History of the Maya civilization
Modern scholars regard these periods as arbitrary divisions of chronology of the Maya civilization, rather than indicative of cultural evolution or decadence. Definitions of the start and end dates of period spans can vary by as much as a century, each period is further subdivided, The Maya developed their first civilization in the Preclassic period. Scholars continue to discuss when this era of Maya civilization began, discoveries of Maya occupation at Cuello, Belize have been carbon dated to around 2600 BC. This period, known as the Early Preclassic, was characterized by sedentary communities, during the Middle Preclassic Period, small villages began to grow to form cities. By 500 BC these cities possessed large temple structures decorated with stucco masks representing gods, nakbe in the Petén Department of Guatemala is the earliest well-documented city in the Maya lowlands, where large structures have been dated to around 750 BC. Nakbe already featured the monumental architecture, sculpted monuments and causeways that characterised cities in the Maya lowlands.
The northern lowlands of Yucatán were widely settled by the Middle Preclassic, by approximately 400 BC, near the end of the Middle Preclassic period, early Maya rulers were raising stelae that celebrated their achievements and validated their right to rule. In the Late Preclassic Period, the city of El Mirador grew to cover approximately 16 square kilometres. It possessed paved avenues, massive triadic pyramid complexes dated to around 150 BC, El Mirador is considered to be one of the first capital cities of the Maya civilization. The swamps of the Mirador Basin appear to have been the attraction for the first inhabitants of the area as evidenced by the unusual cluster of large cities around them. The city of Tikal, to be one of the most important of the Classic Period Maya cities, was already a significant city by around 350 BC, although it did not match El Mirador. The Late Preclassic cultural florescence collapsed in the 1st century AD and many of the great Maya cities of the epoch were abandoned and this gave it control over the distribution networks for important goods such as jade and cinnabar.
Within this extended route, Takalik Abaj and Kaminaljuyu appear to have been the two principal foci. The early Maya style of sculpture spread throughout this network, the Classic period is largely defined as the period during which the lowland Maya raised dated monuments using the Long Count calendar. The Classic period Maya political landscape has been likened to that of Renaissance Italy or Classical Greece, during the Classic Period, the Maya civilization achieved its greatest florescence. The Maya developed an intensive, city-centred civilization consisting of numerous independent city-states – some subservient to others. During the Early Classic, cities throughout the Maya region were influenced by the metropolis of Teotihuacan in the distant Valley of Mexico. In AD378, Teotihuacan decisively intervened at Tikal and other cities, deposed its ruler
Maya textiles are the clothing and other textile arts of the Maya peoples, indigenous peoples of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Belize. Women have traditionally created textiles in Maya society, and textiles were a significant form of ancient Maya art, in woven textiles, the first step is preparing fiber, which can come from plants, such as cotton or maguey, or animals, such as wool from sheep. In Mesoamerica, only plant fibers were available before European contact, the loose fibers are spun into threads by hand, with spindles, a long stick-like device for holding the thread, and whorls, a weight held on the spindle to increase its motion. In the pre-Columbian era, Mayan women exclusively wove with backstrap looms, after European contact, treadle looms were introduced, although backstrap looms continue to be popular. Ancient Maya women had two types of cotton to work with, one white and the other light brown, called cuyuscate. The preparation of cotton for spinning was very burdensome, as it had to be washed and picked clean of seeds, elite women were given the opportunity to work with the most expensive feathers and pearl beads.
Weavers had three different natural dyes to work with, maguey was of major value as a cordage material used for horse gear, nets and bags. In the Maya civilization, a typical dress was a cotton breechcloth wrapped around his waist and sometimes a sleeveless shirt. A woman typically wore a traje, which combined a huipil and a corte, the traje was held together with a faja or sash worn at the waist. Both women and men wore sandals, when the weather was temperate, Mayan clothing was needed less as protection from the elements and more for personal adornment. Maya clerics and other dignitaries wore elaborate outfits with jewellery, men wore plain loincloths or a band of cloth winded around their waists. Some wore moccasins made of deerhide, women possessed two items of clothing, a length of ornamented material with holes made for the arms and head, known as a kub. Both genders wore a heavier rectangle of cloth, as a manta, that functioned as an overwrap on cool days, the manta served as a blind across the door.
