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The Maya Civilization Essay

1312 words - 5 pages

The Maya Civilization
The Maya civilization is a very important culture that has left a great impact on our world today. They are known for their written language, art, mathematical system and astronomical system. The Maya territory includes Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, and southern Mexico. In these areas the Maya thrived in their religious practices, politics, and their use of the territory.
The Maya culture has a long history that started in about 1000 BC. The history of the Maya is divided up into four different time periods: The Middle Preclassic Period, Late Preclassic Period, Classic Period, and Postclassic Period. The Middle Preclassic Period was when the small areas started to become city-like in the way that they started to build larger temples. The Late Preclassic Period was when the cities began to expand with paved roads and massive pyramids. The Classic Period was the time the Maya civilization hit it’s peak. Populations were growing rapidly and the structure of politics was formed. The Postclassic Period was when warfare was on the rise and cities were being abandoned(Coe 2005). This paper will focus on the Classic Period due to the fact that that is the greatest time period in Maya history.
Maya civilization was based mainly on agriculture and religion. Maya every day life revolved around an innumerable number of earth Gods. The most important God was chief, ruler of all Gods. The Mayans prayed to these God’s particularly about their crops. For example, they prayed to the Rain God to nourish their crops. They practiced their religion during ceremonies conducted by priests. They also practiced confession and even fasted before important ceremonies (Gann and Thompson 1931 118-138). The Mayans also believed in human sacrifice to please the Gods. Citizens would even volunteer themselves to be sacrificed. They also had ceremonies to please the God’s in which they would cut a human or an animals tongue or ear off and pour the blood on paper to be burned. Besides being very religious, the Mayas were also very educated and worked hard to create new ideas.
The Mayans are mostly known today for their “Mayan Calendar”. This calendar was created by the Mayas themselves to “show the times when the different tasks connected with the agricultural year were due to be commenced”(Gann and Thompson 1931). It did not only show the agricultural facts, but it also contained a lot of astrology. This evidence shows that the Maya were one of the smartest ethnic groups due to the fact that they did mathematical calculations and studied astrology without any books or calculators.
The Maya focused primarily on agriculture and religion from day to day. They grew up helping their parents with work. The daughters stayed home helping the mother with housework and the sons went to work with their fathers in the crop fields. The children of a wealthy family were educated in small homes by the priests. As the children get older they get married...

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