The Mayans: An Ancient Civilization Essay

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The Mayans were an influential ancient civilization who created many things that are still used un modern society such as mathematics, the calendar, and pottery techniques.

The Maya had many things that made created a unique history for their civilization. The traditions of the Maya were what connected the different cities because they did not have on single city ruling their civilization. First of all, the Mayans did not believe in natural beauty. Instead they shaped their beauty by crossing their babies eyes, adding clay to enlarge their noses, and flattening their foreheads as a small child with a board. Another tradition that the Maya had was that they buried the dead under their house so as to keep them close. If the deceased were not buried under the house of the family they would most likely be buried in caves because the Maya believed that the spirit took a journey through caves to get to the underworld. Therefore, if the dead were buried in caves they would have a shorter journey to the underworld. In order to keep track of time the Maya used two different calendars. Their religious calendar consisted of 260 days meanwhile their farming calendar consisted of 365 days. To entertain themselves the Maya created a sport where they used body parts other than their hands and feet to get a ball through a hoop. The losing team was believed to sometimes be killed as an offering. In order to try to maintain their society the Mayans built reservoirs to maintain a water source and discovered a way to farm using swamps. After 800 C.E, when many cities had been destroyed, the Maya lived in the Northern part of the Yucatán Peninsula. However, the cities were not as large or great in art and buildings. Over a time period of 150 years the Mayan people were believed to have slowly abandon their cities because of failure. There are two main beliefs on why the Mayans left their cities. The first reason is because the farmers couldn't grow enough because there was not enough space. The second reason is because of the drought that occurred from 800 to 1000 C.E. These historical traditions created unity among the many cities of the Maya.

The Mayans had a very ruled out and strict religion. The base of the Mayan worship was ancestral worship. They believed that their ancestors could help them communicate with the gods. The Maya strongly believe in K'uh, a life force, they believed ran through everything in the universe and was sacred. They believed K'uh was in blood therefore blood was sacred. In addition to K'uh they believed in many gods. These gods were believed to not only have one form but many forms including a human and animal form. There were 3 things a deity could be associated with. These 3 choices were either gender, one of the four directions or a color of a natural force. The Mayans had two types of religious rulers. One kind of religious ruler was a Shaman who were commoners that provided medicines and performed rituals to determine...

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