The Maya Empire

Blake Robbins 6th period WHAP

An overview of the Maya Empire

The Maya Empire existed in what is now the tropical lowlands of Guatemala. The civilization reached its peak around the sixth century A.D. The Maya people were skilled craftsmen, very adept at hieroglyph writing, mathematics, and had many architectural achievements.

Maya Architecture

Writing System

The Maya had a very similar writing system to the Egyptians, writing in hieroglyphs. They wrote in a logo-graphic system, where syllables were stressed instead of individual sounds i.e. Latin alphabet.


The Maya used a "base 20" mathematical system and were very advanced for their times. Inscriptions show them on occasion working with sums up to the hundreds of millions and dates so large it would take several lines just to represent it.
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The Maya were fascinated with astronomical events, and made extremely accurate predictions pertaining to comets, planetary movement, and solstices. What makes this more impressive is that they did not yet have the telescope. Venus was considered the most important astronomical object to the Maya. Pictured below is a Maya temple for astronomy.
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Calender Obsession

The Maya were infatuated with calenders, and are considered by the majority of historians to have the most accurate of the ancient world. The Maya were so accurate, that they used a 365 day calender, and it's only fault was not including an extra day every 4 years (leap year).

Maya Religion

The Mayans believed in a cycle of time, and performed many rituals and ceremonies that coincided with many celestial events. They also had to determine if the heavens were propitious for performing certain religious ceremonies. Much of the Maya religious tradition is still not understood by scholars, but it is known that the Maya believed that the cosmos had three major planes, the Earth, the underworld beneath and the heavens above. The Maya religious leaders would also occasionally perform human sacrifice, either to appease the gods or nature.

The End!