South America civilization
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South America civilization


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South America civilization South America civilization Presentation Transcript

  •  The Inca, sometimes called peoples of the sun, were originally a warlike tribe living in a semiarid region of the southern sierra. Advertisement From 1100 to 1300 the Inca moved north into the fertile Cuzco Valley.  From there they overran the neighboring lands. By 1500 the Inca Empire stretched from the Pacific Ocean east to the sources of the Paraguay and Amazon rivers and from the region of modern Quito in Ecuador south to the Maule River in Chile.  This vast empire was a theocracy, organized along socialistic lines and ruled by an Inca, or emperor, who was worshiped as a divinity. Because the Inca realm contained extensive deposits of gold and silver, it became in the early 16th century a target of Spanish imperial ambitions in the Americas.  In November 1995 anthropologists announced the discovery of the 500- year-old remains of two Inca women and one Inca man frozen in the snow on a mountain peak in Peru. Scientists concluded that the trio were part of a human sacrifice ritual on Ampato, a sacred peak in the Andes mountain range.
  •  Artifacts from the find unveiled new information about the Inca and indicated the use of poles and tents rather than traditional stone structures. The arrangement of doll-size statuettes dressed in feathers and fine woolens provided clues about Inca religious and sacrificial practices.  The Incas were a distinct people with a distinct language living in a highland center, Cuzco. They were an ancient people, but had been subject to the regional powers during the entire history of South American urban cultures.  They began to expand their influence in the twelfth century and in the early sixteenth century, they exercised control over more territory than any other people had done in South American history.  The empire consisted of over one million individuals, spanning a territory stretching from Ecuador to northern Chile.
  •  Unlike the military empires in Central America, the Incas ruled by proxy.  After conquering a people, they would incorporate local rulers into their imperial system, generously reward anyone who fought for them, and treated well all those conquered people who cooperated.  So, in reality, the Inca quot;empire,quot; as the invading Spanish called it, was not really an empire. It was more of a confederation of tribes with a single people, the Incas, more or less in control.
  •  Agriculture was tough business in the Andes. The Incas actively set about carving up mountains into terraced farmlands—so successful were they in turning steep mountainsides into terraced farms, that in 1500 there was more land in cultivation in the Andean highlands then there is today.  The Incas cultivated corn and potatoes, and raised llama and alpaca for food and for labor.  Of all the urbanized people of the Americas, the Incas were the most brilliant engineers.  The Huari-Tiahuanaco performed amazing feats of fitting gigantic stones together, and the Nazca designed mind-numbingly huge earth-drawings that still exist today.  But the Inca built massive forts with stone slabs so perfectly cut that they didn't require mortar—and they're still standing today in near-perfect condition.
  •  The Incas also had sacred objects and sacred places. For example, there is the Vilcanota or Wilcamayu (quot;Sacred Riverquot;), which is today most often called the Urubamba River.  The sacred objects were called quot;huacaquot;. These could be anything, either elements of nature or human built values. Periodically Incas would perform worshipping ceremonies, even give offerings to the huacas. For example, inside houses, the huacas were placed into wall niches and offerings were periodically given to them. This was believed to contribute to the balance of nature and society. This way, Incas believed they have an influence on their happy life or their crop production
  • . The Incas believed in afterlife, they cared deeply for their dead, which were embalmed, mummified and placed into tombs. Afterwards, the relatives would bring food and various objects to the tomb. They believed that the dead could hear them and they would use the multitude of objects that were brought there.  The bodies of the dead were considered huacas.  Rulers who died were treated with more attention than ordinary Incas who died. They were periodically talked to by priests and other high level Incas. The priests were believed to be communicating with the dead emperors, who were in another dimension.
  •  Offerings were brought to the dead ruler's tomb and servants would also attend them.  The colour of mourning was black, just like in the case of Christians. Women would have to cut their hair when someone close died. These rituals would be kept for a whole year.  Incas would offer sacrifices to the gods, these were mostly animals, but sometimes humans too.
  • INCA GODS Inti : God of Sun
  •  The Inca were a deeply religious people  2 Inca gods were given the highest importance: Inti and Viracocha.  Viracocha was the supreme god. The word quot;Viracochaquot; means quot;sea foamquot;.  Viracocha revived the World after God Paricia flooded it, because people were unkind to him. Viracocha crated people out of clay and gave them languages and songs.  Viracocha created the elements of the sky: Sun, Moon, the stars, also assigning them places on the sky.  If people didn't venerate him, Viracocha punished them by turning them into stone.  Viracocha and his 2 sons were also believed to have walked on water.  Inti was the Sun God, who was believed to have had descendants on Earth, this was the royal family. He was often represented on golden discs with a human face. He is believed to have been the ancestor of the Incas. Inti had 4 sons.
