Ancient Maya Essay

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Ancient Maya

The ancient Maya were a group of American Indian peoples who lived in Southern Mexico. Their descendants, the modern Maya,live in the same regions today. Agriculture was the basis of the economy of the Mayan and corn was the principal food.(Voorhies 324) Other crops included avocados, tomatoes, and chili peppers. They cultivated an enormous variety of plants.(Foley 20) In hieroglyphic writing, astronomy, and mathematics, the Mayan Indians were far ahead of any other people in the New World.(Foley 20) The Mayan invented a solar “civil” calendar including three hundred sixty- five days.(Ivanoff 86) The accuracy of the Mayan calculations is all the more extraordinary in view of the fact that they had no
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As population rose, the nobles of the independent city states both intermarried and made war on one another. Ultimately, the system of rule that had served the Maya for centuries had failed. Faced with famine, foreign invasion, chronic warfare, and perhaps disease, an era ended what is generally called the Classic Maya collapse. Although writing in the New World did not originate among the Maya, they gave writing its greatest refinements.(Miller) What Mayan writing seems to represent is a sacred language used only by the elite, initiated, and known only by them. The language of the Mayan was identical with that of the Yucatan Indians, given the fact that writing was identical. The Maya kept records on large stone monuments called stelae. They used the Steele to record important dates and to take note of great events in the lives of their rulers.(Price 91)They also used the stelae to recount the positions of the “heavenly bodies”_ particularly the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter.(Miller) The men and the older boys did most of the farm work. They also did most of the hunting and fishing. The women and older girls made family clothes and prepare the meals. The Maya made small sculptures of clay and carved huge ones from stone. Some of the large sculptures stood over thirty feet high.( Voorhies 326) Early Classic stone sculpture usually features a single Maya ruler celebrating his reign.Many fine
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