The Mayas And Their Calendar: The Two Theories

1148 words - 5 pages

There are a variety of cultures that have contributed to make our societies what they are today. A culture that influenced a lot the way we're living now despite its late discovery is the Mayas. They are one of the best known ancient civilizations thanks to their remarkable constructions and talent in art but principally for their calendar. The Mayas had the most accurate calendar made at that time. They actually had two calendars which they used together, the "Haab Calendar," which has 365 days and the "Tzolkin Calendar," which had only 260 days. Both calendar cycles end after 52 years and after reaching this point a new calendar round began. A third cycle, called also the "long count," marks the beginning of the Mayas civilization. If we convert this starting point in our calendar, it would be on August 13, 3114 BC. Considering that the Mayas civilization started in 2600 B.C they did not exist at the starting point of their calendar. What is the meaning of this date? What event happened for the Mayas to take it as a starting point?In this project we are going to focus on two main theories and try to find enough proof to be able to verify the theory that will reveal the mystery of the Mayas' calendar.The first theory is based on a brilliant story; this anecdote was brought to us during the trip to the Mystery Park.The Gods, seeing some potential in the Mayas, visited them on hearth, taking back with them fifty 13 years' old boys. When the Gods return them, 60 years after, they had acquired important knowledge in mathematic, astronomic and architecture. The boys, who had become 73 years' old men, shared they knowledge with the rest of the population and together elaborate the calendar system. The starting point of the calendar is the representation of the creation of the Gods, before that date no Gods existed and earth was only Chaos. The Mayas choose this starting point as a thank you for the Gods to be present.Many scientists did studies on the Mayas' calendar; they all came down to nearly the same hypothesis, the second theory we want to verify.P. Conde establishes in "The Milpa and the Origin of the Maya Calendar", that the beginning of the Mayas' calendar of being the Tzolkin. He also shows that the calendar is linked to the Milpa, a system used by the Mayas to cultivate corn. The most important reason for this is the value of corn for the Mayas; Corn is the only cereal they managed to cultivate.The Mayas analyzed the movements of the Moon, Venus, and other planets and realized that there were cycles in the universe. Their calculations were so complicated that we today need the combined work of an astronomer and a mathematician to solve the equations.The civilization was so well educated that it was feasible for them to discover and solve those equations. In this case there is no influence from the Gods but only the human mind and the intelligence of some people to elaborate the calendar and the starting point of the calendar was just chosen...

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