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Mayan Civilization


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#1 bobdrake12

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Posted 14 December 2002 - 06:42 AM


http://www.users.zet.../unex/mayan.htm

The Mayan Civilisation

Some say that the Mayan civilization was one of the most important in the Americas for centuries. But as quickly as they appeared, they vanished leaving behind just the cities they once inhabited and a few startling artefacts which still baffle archaeologists today.

The remains of the Mayan civilization were found in 1773 by Friar Ordonez from Mexico. In fact the city discovered by Ordonez was one of the most significant discoveries of this millenium - the city he found was Palenque.

Initially, an official survey concluded that Palenque must have somehow been constructed by one of the great European civilizations or even by settlers from Atlantis.

The Maya first emerged as a distictive group around 2600BC. They spread throughout central America by forming a series of city states which were bound together by religious beliefs and trade. Surprisingly many of the Mayan achievements surpassed those of any European civilization which existed at the same time - they built better roads than the Romans, they were more scientifically advanced than the Greeks and their pyramids were equal to those of ancient Egypt.



The main problem with discovering all there is to learn about the Mayan civilization is the lack of any significant records. This can be attributed to the Spanish in the 16th century who, when they began to colonize the Americas tried to remove all trace of the previous civilizations in the New World. They wiped out civilizations, destryoed their cities and burned any records. Although the Mayan civilization had disappeared around 600 years before the discovery of the Americas by Columbus in 1492, there were still many artefacts which could have helped us to understand their way of life - with the invasion of the Spanish these were nearly all destroyed.

In fact, only four manuscripts were saved from destruction. In 1927, a fascinating piece of Mayan craftmanship was discovered - a Crystal Skull.

The first glimpse at the knowledge of the Maya was by a French priest - Charles Brasseur in the middle of the 19th century. While going through records in Rome, he unearthed a manuscript written by the Spanish clerics who oversaw the final destruction of the Maya. It was a full description of a Mayan calendar. Alongside each hieroglyph was written a Spanish translation.

It became obvious that the Maya were very advanced astronomers and mathematicians. They had three interconnected calendars. The first consisted of 260 day 'years' and 20 day 'months'. The second contained a more 'usual' 365 day 'year'. They coincided every 52 years to give the Mayan equivalent of a century.

The third calendar was much more useful for measuring long periods of time. This calendar measured time in blocks of 5,152 years. Their entire calendar was based around the movements of the planet Venus whose course they plotted with an error of only 14 seconds per year.

However advanced the Maya were, there is no denying that they were also a bloodthirsy people. They possessed at least 166 gods who had to be appeased with constant rituals - usually involving blood. Initially, animal blood was sufficient. However as time passed they moved on to human sacrifices.

The end of the Mayan reign as leaders of the Americas came around 900AD. In fact, the Maya predicted their own downfall - the arrival of a hugely destructive force, which took the form of a powerful god, around 900AD.

It is thought that the Maya were invaded around this time and that the Maya believed that this was the god who would destroy them. However, due to the lack of records, the truth behind their demise will never be known.

#2 Lazarus Long

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Posted 14 December 2002 - 09:17 PM

Oldest American writing found in dump

Mexican script may show the roots of Central American civilizations.
6 December 2002
JOHN WHITFIELD


Olmec writing may have been the foundation for Mayan and Aztec scripts
© Science.

Archaeologists may have found the oldest example of writing from the Americas. The find gives clues to how the ancient civilizations of Central America developed, they say1. Others dispute that the objects discovered bear writing.

The finds - a clay seal and fragments of jewellery - date from 650 BC, 350 years before the next oldest script. They come from the Olmec civilization, which built the Americas' first cities, in central Mexico.

The seal, a fist-sized cylinder, bears a relief of a bird. Two symbols come out of the bird's beak, like a speech bubble. One represents a date in the 260-day Olmec calendar: '3 Ajaw'. The other just says 'Ajaw'.

The Olmec named themselves after their birthday. Ajaw also means 'lord' in Mayan. 3 Ajaw was probably a king, says Mary Pohl of Florida State University, Tallahassee. The bird may have represented him: "Rulers are often shown in bird costume," says Pohl, one of the team that found the artefacts.

The seal would have been dipped in ink and rolled over cloth or skin to leave a repeating pattern. Bearing the king's name was a mark of status and allegiance. "A person would have had to be very important to display this writing," says Pohl.

"This is fantastic - I think they're detecting the beginnings of writing in the Americas," says anthropologist Payson Sheets of the University of Colorado, Boulder. Still older examples are probably waiting to be discovered, he says.

Not everyone is convinced. "Even if you have symbols - like a light-bulb in a cartoon - that's not writing," says archaeologist David Grove of the University of Florida, Gainesville.

The Olmec marks are similar to cave paintings from around the same time, Grove argues, and lack the complexity of later writing, where symbols are used in long sequences. The finds are "are just little pieces of a big jigsaw", he says - tantalizing, but inconclusive.

Down in the dumps

3 Ajaw may have ruled over a city now called La Venta, a site of about 200 hectares in the state of Tabasco. La Venta was founded around 850 BC and its pyramids and plazas abandoned about four centuries later when the Mayan cities to the east became dominant.

The team found the artefacts in a rubbish dump on the city's outskirts. Maize and animal bones in the dump enabled them to carbon date the site.


The seal spells out the name 3 Ajaw, probably an Olmec king.
© M.Pohl, K.Pope & C. von Nagy.

The jewellery is made from greenstone, a stone similar to jade. It too bears signs that look like writing, but their meaning is unknown. Pohl believes it would have been worn at feasts.

Olmec symbols are similar to later Central American scripts. "The Olmec were the mother culture," says Pohl. "They set the agenda," for later American civilizations such as the Maya, up to the Aztecs. Grove thinks that people in many places contributed to the regions' civilizations.

Central American writing up until the Spanish conquest had a ceremonial, supernatural function. Symbols such as those on the seal were like religious icons or spells. This contrasts with the scripts now used in the West, which originated in the Middle East as accounting systems around 3,000 BC.


References
Pohl, M. E. D., Pope, K. O. & von Nagy, C. Science, 298, 1984 - 1987, (2002). |Homepage|


© Nature News Service / Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2002




Ancient traders suffered boom and bust
7 January 2002

Culture rained off
25 June 2001

Waterworld
9 November 2000

Roots of farming
19 October 2000



Mesoamerican Cultures


I very much recommend the above site on Mesoamerican culture and history. It is worth the study as the timelines and specific references I have reviewed so far are the most factual and consistently verified from multiple unrelated sources.

I have travelled to many of the sites of ancient Mesoamerican culture and I have heard much more hyperbole than fact at times when listenning to speakers from Europe and the USA discuss events as they probably occurred.

This timelline may prove useful
Timeline - overview of Mesoamerican civilizations.

The article on Female Creation Cults and dieties is also fascinating as well as the issue of Calaveras (Skulls and Skeletons) as it relates to the culture from ancient times till today.

I intend to visit Cuilcuilco again today, while I am still here because this Pre-Toltec forerunner of the Builders of Teotihuacan where contemporary Highlanders to the Olmec Sea Coast Culture and they were in constant trade and communication but were distinctly different peoples that influenced each other immensely.

The Mayans are directly related to the Olmecs in the preclassical period and then again they combine with the Toltecs in order to achieve their period of greatest expansion with the building of Uxmal and Chichen Itza. But the Pre-Toltec people of Cuilcuilco built a Spiral (tor style) Pyramid and worshiped Female Goddeses of Fertility and the Fire God of the Volcano Xitle, that eventually consumes their civilization under lava and ash.

