The Ancient Maya Essay

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The Maya of Mesoamerica, along with the Aztecs of Mexico and the Incas of Peru, made up the high civilizations of the American Indians at the time of the Spanish conquest. Both the Aztecs and the Incas were late civilizations, between 1300-1533 AD, but the Maya of the Yucatan and Guatemala exhibited a cultural continuity spanning more than 2,000 years, 1000 BC-AD 1542. Many aspects of this culture continue yet today. The Ancient Maya in their time had actually refined writing. They had an extensive written language, which was both phonetic as well as ideographic. One of only five independently created writing systems in human history. Maya words were in hieroglyphs, each picture with its own meaning. Unlike other ancient…show more content…
The gods were modeled after animals for sacrificial purposes and religious ceremonies. The ancient Maya had many beliefs. They had possessed an in depth understanding of astronomy, engineering, and mathematics. The Maya believed that the Sun, Moon, and other planets, had been journeys of the gods. The Mayan priests studied their measurement of time. The Maya had a calendar with 18 months each containing 20 days, plus 5 unlucky days that made up the Mayan year. They also had a religious calendar that had 260 days in it. Each day was given a name and a number. They believed that each day was a god that carried the weight of the day on its back. The Mayan civilization in all stages has been based on agriculture. Indian corn or maize was domesticated from a wild grass in central Mexico about 7,000 years ago and sustained most sedentary Indian civilizations from that time. In the humid areas, a surplus of water and rapid growth of trees and vines encouraged the slash-and-burn farming method. The farmer cleared the cornfield by cutting bushes and girdling the trees, usually near the end of the rainy season, allowing the piled brush to dry under the hot sun of the dry season. It is known that the Mayas enjoyed chocolate. They had it in many forms from a frothy drink to a pulpy mush. The Mayas referred to chocolate as "The Drink of the Gods." They had other food such as cornmeal, maize, black
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