In the Central America, most notably the Yucatan Peninsula, are the Maya, a group of people whose polytheistic religion and advanced civilization once flourished (Houston, 43). The Maya reached their peak during the Classic Period from around CE 250 to the ninth century CE when the civilization fell and dispersed (Sharer, 1). Although much has been lost, the gods and goddesses and the religious practices of the Classic Maya give insight into their lives and reveal what was important to this society. The major Mayan gods and goddesses all have common characteristics and, according to “features which they share in large part with the gods of neighboring people of Middle America” (Thompson, 198). One of these characteristics is that Mayan gods and goddesses have “features which they share in large part with the gods of neighboring people of Middle America” (Thompson, 198). The majority of the gods and goddesses take a form that combines animal and human features. For example, rain and earth deities often have characteristics derived from crocodiles and snakes (Thompson, 198). The Mayan deities also have a duality complex in which they could be both benevolent and malevolent, but this duality could also apply to age and sex such as a god or goddess being portrayed as youthful or aged or a masculine god sometimes being portrayed as feminine (Thompson, 199). Worship of animals, such as the Jaguar, was present (Thompson, 200) and numbers were seen as deities as well (Thompson, 239). Each deity corresponds to a number. For example, the sun god is the god of the number four as well and the moon goddess is the goddess of the number one. Inanimate objects had spirits, like animals and numbers, which had the ability to achieve the rank of de... ... middle of paper ... ...nt crops like maize. Religious officials and their roles in Mayan society reflect on how seriously the Mayans took religion and how organized it was. Ceremonies, such as sacrifices, are evidence of how the Mayans honored their gods and how they believed the world worked. All are important to understanding Mayan religion. Works Cited Chase, Diane Z. and Arlen F. Chase. Changes in Maya Religious Worldview. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2009. Print. Houston, Stephen. “Classic Maya Religion: Beliefs and practices of an Ancient American People.” BYU Studies 38.4 (1999): 43-64. Print. Sharer, Robert. The Ancient Maya. 6th ed. Stanford, 2006. Print. Taube, Karl. “The major Gods of Ancient Yucatan.” Studies in Pre-Columbian Art & Archaeology 32 (1992): 11-27. Print. Thompson, J. Eric. Maya History and Religion. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970. Print.
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Medina, Laurie Kroshus. 2003 ‘Commoditizing Culture – Tourism and Maya Identity’. Michigan State University, USA. pp 353-368
Maya societies were clearly divided into two classes, the elite and the commoners. This distinction was usually made by who had more power and wealth, a person was usually born into both. The Elite had control over the politics and religion in each city (Sharer, “Social Stratification”). The vast majority of people were considered commoners, but how do you tell which ones are commoners, and which are Elites? Architecture gives us the biggest clue to who had this power and wealth, and who did not. “Monument building and elaborate, vaulted tomb chambers indicate the presence of social ranking and ruling elites. It is likely that ancestor worship was acquiring more weight as the rulers became ever more responsible for acting as intermediaries with the gods and ancestors for the benefit of their people” (Fash). One of the biggest archaeological insights into Maya lifestyles is art...
The entirety of Maya culture was based on the experience and knowledge accumulated by their ancestors. They were passive, modest, religious people who believed in the cyclical nature of their reality, events and phenomena (Bower 1986). The Maya can be deeply understood due to their elaborate calendar, numerical system, logographic glyphs, and detailed recording of dates and events on various media. Maya glyphs are known for depicting place names, political events and religious beliefs (Coe and Houston 2015). The cyclical pattern of birth, death and rebirth is associated with the underworld, Xibalba, whose inhabitants represent cause of death like disease, sacrifice, war, and games of defeat (Bassie 2002, Wilson 2006).
The Mayan interpretation of the cosmos included a plethora of gods: some benevolent, others malignant; some unattainable, others close at hand. Defining past, present and future, it concerned itself with death, the afterlife and reincarnation. Itzamna was a Mayan god that represented the earth and sky. This god was there to produce vegitables. The Aztec beliefs were very similar to that of the Mayan civilization. Both societies were very similar in their belief of gods, sacrificing, and wars. The ritual of human sacrifice was infulenced by the Toltec tradition. Praying, sacrifice, speaking in metaphors were all forms of speaking with dieties. The calendar was very accurate, more accurate then the calendars that we follow now. Europeans thought that Mesoamerican people were wild people because they were cannibals, believed in many gods, and "enjoyed sex".
Since the beginning of discovery, the Maya have always been known as “an indigenous people from Mexico and Central America” in 1800 B.C. to about 800 A.D. (“The Maya Civilization,” 1/1). One of the most dominant societies of Mesoamerica, the Maya geographically centralized in one “block”: the Yucatan Peninsula and Guatemala, Belize, Tabasco and Chiapas (Mexico), and the western part of Honduras and El Salvador (“Maya,” 1/1). Their constant location, over a period of almost 3000 years, shows that the Maya stayed safe from invasion by other peoples. The Maya Empire peaked at 600-800 A.D. and suffered a decline when the Spanish conquistadors rose.
The Mayan had a government that believed in God polytheism and sacrificed a lot of Animals and human. The God was known for a village and that's where the Mayan lived. The Mayan were different then us, every time they pulled out a heart while it was still beating as a sacrifice,they would give drugs to the sacrifice so the sacrifice would corroborate, Mayan would eat the arms and the legs because it was good for eating.
