Mayan Civilization

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Ciana Lancaster
11/12/12
Mayan Civilization Religion
C & CM

The Mayans loved their Gods; to show their love for the Gods, they would sacrifice humans. Maya religion was polytheistic- which means they worshipped or believed in more than one god. The Mayan gods were seen as forces of nature. Since so many Mayans were farmers, most of their gods were related to agriculture. Religion was the most important thing in life to the Mayan people. Just about everything in their lives revolved around religion, “to the Maya, religion was ultimately their creator and destroyer” (RELIGION AND THE MAYA). Even their architecture reflected their beliefs and ways of life. Mayan religion is not so different from other religions either, in fact, Mayan religion is very similar to Catholicism. Religion was the inspiring force for Mayan Civilization that led to its great achievements. The Mayan Civilization is an ancient Mesoamerican culture. It was one of the most advanced civilizations in the western hemisphere (Mayas). The Mayan Civilization was established around 2600 BCE in Yucatan. Eastern and Southern Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Northern Belize and the western region of Honduras belonged to the Mayan empire during the 3rd century AD (Ancient Mayan Religion). Every part of the Mayan culture- architecture, sculpture, and even the calendars and numbers- reflects Mayan beliefs, even the way the buildings were laid out (The Ancient Maya). “The Royal Palaces were at the center of the city, representing the earth in the center of the three-level universe. In the north, which was associated with the heavens and dead rulers, were the shrines and tombs. Between the center and north was the ball court, the doorway between worlds” (The Ancient Maya). The Mayans built temples and gigantic pyramids made of stone. Mayan pyramids were constructed for religious ceremonies and burial purposes. The Mayans also built temples for the moon and the sun. Every fifty-two years, the temples and pyramids were remodeled and rebuilt (Ancient Mayan Religion). A few of the more popular temples are Chichen Itza, Temples of Tikal, and the Temple of Inscription. Mayan religion and Catholicism had many similarities. Both religions had written and oral traditions. Many of their traditions were similar. The Maya had the Popol Vuh, Catholics had the Holy Bible (RELIGION AND THE MAYA). “Both held elaborate ceremonies which included fasting, penance by bloodletting, and burning incense; both contained sacrifice as a ceremonial component; both believed in an afterlife; and both maintained rules and convictions to guide one’s life by” (RELIGION AND THE MAYA). The Popol Vuh is the Mayan version of the Bible. The original Popol Vuh was most likely written in hieroglyphic form. It would have had “illustrations and charts that contained systematic accounts of cycles in astronomical and earthly events that served as a complex navigation system for those who wished to see and move beyond the present” (RELIGION AND THE MAYA). An unknown person created a Popol Vuh that was alphabetic, it was most likely re-written to prevent this knowledge from being lost (RELIGION AND THE MAYA). The location of the original hieroglyphic Popol Vuh is unknown. Some believe it could have returned to the ancient Maya gods in a cloud of dust, it was destroyed, or it may still be waiting to be discovered (RELIGION AND THE MAYA). Many people believed that it was burned; the majority of Mayan writings were burned by church officials in order to “win favor of their God and their king” (RELIGION AND THE MAYA). The hieroglyphs were not only in books, they were all over the land. Inside the monstrous temples, hieroglyphics are carved into the walls. These hieroglyphics are a type of writing to record astronomical observations and calendrical calculations. They also recorded historical and genealogical information (Mayas). Mayan hieroglyphs were a mixture of glyphs that represent complete words and...
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