The most prevalent and influential aspect of women’s clothing in ancient times is the huipil, the huipil is a loose rectangular garment with a hole in the middle for the head made from lightweight sheer cotton. The huipil is usually white with colorful cross-stripping and zigzag designs woven into the cloth using the technique still commonly used today. The huipil could be loose or tucked into a skirt. Huipils were important displaying one’s religion and tribal affiliation, different communities tended to have different designs, lengths as well as particular huipils for ceremonial purposes. Although, women were not just limited to their community’s design, the hair sash is often the only part of the traditional outfit that is still locally woven by women on a backstrap loom
The traditional Maya religion of Guatemala, western Honduras, and the Tabasco and Yucatán regions of Mexico is a southeastern variant of Mesoamerican religion. As is the case with other contemporary Mesoamerican religions, it results from centuries of symbiosis with Roman Catholicism. When its pre-Spanish antecedents are taken into account, traditional Maya religion already exists for more than two millennia as a distinct phenomenon. Before the advent of Christianity, it was spread over many indigenous kingdoms, today, it coexists and interacts with pan-Mayan syncretism, the re-invention of tradition by the Pan-Maya movement, and Christianity in its various denominations. To a large extent, Maya religion is indeed a complex of ritual practices, among the main concepts relating to Maya ritual are the following ones. The Maya landscape is a ritual topography, with such as mountains and caves being assigned to specific ancestors. As in the pre-Hispanic past, an important part of ritual takes place in or near such landmarks, Ritual was governed not only by the geographical lay-out of shrines and temples, but by the projection of calendrical models onto the landscape.
In the northwestern Maya highlands, the four days, or Day Lords, in early-colonial Yucatán, the thirteen katun periods and their deities, mapped onto a landscape conceived as a wheel, are said to be successively established in specific towns. It is not known in how far this festival cycle was shared by the other Yucatec kingdoms, offerings serve to establish and renew relations with the other world, and the choice, number and arrangement of the offered items obey to stringent rules. A well-known example of a meal is the Holy Mass of the maize farmer celebrated for the Yucatec rain deities. Particularly Lacandon ritual was focused on the feeding of the deities. The forms sacrifice might take vary considerably, in contemporary sacrificial rites, there is an overall emphasis on the sprinkling of blood, especially that of turkeys. In the pre-Spanish past, sacrifice usually consisted of such as deer, quail and fish. The sacrificed child may have served as a substitute, a concept known from curing ritual, partaking of the sacrifice was common, but ritual cannibalism appears to have been exceedingly rare.
The two most important male deities of the Tzutujil Mayas of Santiago Atitlán, for example, have their own brotherhoods and priests. Public ritual focusing on agriculture and rain is led by the godfathers of the wet season among the Chortis – in a rich and complex system –. In the private realm, nearly everywhere diviners are active, together with curers, the performance of many of the indigenous priests, but especially of the curers, shows features associated with shamanism. Our picture of the earlier Maya priesthood is almost entirely based on what their Spanish missionary colleagues have to say about them, the upper echelon of the priesthood was a repository of learning, in the field of history and genealogical knowledge
Yaxchilan is an ancient Maya city located on the bank of the Usumacinta River in what is now the state of Chiapas, Mexico. In the Late Classic Period Yaxchilan was one of the most powerful Maya states along the course of the Usumacinta, architectural styles in subordinate sites in the Usumacinta region demonstrate clear differences that mark a clear boundary between the two kingdoms. Yaxchilan was a center, important throughout the Classic era. It dominated such smaller sites as Bonampak, and had a rivalry with Piedras Negras and at least for a time with Tikal, it was a rival of Palenque. The site is known for its well-preserved sculptured stone lintels set above the doorways of the main structures. These lintels, together with the stelae erected before the major buildings, epigraphers think that the ancient name for the city was probably the same as that of its realm, Pa Chan. Pronounced, meaning Cleft Sky. pronounced, Teoberto Maler gave it its modern name, for some time, the Emblem Gylph was read as Siyaj Chan, or Sky Born.
