The Mayans used an advanced number system, created as far back as 400 A.D Because of Spanish book burnings in the 16 th century, few examples of Mayan writing still exist . Some of the only ones that have stood the test of time are the Dresden Codex and the Madrid Codex, which show their advanced number and writing system. Explaining the Mayan Number system – The Mayans had numbers for 1 through 20, but there are no numbers after 20, so to get numbers after 20 you times the original numbers by 20. For example – = 5 x 20 = 100 L.E.H.
The Mayan Calendar
The Mayans invented two calendars, as early as 400 B.C., one for religion and also a daily calendar.
The daily calendar, also called the Haab calendar is the most accurate calendar other than the Gregorian calendar that we use today.
Used for agricultural purposes, the Haab calendar consists of
19 hieroglyphics, each symbolizing a month. Each month is
20 days long, with a 5 day religious period in between each
month, equaling 365 days.
The religious calendar, called the Tzolk’in calendar, consists of
260 days, with 13 numbers in each 20 day months.
The Mayans thought of the planets and world around them as
something brought to them by the gods. They charted ‘
planets such as Venus and Mars to better understand the gods
and connect the gods with the Solar Calendar.
The Mayan’s constant observations of the night sky led to the building of an ancient observatory in the city of Chichen Itza. Here people viewed constellations and the Milky Way, charting the positions of the Moon, the Sun, and Venus.
Astronomy and the night sky were key in determining when to plant crops and when the begin religious ceremonies.
The Dresden Codex, one of the last surviving Mayan books, is a book filled with the Mayan’s astronomical calculations and data.
Priests played an important role in the Mayan government. They ruled cities. Each day they would climb up hundreds of stairs to reach the top of the massive temples built by the Mayans. Only the king and priests were allowed in the temple. In small villages priests were called the godfathers and often helped deliver babies. Among the many Mayan rulers, Lord Pacal was one of the most famous rulers. He became king at 6, and legally took the thrown at the age of 12. His rule lasted for 50 years before he died.
Mayan Social Pyramid c.c
A daily routine for the mayans included the women waking up before 4 am to make fires and breakfast. By 5 am the men would be finishing breakfast and leaving to hunt or farm with their sons. At the end of the day the men would come home to a warm bath the women prepared for them. The mayans had community bathing areas. For dinner the women would make dinner but would not eat with the men. They would serve the men and eat after dinner alone.
Farming: Farmers in the mayan empire had their own land plots and sometimes a garden next the their houses. Farmers would drain swamp lands and plant their crops there. They created irrigation canals so bring water from near by swamps to the crops to help them grow. They grew maize, beans, squash, cotton, and more. They used the cocoa beans from the cocoa tree as currency sometimes. C.C
Clothing & Beauty:
The Mayans had very simple clothing. Men wore an ex, or a loincloth, and women wore bag like dresses. Their idea of beauty and clothing is nothing like ours today. The Mayans practiced skull deformation on young children. They did this by tying a flat board to the child’s forehead. The Mayans had tattoos and body piercings. The Mayans also filed their teeth to make them pointy. For special occasions or ceremony the Mayans would paint their faces and bodies.
Mayan alphabet: The Mayans created an elaborate alphabet. They used glyphs and symbols for letters. These were called glyphs. Some of the symbols include the ones above. They were depicted as humans, animals, and supernatural creatures. The Mayans also created numerals so that they could do math. C.C
Mayan religion was characterized by the worship of nature gods, specifically the gods of sun, rain and corn. Their religion also involved rituals of human sacrifice. S.L
The Mayans sacrificed animals such as dogs, turkeys, and jaguars. Jaguars were considered sacred and only sacrificed on certain occasions.
Kings and their wives offered their own blood to the gods. They would cut themselves and soak their blood onto paper and the paper was then burned. The smoke was believed to go to the heavens and the Mayan gods would return power to the kings.
By building temples, rulers of the Mayan empire enhanced their authority to rule and created social unification.
Building pyramidal structures reinforced and reminded people of their place in the structure of society.
The Mayans of the Yucatan region of Mexico were believed to have studied the medicinal properties of plants of many plants.
During the Mayan ceremony, the Kili’ich Ts’íitsja’il Neeko’ob, corn, squash, lentils and sesame seeds were grown and used in the ceremony.
This picture shows a picture of the Mayan supreme god Itzamná. This picture shows the Mayan god Chac. S.L