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MAYA CIVILIZATION

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Title: MAYA CIVILIZATION


1
MAYA CIVILIZATION
2
MAYA TIMELINE
  • First Evidence of Mayan 2600BCE
  • Olmec 1200-1000 BCE
  • Early Preclassic Maya 1800-900 BCE
  • Middle Preclassic Maya 900-300 BCE
  • Late Preclassic Maya 300 BCE - CE 250
  • Early Classic Maya 250-600 CE
  • Late Classic Maya 600-900 CE
  • Post Classic Maya 900-1500 CE
  • Colonial period 1500-1800 CE
  • Independent Mexico 1821 to the present

3
MAYA GEOGRAPHY
  • Lowlands
  • West borders Pacific Ocean, fertile plain
  • Yucatan Peninsula
  • Cenotes (excavated caverns) for water in east
  • Highlands
  • granite and volcanic area of Sierra Madre
    (Mexican Chiapas, Guatemala, Honduras)
  • Rich land, abundant water
  • Concentrated settlement

4
MAYA HISTORY
  • Did not record history or daily lives, so much of
    what we know comes from archaeology and European
    (colonial) records
  • Many holes in our knowledge, and educated guesses

5
Bishop Diego de Landa
  • best known for two reasons
  • 1st He thought the Maya books were inspired by
    the devil, so he had them all destroyed
  • 2nd Recognizing his mistake, several years
    later returned to Yucatan and wrote Relacion de
    las Cosas de Yucatan.
  • This book based on the three Mayan books that
    survived

6
MAYA HISTORY
  • Never recognized themselves as one people
  • Related dialects similar language
  • City-states (Palenque, Copan, Chichen Itza)
  • No king or emperor but nobility/preisthood
  • City-states tried to dominate each other (Well
    see similar trend with Ancient Greeks)

7
MAYA HISTORY
  • Olmec lived in tropical lowlands of south-central
    Mexico
  • Provided basis for Mesoamerican civilizations
  • Bloodletting, glyphs similar to Maya
  • Distinctive art (colossal heads)

8
MAYA ART
  • Stelae carved stone monuments
  • Rulers in elaborate costumes
  • Often with texts that described lineage and
    accomplishments
  • Headdress, ceremonial bar

9
MAYA ART
  • Pacal death mask
  • Love of jade
  • Pottery popular

10
MAYA ARCHITECTURE
  • Houses of poles and thatch (cool)
  • Tikal (left) and Palenque (right)

11
MAYA SOCIETY
  • class society
  • Caste (membership hereditary and movement rare)
  • Little known about women, but evidence of
    city-state queens

12
MAYA CULTURE
  • Corn (maize), beans, squash, chilies for flavour,
    domesticated turkey
  • Loved dance, music
  • pok-a-tuk (pok-a-tok) Maya ball game
  • Losers (including coach) sacrificed
  • http//www.ballgame.org/main.asp

13
MAYA CULTURE
  • Pierced ears, tattoos, body painting, straight
    black hair,
  • Large headdress for importance (Pacal, leader of
    Palenque, to right)

14
MAYA TRADE AND ECONOMY
  • Salt valued from Yucatan coast (preserve food,
    medicine, religious ceremonies) from north
  • granite from low mountains of Belize
  • Jade, volcanic glass, and obsidian from Chiapas
    highlands of western Guatemala
  • Tikal and Copan middlemen cities in trade

15
Cacao heart blood
  • Cacao raw bitter form of chocolate
  • Used in trade prized commodity

16
MAYA ECONOMY/TRADE
  • Quetzal feathers for nobility headdress
  • Extensive trade over 1000 miles
  • Porters carry goods (no beasts of burden)

17
Commonly Bartered Items
18
Believed that Gods controlled everything
Priests had great influence because Mayans
thought priests could talk to the Gods
Polytheism Belief in many Gods
Mayan Religious Beliefs
Gods symbolized as animals Rain God snake, Sun
God Jaguar, Death God bat
Food and animal sacrifices common humans (such
as defeated tribes) sometimes
19
Mayan Numbers
The Mayans had a number system consisting of
shells, dots, and lines.  You could write up to
nineteen with just these symbols. The Maya were
one of the only ancient civilizations that
understood the concept of zero. This allowed them
to write very large numbers
20
MAYA TEHNOLOGY/INNOVATION
  • Masters of the Night Sky- known for their
    observatories
  • Accurately charted the planets by using a forked
    stick like implement
  • Created an accurate yearly calendar tracked
    solar 365 calendar
  • Predicted eclipses of the sun

21
MAYA WRITING
  • Writing 800 glyphs (picture/symbol represents an
    object, idea, or sound
  • Read left to right and top to bottom
  • Only elite could read as writing considered to be
    gift from the gods
  • Wrote many books (destroyed by Spanish)

22
Religion and Education
Human Sacrifice and Bloodletting Ritual
23
Religion Importance of Agriculture
  • Mayan religion reflected the fundamental role of
    agriculture in their society
  • Popol Vuh, was the Mayan creation myth that
    taught that the gods had created human beings out
    of maize and water
  • Gods kept the world in order and maintained the
    agricultural cycle in exchange for honors and
    sacrifices

24
Religion Bloodletting Rituals
  • Mayans believed the shedding of human blood would
    prompt the gods to send rain to water the maize
  • Bloodletting involved both war captives and Mayan
    royals

Mayan queen holds a bowl filled with strips of
paper used to collect blood.
25
Religion Bloodletting
  • A popular bloodletting ritual was for a Mayan to
    pierce his own tongue and thread a thin rope
    through the hole, thus letting the blood run down
    the rope
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