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Transcript of Zapotec
and were claimed to be the tombs of their grandmothers and grandfathers.They built large stone temples and ball courts. People lived in stone houses held together with mortar. They often fought wars wearing padded cotton armor and used very small round shields, the atlatl (dart-thrower), slings, stone or copper headed axes and clubs fitted with obsidian teeth. A man could throw a dart with 60 per cent more power and accuracy using an atlatl than without. The Zapotec lived in an environment well suited for agriculture, especially for the cultivation of maize due to climate, soil quality, oak-pine forests preventing soil erosion, and access to water. The Zapotecs used canal irrigation to bring water from the Atoyac River, to Monte Alban (400 meters above the valley floor.) With these factors making the land very fertile, they could grow maize that can be harvested many times a year. Humans in Mesoamerica only began shifting from hunting/gathering to agriculture around 7000 to 1500 B.C. In Zapotec's Oaxaca, corn and wild grasses were domesticated, and Oaxaca began to be known as the center origin of corn, where their native varieties are still grown today (left). Besides corn, they also cultivated many species of beans, chile, cocoa and squashes. In order to have good harvests, the Zapotec people would worship the sun, rain, earth and corn. Their corn/maize god was called, Pitao Cozobi. To ensure their crops would flourish, they would sacrifice quail (being a "pure" being), turkey, deer, and dogs or sometimes use a technique called “bloodletting” to offer human blood. The Zapotec religion was polytheistic. Two principal deities include Cocijo, the rain god, and Coquihani, the god of light. It is believed that the Zapotec sometimes used human sacrifice in their rituals. The Zapotecs had a predominance of deities associated with fertility and agriculture. There are both male and female representation told apart from each other by costumes. Males normally wear breechclouts and sometimes capes, while females are represented by wearing skirts. Prominent gods are Cocijo – god of lightning and rain. Another one is the god of maize Pitao Cozobi. COCIJO PITAO COZOBI There are several of Zapotec origin legends; one of them states that the Zapotecs were the original people of the valley of Oaxaca and were born from rocks, or descended from animals such as pumas and ocelots. There is also another origin legend which states that they only settled in the Oaxaca valley after founding the Toltic empire, and that they decent from Chicomostoc. Though it is very important to mention that these legends were not transcribed until after the Spanish arrival. The Zapotecs tell that their ancestors emerged from the earth, from caves, or that they turned from trees or jaguars into people, while the elite that governed them believed that they descended from supernatural beings that lived among the clouds, and that upon death they would return to such status. JAGUAR/"BAT" GOD (LEFT/RIGHT) WRITING SYSTEM MONTE ALBAN - BIGGEST ZAPOTEC ARCHEOLOGY SITE MIXTEC JEWELRY STYLE DETAILED CLOSE UP ANCIENT "GREEN CORN" SPECIES The Zapotec social structure included kings, nobles and priests with the lower casts paying tribute to them. The priests, besides having their priestly duties, had total power in all domestic affairs because their government was essentially a theocracy. This was similar to the Mixtec culture. After the Spaniards arrived however, Spanish conquest ended religious and political traditions leaving the Zapotecs (along with Mixtecs) in rural poverty. Zapotec The Zapotec's government was based upon politics, economics, religion and social. They were ruled by power, prestige and wealth. They had a King that ruled and would recieve the throne regardless of birth right but presented themselves as an acceptable prince. KING COSIJOEZA Their capital was Monte Alban. Monte Alban was a politically neutral and centrally located city. Statehood was important to unification of the Zapotec government. Politics took a rapid change when the Teotihuacan came in around 600-900 A.D.