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Part 1: Mayans Part 2: Incas Lsn 6. Part 1: Mayans Theme: The connection between agriculture, religion, and society Lsn 6.

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Presentation on theme: "Part 1: Mayans Part 2: Incas Lsn 6. Part 1: Mayans Theme: The connection between agriculture, religion, and society Lsn 6."— Presentation transcript:

1 Part 1: Mayans Part 2: Incas Lsn 6

2 Part 1: Mayans Theme: The connection between agriculture, religion, and society Lsn 6

3 Olmecs and Mayans

4 Olmecs Earliest known ceremonial centers of the ancient Americas appeared near modern day Veracruz around 1200 B.C. –Served as the nerve center for the first complex society of the Americas, the Olmecs “Olmec” was not what the people called themselves –It means “rubber people” and comes from the rubber trees that flourish in the region

5 Characteristics of Olmec Civilization Intensive agricultural techniques –Area received abundant rainfall so extensive irrigation systems were unnecessary –Still the Olmecs built elaborate drainage systems to divert waters that might otherwise have caused floods Specialization of labor –Jade craftsmen Cities –Built around ceremonial centers at San Lorenzo, La Venta, and Tres Zapotes A social hierarchy –Society was probably authoritarian –Common subjects provided labor and tribute to the elite

6 Characteristics of Olmec Civilization Organized religion and education –Ceremonial centers, priests, temples, altars, and human sacrifice Development of complex forms of economic exchange –Imported jade and obsidian and exported small jade, basalt, and ceramic works of art Development of new technologies –Excellent astronomers and mathematicians who developed a calendar Advanced development of the arts. (This can include writing.) –Created colossal human heads sculpted from basalt rock

7 Olmec Head at La Venta

8 Decline of the Olmec Olmecs systematically destroyed their ceremonial centers at both San Lorenzo and La Venta and then deserted the sites –Statues were broken and buried, monuments defaced, and capitals burned No one knows why, but some speculate reasons involving civil conflicts or doubts about the effectiveness or legitimacy of the ruling classes By about 400 B.C., Olmec society had fallen on hard times and other societies soon eclipsed it

9 Mayans Began to develop around 300 A.D. in what is now southern Mexico, guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador Known as “The People of the Jaguar”


11 Olmec Influence on the Mayans Maize Ceremonial centers with temple pyramids Calendar based on the Olmec one Ball games Rituals involving human sacrifice

12 Characteristics of a Civilization Intensive agricultural techniques Specialization of labor Cities A social hierarchy Organized religion and education Development of complex forms of economic exchange Development of new technologies Advanced development of the arts. (This can include writing.)

13 Agriculture Maize Cacao

14 Agriculture Soil in Mesoamerican lowlands was thin and quickly lost fertility –Mayans built terraces to retain the silt and therefore greatly improved agricultural production Raised maize, cotton, and cacao –Cacao was a precious commodity consumed mostly by nobles and even used as money Cacao tree

15 Cities

16 Cities: Tikal From about 300 to 900, the Maya built more than eight large ceremonial centers –All had pyramids, palaces, and temples Some of the larger ones attracted dense populations and evolved into genuine cities –The most important was Tikal –Small city-kingdoms served as the means of Mayan political organization

17 Cities: Tikal Tikal was the most important Mayan political center between the 4 th and 9 th Centuries –Reached its peak between 600 and 800 with a population of nearly 40,000 The Temple of the Jaguar dominated the skyline and represented Tikal’s control over the surrounding region which had a population of about 500,000

18 Tikal: Temple of the Jaguar 154 feet high Served as funerary pyramid for Lord Cacao, Maya ruler of the late 6 th and early 7 th centuries

19 Social Hierarchy A Mayan Priest A Mayan Warrior

20 Social Hierarchy King and ruling family Priests Hereditary nobility (from which came the merchant class) Warriors Professionals and artisans Peasants Slaves

21 Social Hierarchy King and ruling family –Ruled from the city- kingdoms such as Tikal –Ruled by semi-divine right and believed their connection with the gods was maintained by ritual human sacrifice –Often had names associated with the jaguar Priests –Maintained an elaborate calendar and transmitted knowledge of writing, astronomy, and mathematics A Mayan King

22 Social Hierarchy Hereditary nobility (from which came the merchant class) –Owned most of the land and cooperated with the kings and priests by organizing military forces and participating in religious rituals Warriors –Mayan kingdoms fought constantly with each other and warriors won tremendous prestige by capturing high-ranking enemies –Captives were usually made slaves, humiliated, tortured, and ritually sacrificed

23 Social Hierarchy Professionals and artisans –Architects and sculptors supervised construction of the large monuments and public buildings Peasants –Fed the entire society Slaves –Provided physical labor for the construction of cities and monuments –Often had been captured in battle

24 Specialization

25 Astronomers Mathematicians Warriors Architects and sculptors Potters Tool manufacturers Textile makers

26 Religion and Education Human Sacrifice and Bloodletting Ritual

27 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

28 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.