  •  Apu or Apo: mountain god.  Apocatequil: god of lightning.  Coniraya: the Moon god.  Ekkeko: god of personal property, wealth.  Illapa: weather god (rain, storm, lightning, thunder).  Pachacámac: earth god, a creator god, son of Inti.  Pariacaca: god of rain and water.  Punchau: sun god ,warrior.  Tocapo Viracocha: son of Viracocha. Together with his brother, he was sent by his father to Earth to verify if death.  Zaramama: goddess of grain and corn
  •  The social structure of the Incas was extremely inflexible. At the top was the Inca who exercised, theoretically, absolute power. Below the Inca was the royal family which consisted of the Inca's immediate family, concubines, and all his children. This royal family was a ruling aristocracy.  Each tribe had tribal heads; each clan in each tribe had clan heads. At the very bottom were the common people who were all grouped in squads of ten people each with a single quot;boss.quot; The social unit, then, was primarily based on cooperation and communality.  This guaranteed that there would always be enough for everyone; but the centralization of authority meant that there was no chance of individual advancement (which was not valued).  It also meant that the system depended too much on the centralized authority; once the invading Spanish seized the Inca and the ruling family, they were able to conquer the Inca territories with lightening speed.
  •  The houses were built to last and to withstand the extreme natural forces of wind, floods, ice, and drought.  This central nervous system of Inca transport and communication rivaled that of Rome. A high road crossed the higher regions of the Cordillera from north to south and another lower north-south road crossed the coastal plains. Shorter crossroads linked the two main highways together in several places.  The terrain, according to Ciezo de Leon, an early chronicler of Inca culture, was formidable.  The road system ran through deep valleys and over mountains, through piles of snow, quagmires, living rock, along turbulent rivers; in some places it ran smooth and paved, carefully laid out; in others over sierras, cut through the rock, with walls skirting the rivers, and steps and rests through the snow; everywhere it was clean swept and kept free of rubbish, with lodgings, storehouses, temples to the sun, and posts along the way.
  •  The Incas did not discover the wheel, so all travel was done on foot. To help travelers on their way, rest houses were built every few kilometers. In these rest houses, they could spend a night, cook a meal and feed their llamas.  Their bridges were the only way to cross rivers on foot. If only one of their hundreds of bridges was damaged, a major road could not fully function; every time one broke, the locals would repair it as quickly as possible.
  • WRITING ,SCRIPTS  The Incan language was based on nature.  All of the elements of which they depended, and even some they didn't were give a divine character.  They believed that all deities were created by an ever-lasting, invisible, and all-powerful god named Wiraqocha, or Sun god.  The King Incan was seen as Sapan Intiq Churin, or the Only Son of the Sun.
  • LOCATION •The geographic extent of the Maya civilization, known as the Maya area, extended throughout the southern Mexican states of Chiapas, Tabasco, and the Yucatán Peninsula states of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatán. • The Maya area also extended throughout the northern Central American region, including the present-day nations of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and western Honduras. •As the largest sub-region in Mesoamerica, it encompassed a vast and varied landscape, from the mountainous regions of the Sierra Madre to the semi-arid plains of northern Yucatán. •The Maya area is generally divided into three loosely defined zones: the southern Maya highlands, the southern Maya lowlands, and the northern Maya lowlands. The southern Maya highlands include all of elevated terrain in Guatemala and the Chiapas highlands. The southern lowlands lie just north of the highlands, and incorporate the Petén of the Mexican states and northern Guatemala. The northern lowlands cover the remainder of the Yucatán Peninsula
  •  For reasons that are still debated, the Maya centers of the southern lowlands went into decline during the 8th and 9th centuries and were abandoned shortly thereafter.  This decline was coupled with a cessation of monumental inscriptions and large-scale architectural construction.Although there is no universally accepted theory to explain this “collapse,” current theories fall into two categories: non-ecological and ecological.  Non-ecological theories of Maya decline are divided into several subcategories, such as overpopulation, foreign invasion, peasant revolt, and the collapse of key trade routes.  Ecological hypotheses include environmental disaster, epidemic disease, and climate change. There is evidence that the Maya population exceeded carrying capacity of the environment including exhaustion of agricultural potential and overhunting of megafauna.  Some scholars have recently theorized that an intense 200 year drought led to the collapse of Maya civilization.  The drought theory originated from research performed by physical scientists studying lake beds,ancient pollen, and other data, not from the archaeological community.
