Maya: Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico: 300 - 1100 ce

chichenitza.jpg
Chichen Itza
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Our Empire

Friends

Teotihuacans
Spanish
Olmecs



Technology

  • terraces for agriculture
  • pyramids
  • calendar
  • pottery
  • tools
  • writing

Culture

  • cacao
  • ceremonial centers
  • pyramids, palaces, temples
  • calendar
  • kings, priests, nobility, merchants
  • writing, astronomy, mathematics
  • art
  • architechts, sculptors
  • monuments
  • pottery, tools, cotton textiles
  • peasants, slaves
  • ball game
  • mayaart.jpgThis is an example of our art

Religion

We have many temples devoted to the gods. We make many sacrifices to the gods. We usually sacrifice prisoners. We have a large class of priests who maintain our calendar can communicate to the gods. We have many religious rituals. The Popol Vuh is our creation myth. The gods created us out of maize and water, which became human flesh and blood.
mayagod.jpg
Chaac, the god of rain and thunder

Blog

blog 1, 500 ce
We love cacao. Cacao is the bean from which we make chocolate. Cacao is very precious. Cacao is a luxury enjoyed mainly by the nobles. We make many delicious foods using the cacao bean. We often use it for drinks by whisking powdered cacao into water. We have cacao beans themselves as snacks. Cacao is very valuable. We use cacao beans as money.
blog 2, 500 ce
We are divided into many kingdoms. Our kingdoms often fight and war with one another. In battle, we try to capture our enemies, usually in hand-to-hand combat. Warriors win prestige when they capture important people from neighboring kingdoms. Captives are stripped of their fine clothing and symbols of rank. High-ranking captives may be kept alive for years as trophies. Captives usually become slaves or sacrificial victims to the gods. We like to use high-ranking captives for ritual torture and sacrifice in public ceremonies on important occasions.
blog 3, 500 ce
We have an elaborate calendar made and maintained by priests. We have two types of years. We have a solar year of 365 days which governs the agricultural cycle, and we have a ritual year of 260 days which governs daily affairs by organizing time into twenty months of thirteen days. Each day derives certain characteristics from its position in both calendars. The combined attributes of each day determines the fortune of activities undertaken on that day. It takes fifty-two years for the two calendars to work through every possible combination of days. 18,980 different combinations of characteristics can influence the prospects of one day.Priests study the calendars and their characteristics each day to determine what activities are safe to conduct that day.

The Wall

Hi, Maya, that trade sounds good, as long as it's just the pottery and not the obsidian (we wouldn't want you making weapons with them - you guys are a little too bellicose for us). And thanks for the offer, but we'll have to decline the game - you guys get waaaaaaaaay more into than we do! It's weird, we both inherited a lot from the Olmecs, but you turned out so...violent! We, on the other hand, aren't really a military people. That said, let's stick to trading. :D Meet us in what will one day be central Mexico? Hope to see you soon, Teotihuacans
HELLO!!! We are quite happy that you were able to adapt our concepts of life to succeed your nation. We are thankful that you guys were able to continue our existence through your own nation. We are shocked to see that you were able to create two calendars from our incomplete theory we had. The ball game was just a game,b ut you guys made it into an occasional game. Not only was it a game, but the reasons and meaning behind it. Well, props for such a successful society! -Olmecs
So I hear we share some common ancestors, what’s up cousins ten times removed? The Spanish conquered us too, that sucked. In fact the first Spanish city in the western hemisphere was in Panama, so you could say our natives were the first to go. We should get together some time and rant about those crazy metal-wielding Spanish. You know where to find us, just a few hundred miles south. - Panama

You guys were really a backwards society, why did you use tasty cacao beans for money instead of metals that were useless for anything but decoration? And all those crazy blood-letting ceremonies, we showed you how to really deal with prisoners, work them to death. And your religion is all wrong you are supposed to use bread and wine not maize and water. You sure were lucky we came along to teach you the religion of a carpenter from Nazareth. -Conquistadors
Source:
Bentley, Jerry H., and Herbert F. Ziegler. Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006.