29 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

30 Religion: The Ball Game Mayans inherited a ball game from the Olmecs that was an important part of Mayan political and religious festivals High-ranking captives were forced to play the game for their very lives –The losers became sacrificial victims and faced torture and execution immediately following the match Object of the game was to propel an 8 inch ball of solid baked rubber through a ring or onto a marker without using your hands

31 Mayan Ball Court

32 Economic Exchange Mayan symbol for movement

33 Economic Exchange Traveling merchants served not just as traders but also as ambassadors to neighboring lands and allied people Traded mainly in exotic and luxury goods such as rare animal skins, cacao beans, and finely crafted works of art which rulers coveted as signs of special status Cacao used as money

34 New Technologies Mayan Calendar Observatory at El Caracol

35 New Technologies Excelled in astronomy and mathematics –Could plot planetary cycles and predict eclipses of the sun and moon –Invented the concept of zero and used a symbol to represent zero mathematically, which facilitated the manipulation of large numbers –By combining astronomy and mathematics, calculated the length of the solar year at 365.242 days– about 17 seconds shorter than the figure reached by modern astronomers Mayan numerical system

36 New Technologies: Calendar Mayan priests developed the most elaborate calendar of the ancient Americas Interwove two kinds of year –A solar year of 365 days governed the agricultural cycle –A ritual year of 260 days governed daily affairs by organizing time into twenty “months” of thirteen days each Believed each day derived certain characteristics from its position on both the solar and ritual calendars and carefully studied the combinations

37 Art and Writing Mayan writing

38 Writing Expanded on Olmec tradition to create the most flexible and sophisticated of all early American systems of writing Contained both ideographic elements and symbols for syllables Used to write works of history, poetry, and myth and keep genealogical, administrative, and astronomical records

39 Mayan Decline By about 800, most Mayan populations had begun to desert their cities –Full scale decline followed everywhere but in the northern Yucatan Possible causes include foreign invasion, internal dissension and civil war, failure of the water control system leading to agricultural disaster, ecological problems caused by destruction of the forests, epidemic diseases, and natural disasters

40 Part 2: Incas Theme: Centralization Lsn 6

41 Inca

42 By the 13 th Century, the Inca had established domination over the regional states in Andean South America In 1438, Pachacuti launched a series of military campaigns that greatly expanded Inca authority By the late 15 th Century, the Inca empire covered more than 2,500 miles, embracing almost all of modern Peru, most of Ecuador, much of Bolivia, and parts of Chile and Argentina

43 Characteristics of a Civilization Intensive agricultural techniques Specialization of labor Cities A social hierarchy Organized religion and education Development of complex forms of economic exchange Development of new technologies Advanced development of the arts. (This can include writing.)

44 Agriculture Llamas Terraced farm land

45 Agriculture Intensive agricultural techniques –Inca empire spanned many types of environments and required terraces to make farmland out of the mountainous terrain –Chief crop was the potato –Herded llamas and alpacas for meat, wool, hides, and dung (used as fuel)

46 Social Hierarchy

47 Rulers Aristocrats Priests Peasant cultivators of common birth

48 Social Hierarchy Chief ruler was a god-king who theoretically owned everything and was an absolute and infallible ruler Dead rulers retained their prestige even after death –Remains were mummified and state deliberations often took place in their presence in order to benefit from their counsel –Were seen as intermediaries with the gods

49 Social Hierarchy Aristocrats lived privileged lives including fine foods, embroidered clothes, and large ears spools –Spanish called them “big ears” Inca ear spools

50 Social Hierarchy Priests often came from royal and aristocratic families They lived celibate and ascetic lives Influenced Inca society by education and religious rituals

51 Social Hierarchy Peasants worked lands allocated to them and delivered substantial portions of their production to the bureaucrats –Surplus supported the ruling, aristocratic, and priestly classes as well as providing public relief in times of famine or to widows Also owed compulsory labor services to the Inca state –Men provided heavy labor –Women provided tribute in the forms of textiles, pottery, and jewelry

52 Cities

53 Cities: Cuzco Inca capital at Cuzco served as the administrative, religious, and ceremonial center of the empire May have supported 300,000 residents at the height of the Inca empire in the late 15 th Century Tremendous system of roads emanated from Cuzco

54 New Technologies Major Roads of the Inca Empire

55 New Technologies: Roads Built an all-weather highway system of over 16,000 miles –Ran “through deep valleys and over mountains, through piles of snow, quagmires, living rock, along turbulent rivers; in some places it ran smooth and paved, carefully laid out; in others over sierras, cut through the rock, with walls skirting the rivers, and steps and rests through the snow; everywhere it was clean swept and kept free of rubbish, with lodgings, storehouses, temples to the sun, and posts along the way.” (Ciezo de Leon) Allowed the Inca government to maintain centralized control

56 Economic Exchange Inca gold

57 Economic Exchange Inca society did not produce large classes of merchants or skilled artisans Locally they bartered among themselves for surplus agricultural production and handcrafted goods Long distance trade was supervised by the central government using the excellent Inca roads

58 Economic Exchange Gold, the Inca’s most valuable commodity, proved to be their undoing when Spanish conquistadors destroyed much of the empire in the early 1500s in search of gold The Spanish melted down almost all the gold so few works of art remain Arrival of Francisco Pizarro in South America

59 Specialization of Labor Inca textile fragment

60 Specialization of Labor Large class of bureaucrats to support centralized government Much fewer skilled craftsmen than other people of Mexico and the eastern hemisphere –Some potters, textile workers, and tool makers

61 Religion and Education Inti Raymi, the feast of the sun

62 Religion and Education Main god was Inti Raymi, god of the sun –In the capital of Cuzco, some 4,000 priests, attendants, and virgin devotees served Inti Sacrificed agricultural produce or animals rather than humans Inca religion taught that sin was a violation of the established or natural order –Believed sin could bring divine disaster for individuals and communities –Had rituals for confession and penance Believed in life after death where an individual received rewards or punishments based on the quality of his earthly life

63 Art and Writing quipu

64 Art and Writing The Inca had no writing Instead they kept records using a quipu –A array of small cords of various colors and lengths, all suspended from a thick cord –By tying knots in the small cords, Inca could record statistical information 586 on a quipu

65 Next Lesson Greece

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