Mysteries of the Ancient World
For many centuries people have been fascinated by ancient cultures and treasures. During the last two centuries the science of archeology and modern inventions allowed people to get inside of the Egyptian and Mayan pyramids and discover the treasures of Egyptian pharaohs and Mayan rulers. Most of what we know about Egypt we owe to the pyramids. Thanks to Egyptian belief in the afterlife we can now find out about the civilization that existed nearly five thousand years ago. Egyptian culture is not the only culture that left us its heritage in pyramids. In America we find pyramids build by civilizations of Olmec and Maya about 7th century CE. These pyramids had different purposes and usage then the ones in Egypt but they stand as memorials to ancient civilizations as well.
Egyptian people believed in life after death. One of the way pharaohs prepared themselves for the afterlife journey was by building a pyramid and putting there all their belongings and riches. Egyptian people believed that pharaoh is the closest person to the God and treated him accordingly. That is the reason for Egyptian tombs being full with the golden jewelry, precious stones and art objects. Most of the time art objects were not considered a treasury but they played their particular role in religious rituals. Jars were holding food and drinks for pharaoh's journey, so he would not get hungry and would have food and drinks to offer to the Gods. The figurative sculptures were suppose to accompany Ka ( spiritual entity) in its lonely stay or serve as a twin for the mummy. If something happens to the mummy the ka could use the sculpture of the pharaoh for the revelation. As well as for Egyptians religion was an everyday concern for many of the Maya, whether the dynastic ruler, the zealous priest, or the humble believer. Maya has an extensive religion structure which we can not know in details. Chac and Itzamna are the most famous gods of Mayan culture. Hunahpu and Xbalanque are among the most interesting mythical characters. One of the most crucial gods was Tlaloc, who was worshiped in various guises by the culture of Teotihuacan, the Toltec of Tula, and later Aztecs. The Maya received the cult of Tlaloc during the 4th century more or less. The Cauac Monster, also known as the Witz monster, is a dominant supernatural concept in Maya religion, as are caves, cenotes, and other holy places (Maya Civilization pars. 6). The Maya built shrines, temples, and pyramids in honor of their gods, as well as to their kings, who ruled by all-encompassing concept of Divine power. Most of Mayan pyramids are temples to the gods, not the burial tombs as in Egypt. Even though Maya sometimes buried there their rulers they always put the temple on the top of the pyramid. Egyptians had temples near the pyramid or right next to it for the ceremonial services, but it never was placed on top of the structure. Also buildings in both cultures have a lot in common in their visual characteristics they are different structures. Egyptian pyramids originally had smooth equal sides meeting on the top in the perfect apex. Mayan pyramids look like one huge stairway towards the sky. It reminds of earliest Egyptian structures-mastabas, where one layer of stones was put onto another creating the effect of pyramid. Also The Tikal Temple on Great Plaza was originally plastered white. Then the roof comb was painted with reds, blues, and other colors to accent the different areas of sculptural decoration. These roof combs were like giant billboards, with immense portrayals of the enthroned king, larger then life size (Cities pars.3). Egyptians never colored their religious structures. As well as in Egyptian pyramids, the stone used to construct Mayan pyramids is local limestone, obtained from nearby quarries. The ancient Maya had no stone tools but limestone is soft enough that the Maya could utilize chert tools to work the stone...
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