Early American Civilizations
Early American civilizations were composed of four different groups of people. These four groups were composed of the Mayas, Aztecs, Incas, and the North Americans. These groups were the same in many ways, but had some differences that would distinguish their group from the others. These civilizations ruled the Americas for long period of time. These civilizations were the same in almost every way, but they had their differences to show that they were a totally different group of people.
The first group that is going to be discussed is the Mayas. The Mayas were thought to be peaceful stargazers for a long time, but not until recently the truth was uncovered about the Mayas. The Mayas were actually rulers of the populous, aggressive city-states. The Mayas built large temples for the glory of the kings and sometimes the queens who ruled cities of tens of thousands. They also had a liking for self-mutilation, warfare, and a prolonged torture of captives. The Mayas had warfare with rival cities frequently. For the most part the Mayas did this to capture aristocrats for torture and sacrifice. If the Mayas sacrificed fewer humans than the Aztecs, against whom they often had been held up as superior, they tortured their victims more viciously. One way they would torture people is, in ancient ball games, like Roman gladiatorial contests, pitted
captives were against one another for their lives; the heads of losers were sometimes used for balls. In this selection Reilly mentions how a king would prepare for war. He said, “Before going to war, for example, the king would puncture his penis with a stingray spine, while his wife drew a thorn-barbed rope through her tongue'; (Reilly, 326). The Mayas thought this was a vital process for sustaining the universe. The Mayas also practiced advanced irrigation methods, they also focused on astronomy, mathematics, and elaborated on their script. The Maya script was written in hieroglyphs, which is one of the five basic writing systems ever developed. This script was made up of phonetic symbols, standing for units of sound, and ideographs, standing for words. According to Dr. Freidel, “Although the stone writings discuss only royalty, evidence indicates a cooperative, sacred relationship between the elite and the commoners'; (Reilly, 329). The Mayas were successful because...