Yaxchilan is located on the bank of the Usumacinta River. This loop defends the site on all sides except for a land approach from the south. The site is 40 kilometres upriver from the ruins of Piedras Negras, Yaxchilan is 21 kilometres from the ruins of Bonampak. The site lies in Ocosingo Municipality in the state of Chiapas, on the Mexican side of the border with Guatemala. It is 80 kilometres downriver from the Maya site Altar de Sacrificios, Yaxchilan has its origins in the Preclassic Period. Some retrospective inscriptions appear to have used to rewrite Yaxchilans dynastic history to suit king Bird Jaguar IV. Before the rule of king Itzamnaaj Balam II, who reigned from 681 to 742, the city-state grew to a regional capital and the dynasty lasted into the early 9th century. The known history of Yaxchilan starts with the enthronement of Yopaat Balam I and he was the founder of a long dynasty, and took the throne when Yaxchilan was still a minor site. Hieroglyphic inscriptions dating to the Late Classic describe a series of wars in the Early Classic between the city and its neighbours, the long running rivalry with Piedras Negras had already begun by the fifth century AD, with both cities struggling to dominate the Usumacinta trade route.
King Moon Skull was credited with gaining a victory over Piedras Negras in 460 and with capturing the enemy king, by the middle of the 5th century Yaxchilan had formal contacts with the great city of Tikal. Bird Jaguar II, the king of Yaxchilan, captured a vassal of the king of Piedras Negras around 478
Maya Cities were the centres of population of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization of Mesoamerica. They served the roles of administration, manufacturing. They lacked the grid plans of the cities of central Mexico, such as Teotihuacán. Maya kings ruled their kingdoms from palaces that were situated within the centre of their cities, Cities tended to be located in places that controlled trade routes or that could supply essential products. This allowed the elites that controlled trade to increase their wealth, such cities were able to construct temples for public ceremonies, thus attracting further inhabitants to the city. Those cities that had favourable conditions for production, combined with access to trade routes, were likely to develop into the capital cities of early Maya states. The political relationship between Classic Maya city-states has been likened to the relationships between city-states in Classical Greece and Renaissance Italy. Maya cities were not formally planned like the cities of highland Mexico and were subject to expansion, with the haphazard addition of palaces, temples.
Most Maya cities tended to grow outwards from the core, Maya cities usually had a ceremonial and administrative centre surrounded by a vast irregular sprawl of residential complexes. The centres of all Maya cities featured sacred precincts, sometimes separated from residential areas by walls. These precincts contained pyramid temples and other monumental architecture dedicated to elite activities, sculpted monuments were raised to record the deeds of the ruling dynasty. City centres featured plazas, sacred ballcourts and buildings used for marketplaces, frequently causeways linked the centre to outlying areas of the city. Some of these classes of architecture formed lesser groups in the areas of the city. The areas adjacent to these sacred compounds included residential complexes housing wealthy lineages, art excavated from these elite residential complexes varies in quality according to the rank and prestige of the lineage that it housed. The largest and richest of these elite compounds sometimes possessed sculpture, the ceremonial centre of the Maya city was where the ruling elite lived, and where the administrative functions of the city were performed, together with religious ceremonies.
