The Mayan Civilization By; Madison, mari, sophia, and victoria


-Rigidly divided by nobles, commoners, serfs, and slaves

-Status and occupation was passed through lineage

-Nobles were rulers, government officials, tribute collectors, military leaders, high priests, local administrators, plantation managers, and trade expedition leaders

-Nobles were literate and wealthy, and lived in central areas of cities

-An ajau was at the top of each polity and lead a city or town

-The Ahau (Mayan king) was viewed as a bridge between reality and the supernatural

-The king appointed the position of chief (batab) for towns

Carving of a Mayan king


- Kings' abilities depended on control on the resources

- No concept of royal family; kings 'descended' from gods or other planets

- Had four-tiered hierarchy; kings and administrators, lesser nobility and relatives of the Ahau, affiliated villages, and hamlets


- Slash-and-burn agriculture

- Planted in raised beds and hillside terraces

- Had human sacrificed; used captured enemies

- Went to war often

- City-states had much interaction

Hillside terraces used for planting


- Pyramids, temples, palaces, stone carvings dedicated to the gods

- All cities had ball courts to play games; believed to maintain sun and moon cycle and bring rain

- Polytheistic; a god for nearly everything

- Offerings of food, flowers, blood, and human sacrifices

- Developed calendar, mathematics, and astronomy

- Believed gods carried time on their backs'

- Most advanced writing system in all ancient Americas

- Recorded history on stone and bark paper

One of the many pyramids


- Traded between city-states; salt, flint, feathers, shells, and honey

- Cacao (chocolate) sometimes used as a form of currency

- Agriculture was the basis for Mayan life

Ruins of a Mayan city

"The greatest wisdom is in simplicity. Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgiveness. It's not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free..." - Carlos Barrios, Mayan elder


Created with images by guy_dugas - "el-castillo chichen-itza mayan" • vaticanus - "S05-15bwfk.jpg" • marktmcn - "The great ascent" • Redeo - "Maya City of Tulum"

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