Also this dictionary of Mayan script may prove interesting to some folks.
Maya-English Dictionary

It also needs to be understood that Aztecs began the distruction of Mayan History before the Spanish even arrived as it was critical to their Theocratic Military State to rewrite their own past in order to legitimize their political control over teh many cultures they tried to dominate.

I will try to get some digital photos to upload. Have a happy Holiday folks.

#3 bobdrake12

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Posted 25 December 2002 - 06:15 PM

http://www.civilizat...a/mmc01eng.html

Maya civilization





The Maya are probably the best-known of the classical civilizations of Mesoamerica. Originating in the Yucatán around 2600 B.C., they rose to prominence around A.D. 250 in present-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, northern Belize and western Honduras. Building on the inherited inventions and ideas of earlier civilizations such as the Olmec, the Maya developed astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing. The Maya were noted as well for elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture, including temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories, all built without metal tools. They were also skilled farmers, clearing large sections of tropical rain forest and, where groundwater was scarce, building sizeable underground reservoirs for the storage of rainwater. The Maya were equally skilled as weavers and potters, and cleared routes through jungles and swamps to foster extensive trade networks with distant peoples.

Around 300 B.C., the Maya adopted a hierarchical system of government with rule by nobles and kings. This civilization developed into highly structured kingdoms during the Classic period, A.D. 200-900. Their society consisted of many independent states, each with a rural farming community and large urban sites built around ceremonial centres. It started to decline around A.D. 900 when - for reasons which are still largely a mystery - the southern Maya abandoned their cities. When the northern Maya were integrated into the Toltec society by A.D. 1200, the Maya dynasty finally came to a close, although some peripheral centres continued to thrive until the Spanish Conquest in the early sixteenth century.

Maya history can be characterized as cycles of rise and fall: city-states rose in prominence and fell into decline, only to be replaced by others. It could also be described as one of continuity and change, guided by a religion that remains the foundation of their culture. For those who follow the ancient Maya traditions, the belief in the influence of the cosmos on human lives and the necessity of paying homage to the gods through rituals continues to find expression in a modern hybrid Christian-Maya faith.

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#4 bobdrake12

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Posted 25 December 2002 - 06:23 PM

http://www.civilizat...eng.html#temple

The temple-pyramid



Probably the best-known visual feature of Mesoamerica are the pyramids which tower over the ruinous sites. The ceremonial complexes of Maya cities - plazas, pyramids and palaces - were designed to reflect, symbolically, the sacred landscape at its first creation by the gods. The stepped and truncated pyramids represented mountains, and the temples atop them represented caves leading into the heart of the mountains; both were places where sacredness was especially concentrated. It was from here that kings -- the human manifestation of the central axis linking the Underworld, Middle World and the Sky World -- used trance and ritual as the means to open a doorway into the supernatural world through which they could communicate with the gods. Each repetition of ritual accumulated energy which made a temple-pyramid increasingly sacred. Pyramids were also used to house royal tombs.

Temple-pyramids were part of a long cultural tradition in Mesoamerica; the Olmec had built artificial mountains a thousand years earlier. The form developed through piling rock and dirt and building a platform on the summit on which to raise a temple. A Maya innovation was the addition of sculpted and painted facades to pyramid and temple, which expressed political and religious messages. In fact, the whole pyramid would be covered in plaster and then painted red or other bright colours.



Pyramid-temples took many structural forms: some were tall and steep, some very broad, others squat. The temple itself was not large, generally comprising between one and three dark rooms, of which one would be the inner sanctum where the king performed his rituals. Some temples have facades representing masks of one or other cosmic monster and the Maya name for the temple door actually means "mouth of the house". The pyramid-temple erected on CMC's plaza is not based on any particular historical structure. The Witz ("mountain") monster depicted on its roof comb is a vulture.

#5 bobdrake12

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Posted 25 December 2002 - 06:34 PM

http://www.courses.p...cmg149/pyr.html

Mayan Pyramids

The term "pyramid" is a geometric reference to the shape of these construction. The Mayan version of the pyramid is truncated so that a temple can be built on the top.

The ancient Mayans built two types of pyramids, those that were meant to be climbed and those that were not. The first type was used for holding sacrificial rituals. The other type was not meant to be touched and was sacred. The steps on theses structures were too steep to climb and many times they had doorways leading to nowhere. During their rituals, the priests would ascend the pyramid from the earth to the sky by means of staircases. They believed that this brought them closer to the gods.

These staircases lead from ground level to the temple. The number of staircases that the pyramids had varied, but there were typically two or four. Many times there would be a platform connecting the steps somewhere near the middle of the pyramid so that the priest-king could stop and do a part of his ritual before continuing to the top(Stierlin 98).

Aside from having religious functions, Mayan pyramids also had other purposes. The pyramids were built so high that their tops could be seen protruding out of the jungle. Because of this, the Mayan people were able to use them as landmarks. That was not the only significance of building them so high though. They also served as a reminder that the gods were ever present(Hernandez 13).

Some pyramids even house burial chambers for high ranking officials. Housed inside these mammoth structures were small burial rooms. There were narrow corridors that led to these chambers. These burial chambers often contained treasures such as jade.

Aztec pyramids were comparatively similar to ones of the Maya. One exceptionis that the Aztecs often built two or more temples at the top while the Mayan pyramids generally had one.

#6 bobdrake12

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Posted 25 December 2002 - 06:44 PM

http://www.mayan-world.com/mapa-i.htm




#7 bobdrake12

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Posted 25 December 2002 - 07:03 PM

http://www.internet-...chen_index.html

Chichén Itzá



Chichén Itzá, the ancient city whose name means "in the mouth at the Itzáe's Well", was, in its time of grandeur (between 800 and 1200 A.D.), the centre of political, religious and military power in Yucatán, if not all of South-eastern Meso America.

In its architecture one can observe a gradual change in style, starting with the Puuc style, also shared with Uxmal and other sites in the Penninsula and cluminating with the so-called Mayan Toltec style, due to the architectural similiarities with Tula, capital of the Ancient Toltecs, and with other sites in Central Mexico, such as Oaxaca and the Gulf Coast.

Chichén Itzá was a large city with a great many inhabitants, distributed around the architectural nucleii which we observe as ruins, who had a relatively easy access to the water coming from the various caves and Cenotes of the region.

The city is divided into two principal areas: Chichén Viejo (Old Chichén) and Chichén Nuevo (New Chichén.

Chichén Viejo was founded about 400 A.D. by the Maya and governed by priests. Here the architecture is characterized by many representations of the god Chaac, the Maya rain god.

Chichén Nuevo began about 850 A.D. with the arrival of the Itzá from Central Mexico. The city was rebuilt by the Itzá and is charactorized by images of the god Kukulcán, the plumed serpent. Around 1150 A.D. a new wave of Itzá took over the city and ruled for another 150 years until Chichén Itzá was finally overtaken by the rival city of Mayapan.

The Itzá were politically and commercially more aggressive than the earlier Maya rulers and the city's history under their rule was marked by many bloody battles.

Chichén Itzá was abandoned suddenly around 1400 A.D. perhaps because of internal fighting or for lack of food. There are many theories but nobody knows for certain.


Information based on Let's Learn about Chichén-Itzá .and The Mayas On the Rocks by Javier Covo T. published by Producción Editorial Dante (Mérida, Mexico). Both available in paperback and highly recommended.

