Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Story of a Mayan Civilazation

From 250 A.D. to 900 A.D. life was all plain sailing without putting out to sea. Mayan culture was amazing and their skills manifold. Especially in the artistic department. They invented a very colourful style of picture-writing with glyphs, and made codex books the size of screens. Their book was fragile it was unspeakable.They didn't have horses so they didn't need carts. Instead they had a river and canal system for shifting heavy goods. Some of their cities have never been bettered, and after so many years of neglect much is still standing in Copan, Chichen-Itza, Kabah, Palenque, Uxmal, Tikal and Mayapan. Maya lived in city states throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, parts of Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, and the El Salvador areas of modern Mesoamerica, but shared worship of the same gods and goddesses and human sacrifice.  The Maya civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 BCE and CE 200 and flourished until about CE 1200. Several major archeological sites—notably Cahal Pech, Caracol, Lamanai, Lubaantun, Altun Ha, and Xunantunich reflect the advanced civilization and much denser population of that period.

At its peak, the total population may have reached 2 million people, the majority of whom lived in modern-day Guatemala. The cities seem to have been mainly ceremonial centers, with the majority of the Maya living a rural, agricultural life around the cities. The Maya are a native Mesoamerican people who developed one of the most sophisticated cultures in the Western Hemisphere before the arrival of the Spanish.The remaining Maya were conquered by the Spanish and converted (at least nominally) to Roman Catholicism. The present-day Mayan peoples are spread mainly across southern Mexico, with small numbers in Guatemala and Belize. They practice a religion that combines Roman Catholicism with Mayan cosmology, deities, and domestic rituals.

Religion- are characterized to worship of nature gods (especially the gods of sun, rain and corn), a priestly class, the importance of astronomy and astrology, rituals of human sacrifice, and the building of elaborate pyramidical temples. Maya maintain a strong link to the past through rituals, folklore and family. Fiestas, dancing and traditional music remain important as several festivals and celebrations occur throughout the year. On these special occasions, masks and elaborate costumes are worn by dancers, singers, and musicians.

Around 300 B.C., the Maya adopted a hierarchical system of government with rule by nobles and kings. This civilization developed into highly structured kingdoms during the Classic period, A.D. 200-900. Rulers were believed to be descendants of the Mayan gods and their blood was the ideal sacrifice, either through personal bloodletting or the sacrifice of captives of royal blood. The Mayan vision of the universe is divided into multiple levels, above and below earth, positioned within the four directions of north, south, east and west. After death, the soul was believed to go to the Underworld, Xibalba (shee bal bah), a place of fright where sinister gods tested and tricked their unfortunate visitors. As with all Myths about Mayan Gods and Goddesses - Mayan Myths discuss connections with being from other realms who came to Earth to seed the planet.

Between 1200 and 600 BC Maya ideology was influenced to some degree by the Olmec people from the Tabasco-Veracruz area. During this time the Belize Maya Incorporated many Olmec-like symbols on their ceramics and artifacts. In the classic contacts with other regions were maintained for the acquisition of exotic materials that served both utilitarian and decorative purposes and for social political reasons. The Maya of Belize have never lived in isolation. For those who follow the ancient Maya traditions, the belief in the influence of the cosmos on human lives and the necessity of paying homage to the gods through rituals continues to find expression in a modern hybrid Christian-Maya faith.
The Maya calendar is a system of calendars used in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, and in many modern communities in highland Guatemala and in Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico. The Maya calendar consists of several cycles or counts of different lengths. The 260-day count is known to scholars as the Tzolkin, or Tzolk'in. The Tzolkin was combined with a 365-day vague solar year known as the Haab' to form a synchronized cycle lasting for 52 Haab', called the Calendar Round. Smaller cycles of 13 days, the trecena, and 20 days, the veintena, were important components of both cycles. Many Maya Long Count inscriptions contain a supplementary series, which provides information on the lunar phase, number of the current lunation in a series of six and which of the nine Lords of the Night rules. Which on this Calendar was used for to track longer periods of time, and for the inscription of calendar dates. A Calendar Round date is a date that gives both the Tzolk'in and Haab'. This date will repeat after 52 Haab' years or 18,980 days, a Calendar Round. For example, the current creation started on 4 Ahau 8 Kumk'u. When this date recurs it is known as a Calendar Round completion.

Arithmetically, the duration of the Calendar Round can be explained in various ways. One way is to consider that the least common multiple of 260 and 365 is 18980 (73 X 260 Tzolk’in days equalling 52 X 365 Haab’ days) Not every possible combination of Tzolk'in and Haab' can occur.