  •  A surprising aspect of the great Maya structures is their lack of many advanced technologies seemingly necessary for such constructions.  Lacking draft animals necessary for wheel-based modes of transportation, metal tools and even pulleys, Maya architecture required abundant manpower. Yet, beyond this enormous requirement, the remaining materials seem to have been readily available.  All stone for Maya structures appears to have been taken from local quarries. They most often used limestone which remained pliable enough to be worked with stone tools while being quarried and only hardened once removed from its bed. In addition to the structural use of limestone, much of their mortar consisted of crushed, burnt and mixed limestone that mimicked the properties of cement and was used as widely for stucco finishing as it was for mortar.  Later improvements in quarrying techniques reduced the necessity for this limestone-stucco as the stones began to fit quite perfectly, yet it remained a crucial element in some post and lintel roofs.  In the case of the common Maya houses, wooden poles, adobe and thatch were the primary materials; however, instances of what appear to be common houses of limestone have been discovered as well. Also notable throughout Maya architecture is the corbel arch , whose limitations kept their structures generally weighty rather than airy.
  • ARCHITECTURE  As unique and spectacular as Greek or Roman architecture, Maya architecture spans many thousands of years; yet, often the most dramatic and easily recognizable as Maya are the fantastic stepped pyramids from the Terminal Pre-classic period and beyond.  There are also cave sites that are important to the Maya. These cave sites include Jolja Cave, the cave site at Naj Tunich, the Candelaria Caves, and the Cave of the Witch. There are also cave-origin myths among the Maya. Some cave sites are still used by the modern Maya in the Chiapas highlands.  It has been suggested that, in conjunction to the Maya Long Count Calendar, every fifty-two years, or cycle, temples and pyramids were remodeled and rebuilt. It appears now that the rebuilding process was often instigated by a new ruler or for political matters, as opposed to matching the calendar cycle.  However, the process of rebuilding on top of old structures is indeed a common one. Most notably, the North Acropolis at Tikal seems to be the sum total of 1,500 years of architectural modifications. In Tikal and Yaxhá, there are the Twin Pyramid complexes that commemorate the end of a Baktún  Through observation of the numerous consistent elements and stylistic distinctions, remnants of Maya architecture have become an important key to understanding the evolution of their ancient civilization.
  • RITES AND RITUALS  the Maya believed in a cyclical nature of time. The rituals and ceremonies were very closely associated with celestial cycles which they observed and inscribed as separate calendars.  The Maya priest had the job of interpreting these cycles and giving a prophetic outlook on the future or past based on the number relations of all their calendars.  They also had to determine if the quot;heavensquot; or celestial matters were appropriate for performing certain religious ceremonies.  The Maya practiced human sacrifice. In some Maya rituals people were killed by having their arms and legs held while a priest cut the person's chest open and tore out his heart as an offering.  This is depicted on ancient objects such as pictorial texts, known as codices. It is believed that children were often offered as sacrificial victims because they were believed to be pure.
  • RELIGIOUS BELIEFS  The Maya underworld is reached through caves and ball courts.It was thought to be dominated by the aged Maya gods of death and putrefaction. The Sun and Itzamna, both aged gods, dominated the Maya idea of the sky. The night sky was considered a window showing all supernatural doings.  Good and evil traits are not permanent characteristics of Maya gods, nor is only quot;goodquot; admirable. What is inappropriate during one season might come to pass in another since much of the Maya religious tradition is based on cycles and not permanence.  The life-cycle of maize lies at the heart of Maya belief. This philosophy is demonstrated on the Maya belief in the Maize God as a central religious figure. The Maya bodily ideal is also based on the form of the young Maize God, which is demonstrated in their artwork. The Maize God was also a model of courtly life for the Classical Maya.  . Among the many types of Maya calendars which were maintained, the most important included a 260-day cycle, a 365-day cycle which approximated the solar year, a cycle which recorded lunation periods of the Moon, and a cycle which tracked the synodic period of Venus.  Philosophically, the Maya believed that knowing the past meant knowing the cyclical influences that create the present, and by knowing the influences of the present one can see the cyclical influences of the future.