#8 bobdrake12

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Posted 25 December 2002 - 07:21 PM

http://www.internet-...hen_castle.html

The Pyramid of Kukúlcan or El Castillo



Catherwood drawing of El Castillo from the mid 19th Century.



Rising above the grassy plain in the center of Chichén Itzá is the giant Pyramid of Kukulcán. Early Spanish visitors to the city referred to the pyramid as El Castillo (The Castle).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Two of the four sides of this imposing structure have been restored. Originally each side had 91 steps and with the addition of the platform at the top there are 365 steps, one for each day of the year. Further evidence that this building was linked to the Maya interest in astronomy and calendars can be seen at both the spring and autumn equinox

Here are two drawings of the Pyramid complex the first leading from the ballcourt complex the other from on top of the Temple of the Warriors.

The Castle is composed of two structures superimposed on one another. The later pyramid was built over an earlier structure. The newer pyramid is about 55 meters (180 feet) on each side and has nine stepped sections (terraces) rising up to 24 meters (78 feet). Archeologists believe that the nine different floors symbolized the "Region of the Dead" to the ancient Maya.

Climbing to the top of the Castle one has an excellent view of the surrounding area of Chichén Itza. Here visitors will also find the upper temple with many images of Chaac, the Maya rain god.

In the temple which stood on top of the older structure archeologists discovered the throne of the jaguar and a statue of the mysterious Chac-Mool figure which is found throughout Chichén Itza.



At the foot of the Northern stairway are found the giant serpent heads representing Kukulcán, the god of the Maya-Toltec conquerors.

In the mid 19th century explorers John Stevens and Frederick Catherwood remarked on the impressive structure which they found.

El Castillio was the first building that we saw and from every point of view the grandest and most conspicuous object that towers above the plain. On the ground at the foot of the staircase are two colossal serpents' heads, ten feet in length, with mouths wide-open and tongues protruding. No doubt they were emblematic of some religious belief.

Single doorways on top of the mounds (have) lintels of sapote wood covered with elaborate carvings ...and ornamented with sculptured figures ...much worn but the head-dress, ornamented with a plume of feathers and portions of the rich attire still remain.

We passed a whole day within this lofty chamber, from time to time stepping out upon the platform to look down upon the ruined building of the ancient city, and an immense field stretching on all sides beyond.

(Excerpted from Travels in the Yucatan, Stephens & Catherwood pp. 229-231).


#9 bobdrake12

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Posted 25 December 2002 - 07:30 PM

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#10 bobdrake12

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Posted 25 December 2002 - 07:32 PM

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#11 Lazarus Long

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Posted 25 December 2002 - 07:37 PM

Go for it Bob, now we're talking. Mayan's aren't a dead people at all, just a civilization in decline. The reasons are complex but one thing is clear the legacy of these same people dates back through the Olmecans directly, with a series of subsequent influxes of immigrant populations. The last major infusion of immigrants were the Europeans, and Africans, though recently Asians have also joined in. The history of the Americas has always been one of the "Melting Pot" since before the Bering Bridge broke.

Eurasians, African, and Polynesian have been coming to these shores for tens of thousands of years. We are the Atlantic and Oceanic cultures.

Nice post I love the graphics as usual. ;)

#12 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 01:29 AM

Lazarus Long,

Thanks for the feedback!

There are so many unanswered questions such as:

What were the real reasons the Spanish burned the Mayan books?

How much of Mayan history is true versus tainted by the Spanish (to justify what they did to the Mayan civilization).

Was the Mayan civilization impacted by the Egyptian civilization?

Might there be a connection between the Mayans and those from legendary Atlantis?

bob

#13 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 01:40 AM

http://www.different...hichen_itza.htm

Chichén Itzá - Part 1 (excerpts)

images of war and death abound in this great city of the Maya


History

Chichén Itzá has been widely studied, and excavated and restored more than any of the other Mayan cities. Yet its history is still clouded in mystery and there are many contradicting theories and legends.


A large Mayan community thrived here between 700AD and 900AD

It is clear that a large Mayan community thrived here between around 700AD and 900AD, and built most of the structures in the southern area. However, the main buildings in the central area, including the Pyramid of Kukulkán, the Temple of the Warriors and the Ball Court, are Toltec in design and influence.

The Toltecs originated from Central Mexico, and one respected theory suggests that the Toltecs invaded Chichén Itzá and imposed their architectural style on new constructions. Alternatively, we know that the Maya traded extensively and it is possible that they were influenced by the Toltecs in their own architecture. Another more recent theory claims that Tula, capital of the Toltecs, was actually under the domination of the Maya, resulting in a transfer of style from one city to another. There are fragments of evidence to support each line of thought, but no conclusive evidence for any single theory.

Compounding the mystery are ancient legends passed down through the Mayan tribes and also the Toltecs. According to Toltec history, in 987AD the legendary ruler Quetzalcóatl was defeated and expelled from Tula. He was last seen leaving from the Gulf coast on a raft of serpents. However, in the same year, Mayan stories recorded the arrival of a king named Kukulkán, the Serpent God, whose return had been expected. Kukulkán defeated the Mayan city tribes, and made Chichén Itzá his capital.

The Pyramid of Kukulkán



Towering above the other buildings at 79 feet (24 m) high, the Pyramid of Kukulkán has a structured feel about it. Two of its sides have been completely restored, the other two were left to show the condition before work commenced. Each side had originally 91 steps, adding the platform at the top as a final step there are 365 in total one for every day of the year. Further evidence that this building was linked to the Mayan interests of astronomy and the calendar is demonstrated at the spring and autumn equinox. On these days the shadow of the sun playing on the stairs causes the illusion of a snake processing down the pyramid in the direction of the cenote. Naturally, it’s an impressive sight, and there are usually thousands of people on the site at these times.

At the spring and autumn equinoxes, the sun's shadow creates the illusion of a snake moving down the pyramid

It’s quite a climb to the top, but once you’re there you’ll have a terrific view of the rest of the ruins. The temple at the top of the pyramid has carvings of Chac, the rain god, and Quetzalcóatl, the serpent god. As at Uxmal, this temple was built over the top of an original structure and at limited times of the day (check at the entrance) you can enter the old temple via a passage under the northern stairway. Inside you’ll see a sculpture of a jaguar, painted red and with jade eyes, exactly as it was discovered.

#14 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 01:53 AM

http://www.different...hichen_itza.htm

Chichén Itzá - Part 2 (excerpts)

images of war and death abound in this great city of the Maya


The Ball Court (Juego de Pelota)



The Ball Court

From the Pyramid of Kukulkán, head north-east to the Great Ball Court, the largest of its kind in the Maya world. There are eight other much smaller ball courts at Chichén Itzá and more in other Maya cities, but this one was deliberately built on a much grander scale than any others. The length of the playing field here is 40 feet (135 m) and two 25 feet (8 m) high walls run alongside the field.



Inside the Ball Court

The game itself involved two teams, each able to hit the ball only with elbows, wrists or hips, and the object was to knock the ball through one of the stone hoops on the walls of the court.

Look at the carvings on the lower walls of the court and you will see that this was not a casual sport there are clear depictions of one team member with blood spurting from his headless neck, whilst another holds the head aloft. Some people think the captain of the losing side was executed by the winner; others suggest that the winners earned an honorable sacrifice. No-one knows for sure. It is said that the game was used either as a method of settling disputes, or as an offering to the gods, perhaps in times of drought. Only the best were selected to play, and to be sacrificed in this way was a great honor.

