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Bell Ringer #1: (B) 4/18/11 When the Mayans suddenly disappeared, they left behind an unknown writing system, monuments, artifacts, etc. leaving archeologists.

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Presentation on theme: "Bell Ringer #1: (B) 4/18/11 When the Mayans suddenly disappeared, they left behind an unknown writing system, monuments, artifacts, etc. leaving archeologists."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bell Ringer #1: (B) 4/18/11 When the Mayans suddenly disappeared, they left behind an unknown writing system, monuments, artifacts, etc. leaving archeologists with several questions about their cultures, beliefs, and intelligence. Why do you think an entire civilization of people disappear into the jungle? What type of people do you think the Mayans were? How do you imagine they lived their daily lives? Explain your answer!

2 The Popul Vuh

3 The Popul Vuh The greatest surviving Mayan document.
It was written anonymously in the Mayan language using the Latin alphabet between 1554 and 1558. Scholars believe this document is either a translation of a manuscript in the ancient Mayan hieroglyphic language or a collection of stories and songs recorded directly from the Mayan oral tradition.

4 The Popol Vuh In about 1700, a Catholic missionary translated The Popol Vuh into Spanish He spoke the Mayan language fluently, and he persuaded the Maya to show him this manuscript of their ancient history. There is no record that any other Spaniard ever saw the Mayan document. The Spanish manuscript disappeared for 150 years. In the 1850s, it was discovered in the library of the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City and was first published in Vienna in 1857.

5 The Popol Vuh It reveals more than the talent of the anonymous recorder. It reflects the thoughts and values of this ancient people and the ability of their language to express them. The language and some of the ideas are similar to the opening chapters of the Old Testament. This is not surprising, given the fact that Spanish missionaries were already teaching the Maya about Christianty when The Popul Vuh was being recorded.

6 Things to consider: Compare the type of human beings the Maya gods wished to create and the relationship between these gods and their people with those of other creation myths.

7 Writing Assignment: You can only imagine the excitement when the “lost” translation of The Popul Vuh was discovered in the 1850s. Your job today is create an archeologist’s profile of the Mayan people based on their creation myth. What do you infer about the Mayan people? What did they worship? What were the goals of their society? What were the like?




11 Mayan World View Creation Myth Religion Gods and Goddesses
The Mayans Mayan World View Creation Myth Religion Gods and Goddesses

12 Mayan World View Maya conceived of the earth as flat and four-cornered. Each corner had a color value East-Red White-North Black-West Yellow-South Center-Blue-Green

13 World Supports Each corner was held up by four Powahtuns (old deities)
The sky was held up by four Bakabs (Human/Atlantean figures) of the correct color for each direction. Although sometimes these are represented as trees.

14 Mayan religion

15 Mayan Religion Religion was important to every part of Mayan life.
The Mayas worshipped many different gods.  Each day, month, city, and occupation had its own special god or goddess.   The Mayas had a variety of religious festivals and celebrations.  Most of these celebrations included human sacrifice.

16 Each Mayan city -state had a ruler called the halach uinic
Each Mayan city -state had a ruler called the halach uinic.  He may have also served as the high priest during religious ceremonies. The Mayans believed halach uinic was a living god.  He ruled until his death.  At his death, his oldest son became the next halach uinic.   If the halach uinic did not have a son, his brother would rule.  If  he did not have a brother, the ruler's council elected a member of his family to serve.    The halach uinic dressed in elaborate and colorful clothes.  He also wore a very large head-dress.  Temple wall paintings show him with large ear decorations, crossed eyes, and many tattoos.

17 Priests Many other priests served with the halach uinic.
These priests, named ahkin performed many duties.   They had the knowledge of mathematics and astronomy.  Some of the ahkin performed medical rituals.   The Mayans believed that only the priests could explain the mysteries of life and death.   They thought earth was on the back of a crocodile that floated in a large pond.  At another time they believed the earth was the floor of a lizard house.  

18 Mayan Worlds The Mayas' religion taught that there were 13 layers of heavens above the earth.   They also believed nine underworlds were below.  They thought that they lived in the fifth creation of the world.   The previous four worlds had been destroyed by a great flood.   At the beginning of the fifth world, the gods created humans from corn.

