Research Paper on Maya Civilization

4670 Words Dec 9th, 2010 19 Pages
Research Paper on Mayan Civilization
The Maya
Introduction
All remnants of the distant past are romantic, but ancient Maya civilization has a special fascination. It is a "lost" civilization, whose secrets lie deep in the mysterious tropical forest. The style of Maya architecture and sculpture seems alien and bizarre.
The breathtaking splendor of ornate cites, the beautifully constructed grand temples, and the ingeniously developed and advanced caledretics, mathematics, and astronomy easily mark one of the most interesting and prosperous periods in Latin American history. Over period spanning approximately six centuries, the Maya of Central America reached artistic and intellectual heights that no other group in the New World had seen
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Mayan city states like Tikal were not only population centers but also served the function of autonomous political and religious centers for the citizens who lived there. The Mayan political structure was based on the establishment of many different political centers consisting of city states. These city states collectively represented Mayan society, but each spoke their own peculiar Mayan dialect.
The city states consisted of numerous citizens but these citizens were not all equal. Indeed, one characteristic of Maya society was the hierarchical nature of its social organization. This meant that, at different levels in the society, people would be treated according to their status. This difference in social treatment automatically meant that some citizens enjoyed a better standard of living with more of the amenities of life than others. It also meant that at the bottom of this graded social pyramid were the agricultural farmers and foot soldiers of the empire flourished. By virtue of being at the bottom of the social pyramid their training and skills consisted largely of the social functions that they performed. Hence, they were not literate and concerned themselves largely with issues of agriculture and the basics of following orders in warfare.
Above the primary agriculturalists and soldiers were the skilled artisans, who functioned within Mayan society not only to produce functional

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