Games in the Ball Court were used to settle disputes or as an offering to the gods. Many believe the losers were put to death

Imagine, then, the significance of this giant court, where the goals are 20 feet (66 m) high and the court is longer than a football pitch. The acoustics here are superb - a low voice at one end of the court can be heard clearly at the other end and the atmosphere during a game must have been electrifying. It is said that only the noblest could attend the court itself, the general population having to listen from outside.

Group of the Thousand Columns



This complex incorporates the Temple of the Warriors and a series of columns, some of which feature carvings of Toltec warriors. It is believed that the columns originally supported a thatched roof which may have been used as a market place.

The temple itself displays another aspect of Toltec architecture the use of ‘Atlantean figures’, or statues supporting the altar. Here the statues are of warriors, each with the appearance of a different racial type. It is unclear as to whether these designs were accidental or whether the Maya were really aware of the diversity of the human race.

Look also for the large Chac Mool sculpture, again a feature of Central Mexican rather than Yucatecan design. The reclining figure holds a bowl, awaiting some sacrificial offering.

#15 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 02:16 AM

http://www.isourceco...chenitza/il.htm

"The Castle", "The Pyramid of Kukulkan", or the "Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl" (excerpts)



El Castillo was primarily built to represent Snake Mountain, the mystic place where creation first occurred in Mayan folklore. Snake mountain is a design practice adopted in Teotihuican as well as the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. Though brought to its full artistic maturity in Chichén Itzá, the design is much older than any of these cities. There are examples of the Snake Mountain design at Waxaktun and at Cerros as early as 100 BC. The upright bodies of the snakes that act as supports for the upper temple are meant to represent the "Kuxan Sum" or "Living cord" that connected the rulers of the earth with their gods. Nowhere in the Mayan world is there a larger or more impressive representation of the Snake Mountain design than in El Castillo, nor one with as much functionality as is detailed below. Snake Mountain was also where Xmucane, the first mother, used maize dough to mold the first humans at the beginning of the fourth creation.

The visible structure seen today is at least the second temple built at this spot. Beneath the huge outer structure is a smaller temple of similar design. A small doorway on the west face of the northern stairs is the only access up a small stairway to the inner temple beneath. In this inner temple is another Chaac Mool and a jaguar throne, sealed off to tourists by an iron gate.

The Maya were known to be great mathematicians and are credited with the invention of the "zero" in their counting system. They were also great astronomers, and EL Castillo is a perfect marriage of their sciences with their religion. By far the most amazing aspect of the pyramid is the accuracy, significance, and relevance it has within the Mayan calendar and social system. There are many numerical details regarding the location of this structure that could not have all occurred by accident. Each side of the pyramid is made up of nine larger tiers or layers with a staircase in the center of each side leading to the temple at the top. Each stairway consists of ninety one steps, with one step at the top common to all four sides, for a total of three hundred and sixty five steps, the exact number of days in a solar year. Each side of the pyramid has fifty two rectangular panels, equal to the number of years in the Mayan cycle (at the conclusion of which they typically constructed a newer structure over an older one). The stairways divide the tiers on any given side into two sets of nine for a total of 18 tiers which corresponds to the 18 months in the Mayan calendar. The "square" that makes up the overall base of the structure is exactly 18 degrees from the vertical. Every aspect of the structure relates in some way to the Maya and their culture. The very physical presence of this structure and the shadows it casts, are also significant within the Mayan culture and are more fully explained in here the section detailing the Shadow Of The Equinox. The Maya universe was comprised of 13 "compartments" in 7 levels with each compartment being ruled over by a different god. El Castillo reflects these beliefs as seen in the shadows it casts. 7 levels are shown in the 7 light triangles. 7 Triangles of light and 6 darker triangles give 13 triangles in all corresponding to the 13 overall levels of the underworld.

Suffice it to sum up here and say, the pyramid casts unique and identifiable shadows on the exact days of the year that represent the solstice and equinox that occur twice a year. This shows the Maya were aware of the rotation of the sun and the exact length of a year. Indeed, we know that the Mayan Calendar was more accurate than the one we use today.

On the west side of the base of the northern staircase there is an entrance to a smaller inner structure. This inner structure existed alone and was a pyramid similar to the main outer one that was covered over after the 52 year cycle was complete. This inner temple resembled the outer one in that it also was made up of a nine terraced pyramid with a temple at the top. There are only sixty one steps to this inner structure and the temple contains a stone statue of the reclining Chaac-Mool (which means"red claw") That can also be found at the portico of the Temple of the Warriors. Also with Chaac-Mool in this antechamber is a stone Jaguar, also worshipped by the Maya after the Toltec influenced them in this belief, that may have served as the throne for a leader or high priest. When first found, this throne had a delicately wrough Turquise mosiac disk sitting on it. The staircase leading up to this inner chamber is enclosed by the larger structure over top of it and it is a very small stairway by modern standards. Barely six feet high and three feet wide, with slick damp stones for steps, some may find it difficult to enter and it is not for the claustrophobic. The stairs are smooth and slick and are narrow enough that people going up may not be able to pass people on the way down.

http://www.isourceco...illostairs8.htm




The significance of this staircase is evidenced by the fact that this was the only staircase of the four to have the two huge representations of Kukulkan at the base. It was the one which faced the Sacred Cenote, and at the top of these stairs is the Portico to the primary inner temple. This staircase was the key to El Castillo and it is the head seen on the right that makes up the head of the "snake" seen in the Phenomenon of Light and Shadow with the triangles of light appearing on the far side of this balustrade.

http://www.isourceco...pperportico.htm



This is the Portico (Entrance) to the high temple located at the top of El Castillo.

This was the largest, and key entrance to the inner temple where the Maya religious ceremonies were performed. It is the only one of the four doors to the inner structure that does not have a different exit. (The other three openings are all linked by a small hallway running inside the temple.) This doorway faces north towards the Sacred Cenote adding to its significance. This stairway that corresponds to this face of El Castillo is also the main stairway as it is the one with the huge twin heads of the plumed serpent god at the base.

This picture also shows the Toltec influence on the Maya, where their doorways consisted of twin representations of Kukulkan supporting the upper lintel of the entrances. The heads have since been destroyed or removed, as have the tips of the rattles, but the carved stone images of the body of Kukulkan are still visible and are in the same design as those images of Kukulkan found in the Temple of the Warriors and the upper temple of the Temple of the Jaguar. The serpents represent the Kuxan Sum, or the great mystic umbilicus that connected the rulers of the city to their gods in the sky.

#16 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 02:22 AM

http://www.isourceco...chenitza/il.htm

The Legend of Quetzalcóatl

The legend of Quetzalcóatl is well known to Mexican children. It is the origin of how the plumed serpent god, originally from the Toltec region of central Mexico, came to be known to the Maya.


It tells of a man who was revered as a great mystical leader much in the same ilk as Britain's King Arthur. Though there is some evidence to suggest that Quetzalcóatl was actually a living man that ruled the Toltecs. He first appeared to the people of Teotehuican near current day Mexico City, and taught the Toltecs all of their arts and science and became their ruler and led thir city to great prosperity and importance. He eventually fell in disgrace for violating his own laws and set himself on fire. He rose in flames to become the planet Venus and vowed to return one day to his people.

After this event, all priests in the Toltec cult were given the title of Quetzalcóatl. One such priest by the name of Ce Acatl Topiltzin rose to power and proclaimed himself as the second coming of Quetzalcóatl returning as promised, and in 968 AD became king of the Toltec people once again. He reigned for decades and built the Toltec capital of Tula. Eventually he was disposed of by his enemies and this time sailed east on a raft of snakes, vowing, like the first Quetzalcóatl, to return one day to rule his people. It is this snake reference that has caused the artwork depicting Quetzalcóatl as emerging, or being "reborn" as he emerges from the mouth of a serpent.

