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Transcript of The Maya
Noteworthy Achievements of the Maya
Maya Social and Political Organization
The Way out
Building a Civilization in the Rain Forest
Challenges of the Rain Forest
Challenges of the Rainforest
Classic Maya settled in a northern region of Guatemala
Dense rain forest - farming difficult
Hot and humid climate
Dependent of seasonal rain fall
Rain soaked through limestone bedrock, leaving little surface water
Classic Maya Adaptations
Merchants / Artisans
Built immense ceremonial centers /city states at different sites
At Tikal, built Temple I, 130 foot high step pyramid
Classic Maya Adaptation
Successfully farmed in rain forest by using slash and burn techniques and a system of raised fields and irrigated gardens
Created irrigation networks to support concentrated urban center, like Tikal
Planted and harvested corn, squash, beans, and other crops
Considered a god-king
Responsible for political leadership
Lords were mostly men, but women had great influence on political decisions
Lived near ceremonial centers and helped lords run cities
Gathered taxes, supplies and labor for construction
Served as war captains who led peasant armies during war.
Were powerful because they maintained favor with the gods
Led religious rituals, calculated position of the stars, and treated the sick
Practiced human sacrifice on a limited scale
Merchants traded salt, cotton, fish, and animal skins for obsidian, jade, quetzal feathers, copal and cocoa beans over long distances
Artisans produced sculptures, codices, and murals to pay tribute to the gods
Men worked in fields; women managed household
Rewarded for their loyalty by being allowed to attend royal marriages and important religious ceremonies
Recruited from surplus children, war prisoners, and criminals
Required to do difficult or undesirable tasks like grinding maize
Not badly treated, but sometimes were killed and buried with masters.
Legends were recorded on stelae, urns, murals and codices
No Classic Maya literature survives, but legends of Popol Vuh.
Structures not as massive as in other cultures
Noted for its decorative stonework, graceful statues, intricate facades, and ornamental roofs
Distinctive feature was the corbeled arch
Only Native American people to develop a complete writing system
Represented ideas and objects with block-like symbols, or glyphs
Splendid courts still stand at many Maya sites (i.e. Tikal)
Game played both for recreation and religious purposes
Religious obsession with time led to development of calendars
Calendars were complex systems using several interlocking cycles of time
Had exact knowledge of moon phases
Able to predict eclipses of the sun and moon
Sophisticated number system based on units of twenty, written with bars for 5s, dots of 1s, and sign for 0