Interesting Questions, Facts and Information
- There are a total of 30 general entries.
Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
jaguar. 'Balam' means jaguar. As in the the name of one of the rulers of Palenque, 'Yax Kan Balam,' pronounced 'yash kahn bahlahm.' It means 'Lord Serpent Jaguar.'
|The Maya civilization is widely thought to have been influenced by which pre-Mayan culture?||The Ancient Maya
Olmec. Olmec. Not much to say about this one. The Aztec and Zapotec were not contemporary with the ancient Maya. The Inca lived on a completely different continent.
|Of the estimated thousands of Mayan books or codices that existed at the time of Spanish conquest, how many are known to currently exist?||The Ancient Maya
4. The four known codices are the Dresden Codex, the Paris Codex, the Madrid Codex and the Grolier Codex. The names of the first three are based on the European cities where they currently reside. Through the World Court, Mexico is in the process of trying to gain possession. Thus far, efforts to this end have been hampered by the fact that the provenance of each codex is debatable. While it seems likely that at least two of three came from Mexican lands, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador can also lay claim to the cultural patrimony that created them.
|Which creatures figure prominently in Maya art?||Maya People
Jaguars, snakes, turtles, birds. The Maya colored their richly decorated temples with bright natural pigments. Some of their psychedelic images have led to speculation that they experimented with mind expanding roots and cacti as part of their religion.
|What did the Maya do with their family members who died?||Maya People
Most were cremated, some were buried.. The highest ranking members of society were buried. All others were cremated. The pyramids were built on the the graves of kings. The Maya king was both the political and religious leader.
|On the altar where a human sacrifice was offered the stones fit into a flat surface but there was a bump on the altar. What was the function of the bump?||Maya People
The sacrifice would lie down on his back and the bump pushed his chest up so the priest could more easily remove his heart. The sacrifice and other offerings were thrown into a sink hole. Many of the artifacts that are today found in museums throughout the world have been brought up by divers excavating sink holes in Maya cites.
|A typical Maya temple complex will contain a pyramid, an observatory for watching the heavenly bodies, sacrificial altars, and what other structure?||Maya People
A ball court. Part of the Maya religion was to host a game in which two teams tried to hit a rubber ball through one of two high hoops built into walls on opposite sides of a court. The game represented the struggle of light and darkness and the losing team was sacrificed. Many people believe that it was the winning team, or the captain of the winning team that was sacrificed and that the team considered it a privilege.
|Many Maya temples can be found in valleys (such as Chichen Itza in Yucatan), many can be found in jungles (such as Tikal in Guatemala). One temple called Tulum is found in an unusual location. Where is it?||Maya People
On a cliff over the beach. Tulum is build on a beautiful site by the beach facing the Carribean Sea. It is found on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.
All of these (They built their huge structures without beasts of burden, They built their buildings and carved their detailed hieroglyphics on the walls of their temples without metallic tools, They did not employ carts or wagons with wheels). No metal tools, draught animals, or wagons. They cut limestone blocks with harder stone such as obsidian. They used only their own strength to carry loads. They pulled large stones with ropes on rollers made of logs.
|One of the greatest cities of the Maya people is today found at Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico. The huge pyramid at the center of the site is built so that what phenomenon occors on the vernal equinox?||Maya People
Light and shadow fall on one side of the pyramid in the shape of a snake.. Many of the buildings in Maya temples are aligned so that light hits them in a certain way on the equinoxes or the solstices. The Maya were masters of astronomy.
|The Maya wrote books on paper made from tree bark in which they kept detailed records of their history, religion, philosophy, and secular science including astronomy and engineering. What happened to their books?||Maya People
They were all burnt by the Spanish. The Spanish had no respect for knowledge or religion other than their own. They waged total war against the Maya and slaughtered as many as they could and sold the survivors into slavery. Only four books were ever found. These four (today found in Dresden, Paris, Mexico City, and Madrid) have been copied and studied by anthropologists. The rest were lost.
|The ancestors of the Maya people originally came from where?||Maya People
East Asia. The Mayas' ancestors crossed over from Asia via the Bering Straits into North America. It is likely that there was a land bridge crossing the continents at that time, many thousands of years ago. These people left one of the coldest regions of the world and settled in one of the warmest.
|The Maya people built cities and thrived in Meso-America (Mexico and Central America), including what modern-day countries?||Maya People
All of these (Guatemala, Mexico, Belize). Many of their cities and monuments have been excavated but there is still much to be uncovered.
|The meaning of Mayan consonants can change depending upon whether or not they are 'glottalized or unglottalized.' What is the meaning of unglottalized and glottalized in this respect?||Deciphering Mayan History
Speaking with the throat unconstricted or constricted. It was Bishop Fray Diego de Landa who discovered that these changes, constriction of the throat whilst speaking, made all the difference to understanding what a Mayan actually meant when he spoke. For example: 'cutz' = turkey: 'kutz' = tobacco. 'muk' = to permit:
'muc' = to bury.
|The Mayans expanded their original yearly calender of named days from 260 to 365 days. How many named months were there in the new Mayan calender year?||Deciphering Mayan History
18. The Maya increased the day count by simply adding a third (pictorial) wheel to their calender. The Mayan month had 20 days with the exception of one month which had 5 days.