It was where the inhabitants of the city gathered for public activities, elite residential complexes occupied the best land around the city centre, while commoners had their residences dispersed further away from the ceremonial centre. Residential units were built on top of platforms to raise them above the level of the rain season floodwaters. During the Middle Preclassic Period, small villages began to grow to form cities, by 500 BC these cities possessed large temple structures decorated with stucco masks representing gods
Health and medicine among the ancient Maya was a complex blend of mind, religion and science. Important to all, medicine was practiced only by a select few and these shamans acted as a medium between the physical world and spirit world. They practiced sorcery for the purpose of healing, since medicine was so closely related to religion, it was essential that Maya medicine men had vast medical knowledge and skill. It is known that the Maya sutured wounds with human hair, reduced fractures, in understanding Maya medicine, it is important to recognize that the Maya equated sickness with the captivity of one’s soul by supernatural beings, angered by some perceived misbehavior. For this reason, curing a sickness involved elements of ritual, herbal remedies were ingested, snorted, rubbed on the skin, and even used in the form of enemas to force rapid absorption of a substance into the blood stream. Cleansing techniques included fasting and purging flushed substances out of the body, Medicine men, known to the ancient Maya as ah-men, held the special ability to alter consciousness to determine causes for events not understood, such as reasons for illness or misfortune.
Since it was perceived by the Maya that sickness was a punishment for a mistake or transgression and this was done in a methodological fashion, first inquiring about ascriptive attributes, followed by specific events of the person’s life, and lastly about circumstantial or acquired attributes. This aspect of the medicine man’s job would be similar to a therapy session. In addition to ritualistic and spiritual elements, the man had extensive knowledge of medicinal plants. After studying the symptoms of a sickness, a man may prescribe a remedy to his patient. The number of times or days that the remedy should be ingested or applied depended on a gender, typically the number thirteen was associated with men. The medicine men of ancient Maya society provided many services to their communities and were held in high regard, known for their extensive knowledge and spirituality, medicine men were called upon for many reasons, but most often for their healing capabilities. These Maya doctors often employed specialists for specific healing techniques such as bone-setting and childbirth, in addition to his duties as a doctor and sorcerer, a medicine man not only cured diseases, but sporadically accepted compensation to cause them.
The ah-man was called ah-pul-yaah, the “disease thrower”, Maya rituals differ from region to region, but many similar patterns in ceremonies, whether being performed for individual or group need, have been noted. First, all rituals are preceded by foresight of a medicine man, as a symbol of a spiritual purification, the individual or individuals would observe a fasting and abstinence period before the ritual day. Consistent patterns are shown throughout the Maya world as to the happenings of the day of the ritual as well, during the ceremony, elements including expulsion of the evil spirit from the participant, incensing of the idols, prayers and sacrifices were all practiced. If the ritual was used to cure a disease, the offering may be in the form of food or ornaments, following the ceremony would be dancing and ritual drinking by all, characterized by the Spaniards as a general drunkenness. Today the Maya keep many of the traditions of their ancestors
Spanish conquest of Chiapas
Soconusco had been incorporated into the Aztec Empire, centred in Valley of Mexico, and paid the Aztecs tribute. News of strangers first arrived in the region as the Spanish penetrated, in the early 1520s, several Spanish expeditions crossed Chiapas by land, and Spanish ships scouted the Pacific coast. The first highland colonial town in Chiapas, San Cristóbal de los Llanos, was established by Pedro de Portocarrero in 1527, within a year, Spanish dominion extended over the upper drainage basin of the Grijalva River, Comitán, and the Ocosingo valley. Encomienda rights were established, although in the stages of conquest these amounted to little more than slave-raiding rights. Excessive Spanish demands for tribute and labour caused a rebellion by the indigenous inhabitants, the conquistadores launched punitive raids, but the natives abandoned their towns and fled to inaccessible regions. The Mexican state of Chiapas occupies the extreme southeast of Mexico, to the west, it borders with the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Veracruz, and to the north with Tabasco.
It borders on the east with Guatemala, the border consists of 260 kilometres of Pacific coastline. Chiapas is geographically and culturally diverse and it features two principal highland regions, to the south is the Sierra Madre de Chiapas and in central Chiapas are the Montañas Centrales. They are separated by the Depresión Central, containing the drainage basin of the Grijalva River, the Sierra Madre highlands gain altitude from west to east, with the highest mountains near the Guatemalan border. The littoral zone of Soconusco lies to the south of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, and consists of a coastal plain. Although the entire coastal strip is referred to as Soconusco, Soconusco proper is the southeastern portion characterised by a humid tropical climate. The northwestern portion of the coastal strip featuring a drier climate was historically referred to as El Despoblado, the Depresión Central consists of a drainage basin some 200 kilometres long and varying in width from 30 to 60 kilometres.