Another important part of the Mayan culture was religion. Religion was one of the reasons why they had such a large civilization. The Mayans worshipped over 100 Gods! The Mayans told stories about them and even built palaces for them. Itzamma was the most important God. His wife’s name was Ix Chel. One wish that the Mayans wanted was for their creators to worship
In the early centuries A.D., the Mayan peoples began building their civilization in the center of Mesoamerica. This location allowed the Maya to conduct trade and exchange their local products. They also participated in the slash and burn method, however, evidence shows that they may have developed other methods such as planting on raised beds above swamps and on hillside terraces. Not only did location have an influence on agricultural life, it also had an influence on all other aspects of life. The Maya drew influence from a neighboring society, the Olmec. The Maya blended their customs with the Olmec to create a culturally diverse society. These Olmec customs had quite an influence on other aspects of the Maya society. The Maya had a polytheistic religion with gods of corn, death, rain, and war. These religious beliefs led to the development of calendars, astronomy, and mathematics. The Maya developed two types of calendars: religious and solar. The religious calendar was based on the belief that “time was a burden carried on the back of a God.” The solar calendar was based on the observations of the sun, planets, and moon. Unlike our calendar today, it was consisted of twenty-five da...
The Classical pyramid, colonial church, and milpa field were all places where the Maya practiced their religion. Though this religion changed with the collapse of the Classical kings and the arrival of the Spanish with Catholicism, the places and methods of worship remained surprisingly similar. The colonial church replaced the Classical pyramid as the place of communal worship. Despite the imposition of monotheism, the Maya continued to venerate the saints as they had the idols in precolonial times, and the Maya continued to make offerings to the saints, though the offerings no longer included human blood. The milpa remained a place of individual communion where the reciprocal nature of humans’ relationship with corn was celebrated. These religious places demonstrate amazing continuities of Maya culture over the period of almost two thousand years.
The European and Mayan civilizations had inverse experiences during the Classical era, but they were similar in some aspects. While the Mayans were basking in their glorious success as a civilization, the Europeans stood in their shadow. However, after the Renaissance Era, it was as if the Mayans stood in the shadow of the European revival. These two societies have a definite inverse relationship, in that while one was succeeding, the other was squandering. For example, the forward thinking of the Mayans and their knowledge of arithmetic and science was overshadowed by the revolutionary ideas created by European scientists, the fact that the Mayans had created a complex, and accurate calendar wasn’t nearly as celebrated as a European man who got hit by an apple.
... into society also came with a new social responsibility to make sure that the crops would never fail. For once a society had made this unique and vital bond with the crop, with deep meaning. For a modern mind, the Mayan methodology of working with maize, and how it became to dominate life far beyond a means of food, becoming the backbone of their religion, it is truly amazing and great, the Mayans for one were not simple folk their attitude towards maize was clearly one of great spirituality. The Mayan mind believed or realized that not only had the gods given them maize, the gods would continually need to be thanked for giving them a great crop and they cultivated it and through it thanked and worshiped the gods for feeding them, and allowing them to grow and excel. In the end, the relationship between Man and maize was a contract between the gods and the earth.
The Mayans were an influential ancient civilization who created many things that are still used in modern society such as mathematics, the calendar, and pottery techniques. The traditions of the Maya were what connected the different cities because they did not have one single city ruling their civilization (Maloy 12). First of all, the Mayans did not believe in natural beauty. Instead they shaped their beauty by crossing their babies eyes, adding clay to enlarge their noses, and flattening their foreheads with a board(26). Another tradition that the Maya had was that they buried the dead under their house so as to keep them close (21). If the deceased were not buried under the house of the family then they would most likely be buried in caves. This was because the Maya believed that the spirit took a journey through caves to get to the underworld. Therefore, if the dead were buried in caves they would have a shorter journey to the underworld (29). In order to keep track of time the Maya used two different calendars. Their religious calendar consisted of 260 days meanwhile their farming calendar consisted of 365 days (32). In fact the Maya calendar was one of the most accurate in the ancient world (Maya Culture). To entertain themselves the Maya created a sport where they used body parts other than their hands and feet to get a ball through a hoop. The losing team was believed to often be killed as an offering (Maloy 27). In order to sustain their society the Mayans built reservoirs to maintain a water source and discovered a way to farm using swamps (12). In addition to farming in swamps the Maya used the slash and burn method to create more room for crops. However, with this technique they could only plant crops in that area for...
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization which was created a long time ago, but was at his peak around 600-800 A.D. They are known principally for their impressive advancement in different knowledge like astronomy, mathematics, arts…but also for their architectures in which they constructed unique buildings and pyramids that still today remain an incredible work of delicacy and are strongly living through the ages. However, the civilization disappeared between the 8th and 9th century, at everyone’s surprises. Still today, the reason of how and why this society collapsed remain unknown, but many theories were created in order to understand this mystery. In this essay, different theories will be explained like
The Mayan best-known as the classical civilizations of Mesoamerica which Originate in the Yucatán around 2600 B.C.. They rose to be well known around A.D. 250. The Mayan is well known in developing astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing. Besides that, they were also known for their elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture, including the temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories, all were built without using metal tools. They were also skilled farmers, weavers and potters. Around 300 B.C., the Mayan practiced a ggovernment system with rule by nobles and kings. This civilization soon developed into highly structured kingdoms during the Classic period around A.D. 200-900. Their society consisted of many independent states, each with a rural farming community and large urban sites built around ceremonial centres. They started to decline around A.D. 900 when - for reasons which are still largely a mystery - the southern Maya abandoned their cities. When the northern Mayan were integrated into the Toltec society by A.D. 1200, the Mayan dynasty finally came to a close, although some peripheral centres continued to thrive until the Spanish Conquest in the early sixteenth century. There are several theories on the collapse of the Mayan civilazation that are wars and fatal rivalries and drastic climate change.
The Maya’s were an ancient civilization that faced many difficult tasks in their everyday lives that needed to be completed in order for survival. The Mayan tribes existed from about 400 BC until around 1524 when they were taken over by the Spanish conquistadors (Sharer p.3). They occupied three separate areas of land.