economy What jobs did the Mayas have? What did they use for money? What goods or products did the people make and trade? What services did the Maya provide?

  23. Economy • Men worked as farmers in the fields. • Women stayed home and prepared food. The women would grind corn to make flour. The flour was used to make tortillas. • Older children would help their parents. Boys would help in the fields, and girls would help their mothers prepare the meals.

  24. Economy • The Mayas were able to develop a great civilization because of the amounts of corn they could produce, using the slash and burn method. • The Mayas grew enough corn to feed their people. • People were able to make pottery, weave cloth, study the stars, or build cities instead of farming all the time. • The Mayan economy was based on agriculture and the trade of farm goods.

  25. Economy • The Mayas built flourishing cities. • As you know, the Mayas were master builders. The cities consisted of pyramids, ball courts, and a governor's palace. Standing on the upper stairs in the highest section of the Nunnary and looking south, this view shows the House of the Turtles (in the middle) the Palace of the Governor (to the left) and the Great Pyramid (to the right). The Governor’s Palace in Uxmal

  26. Fashion • The priests and warriors wore dresses of various cloths and colorful, feathered headdresses. • The Maya would bind an infant’s head between two boards for several days. The pressure was sufficient to reshape the skull.

  27. Fashion • A loose braid was often the hairstyle for both men and women. • Women encrusted their teeth with gold and precious stones. • It was elegant to have holes in the nose and earlobes. Men and women would wear nose rings and earrings. Dental decoration by filing and incrustation methods; Ixtonton, Guatemala; Classic Period.

  28. Government • The Maya had a class system. The class system consisted of the ruling class, nobles, workers, farmers, and slaves. • The Mayan government had close ties with religion. • The rulers were the most important people. They were religious and political leaders who lived in spacious castles inside the cities.

  29. Government • Priests decided when crops should be planted and when cities should be built. • They also decided when animal or human sacrifices should be made.

  30. Recreation • The Mayas played a ball game called po-ka-tok. • The rubber ball weighed four pounds and a stone hoop was located thirty feet above ground.

  31. Recreation • The ball was only allowed to be touched with hips, elbows, and knees. These areas were protected with padding. • Scoring was a challenge and the first team to score usually won the game. Ball Court in Copan Ball Court in Monte Alban

  32. The Maya Today • Mayas still live in modern Guatemala and Mexico today. • Many of the ways of the ancient Maya have been preserved by the modern Maya. • The Mayas continue to farm corn, squash, and beans, sometimes using the slash and burn method. • The techniques of pottery and textile-making are now items sold to tourists.

  33. The Maya Today • Mayan language books and newspapers are used in parts of Guatemala today. • Mayan priests advise the Guatemalan government about the Mayan culture.

  34. The Mayas Today This is a picture of a modern day Mayan home.

  35. The Mayas Today • Mayan families face many challenges today. • The tiny plots of land used to grow corn does not raise enough money to support families. • Mayan regions have also been subjected to political turmoil. The turmoil has caused significant loss of life and economic devastation.