The Grijalva River is fed by drainage from the Cuchumatanes mountains of Guatemala, the wide plains feature a hot climate with moderate rainfall. This region of high plains blocks the passage of the Grijalva River, los Chimalapas is another highland region at the northern extreme of the Meseta Central and bordering with Oaxaca, it is considered the first upthrust of the Sierra Madre. The Central Highlands rise sharply to the north of the Grijalva, to an altitude of 2,400 metres. They are cut by valleys running parallel to the Pacific coast. At the eastern end of the Central Highlands is the Lacandon Forest, the earliest human inhabitants of Chiapas were foragers living in the northern highlands and along the coastal strip from approximately 6000 BC until about 2000 BC. For approximately the last two millennia BC, the majority of the territory that is now covered by the state of Chiapas was occupied by Zoque-speaking peoples
A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king. In Brunei, the wife of the Sultan is known as a Raja Isteri with prefix Pengiran Anak, equivalent with queen consort in English, a queen consort usually shares her husbands social rank and status. She holds the equivalent of the kings monarchical titles, but historically, she does not share the kings political. A queen regnant is a queen in her own right with all the powers of a monarch, where some title other than that of king is held by the sovereign, his wife is referred to by the feminine equivalent, such as princess consort or empress consort. In monarchies where polygamy has been practiced in the past, or is practiced today. In Morocco, King Mohammed VI has broken with tradition and given his wife, Lalla Salma, prior to the reign of King Mohammed VI, the Moroccan monarchy had no such title. In Thailand, the king and queen must both be of royal descent, the kings other consorts are accorded royal titles that confer status. Other cultures maintain different traditions on queenly status, a Zulu chieftain designates one of his wives Great Wife, which would be the equivalent to queen consort.
Conversely, in Yorubaland, all of a chiefs princess consorts are essentially of equal rank, in general, the consorts of monarchs have no power per se, even when their position is constitutionally or statutorily recognized. In some cases, the queen consort has been the power behind her husbands throne, e. g. Maria Luisa of Parma. Past queens consort, Queen Jang, consort to Sukjong of Joseon
Maya stelae are monuments that were fashioned by the Maya civilization of ancient Mesoamerica. They consist of tall sculpted stone shafts and are associated with low circular stones referred to as altars. Many stelae were sculpted in low relief, although plain monuments are found throughout the Maya region, the earliest dated stela to have been found in situ in the Maya lowlands was recovered from the great city of Tikal in Guatemala. During the Classic Period almost every Maya kingdom in the southern lowlands raised stelae in its ceremonial centre, stelae became closely associated with the concept of divine kingship and declined at the same time as this institution. The production of stelae by the Maya had its origin around 400 BC and continued through to the end of the Classic Period, around 900, although some monuments were reused in the Postclassic. The major city of Calakmul in Mexico raised the greatest number of stelae known from any Maya city, at least 166, hundreds of stelae have been recorded in the Maya region, displaying a wide stylistic variation.
Many are upright slabs of limestone sculpted on one or more faces, with available surfaces sculpted with figures carved in relief, stelae in a few sites display a much more three-dimensional appearance where locally available stone permits, such as at Copán and Toniná. Plain stelae do not appear to have been painted nor overlaid with stucco decoration, stelae were essentially stone banners raised to glorify the king and record his deeds, although the earliest examples depict mythological scenes. This influence receded in the 5th century although some minor Teotihuacan references continued to be used, in the late 5th century, Maya kings began to use stelae to mark the end of calendrical cycles. In the Late Classic, imagery linked to the Mesoamerican ballgame was introduced, by the Terminal Classic, the institution of divine kingship declined, and Maya kings began to be depicted with their subordinate lords. As the Classic Period came to an end, stelae ceased to be erected, the function of the Maya stela was central to the ideology of Maya kingship from the very beginning of the Classic Period through to the very end of the Terminal Classic.
