The Mayan civilization made major accomplishments in astronomy, agriculture, engineering and communications including building elaborate cities without modern machinery and developing one of the world's first written languages. They also discovered how to grow beans, corn, squash and cassava in places that were not conducive to plant growth.Continue Reading
The Mayan civilization survived for more than 2,000 years from 300 A.D. to 900 A.D. in the time period known as the Classic Period. The Mayan people were made up of people who lived in the present-day areas of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador.
The Mayan written language was made up of 800 glyphs or symbols. Each of the glyphs represented a syllable or a word and could be combined with other glyphs in countless ways. The Mayan believed that the universe was present in everyday life and the Mayans had a strong knowledge of the different celestial bodies. They knew how to predict solar eclipses, develop complex calendars and even used the astrological cycles to help plan both planting and harvesting of crops. The Mayan measured time with two different complex calendar systems as well.
The Mayan's ability to build tools and make innovations without modern machinery continues to amaze scholars. They built elaborate temples and great cities with decorative details using a rainbow of glittery paints made from mica, and beautiful weaved cloth made from looms.Learn more about Ancient America
Religion played a significant role in Mayan life, because their social system, agriculture, calendar, recreational activities and ceremonial rituals were all linked to their religion. The Mayans worshipped a pantheon of gods, and their rulers were supposedly related to them and acted as intermediaries between the gods and humans.Full Answer >
The ancient Mayan civilization built many structures including magnificent temples that were usually structurally plannedby architects and built by workers or slaves; however, fictional accounts might list that aliens built the temples. Fictionalized accounts might name other civilizations as building the Mayan temples, such as the Spanish who conquered the Mayans; however, these accounts are not well known.Full Answer >
Pottery and stone carving are two of the most notable Mayan arts and crafts. Without the use of a pottery wheel, the Mayans created intricately designed vases, plates and pots by coiling consecutive rings of clay on top of each other and smoothing the surface by hand. Other pottery artifacts were made with complex molds, and most types of pottery were brightly painted to depict events in everyday Mayan life.Full Answer >
The Mayan government featured control of government operations and political affairs primarily at the state level; individual city-states derived leadership from military leaders called nacoms and high priests or kings, who ruled as individuals or in groups. Typically, each city-state under Mayan control combined military rule with religious law. Although some Mayan states enjoyed autonomy, others fell under control by larger units called capital cities.Full Answer >