Presentation on theme: "The Mysterious Maya “Golden Age” – 250AD-900AD Central America."— Presentation transcript:
The Mysterious Maya “Golden Age” – 250AD-900AD Central America
Natural Barriers From about 2400 BC until 1500 AD, the Maya civilization stretched from the highlands of modern day Guatemala to the hot coastal plain along the Pacific Coast, to the dense tropical rain forest of the Yucatan Peninsula. These natural barriers helped to protect the Maya civilization for 1300 years. They also experienced hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanoes
Maya Daily Life The Maya made little pottery figures. Although tiny in size, these artifacts are detailed and brightly painted. Some rattle or whistle. They have helped archaeologists to better understand the Maya way of life. Archaeologists have found figures of a bearded man on a throne, a person in a huge hat, a ballplayer wearing heavily padded clothing, and a musician shaking a rattle.
Dance/Music/Games The Maya loved dance Some scholars believe the Maya might have known a thousand different dances. Their dances included the Monkey, the Grandfather, the Shadow of the Trees, and the Centipede. The Maya loved music. They played drums. They rattled turtle shells and played pottery flutes. They loved games, especially ball games.
Festivals On every 20th day, a religious festival was held in each city. People poured into their nearest town to attend the festival. Priests would climb the pyramid steps dressed in fierce masks. Dancers performed wearing huge hats that jingled and rattled when they moved. There was always a ball game. The winners of the game got to keep the jewelry of the opposing team.
Class Society The time you had to spend on these activities depended upon your place in society. The Maya had a class society. There were slaves, peasants, craftsmen, nobles, priests, and warriors. At the top were the nobles and priests. The middle class had the craftsmen, traders, and warriors. At the bottom were farmers, other workers, and slaves.
Nobility Maya nobles were of royal blood. They were the brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, and uncles of the ruling family. Nobles believed that they were so important that their attendants would hold a cloth in front of their face when they appeared in public. That way, no one could talk to them directly.
Really High Hats Maya nobles spent a great deal of time on their personal appearance. They bathed often. They pierced their ears and covered their bodies with paints and tattoos. They added colorful embroidery to their clothing. They wore lots of jewelry. Most of all, they loved tall hats. Some nobles wore hats that were taller than they were!
Craftsmen/Warriors Craftsmen: The Maya wove beautiful fabrics. They made musical instruments like drums, shell horns, and castanets. Their statues were detailed and huge. Their art honored their gods and leaders. Warriors: The Maya were often at war. Some scholars say they were always at war. Well-trained warriors were important to the Maya way of life. The job of warrior was highly respected.
Farmers Those who lived on farms ate well. They had hot corn porridge for breakfast and enjoyed tortillas filled with cooked vegetables for lunch and dinner. Families lived in thatched- roofed houses, with one family per house. Farmers grew so much food that they produced surplus crops. When the growing season ended, farmers worked alongside slaves (captured from other tribes) to build the magnificent cities.
Maize/Food The Maya people are sometimes referred to as the People of the Corn. Their most important crop was corn (maize). They made corn flour, corn pies, corn cakes, and corn drinks. Some of the nobles even wove their hair to resemble tassels of corn silk. Other crops were sweet potatoes, beans, chilies, and squash. They hunted wild turkey, monkeys, deer, and ducks. They caught fish.
Slaves Slaves were people who were captured from warring tribes. Slaves worked in the homes of noble families. Slaves cared for the children, cleaned the house, and worked the fields.
Gods of Nature The Maya worshipped the gods of nature. Some of their gods included Lady Rainbow, and the Gods of Rain, Maize, and Sun. Without the help of these important gods, there would be no crops and everyone would starve.
Priests The priests, along with the leaders in each city- state, were the most powerful people in the Maya civilization. The Maya believed that their priests could talk to the gods. The priests decided when to plant crops and when people could marry and to whom. Before doing pretty much anything, one had to ask for a priest’s approval.
The Legend of Mirrors The Maya believed that one could communicate with a god by looking into a mirror. Legend says…warriors going into battle wore mirrors on their backs. The idea was that if an enemy warrior tried to sneak up on a Maya warrior, a demon might reach out from the underworld and snatch the enemy.
Afterlife The Maya believed in an afterlife. The common people buried their dead inside their homes, under the floor; that way, their ancestors could keep an eye on them. The Maya believed that if a lot of bad things happened to them in their life on earth, their afterlife would be especially good, to even things up.
Achievements/ Inventions A system of writing A 365-day calendar A system of government Fair laws and trials with judges Pottery Pyramids and temples Ball courts Corn tortillas Over 1000 dances Masks Fabrics and embroidery Fabulous headdresses Huge earrings
Maya Hieroglyphics The Maya had a written language of hieroglyphics made up of about 700 “glyphs.” A glyph is a picture or a symbol used to represent a sound, a word, or a syllable. The Maya wrote books about their gods, leaders, daily life, and events. Maya books were made of soft bark and were folded like a fan. The reader had to unfold them to read them. These books are called “codices.”