We are exposed to history and cultures in many different ways. While we study history in our Social Studies class, there are many more possible ways to experience and learn about our worlds past times and old ways. We continuously study about them from the news, traveling, musicians, theater plays and even Hollywood movies. The movie that I selected to expand my knowledge of history was Apocalypto. Through the events depicted in the film, history of the Mayans became a lot easier to understand.
The movie Apocalypto depicted events that took place during the time of post-classic Mayan civilization, and also the time of the Mayan Decline (“Apocalypto.” Wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 17 April 2011. Web. 17 April 2011.). The movie was set in Yucatan, Mexico, where Mayan civilizations used to existed (“Apocalypto.” Wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 17 April 2011. Web. 17 April 2011.). Most Mayan tribes were polytheistic, meaning they would believe in more than one god at once (Henderson, John. The World of the Ancient Maya. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997. Print.). As depicted in the film, Mayan invaders needed sacrifices to keep their sun god, Kukulkan, pleased, and also help with the Mayan drought that was taking place. They believed that if they used people as sacrifices, the God would accept them and be satisfied, so the God who controlled the drought would stop it from continuing (“Apocalypto.” Wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 17 April 2011. Web. 17 April 2011.). They wouldn’t use their own people because they needed them for labor or they were of high authority, so that was when they needed to go out, ravage and destroy other tribes’ civilizations and take them captive. Raiders took the captive tribe members and led them to the metropolis. When they reached their religious figure, usually someone who had a spiritual connection to gods, they would begin sacrifices (Henderson, John. The World of the Ancient Maya. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981. Print.). They began by cutting out captives’ hearts, then beheaded them and rolled the bodies down the steps into the crowd of people from the main city. This would keep going on until the religious figure sensed that the god has had enough sacrifices and was satisfied with what he has received. After this, the left over captives were disposed of and typically killed through an intense race from shooting bows and arrows (Henderson, John. The World of the Ancient Maya. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981. Print.). The Mayan decline could have also been caused by warfare, disease, and loss of trade routes, not only the drought which was displayed in the movie (Lovgren, Stefan. “Apocalypto Tortures The Facts, Expert Says.” Nationalgraphic.org. National Geographic Society, 8 December 2006. Web. 17 April 2011.). An issue faced by the Mayan tribe because of the decline was a probable wipeout of their civilization (outside information). In this case, some civilizations weren’t as advanced as others, and the number of civilians was already low to begin with. Being taken captive and offered to a different tribe’s god is enough to make a town completely shattered (outside information). There were also many diseases at the time, and it wasn’t unusual for captives to be quickly infected with the plague (“Apocalypto.” Wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 17 April 2011. Web. 17 April 2011.). Key figures during the post classic Mayan period were obviously the Mayan tribes. But, as depicted in the film, the spiritual leaders and gods also had taken part. The strict religion and sacrifices needed had fed into the already taking place Mayan decline. Killing and capturing others for sacrifices to gods took a tremendous part in population decrease (outside information). After the Mayan collapse, some cities were unbelievably, able to regain a large portion of control and began to prosper. Some cites weren’t as affected as others, so those who weren’t hit as hard with the declines issues, were able to survive until...
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