Geography• The Mayans lived in the area of Central America in what is now Yucatan, Guatemala, Belize & Southern Mexico.• The land consists of rainforests, swamps, & savannas. The highlands, in the south, were volcanic mountains.• The northern climate was hot and rainy in the northern areas• The Mayans occupied 125,000 square miles of lowland and highlands.
Social Structure• King: The most powerful and wealthy. Belived to be the descendants of gods.• Goverment Workers, Artisans, Merchants: Respescted by farmers and slaves and more wealthy than them.They were significant in the mayan society because they provided services and goods.• Slaves and farmers: Did most of the hard labour, farmers provided society with food and made up a large part of the military.
Government The role of leadership in the Mayan society was passed from a father to his eldest son. The ruler of the Mayan country was called a “Halach Uinic” The Mayan council consisted of the heads, the batab, the high priests and other people of rank. The Mayan country was governed by foreigners.
Goverment• The military ruler or the “nacom” played a huge role in the government. The nacom had a 3 year term.• There was also a nacom for human sacrifices.• The nacom would be in charge of cutting and ripping out the hearts of the victims.
Military Mayan military consisted of weapons that could be used from a distance . The Mayans used the forests as a weapon hiding in bushes and trees and using their long range weapons to ambush enemies. Mayans were notorious for taking enemy prisoners in battle.• Mayans used a code of drums and whistles to signal other members of the armies of an attack or perhaps a victory or defeat.
The Ball Game• Rubber balls were made in soccer and baseball sizes• The ball was not allowed to hit the ground and players were not allowed to hit it with their hands or feet• The losing team was killed
Calendar The time keeping system of the Mayans was a combination of cycles that mixed together marking the movement of the Sun, Moon, and Venus. Their sacred calendar called the Tzolkin is based on the cycles of the Pleiades which was composed of 260 days. It contained 13 months which were named after the 13 gods and 20 days were numbered from 0 to 19.• The second calendar was the civil calendar and consisted of 365 days.• It was called the Haab.• This calendar consisted of 18 months and 20 days which were numbered from 0 to 19.
Writing system Wrote in hieroglyphics, used pictures as symbols most Mayan texts can be read, but there are still some undeciphered glyphs.• Modern scholars agreed that there are only three writing systems in the ancient world and the Mayan glyphs were one of them.• The system has a resemblance to the Egyptian writing, with a combination of similar symbols for different ideas or words.
Math• The Mayan number system was based on numbers one through twenty.• The reason for this was because they used all their fingers and their toes to count.• It only has three number symbols a line, a dot, and a symbol for zero.• They used place values to expand this system to allow the expression of very large values.• Their system has two significant differences from the system we use: 1) the place values are arranged vertically, and 2) they use a base 20 system.
Decline• No one really knows what the cause of the Mayans decline.• What they do know is that over population occured as well as over use of land. Therefore less crops grew each year. This period also consisted of warfare of the city states. This disrupted their trade.• There could have been a possible drout and as a result, there was movement to a better location.• In the late 800s, the most Mayans abandoned their cities.• There were very few cities left, but they managed to servive.• Eventually though, the Toltecs attacked the Mayans