The Magnificent Mayans By:Gavin,Anastasia,&Jasmynn
- Some priests had the opportunity to rule cities.
- Cities were also ruled by noble families. The rulers would be chosen by nobility, not necessarily by direct blood relationships like father to son.
- The ruler also had to pick a council of elder people and warriors to help him rule.
- Lawmakers created harsh punishments for those who committed crimes.
- The ruler most likely also controlled the military forces.
- The lowlands (low-level land) of the Mayan lands were used mostly for growing crops. These crops consisted of maize, squash, beans, chili peppers, amaranth, manioc and cacao. - The Mayans also grew cotton for clothing and sisal for clothing and rope. -The highlands (high-level land) had an abundant source of obsidian, jade, and metals. - The Mayans took advantage of the geography and created many trade routes. - Some areas in the lowlands received around 160 inches of rain per year, which created rivers in certain areas. These rivers were important for trading and transportation.
• Knew how to predict solar eclipses
• Made 2 different calendars
- Calendar Round- a calendar that measured time in a endless loop. It is based on 2 different cycles : a 260 day sacred year and a 365 day secular calendar. Every 52 years was counted as a calendar round. After each calendar round the calendar would start
- Long Count calendar- identified each day by counting forward from a base date in the distant past( August 11th/13th 3114 BC. It cycled in intervals. the interval is known as thee Grand Cycle and is equal to 5,139 years.
Created rubber. They combined the rubber tree and the morning glory plant to make a strong rubber. the Mayans used this to make water resistant clothes, glue, book bindings, toys, and for the large rubber pokatok (a game) balls.
Developed the concept of zero
Invented the most advanced form of writing in the ancient Americas. They had 700 glyphs, but we can only understand about 80%.
Had a 20 base system, because they counted on their fingers and toes.
Mayan architecture contains many different styles. These included:
Maya Toltec Style: Contains columns, large carvings of the heads of various animals and humans.
Puuc Style: Contains many carvings of Chaac, a Mayan god.
Peten Style: Contains high structures along with steep walls and steep stairs.
Rio Bek Style: Contains rectangular structures with round towers on top of them. This style was also seen on the Mayan pyramids whose stairs had no function.
Chenes Style: Contains structures decorated with mythological creatures.
Mayan Architecture Cont.
The Mayans would draw the design for a structure on fig tree bark before presenting it to the king to be approved or altered. The Mayans lacked metal tools, the wheel and did not use animals for transportation. For building they would carve hammers and chisels out of stone.
Mayan culture was heavily influenced by their religion. The Mayan gods consisted of thirteen gods belonging to the thirteen heavens and nine gods belonging to the nine underworlds. Different natural elements also had their own god. The Mayans believed that the gods' mood would change according to the day and position of the sun and the moon. Because of this the Maya created a calender so that they could know the gods' mood on a specific day. To be able to create such a complex calender they had to develop a system of math and astronomy. The Maya also built structures to honor the gods. Such structures might contain carvings of the gods, as seen in the Puuc and Chenes styles of Mayan architecture. Mayan paintings also show aspects of their religion. Many Mayan paintings portray sacrifices and myths.
The Fall of the Mayans
The reason of the decline of the Classic Period of the Mayan on the 8th/9th century, still has not been discovered. There are many theories about what happened. So far, archaeological evidence has shown the causes to be either famine, warfare, or revolt. The reasons could also be environmental,like drought,famine, or overusing the crops. This decline only affected the central lowlands. The northern lowlands in Yucatan and southern highlands, still continued to prosper. Their decline was because the Spanish started to take over their land. The Spanish completely took over by 1697.