19 Sacrifices and Blood Offerings
Many of the Mayas religious ceremonies included gifts and sacrifices to the various gods and goddesses.  The Mayans believed the gods would give factors to them in return for prayers, offerings, and sacrifices. In many ceremonies, the priests cut themselves to get blood to present to the gods.   Other people like the king and high-ranking elite would pierce their tongues, or in the case of men, pierce their foreskin with a stingray spine.

20 Rituals The Mayan ritual acts were generally dictated by the sacred almanac. The numbers 4, 9, 13 and the color directions are prominent. Before the rituals there are usually periods of sexual abstinence and food taboos.

21 Two women drawing thorn-ropes through their tongues.

22 Sacrifices The Mayas had several methods of giving the human sacrifices.   Often, the priests took the victim to the altar at the temple.  Then the priests cut the heart out of the living victim and presented it to the god. In another method, the priests tied the victim to a wooden pole.  Then they threw spears and arrows at the victim's chest in the area of the heart. The priests were assisted by four old men, called “Chacs”.

23 Post-Classic In the third type of sacrifice, they threw the victim into a sacred well.  the most famous of these wells is the Well of Sacrifices at Chichén Itzá.   If victims survived the fall and did not drown, the priests pulled them back out of the well.  The Mayas believed the gods had chosen to spare these victims.   The priests then asked the victims what messages they brought back from the gods.  The victims received special treatment from then on since the Mayas believed they had spoken to the gods.

24 Sacred Cenote

25 Sacred Cenote at Chichen Itza
This view of the wall of the cenote shows how high it is from the water (72 feet). It also shows the green algae that guards the secret of its contents.The walls visible here are made of limestone.

26 Ancestors The Mayas also worshipped the dead.  They believed the dead became one with the gods.   They worshipped their ancestors at many religious ceremonies.   They also built pyramids over the sacred remains of their dead rulers.

27 Mayan Gods and Goddesses
Pre-Conquest codices mention approximately 30. Post-Conquest manuscripts “Ritual of the Bakabs” (18th c) depicts 166 deities.

28 ITZAMNÁ He was the head god, lord of the heavens and lord of the night and day.   His name meant lizard.  Carved pictures show him as an old crossed-eyed man, and sometimes with a lizard's body.  The Mayas believed he invented books and writing.

29 KINICH AHUAU He was the sun god and the god of the rulers.

30 CHAC He was the rain god.  Carvings show him as a reptile with a large nose pointing down and curling fangs.  He had four aspects: Chac Xib Chac Red Chac of the East Sac Xib Chac White Chac of the North Ek Xib Chac Black Chac of the West Kan Xib Chac Yellow Chac of the South

31 YUN KAAX He is the god of maize (corn) and agriculture.
Pictures always show him as a young man either carrying a plant or has a plant as a headdress.

32 AH PUCH He is the god of death.  Carvings of him show a skull and skeleton.

33 EK CHAUB He is the god of trade.  Mayan artists painted his face black and he had a drooping lower lip.

34 IX CHEL She is the moon and rainbow goddess.  She is also the goddess of weaving and childbirth. Wife of Itzamna.

35 BULUC CHABTAN He is the god of war and human sacrifice. Carvings of him show a black line around his eye and down onto his cheek.  He is at times shown with a torch or weapon in his hand.

36 Minor Gods and Goddesses
Cit Bolon Tum: a god of Medicine. Ekahau: the god of Travelers and Merchants. Ixtab: the goddess of the Hanged. She receives their souls into paradise. Kan-u-Uayeyab: the god who guarded cities. Kinich Kakmo: the Sun god symbolized by the Macaw. Mitnal: Mitnal was the underworld hell where the wicked were tortured. Nacon: Nacon was the god of War. Tzultacaj (Tzuultaq'ah): For the Mayan Indians of central Guatemala, known as Kekchí, this was the god of the mountains and valleys. Yaxche: Yaxche is the Tree of Heaven under which good souls rejoice.

37 Writing Assignment: Rituals, games, buildings, artwork, etc. from the Mayan culture were tied into their belief system concerning the gods, astronomy, calendar system, etc. Your task is to design a building, calendar, mural, etc. that could have been used in Mayan worship or cultural interest. Be sure to include both a picture and EXPLANATION that describes why the Mayan would use this as a part of their daily life.

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