This raft of snakes carried Quetzalcóatl east and south across the gulf of Mexico to a Yucatan beach. By coincidence, the Mayan people were, at this time, expecting the return of their plumed serpent god Kukulkan. Kukulkan, in the same fashion as Quetzalcóatl, promised to return to rule his people after being forced to leave, and he was greeted as the returning Kukulkan by those that discovered him. Topiltzin-Quetzalcóatl-Kukulkan became the king of the Itzá Maya and rebuilt the ancient capital of Chichén Itzá. Massive stone sculptures reflecting his image as the plumed serpent god were built in his honor and can be seen in a large portion of their artwork.

His enemies eventually caught up with him again and he fled to Uxmal where he committed suicide and, according to legend, was buried under the Temple of the Dwarf where he remains to this day, though no burial plot has yet been discovered.

#17 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 02:36 AM

http://archaeology.l...ges2/mtm38B.htm

Quetzalcoatl



Quetzalcoatl. The creator god of humanity represented duality by nature. Half air and half earth, the feathered serpent was one of the most important pre-Hispanic deities, the main protagonist of many of the major Mesoamerican myths and his cult was very ancient.

Quetzalcoatl had different avocations: Venus as the morning star, called Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli; Xolotl, the "Precious Twin," Venus as the afternoon star; and Ehecatl, god of Wind.

The cult of Quetzalcoatl reached the Maya zone, where he is known as Kukulkan.
Among his most important attributes are the cut shell ornament, whether used as a pectoral, earplugs or adornment in some other part of his accouterments. As the wind god, he wears a beak-shaped mask, with which he produces the wind. The image is from the Codex Borbonicus.

Last Modified: January 14, 1998.
Museo del Templo Mayor, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e História, México.
Seminario #8, Centro Histórico. Cuauhtémoc, México, D.F. 06060
©Copyright 1997


#18 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 02:41 AM

Fruitimmortal,

Thanks so much for the feedback.

Much can be learned from history. The question is: How much of our history is tainted?

You might want to click on the URL below to get some information on the Star of Bethlehem.

bob

http://www.eclipse.net/~molnar/



#19 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 05:46 AM

http://www.rjames.com/Toltec/myth2.htm

Quetzalcoatl The Myth

The Myth
The Quetzalcoatl Myth is the Great Epic of Mesoamerica. It describes events which took place in the city of Tollan Xicocotitlan (Tula, Hidalgo) in the north of the Valley of Mexico near the end of the Tenth Century. Long thought to be completely mythological, modern research from the 1930s onward has provided a solid factual basis for some of the key events. Much, however, remains wrapped in mystery. All we have to tell us of the legendary Ce Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl comes from a handful of pre-Columbian sources (perhaps no more than twelve), subsequent Aztec accounts written 500 years later (heavily influenced by Christianity), and the archaeological record (extremely fragmentary). No complete written version of the Myth survived the Spanish Conquest in 1519, with the possible exception of the "Legend of the Suns," a pictorial account much like the Mixtec codices. Although the original text did not survive the book-burnings, we do have an Aztec priest's account of the story which appears to have been the priest's explanation of the pictorial book.

I have attempted to assemble the fragments and versions of the myth into something resembling a coherent whole. For a far more detailed version, I can recommend "History and Mythology of the Aztecs - The Codex Chimalpopoca" translation and commentray by John Bierhorst, which is available from www.amazon.com. But...on to the Myth.

Mixcoatl

The myth begins, like so many other myths, before the birth of its central figure, Topiltzin. We are given a short account of the events of Topiltzin's father's life, the famous Mixcoatl. Mixcoatl often appears in the Mixtec codices, as well as the Aztec's mythology. His name--"cloud serpent"--may be more of a title than an actual name, just as Quetzalcoatl-- "feathered serpent"--was a title held by many different rulers during the Toltec era. Mixcoatl may have been a Chichimec lord, or a ruler of the early Toltec capital of Culhuacan. Still considered to be mythological by many experts, Mixcoatl is something of a misty figure: he is frequently mentioned as being the father of Topiltzin and legend has it that a huge statue of the god-king was to be found at Cholula, a city closely associated with the Quetzalcoatl cult. Wherever he came from, he was clearly a powerful warlord by the time of Topiltzin's birth.

Mixcoatl proceeds to make conquests, eventually becoming powerful enough to marry into the early Toltec aristocracy. His young wife, Chimalman, a princess of the branch of the Toltecs who ruled Culhuacan, gives birth to Topiltzin, who bursts from her chest fully armed and prepared to join his father Mixcoatl's armies. Chimalman dies four days after Topiltzin's birth, a fate which many women suffered in pre-Columbian (and post-Columbian) Mexico. Legend places his birth at Xochicalco, the great Classic Era city. Topiltzin proves himself an able warrior at a very young age, taking captives for sacrifice at Xicalanco, a place name whose physical location has not yet been identified. Mixcoatl and his son wage numerous successful campaigns, creating a Toltec empire which encompasses most of the Valley of Mexico. The archaeological record supports such a series of conquests, as it is about this time (c. 950AD) that we see an explosion of Toltec influence in Mesoamerica. In fact, it is about this time that we see the "War of Heaven" taking place in the Mixtec codices (Nuttall, Vindobonensis), as well as pronounced Toltec influences at El Tajin. It is very likely that some of these conquests (though most likely the conquests were in a limited geographical area) were lead by Mixcoatl. Even if we do not have definitive, exact descriptions of his military campaigns, it does seem clear that Mixcoatl was a very successful warrior, in that his name was remembered for 500 years.

The Mimixcoa

But Mixcoatl is eventually betrayed and murdered by his 400 brothers (the Mimixcoa) who then go in search of Topiltzin intending to kill him as well. A civil war ensues in which Topiltzin tricks his uncles in a battle on top of a temple, and sacrifices them by cutting them open and smearing their bodies with chili peppers. After his victory, he hunts down the rest of his uncles, kills them, and then recovers his father's bones which the Mimixcoa had hidden. He founds a great temple as memorial to his father. He then sets off to "make conquests," in the words of the anonymous Aztec priest who interpreted the "Legend of the Suns" to the Spanish.

Conquests

Topiltzin, now at the head of elite groups of the Jaguar and Eagle warrior cults, drawn from the unified Toltec nations, proceeds to make conquests in the Valley of Mexico, Puebla, Cholula, and along the Gulf Coast at Coatzalcoalcos. After annexing the Itza people and their merchant fleets at Acallan, Topiltzin and his a rmies reach as far as Chichen Itza, the capital of the Yucatan Maya. Topiltzin conquers the Maya, and builds an exact duplicate of his capital at Tula near the sacred Well of Sacrifice at Chichen Itza. Now known as Kulkulcan, the Feathered Serpent, he apportions kingdoms to his new allies and loyal followers such as the Jaguar Priests of the Quiche Maya, whose history is recorded in the Popol Vuh. At last, after years of war and conquest, he dies in Acallan--the land of the Red and the Black, the Maya Country.