  • WRITINGS & SCRIPTS  The Maya writing system was a combination of phonetic symbols and logograms. It is most often classified as a logographic or a logosyllabic writing system, in which syllabic signs play a significant role.  It is the only writing system of the Pre-Columbian New World which is known to completely represent the spoken language of its community.  In total, the script has more than a thousand different glyphs, although a few are variations of the same sign or meaning, and many appear only rarely or are confined to particular localities.  At any one time, no more than around 500 glyphs were in use, some 200 of which had a phonetic or syllabic interpretation  Although the archaeological record does not provide examples, Maya art shows that writing was done with brushes made with animal hair and quills.  Codex-style writing was usually done in black ink with red highlights, giving rise to the Aztec name for the Maya territory as the quot;land of red and blackquot;.
  • BRIEF HISTORY  Aztec society was highly structured, based on agriculture, and guided by a religion that pervaded every aspect of life.  The Aztec worshiped gods that represented natural forces that were vital to their agricultural economy.  Aztec cities were dominated by giant stone pyramids topped by temples where human sacrifices were dedicated to the gods.  Aztec art was primarily an expression of religion, and even warfare, which increased the empire’s wealth and power, served the religious purpose of providing captives to be sacrificed.
  • S O O C R I G A A L N I S A T I O N
  • SOCIAL STRUCTURE  The basic unit of Aztec society was the calpulli, sometimes, at least for early Aztec history, thought of as a clan, or group of families who claimed descent from a common ancestor.  Each calpulli regulated its own affairs, electing a council and officers to keep order, lead in war, dispense justice, and maintain records. Calpulli ran schools in which boys were taught citizenship, warfare, history, crafts, and religion.  Each calpulli also had a temple, an armory to hold weapons, and a storehouse for goods and tribute that were distributed among its members. Within each calpulli, land was divided among the heads of families according to their needs. Each family had a right to use the land but owned only the goods that it produced.  In Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital, calpulli fulfilled the same functions but gradually took a different form. As the city grew large and complex, the calpulli were no longer based on family relationships, but became wards, or political divisions, of the city. Each calpulli still had its own governing council, school, temple, and land, but its members were not necessarily related.
  •  In Tenochtitlán and other Aztec city-states, the most capable leaders of each calpulli together composed a tribal council, which elected four chief officials.  One of these four officials was selected as the tlatoani (ruler). After Tenochtitlán became the center of Aztec civilization, its ruler became the supreme leader of the empire, to whom lesser rulers paid tribute.  This ruler was considered semidivine, a descendant of the Aztec gods, and served as both military leader and high priest. His title was huey tlatoani, meaning “great lord” or “great speaker.”  The ruler was supported by a noble class of priests, warriors, and administrators. Below these nobles were the common people, including merchants, artisans, soldiers, peasant farmers, and laborers.  Aztec merchants formed a hereditary class, called pochteca. They lived in special quarters in the cities, formed guilds, and had many privileges.
  • RITES AND RITUALS  As an agricultural people, the Aztec depended heavily on the forces of nature and worshiped them as gods. Most important was their patron deity, the sun god, Huitzilopochtli, who was also considered to be the god of war.  Other important gods were Tlaloc (the god of rain) and Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent (the god of wind and learning).  The Aztec believed that the benevolent gods must be kept strong to prevent the evil gods from destroying the world. For this purpose they conducted human sacrifices.  Victims of sacrifice were usually prisoners of war, although Aztec warriors would sometimes volunteer for the more important sacrificial rituals.  The god Tlaloc was believed to prefer children as sacrificial victims.
  • RELIGIOUS BELIEFS  A victim would ascend the steps of the pyramid. At the top, a priest would stretch the victim across a stone altar and cut out the victim’s heart. The priest would hold the heart aloft to the god being honored and then fling it into a sacred fire while it was still beating. Often many victims were killed at once.  Aztec priests sought to win favor with the gods by fasts and self-inflicted bloodletting.  Some of them ran schools called calmecacs in which they taught religious rituals to boys studying for the priesthood. One of the most important functions of the priests was to determine which days would be lucky for engaging in activities such as war and baptism.  A religious calendar of 260 days provided this information. The dates of ceremonies to honor the gods were determined by a solar calendar of 365 days  Variants of both calendars were developed by earlier Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Olmec, Maya, and Zapotec. To begin the next cycle, they would hold the important “new fire ceremony,” in which priests lit a sacred fire in the chest cavity of a sacrificial victim, and the people rekindled their hearth fires and began feasting.