According to Stuart this may refer to the stelae as stone versions of standards that once stood in prominent places in Maya city centres. The name of the modern Lacandon Maya is likely to be a Colonial corruption of this word, Maya stelae were often arranged to impress the viewer, forming lines or other arrangements within the ceremonial centre of the city. An alternative interpretation of these altars is that they were in fact thrones that were used by rulers during ceremonial events, archaeologists believe that they probably served as ritual pedestals for incense burners, ceremonial fires and other offerings. The core purpose of a stela was to glorify the king, many Maya stelae depict only the king of the city, and describe his actions with hieroglyphic script. Even when the individual depicted is not the king himself, the text or scene usually relates the subject to the king. Openly declaring the importance and power of the king to the community, the stela portrayed his wealth and ancestry, and depicted him wielding the symbols of military and divine power.
Stelae were raised to commemorate important events, especially at the end of a katun 20-year cycle of the Maya calendar, the stela did not just mark off a period of time, it has been argued that it physically embodied that period of time
The 8th century is the period from 701 to 800 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Common Era. In the Middle East, the coast of North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula quickly come under Islamic Arab domination, the westward expansion of the Arab Empire was famously halted at the Siege of Constantinople by the Byzantine Empire and the Battle of Tours by the Franks. The tide of Arab conquest came to an end in the middle of the 8th century, in Europe, late in the century, the Vikings, seafaring peoples from Scandinavia, begin raiding the coasts of Europe and the Mediterranean, and go on to found several important kingdoms. In Asia, the Pala Empire is founded in Bengal, the Tang dynasty reaches its pinnacle under Chinese Emperor Xuanzong. The Nara period begins in Japan, estimated century in which the poem Beowulf is composed. Classical Maya civilization begins to decline, the first Serbian state is formed at the beginning of the century. Borobodur, the famous Indonesian Buddhist structure, begins construction, probably as a non-Buddhist shrine, Buddhist Jataka stories are translated into Syriac and Arabic as Kalilag and Damnag.
An account of Buddhas life is translated into Greek by Saint John of Damascus, height of the Classic period in pre-Columbian Maya civilization history. Śāntideva, a Buddhist monk at Nalanda Monastery in India, composes the famous Bodhicharyāvatāra, the height of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian, China is extended by 5 stories. 701, The Taihō Code is enacted in late Asuka period Japan,705, Overthrow of Empress Wu Zetian, the reign of Chinas first and only sole-ruling empress ends. 705, Justinian II is forced to give the title Caesar of Byzantium to the Bulgarian Emperor Tervel, the Byzantine Empire begins to pay annual tributes to Bulgaria. 708 –711, The Bulgarians defeat Justinian II at the battle of Anchiallus,710, Empress Genmei moves the capital to Heijō-kyū, initiating the Nara period of Japan. 711, Palenque is conquered by Toniná,711, Tariq ibn Ziyad crosses the Straits of Gibraltar. With the creation of Al-Andalus, most of the Iberian Peninsula is conquered by Arab and Berber Muslims, thus ending the Visigothic rule,712, King of the Lombards begins his reign.
712, Metropolitan episcopal see is established by the Assyrian Church in Chinese capital of Changan,712 –756, Emperor Xuanzong reigned, the time was considered one of Chinas high points. 712 –740, Caliphate campaigns in India 713, Death of Dajian Huineng, sixth,717 –718, Siege of Constantinople. The Bulgarians and the Byzantines decisively defeat the invading Arabs, thus halting the Arab advance toward Europe,726, Byzantine Emperor Leo III the Isaurian destroys the icon of Christ above the Chalke Gate in the capital city of Constantinople, beginning the first phase of the Byzantine Iconoclasm. 731, Bede completes his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, near Poitiers, leader of the Franks Charles Martel and his men defeat a large army of Moors under the governor of Cordoba, Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, who is killed during the battle