Tezcatlipoca

But the empire Topiltzin left behind is soon wracked by internal power struggles. A strange Chichimec sorcerer, Tezcatlipoca, has come from the North He proceeds to work mysterious and evil deeds upon the Toltecs. He disguises himself as a naked Huaxtec merchant in order to seduce Huemac (Topiltzin's heir) Quetzalcoatl's daughter. He changes himself into a great corpse whose decomposition sickens and kills the Toltecs. He shows Huemac his own reflection in a "smoking mirror" in which Huemac sees himself as he has truly become: old, frail, ugly. Tezcatlipoca convinces Quetzalcoatl to take a few sips of a sacred wine, and then to have more, five cups in all. A drunken Huemac commits incest with his sister and falls into deep spiral of remorse. Many more of the Toltecs die, victims of Tezcatlipoca's malice which Huemac Quetzalcoatl, now grown old, is unable to combat. The Huaxtec trader mentioned before becomes a powerful warlord despite Huemac's attempts to send him to his death in battle, and Huemac's power further weakens.

The Fall of Tollan

Sensing the imminent collapse of his empire, Huemac causes the city of Tollan to be razed rather than let it fall into the hands of Tezcatlipoca and his followers, the Chichimecs. All the great temples are destroyed, all the sacred books and treasures of the realm are hidden high in the mountain valleys. Huemac and his few loyal followers flee the ruined capital towards the Gulf Coast. At every stop, Huemac is harassed by the demonic minions of Tezcatlipoca, and is forced to give up his knowledge of craft and science and the arts. Huemac's loyal Nonoalco followers, forced to flee with him, perish one by one in the cold passes between the Volcanos Ixtaccihuatl and Popocapetl. Arriving broken, powerless, and alone on the Gulf Coast at Acallan, Huemac immolates himself in a sacred bonfire and rises up to become Venus, the Morning Star. Or flees to Chapultepec and hangs himself. Huemac is referred to as "Quetzalcoatl" in the Florentine Codex, which has caused endless confusion between him and his father Topiltzin. Whichever the case, with the death of Huemac, the Toltec Era comes to an end.

Such is a highly romantic reconstruction of the Quetzalcoatl Myth.

A Mesoamerican Christ

Quetzalcoatl is to the New World what Christ is to Europe: the center of a religious cosmology and the pre-eminent symbol of the civilized nations of Mesoamerica. Both were considered to be men who ascended into heaven upon their death; Christ to sit at the right hand of God, Quetzalcoatl to become the Morning Star. Both were tempted by evil powers; Christ by Satan, Quetzalcoatl by the wizard-god Tezcatlipoca. And both were prophecied to one day return to earth, Christ as the Prince of the Kingdom of Heaven, Quetzalcoatl as a god-king returned to claim his kingdom in Central Mexico. To understand the life and teachings of Jesus Christ is to understand Christianity, the root religion of what we refer to as Western Civilization. To understand the life and mystery of Quetzalcoatl is to understand the religious thought of what we call Mesoamerica.

The Feathered Serpent

The figure of the feathered serpent predates Topiltzin by at least 500 years. With an archaeological history stretching from the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (100-200AD) at Teotihuacan until the founding of Tula Tollan (c. 700AD), and a written history extending from the beginnings of the Toltec state to the end of the Aztec Empire (1520), Quetzalcoatl is the best known of the pantheon of gods who appear throughout pre-Columbian archaeology. In the days after the fall of the Toltecs, Quetzalcoatl as the Feathered Serpent became the symbol of legitimate authority, a kind of coat of arms for any ruler who pretended to power beyond the circuit of his own walls. The Aztecs considered themselves the descendents of this political tradition, even if Huitzilopochtli (a later version of Tezcatlipoca) had become their primary tribal god.

Who is the god Quetzalcoatl? Very little has come down to us 500 years later. The physical evidence of stone carvings and glyphs is weathered and often extremely difficult to decipher, the written evidence has been destroyed, altered or perhaps never existed at all. A long-nosed god appears on stelae at Tikal and Quiriga and several other Maya sites, perhaps as a direct influence the Olmeca-Xicallanca, but this god may not be Quetzalcoatl and indeed has few of the monumental aspects of the flying serpents of Teotihuacan. The descendents of the builders of the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon carved snake heads surrounded by feathers on their Quetzalcoatl Temple, but had no identified system of writing which might have cast light on the role of the worship of the plumed serpent in their gigantic city of Teotihuacan ("where the gods were made"). What is clear however is that the plumed serpent was a symbol of political power, and wherever he appeared carved in stone, signs of ritual human sacrifice would be found nearby. Many researchers who had believed in a more peaceful, mercantile-based society at Teotihuacan were startled by the discovery of over 200 sacrificial victims buried at the corners of the Temple of Quetzalcoatl in 1988, most warriors with their hands tied behind their backs. It is clear that by this time (c. 250 AD), Quetzalcoatl had assumed major importance and a military cast, being the god of warriors rather than priests. It appears that Quetzalcoatl continued to be the focus of religious worship until the fall of the city sometime in the 8th century, an event which is considered to be the birth of the Fifth Sun, the Sun of the Toltecs.

The Texts

Did Quetzalcoatl have his own developed mythology at Teotihuacan? If so, was it a lost original of the later tale of the god-king of Tula? Repeated motifs are common in Mexican mythology. The story of the 400 brothers of Mixcoatl has an exact parallel in Aztec mythology, as does the story of Quetzalcoatl bursting from his mother's chest, only called Huitzilipochtli. The literature which was passed down to succeeding generations of Toltec/Chichimec/Mixtec/Aztec priests was transmitted by means of "magic books", books painted on gate-folded animal skin or bark using pigments and plant dyes. These books do not have accompanying written "text" in the same sense as modern books, however. They have been thought to function as "guides" or supplements to oral tradition. The Toltec and Aztec magic books which might have contained illustrations of Quetzalcoatl legends handed down via oral traditions from previous eras were for the most part destroyed by Spanish priests (and by the Aztec's enemies) who followed after Hernan Cortes and the conquistadors. These priests, bent on suppressing and then eliminating a religion which they viewed as "satanic" and whose chief gods were considered "demons", were only too successful. A bare handful of pre-Columbian codices survived, the most significant of which produced by Mixtec artists in the Valley of Oaxaca, the valley given to Hernan Cortes as a cosulation prize. Perhaps out of a sense of admiration for the cultures which he had helped to obliterate, or perhaps as an attempt to further impress the Spanish Crown with the legends of the peoples he had conquered, Cortes sent several of these codices Europe in the early days of the Colonial Era which is how the Codex Nuttall, and perhaps the Codex Vindobenensis I survived the bonfires. These books, however, appear to deal with the Toltecs descendents, and only refer back to the days of Quetzalcoatl in mythological terms.

The Spanish Priests

Much has been made of the book-burnings. In defense of the Spanish clergy it is difficult to expect that priests, friars or even well-educated bishops such as Diego de Landa could have understood or appreciated or even tolerated a religion which represented its most sacred deities as complicated monsters frequently shown consuming their worshippers. The preists of this religion also performed human sacrifices by excising the living heart from the chest of captives taken from enemy tribes. That these priests worshipped in temples decorated with the dismembered remains of those sacrifices (as reported by Bernal Diaz, one of Cortes' soldiers) convinced the earliest of the priests and soldiers that the Mexicans were not human. To the early Spaniards, it must have appeared as if the whole of Mexican religion were dedicated towards providing sacrifices for their frightening gods under the implicit threat that if these sacrifices were not provided, the gods would allow the sun to fail, bringing the world to an end. Which, assisted by the Spaniards, it did.

