History 101, notes on the Mayan Civilization
History 101, notes on the Mayan Civilization HIS 101
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Catie Naylor on Tuesday March 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIS 101 at a university taught by Dr. Chambers in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 27 views.
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Date Created: 03/15/16
MAYA Located on and around the Yucatan Peninsula Similar to Greeks in that: o They were several independent states that were never united o They shared a language, culture, and religion o Shared a sense of people o Connected by trade Maya influenced the Aztecs o Olmecs were first o Then Maya o Then Aztecs Believed the gods depended on the people o Gods would starve to death, if the people didn’t feed them (sacrifices sometimes human) o Chac: god of rain and fertility Big round eyes and mouth Very advanced o Remained in the stone age o Used obsidian, so they had no need for metal o Technology is not always the best measure of how advanced a civilization is o Mayas were extremely advanced in sciences Popul Vul: Mayas sacred book o A story of where the Maya came from (their creation story) o Gods took 3 tries to get creation right Needed to get the humans right so they could be properly cared for: worshipped and fed Kings were expected give their own blood o Creation story goes like this: The gods created animals first, but they didn’t have the souls to remember to feed the gods Then the gods created man out of mud, but they were no good Then the gods created man out of wood, but they didn’t have souls so they were no good Then the gods created humans out of corn meal Shows the importance of maize to their society Common thought is that the Mayas were peaceful but they were actually very violent o Peten: city-states near and in the rainforest El Mirador: largest and oldest city state in the Peten destroyed in a century long series of wars walls were put up around the city o Yucatan: city-states in the dry areas o Peten and the Yucatan fight constantly o Tikal: most famous city-state (in Guatemala) Mayas had a written language o Hieroglyphs: picture words similar to Egyptians o Historians have only been able to translate about half of the language o This has left holes in our knowledge of them The Maya were obsessed with understanding and knowing o They invented the zero, 0 3 civilizations invented the zero: Mesopotamia, Vedic India, Maya o Created the most accurate calendar Mayas were the Golden Age of central American civilizations o 2500 yrs long o 1000 BCE-1519 CE o By the 1500s: temple towns had been destroyed The Spanish showed up o Some people still speak the Mayan language They built canals Created farmlands for maize From 300-900 CE: their Golden Age of the Golden Age o There were 25 city-states Populated by about 30,000 people, planned cities Carefully organized public squares They had pyramids El Mirador’s pyramids were painted bright red They would knock down the pyramids that were falling and rebuild them 2 Main Pyramids Pyramid of the Jaguar and Pyramid of the Sun They faced each other and had a bridge connecting the two 250 ft high Made of limestone They kept records on pillars called Stelas o Inscribed stories into them o 150 CE one stela tells the story of a local king (the Harvest Mountain Lord) o Early examples of graffiti (people wrote messages on Tikal) Connected the world to knowledge o Observed astronomy and created the calendar Wanted to be able to predict the stars o Most advanced calendar ever Math system based on 20 The base year was 260 days (13 months with 20 days each) Their other year was 365 days long (18 months with 20 days each plus 5 extra days) Short count: 52 years (like how we count decades, they counted short counts) 365 day years (the Solar Calendar) 260 day years converged with the end of the short count Long count: aka baktun: 394 years 144,000 days Based on this calendar on August 13, 3114 BCE, the gods created corn meal humans Their calendar says the world will end in 4772 CE th Dec 21, 2012 was then end of the 12 baktun Not the end of the world like everybody thought They needed a very advanced calendar so that they knew when they were supposed to feed the gods They had good and bad days (lucky and unlucky) Thought they had more bad days than good They had to feed the right gods on the right day Maya perfected the ball game o Had to move the ball without using the head, hands, or feet o Tried to get the ball through a ring on the wall o Sometimes the losers would be sacrificed o Sometimes the winners would be “allowed” to have the honor of being the ones to be sacrificed During the 900s CE, the land was under stress 1517 CE, conquistadors showed up and the Maya civilization was destroyed
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