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The Ancient Mayans and Their Culture

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The Ancient Mayans are an indigenous people of Mexico and Central America around 2600 B.C. The Ancient Mayans were very religious people. The culture has made themselves known for its architecture, art and mathematics and astronomical systems. The Ancient Mayans has many different gods and many different rituals and beliefs. All of their actions were based on those beliefs and rituals. They believed in human sacrifice. The Ancient Maya developed the science of calendar systems, hieroglyphic writing and astronomy. By “recording the movements of the sky deities (sun, moon, planets, and stars), they developed accurate calendars that could be used for prophecy,” Sharer wrote. This is just one of many things that the mayans did to contribute to the history of astronomy.

Another thing that the Mayan people discovered were able to predict planetary systems, These planetary systems include the phases of the moon, sun and venus and even eclipses.They did this by taking in observations of shadow castings and tracing the horizons to follow the complex patterns of the sun, stars and plants. After this they were able to develop calendars following the movements of celestial objects in space and their passages of time. The Mayans believed in many different gods including Gucumatz and pantheon. They turned to heaven for answers from their gods. In parts of the Maya certain ceremonial buildings were situated in line with the compass directions. For example at the fall and spring equinox the sun may be made to shine lights through holes in the Mayan observatory.

The Maya believed that the Earth was in the middle of all things. The sun, moons, stars, sun and planets were gods and their movements and different actions were seen as them going between the Earth, the Underworld and other celestial in space destinations. These Gods had a great involvement in human doing and so their movements were watched very closely. Many events in the Maya life were planned to coincide with particular celestial moments: for example, a war could be put off until the Gods (planets) were in place, or a ruler might ascend to the throne of a Maya city-state only when a certain planet was visible in the skies at night. The Maya were aware of the planets in the solar system and marked their movements. By far, the most important planet to the Maya was Venus, which they paired with war. Different battles and wars would be arranged to coincide with the movements of Venus and warriors and leaders would most likely be sacrificed according to the position of Venus in the sky during night.

The Maya carefully recorded the movements of Venus and determined that its year (that was relative to earth, not the sun because the mayans believed everything revolved around earth) was 584 days long, shockingly close to the 583.92 days that modern science has determined. The observatory was a very important part to the mayan culture, the observatory is an underground chamber with a hole in the ceiling. The sun shines through this underground hole for a lot of the summer, but is directly elevated on May 15 and July 29: on these few days the Sun would always directly shine an illustration of the Sun on the floor these few days were considered very important ones by Mayan priests. The Maya had a lot of priests, who were second in importance in Maya culture only because the king was 1st. Priests communicated with the gods and were peacemaker between the Maya people and their deities.

Mayan priests contained all the knowledge, they taught reading and writing. Priests had many roles and duties such as, instructing sons of lords, performing religious ceremonies, keeping calendars, studying astronomy and more. The 260-day calendar was used to determine important duties and activities related to humans and the gods, it was used to name your child, predict and estimate the future and decide on special dates for battles, marriages and more. Calendar priests still exist in Maya regions and culture today, and keep the 260-day calendar. Probably one of the most practical benefits of astronomy is on agriculture. The appearance of certain star constellations or planets in the sky leaded to the planting season. The more they understood the sky and celestial objects, the more they were assured that there wasn’t people would not starve. It can be agreed that astronomy has been a success which promoted the growth of the Mayan civilization.

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