The Aztecs

But what the Spaniards saw was an aberration, a distorted Aztec version of an earlier religion. Even the neighboring states, who practiced similar sacrifices, regarded the Aztec's wholesale massacres of thousands of victims as abhorrent, one of the many reasons they were so willing to help Cortes in his campaigns against the Aztecs. It is no surprise that these nations were willing participants in the burning of the Aztecs sacred books, as these sacred books likely contained justifications, and even glorification of the Aztec's fanatic devotion to sacrificing captured enemies. Aztec accounts of great sacrifices of the past mentioned festivals in which tens of thousands of victims went to the altar. Their neighbors may have well viewed this not as religious dedication, but as a political means of draining their neighbor's manpower.

Cultural Revisionism

The Spaniards very quickly moved to break this power. The motivation for Sahugan's great "Historia de las cosas de Nueva Espana" is to give a better understanding to missionaries of Mexican religion, society and politics in order to more effectively combat it, and replace it with Christianity. It is in this light that Indian attempts to rehabilitate the image of the god Quetzalcoatl can be seen for what they are: a campaign on the part of the post-conquest Indian aristocracy to make Quetzalcoatl more palatable to the Spaniards, as most members of this aristocracy traced their descent from Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl. To be the lineal descendent of a heart-sacrificing god-emperor might provide a convenient context for removal from power. A Quetzalcoatl who appeared to be a lost Christian saint might prove that the Aztec aristocracy were truly Christians at heart, and deserved to continue in power. It's interesting to note that the chronicler Don Alvarado de Ixlilxochtli himself was a descendent of the once all-powerful god-kings of Tezcuco in the Valley of Mexico, and was still in possesion of many of the official state documents (and some of its authority) in the late 16th century, two generations after the Conquest.

The Toltecs

The Toltecs themselves were considered a legendary race of superhuman beings until relatively recently. Even Linda Schele, the great Mayanist regarded "Toltec" as being more of a claim of cultural affiliation (someone who comes from Tollan "place of reeds" ie, large city) rather than an actual nation of peoples with a capital at Tula, Hidalgo (Code of Kings, pg 200). It is through the efforts of the early Mixtec codex painters, the early Spanish chroniclers, and the intensive field work of "glorious amateurs" such as Charnay, and modern scientific archaeologists such as Richard Diehl and Wigberto Moreno that we are able to firmly state the Myth of Quetzalcoatl does have real historical grounding in the sense that "Tollan" did indeed exist, and was situated in Tula, Hidalgo. The Toltecs were a real people, and at one point in their history they were ruled by a man who is identified as a Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl. And that these people sometime in the middle Tenth Century exerted a vast influence over a large part of Mexico, an influence which would last for the next 400 years.

#20 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 05:53 AM

http://www.mexconnec...ry/classic.html

CLASSIC PERIOD 250 A.D - 900 A.D.



#21 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 06:01 AM

http://www.mexconnec.../hclassic3.html

The Classic Period, Part 3 of 3 - The Maya

The Maya make up the largest homogenous group of Indians north of Peru, inhabiting a vast area that encompasses Mexico's Yucatan peninsula and parts of the states of Tabasco and Chiapas, as well as Guatemala, Belize and parts of western Honduras and El Salvador.

While not the earliest of the great Mesoamerican civilizations, the Maya are generally considered the most brilliant of all the Classic groups. The culture's beginnings have been traced back to 1500 BC, entering the Classic period about 300 AD and flourishing between 600 and 900 AD.

Mayan settlements were situated close to cenotes, natural water holes that allowed for survival in an inhospitable tropical climate. The basis of the culture was farming, which included not only the cultivation of maize, beans, squash, and chili peppers, but also "cash crops" of cotton and cacao.

Considered the most outstanding intellects of ancient Mexico, the Maya devised a complex style of hieroglyphic writing that has yet to be fully deciphered. They refined the exact sciences learned from other prehispanic civilizations. Through their knowledge of astronomy and mathematics they calculated the lunar cycle, predicted eclipses and other heavenly events with great precision and formulated a unique calendar system more exact than the one we use today.

For the Maya, science and religion went hand in hand, forming the core of daily life. A baptismal rite was commonly practiced for children who survived infancy. To secure the favor of their gods, each year was marked by a series of festivals that included ritual offerings, sacrifices and the imbibing of an intoxicating mead called balche. Among the most revered deities were Itzamna and Ix Chel, father and mother of all other gods, and the rain god Chac. Kukulcan was the Mayan name for the feathered serpent, god of the ruling caste. The Maya's highly complex pantheon and multi-faceted cosmology continue to fascinate and perplex archaeologists and other students of the culture.

In building their ceremonial centers the Maya followed the design typical of all Mesoamerica, constructing tall pyramidal temples, warren-like single story palaces and the ubiquitous ball court around a broad central plaza. Distinctive architectural features of Mayan pyramids include corbel vaults, towering roofs and elaborate embellishment with stucco reliefs.

There is a baroque quality to the artistic style of the Maya, as evidenced in their exotic murals, polychrome ceramics, finely detailed stelae, altars and other stone work. As opposed to the geometric designs typical of other cultures, the human form is common depicted in Mayan art.

Insufficient food supply, earthquakes, pestilence, invasion by outsiders, internal rebellion or a combination of these factors have all been suggested as possible causes for the fall of the Mayan eminence. What appears certain is that by 900 AD the Maya's numerous ceremonial centers had been abandoned. Swiftly disappearing beneath dense jungle growth, many sites avoided destruction by Spanish Conquistadors, remaining hidden and remarkably well preserved until the 19th century.

Notable sites of the northern lowland region (Yucatan peninsula) include Chichen Itza, Dzibilchaltun, Tulum and Uxmal. Located in the southern lowland region, the Maya heartland, are Bonampak, Copan, Palenque and Tikal.

By Dale Hoyt Palfrey
© Copyright 1997


#22 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 06:10 AM

http://mayaruins.com/tikal.html



Miguel Ángel Asturias, named Nobel Laureate in 1967, wrote "Only Guatemala is comparable to itself," describing it as "a land of natural dreamscapes...mysterious presences and absences." Tikal, the largest known Mayan city, is incomparable in the same way; its size imposing and intimidating, its setting lush and teeming with wildlife, and with a mysterious and overwhelming atmosphere best described in the writing of Asturias:

"The imagination reels. There are reliefs, pyramids, temples in the extinguished city. The damp murmur of the arroyos, voices, crepitations of the intertangling vines, the sound of flapping wings, trickle into the immense sea of silence. Everything palpitates, breathes, exhausting itself in green above the vast roof of Peten."

Miguel Ángel Asturias, The Mirror of Lida Sal: Tales Based on Mayan Myths & Guatemalan Legends, p. 13-14.

Copyright ©1995-2002 by Barbara McKenzie

#23 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 06:18 AM

http://personal.nbne.../maya/tech.html

Tikal





At the great community of Tikal, an arial view is beautiful. It shows off the great architechture of this community. Temple 1 at Tikal is the pyramid of the Great Jaguar. It is a nine tiered pyramid with a sanctuary at the top. Inside, there is a tomb for a high priest. It is filled with vases, jade, etc.

#24 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 06:29 AM

http://www.english.u...bronk/tikal.htm

About Tikal and Mayan Culture (excerpts)



Deep within the jungles of Mexico and Guatemala and extending into the limestone shelf of the Yucatan peninsula lie the mysterious temples and pyramids of the Maya. While Europe was still in the midst of the Dark Ages, these amazing people had mapped the heavens, evolved the only true writing system native to the Americas and were masters of mathematics. They invented the calendars we use today. Without metal tools, beasts of burden or even the wheel they were able to construct vast cities across a huge jungle landscape with an amazing degree of architectural perfection and variety. Their legacy in stone, which has survived in a spectacular fashion at places such as Palenque, Tikal, Tulum, Chichén Itzá, Copan and Uxmal, lives on as do the seven million descendants of the classic Maya civilization.

