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Early mesoamerican civilizations

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Early mesoamerican civilizations

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Early mesoamerican civilizations

  1. 1. • First major Mesoamerican civilization• Flourished between 1200 – 400 BCE• Archaeology suggests urban areas and long- distance trade with merchant class• Little known of political structure – probably form of monarchy
  2. 2. • Known for large stone carved heads• Olmec were polytheistic• Likely originators of ball game that became ceremonial rite• Practiced human sacrifice
  3. 3. • Classical period• City-state• Pyramids dedicated to numerous gods – main gods Sun and Moon• Rapid growth of urban areas due to forced relocation of farmers• Use of Chinampas – Teotihuacan today “floating gardens”
  4. 4. • Rule by powerful aristocratic families• Military used to protect long-distance trade and force transfer of food surplus to the city• Decline possibly due to nomadic invasions and/or civil war
  5. 5. • Collection of rival city- states• Monumental architecture – pyramids• Rulers and elite society served both political and religious roles• Warfare had religious meaning• Warfare used primarily to attain captives not territory• Elite captives sacrificed – lower captives enslaved
  6. 6. • Maya women played important political and religious roles• Complex calendar system –ritual cycle and solar• Hieroglyphic writing• Reasons for decline unknown: possibly Mayan calendar environmental crises, war, disease
  7. 7. Maya at war Maya ritualistic ballgame
  8. 8. • Toltecs created the first conquest state• Capital at Tula• More violent and warlike than previous peoples – seen through artwork• Monarchy ruled by two kings• Brought metal-working to Mesoamerica• Decline probably due to The Toltec civil war between elites

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