Maya Civilization: A Captivating Guide to Maya History and Maya Mythology by Captivating HistoryIt is a gate to enter this world. try it
A simple book that clears a few mysteries but not all of them about the Mayas. To start the Maya people around 7,000 BCE is better than most approaches but it is not exactly enough. It corresponds to the development of agriculture in Mesoamerica, but it does not take into account a very important fact concerning both maize and their writing system.
The point is that it must have started long before for the maize we know that cannot sow itself to be able to evolve from the various wild varieties that still exist in Mesoamerica. And that could only happen with the help of human hands. I would personally evaluate the beginning of agriculture in Mesoamerica and southern America as starting right after the Ice Age and even before the rising of waters, just with the climate change that brought more warmth and more water; hence at least 12,000 BCE. When you add the writing system to this agriculture you need quite a few thousand years to invent and develop this writing system from absolutely nothing at all. At least nothing at all we know about. It took some five or six thousand years for the Sumerian to develop their writing system, cuneiform writing, which is so simple when compared to Maya writing. We under-evaluate the length of time needed for these two developments. And we could add the calendar, cosmology, and mathematics the Mayas controlled so well.
But agriculture also required a new division of labor with a ruling elite and a religious organization that justified that ruling elite. That too required a few millennia if not many to develop little by little. This new elite is definitely male, but males are dominant through and through: the warriors are all men. The prisoners are all men. The sacrificed individuals, be they war-prisoners or plain volunteers, are all men.
That leads me to the most intriguing part of this civilization, the blood culture with two dimensions. Human sacrifice with beheading, dismembering and other slow progressive death rituals with war prisoners. But also the human sacrifice of volunteers, true volunteers or appointed volunteers, to get their heart ripped out of their chest, still beating in the living sacrificial individual. Another form is also known, with a young man attached to some sacrificial post and being slowly put to death with bows and arrows. The honor for the young man and his family depends on how he submits to the sacrifice and how long he lasts, which implies how skilled the bowmen are at hitting the young man in non-deadly places causing distress and suffering and thus measuring how the young man takes it.
Another form of blood sacrifice is alluded to but not explained. Men very often, within some ritual event, scarify themselves, particularly on their genitalia, to pour blood, the more the better. This is performed by the subject himself with no outside help. At this point, we can wonder why blood is so important in that culture. The explanation given in this book is that the Gods like blood. I think there is something else: to go through such rites, be they lethal or just scarifying, is not only satisfying the Gods (like Abraham nearly did with his two sons) but it also brings honor and social respect, maybe even social prominence, to the individual and his family. We could even wonder if the practice of men scarifying their genitals to pour blood is not a way to provide these men with the menstrual blood lettign they do not have naturally like women, a mesntruazl flow that is a sign of fertility.
A last a most recent discovery has to be put on the table here. Satellite pictures have shown that structures of the same type as the Maya pyramids and other buildings exist under the Amazonian rainforest. Either we have to state the Mayas moved that far south or we have to state that when the Ice Age arrived the Incas who were in Peru in the Andes were forced to come down, which they might have done even before the Ice Age and had settled in the Amazonian forest before even moving to Yucatan and Mesoamerica. This requires another approach to the migration of Homo Sapiens to America and states two migrations, one to South America after Easter Island of a stone culture. They would have arrived at the southern tip of Chile where an archaeological site is now reaching its second level dated around 25,000 BCE with a third level even lower and hence older. It is these people who would have moved north up to Mesoamerica over probably something like 10,000 years.
The second migration is from Siberia, over the Bering Straits before the peak of the Ice Age since they have been archaeologically proved as settled in Alaska and in Canada around 25,000 BCE (six thousand years before the peak of the Ice Age. Yet these do not seem to be directly connected to northern American Indians who probably arrived in a later migration probably just after the peak of this Ice Age. But now the Clovis Theory has been clearly proved false we can envisage new approaches, as I have just outlined above.
If you like cultural mysteries and rich cultures and civilizations this small book will be an excellent introduction.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
The downfall of a civilization that existed in Mesoamerica for 500 years
The History of the Native Peoples of the Americas/Mesoamerican Cultures/Zapotecs
The Zapotecs, known as the 'Cloud People', dwelt in the southern highlands of central Mesoamerica, specifically, in the Valley of Oaxaca, which they inhabited from the late Preclassic period to the end of the Classic period BCE - CE. The Zapotecs grew from the agricultural communities which grew up in the valleys in and around Oaxaca. The city , strategically placed overlooking the three main valleys, evolved over centuries, beginning around BCE and remaining the cultural centre until the demise of the civilization around CE. The Zapotec had other significant settlements besides the capital and over 15 elite palaces have been identified in the surrounding valleys. Indeed, the Zapotec may be divided into three distinct groups: the Valley Zapotec based in the Valley of Oaxaca , the Sierra Zapotec in the north , and the Southern Zapotec in the south and east, nearer the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The latter would become the most important Zapotec city from c.
It is known for its advanced and beautiful writing system, culture , arts, math, calendar, and astronomical system. Mayan symbols are a rich source of material culture for the Central American civilization and are among the most important archeological finds that have helped piece together their economics, farming methods , politics, and social practices. Symbols can be anything, a gesture, a song, a phrase or an image. They often carry many layers of meaning that everyone in the culture understands intuitively. Hundreds of Mayan symbols can be found carved on stone, which allow archeologists and other researchers to gain an understanding of their culture.
By Alastair Smart. From the Olmecs and Huastecs to the Toltecs, Mixtecs and Zapotecs, it can be hard, at times, telling one culture from the next. That said, two stand out above the rest, the Aztecs and the Maya — and there was always an easy rule of thumb for distinguishing them. The former were fighters, the latter thinkers. This line of thinking held sway for much of the 19th — and 20th — centuries, ever since US explorer John Lloyd Stephens and British illustrator Frederick Catherwood discovered a host of ancient cities, lost to the jungle and overgrown with tropical vegetation, during an expedition to Mexico and Central America in The archaeologist J Eric Thompson followed in their wake, spreading his belief that the Maya had been a peaceful, rural people, whose grand urban plazas were visited only for the performance of priest-led rites on special dates. These were sites of religious devotion — hence their demise after the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 16th century and clamped down on indigenous faith.
The Olmec were the first major civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the present-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco, and had their center in the city of La Venta. - Archaeological evidence shows that their culture goes back at least 2, years.
The Zapotec civilization was an indigenous pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca of southern Mesoamerica. Archaeological evidence shows their culture goes back at least years. The Zapotec referred to themselves by some variant of the term Be'ena'a , which means "The People. Archaeological evidence from the period, such as burned temples and sacrificed captives, suggest that the 3 societies were in some sort of competition. Some archaeologists propose that this event is similar to the process of synoikism of ancient Greece. Synoikism is a centralization of smaller dispersed populations in one central city, often in order to meet an external threat. Zapotec rulers began to seize control over the provinces outside the valley of Oaxaca.
Both civilizations declined under circumstances that are still not entirely clear to historians. The Mayan civilization. The Mayan Civilization was located in Mexico. The Mayan civilization left a lot of clues to future generations about the past. This included Mayan paintings, and the Mayan calendar. Name four achievements of Mayan civilization. The Mayan civilization begin A.