Civilization

Ancient Mayan Style

what makes a civilization?

The five criteria for a civilization:


  • Advanced Cities
  • Advanced Technology
  • Complex Institutions
  • Record Keeping
  • Specialized Workers

Who were the Maya people?

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The empire was centered around current day Guatemala but spread all along the area. Different areas constituted completely different cultures. Earliest known settlements 1800 BCE. The empire lasted till about 900 CE. The reason for the fall of the Mayan Empire isn't really known.

Their Civilization

Advanced Cities

Cities were spread out and not very connected. The cities would wage war against other cities. When one of the cities won, they tortured and killed other city's ruler.

Technolgy

During the formative period, the mayan people spent a lot of time and effort on farming. They started off growing crops such as corn (maize), beans, squash and cassava (manioc). They used highlands and lowlands to their advantage. The mayans were pretty good at farming. They used irrigation and terracing to manipulate water.

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They also spent time building pyramids and other monuments to their gods. Excavations of Maya sites have unearthed plazas, palaces, temples and pyramids, as well as courts for playing the ball games. The Maya were good at making pottery. They were artistic.

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specialized workers

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Record Keeping

Mayans wrote using hieroglyphs. A lovely example of Mayan record keeping is a Mayan Calendar. Three types of calendars existed: long count, The Haab, and The Tzolkin.
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Complex institutions

There was no real difference between science and religion then. They were super good at math and astronomy.

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Blood was a big deal. Not only captives were sacrificed, the higher level of power you held, the more blood you had to let.

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Much of their civilization was based on their religion. They worshipped nature. They were polytheistic and theocratic. They had many Gods that were helpful and also many who were not so nice.

  • Itzamná
  • Kukulcán
  • Chac