The Maya are probably the best-known of the classical civilizations of Mesoamerica. Originating in the Yucatan around 2600 B.C., they rose to prominence around A.D. 250 in present-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, northern Belize and western Honduras. Building on the inherited inventions and ideas of earlier civilizations such as the Olmec, the Maya developed astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing. The Maya were noted as well for elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture, including temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories, all built without metal tools. They were also skilled farmers, clearing large sections of tropical rain forest and, where groundwater was scarce, building sizable underground reservoirs for the storage of rainwater. The Maya were equally skilled as weavers and potters, and cleared routes through jungles and swamps to foster extensive trade networks with distant peoples.

Around 300 B.C., the Maya adopted a hierarchical system of government with rule by nobles and kings. This civilization developed into highly structured kingdoms during the Classic period, A.D. 200-900.

Their society consisted of many independent states, each with a rural farming community and large urban sites built around ceremonial centers. It started to decline around A.D. 900 when - for reasons which are still largely a mystery - the southern Maya abandoned their cities. When the northern Maya were integrated into the Toltec society by A.D. 1200, the Maya dynasty finally came to a close, although some peripheral centers continued to thrive until the Spanish Conquest in the early sixteenth century.







Tikal Temple I and the Great Plaza. Temple I is the mortuary monument erected to commemorate Rular A, who is interred in Burial 116 beneath this pyramid.

#25 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 06:40 AM

http://web.kyoto-ine...maya/tikal.html

Tikal, Guatemala, Tikal; Late Classic; B.C.300-900



Temple I (Temple of the Jaguars)

The temple has a sculpture of jaguars and the secret crypt. The height is 51m.



Temple II (Temple of the Mask)

There is a relief of the Mask on the roof-comb. The height is 42m and the lowest amoung the 5 pylamids.

#26 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 07:26 AM

http://mayaruins.com...l_InnerMap.html



Map based on the Guide Map in William R. Coe's Tikal: A Handbook of the Ancient Maya Ruins

#27 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 07:28 AM

http://mayaruins.com/tikal/b2_113.html

View of North Acropolis, with Temple I staircase rising at right



Occupied for over a thousand years, Tikal was a functioning city from Pre-Classic times (600 BC–250 AD), reaching it's height during the Late Classic period (600–900 AD). It has been known to Western scholars and explorers since the 19th Century through the detailed 1881 drawings of Alfred Maudslay and the 1895 & 1904 photographs of Teobert Maler. The monuments and inscriptions of Tikal were recorded by Sylvanus Morley as part of his pioneering study of Maya hieroglyphic texts in the early 1920's. In 1956 the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania initiated the Tikal Project, which was to continue for fifteen years under Edwin Shook initially, with William Coe the field director for the last seven years.

"Judged by almost any standard, the Tikal Project was conducted on an unprecedented scale for Maya archaeology. By its final year, in 1970, its professional staff over the years had totaled one-hundred-thirteen archaeologists. After 1970, excavations of the buildings and their consolidation continued under the direction of two expert Guatemalan archaeologists, C. Rudy Larios and Miguel Orrego, working under the auspices of the Instituto de Antropologia e Historia de Guatemala."

Sharer, The Ancient Maya, pp. 272-273

#28 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 07:34 AM

http://mayaruins.com/tikal/b3_028.html

Atop Temple IV, Temples I, II, III & VI [right to left] rise above the forest canopy.



January 7, 1998. Photo courtesy of Jeff Purcell

"The Peten contains the most ancient Classic Maya sites. Their form is best described as island cities or archipelago cities, consisting of many groups of platforms and buildings on knolls and shoulders of hilly land rising above the surrounding swamps, which may have been lakes or water-holes in antiquity. Tikal has nine groups of courts and plazas, separated by ravines but connected by causeways and ramps. The free-standing pyramid was the dominant form...used by Maya architects."

George Kubler, The Art & Architecture of Ancient America, p. 207

#29 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 07:41 AM

http://www.geocities...273/tindex1.htm

History of Tulum

Tulum means fence, trench or wall, and is the name given to the site in recent times because of the wall surrounding it, although its ancient name was possibly Zama, a corruption of Zamal (morning), associated with the dawn. This is an ideal name for the site, as sunrise in Tulumis a superb sight. The first mention of this city was made by Juan Diaz, who was on Juan de Grijalva's expedition that reached the coast of the Yucatan peninsula in 1518. He wrote, "We followed the coast day and night; on the following day... we sighted a city or town so large that Seville would not have appeared bigger or better... a very tall tower was to be seen there..." which no doubt refers to Tulum and the building known as the Castle, standing on the edge of the cliff.

In Juan de Reigosa's Las Relaciones de Yucatan, written in 1579, Zama is mentioned as a walled site with stone buildings which included a very large one that looked like a fortress. Pedro Sanchez de Aguilar, author of Informe Contra Idolorum Cultores del Obispado de Yucatan, (Madrid, 1639) mentions the coast of Zama when telling the story of ten shipwrecked Spaniards who were taken prisoner by the chieftain Kenich. Among them was Geronimo de Aguilar, who later became Hernan Cortes' interpreter during the Conquest of Mexico.

After this there are no other references to Tulum until Juan Pio Perez in a letter dated 1840 says that Juan Jose Galvez had visited Ascencion Bay, discovering that between there and Cape Catoche there were two ancient cities, Tancah and Tulum, the latter surrounded by walls.

In 1842, John L. Stephens and Frederick Catherwood visited tho site and later made it known to the world with the book Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, where Stephen's text is complemented by Catherwood's magnificent illustrations. During the Maya uprising of the War for the Castes, which began in 1847 and lasted until 1901, Tulum was occupied several times by rebels because of the protection its wall afforded. In 1871 it became one of the sanctuaries of the "Speaking Cross" cult, led by the Indian woman Maria Uicab, who was known as the patron saint or queen of Tulumn.

Several expeditions rcached Tulum later. In 1895, W.H. Holmes made two drawings of the area from his yacht, and in 1913 Sylvanus G. Morley and J.L. Nussbaum paid a short visit to the site.

The Carnegie Institution of Washington organized expeditions in 1916, 1918 and 1922 led by Morley and including other noted researchers. In 1937, members of the Mexican Scientific Expedition studied various sites on the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula, including Tulum. The following year Miguel Angel Fernandez began the work of restoring and in investigating the site. Finally, the National Institute of Anthropology and History, through the Southeast Regional Center is continuing investigation and maintenance of this important Maya archaeological site.


From Guide of Tulum: History, Art and Monuments

#30 bobdrake12

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Posted 26 December 2002 - 07:52 AM

http://www.luna-azul.com/tulum.html

Tulum





Tulum, these cliff-side ruins create a dramatic vision, keeping quite watch over the white sandy beaches and blue caribbean sea below.

The name "Tulum" comes from the Yucatec word for fence, trench or wall, and was given to the site in recent times because of the wall surrounding it. It is likely that the city's original name was "Zama" or "place of the dawn". This is an ideal name for the city. Sunrise in the eastern horizon over the ancient city is an unforgetable vision.

Tulum is the only walled city the Maya ever built on the Caribbean coast. Unique among other Mayan cities, Tulum was still a thriving trading community when first visited by the Spanish. Spanish sailors were very impressed with Tulum and reported it to be as big as Seville.

Tulum remained occupied by the Maya for several decades after the conquest. The city was reoccuppied in 1890-1910 by a sect of the "Talking Cross




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