Mayans and Aztecs

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Maya culture is defined by the boundaries within which Maya was spoken in pre-Hispanic times. This culture is still alive today with approximately "6 million speakers of nearly 30 extant Maya languages" inhabiting large portions of the Maya Regions. The Classic Period (A.D 300-900) was a time of Maya control over many territories. Among those were Honduras and El Salvador through to Guatemala and Belize and north to Yucatán and southern Mexico. This period was open to new an extraordinary and arts and sculptures. It was a time of great activity and production in architectural sites. These civilizations which flourished during this time were highly skilled in mathematics and science, as well as, technology. The Mayas would be the people who would have a great influence on future civilizations to come(Cotterell 1980).

Maya style of art was realistic, displaying acts of contemporary life in murals. The temple pyramid complex itself was said to be dedicated to Quetzelcoatl, a god at Teotihuacan and later with the Toltecs and Aztecs. This period was a glorious period of development of crafts and trades, a complex religion, intensive agriculture and many amazing cultural achievements.

Many artifacts suggest that the Mayan society had a hierarchy. Many sculptures and murals left behind represented their rulers and leaders. These murals display their rulers on royal thrones and benches. These types of artifacts strongly suggest that the Mayas had a highly civilized and organized society with castes and classes.

People of high society were those people in charge of the government. The others were judges, priests and public administrators. The lower classes were those people who were farmers, artisans and commoners.

Although the monumental architecture of each of the impressive remains of Classic Maya civilization is strikingly unique, certain features remain constant. Some of the common features of Maya sites are the north-south...
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