Dog. Yuri Knorosov, taking de Rosny's work a stage further, noticed that the first sign of the dog glyph was identical to that of the second sign of the turkey glyph. If the first sign in the dog glyph had the sound value of tzu, which by now was known to be so, then it followed that the second sign could be read as 'l', thus reading - 'tzul', meaning dog.
Turkey. In 1876 Leon de Rosny, by applying the Landa alphabet to the first sign in the Madrid Codex, dicovered that this entire glyph meant turkey. Rosny went on to make highly educated guesses and proposed that Mayan writing was a phonetic system based on syllables. His ideas were rejected by the likes of Thompson who favoured a logographic explanation and it was left to Knorosov to finally prove that Mayan writing was indeed phonetic.
|What was the name of the Russian scholar who in 1952 challenged established thinking on the decipherment of Mayan glyphs even though at that time he had never been to Central America?||Deciphering Mayan History
Yuri Knorosov. Yuri Valentinovich Knorosov was possibly the first to get on to the completely right track with the decipherment of Mayan glyphs. He published his first work (in Russian) in 1952. Unfortunately, the middle part of the 20th century was dominated by the opinions of Sir Arthur Thompson who favoured a different but, as is now accepted, incorrect approach. It was many years before Knorosov's work became fully recognised and accepted depite the many important papers that he published. Sir Arthur Thompson bitterly attacked Knorosov's work and began what was almost a vendetta against him. However, younger Mayanists (mainly from the USA) were coming to the fore, and they realised that Knorosov was onto something of vital importance. Knorosov finally managed to get to Central America in 1990 when he visited the Maya ruins in Guatemala.
A Mayan book. The Dresden Codex is one of the only four surviving 'books' of the ancient Maya of Central America. Probably painted by Mayan scribes some time before the Spanish conquest of Mexico it contains hieroglyphs and animal symbols and it is full of dates and astronomical calculations. The 'book' is in fact a folding screen that folds out much like a travel guide and has a length of almost 12 feet. It was taken by Cortes to Europe in 1739 where, reputedly, it was purchased by the royal library of the court of Saxony in Dresden.
What do you say, we do not understand you. Yucatan or in the Mayan, 'uicathan,' was a word used by Mayans when being interrogated by the Spanish about the name of their land. Upon being asked repeatedly by the Spanish, "What is your land called?" they responded with, "Uicathan (what do you say, we do not understand you)" which is hardly surprising as they spoke not a word of Spanish. The area in question then became known as Yucatan.
|What is the name of the man who in the 16th century burnt many valuable Mayan codices but nevertheless left after his death the key to understanding Mayan hieroglyphs? ||Deciphering Mayan History
Fray Diego de Landa. Fray Diego de Landa (1524-79) was bishop of Yucatan (south east Mexico) from 1572 until his death in 1579. Whilst attempting to understand the Maya and their system of writing he also, possibly for religious reasons, went to great lengths to obliterate much of what he discovered. He seems to have loved the Maya whilst at the same time having no compunction about physically torturing them. It is known that he regarded the Maya as 'moral' beings worthy of salvation, a view not held by his Catholic superiors and one which got him into considerable trouble. He burned most of the surviving Mayan codices but left enough for future scholars to decipher accurately.
Numbers. Numbers were the first part of the Mayan writing system to be deciphered. This decipherment took place during the 19th century and the Mayan numbering system turned out to be very sophisticated.
For example: a shell symbolized a zero, a dot stood for 1, and a bar for 5, and so on.
|In part due to the published research by Sir Arthur Thompson, a leading Mayanist and scholar of Mayan script of the mid 20th century, the Maya were thought of as 'a gentle theocracy, time worshippers who were a people with a deeply spiritual outlook. Their idea was moderation in all things, and their motto was live and let live. Their character had emphasis on discipline, cooperation, patience and consideration for others.'
What is the current view?||Deciphering Mayan History
Maya were obsessed with war and human sacrifice. Sir Arthur Thompson died in 1975. He propounded the glory of the Maya and innate gentleness of the Mayan civilization. He appears to have been led to these conclusions by misinterpreting what the glyphs actually meant. The most recent phonetic decipherment of Mayan glyphs shows that the Maya were obsessed with war and prone to some extremely unpleasant practices. Probably the highest goal of these extremely lineage-proud dynasts was to capture the ruler of another city-state in battle and torture and humiliate him, sometimes for years. When they were finished with their royal captive they would decapitate him after first forcing him to play a ball game which he had no chance of winning.