10 facts about the ancient Mayan civilization, which you did not know
Who they were, what they wanted and where did
Apparently, the Maya were very interesting people: they built a giant pyramid, know mathematics, astronomy and writing. But many people today do not know about them. For example:
1. The Maya believed human sacrifice a great honor to
Archaeological excavations indicate that the Maya actually practiced human sacrifice, but for the victims it was considered mercy.
The Maya believed that to reach heaven we must also, first have to go through 13 rounds of hell, and only then the person will receive eternal happiness. And it is a difficult journey that does not get all the souls. But there was a straight "ticket to heaven": it received the dead woman in childbirth, victims of war, suicide, died at the ball game and ritual sacrifices.
So becoming a victim of the Maya considered a high honor - the man was a messenger of the gods. Astronomers and mathematicians use a calendar to know exactly when to make a sacrifice and who is suitable for this role best. For this reason, the victims almost always became the Maya, and not residents of the neighboring tribes.
2. Maya preferred to invent their own technology
In the Maya did not have the two things that had almost all developed civilization - the wheels and metal tools.
But in their architecture were the arch and hydraulic irrigation systems for which it was necessary to know the geometry. More Maya knew how to make cement. But since they had no cattle, which could carry a wagon wheel, it may have been they do not need. And they used stone instead of metal instruments. Carefully sharpened stone tools were used for stone carving, sawing wood and others. The Mayas were the surgeons at the time in the world to perform complex operations using tools from volcanic glass. In fact, some of the stone tools were Maya even more perfect modern metal tools.
3. Probably, the Maya were seafarers
The Mayan Code there is indirect evidence that they were sailors - the underwater city. Perhaps the Maya even sailed to America from Asia.
When Maya just appeared as a civilization on the continent in about the same place there was an advanced civilization of the Olmecs and the Maya appear to have taken a lot from them - chocolate drinks, play ball, sculpture in stone and worship of the gods, animals.
Where on the continent come from the Olmecs, too, is unclear. But much more confusing is where they go: civilization left a Mesoamerican pyramids, colossal stone heads that led to the idea that the Olmecs themselves might be giants.
They are portrayed as people with heavy eyelids, wide noses and full lips. Proponents of biblical migration theory consider this a sign that the Olmecs came from Africa. In America they lived for about 13 centuries, and then disappeared. Some of the earliest Mayan remains date back seven thousand years.
4. The Mayas were not spacecraft, but were acting Observatory
There is no evidence that the Maya were aircraft or cars, but a complex system of paved roads they just had. More Maya possessed advanced astronomical knowledge about the movement of celestial bodies. Perhaps the most striking proof of this is the building with the dome roof called El Caracol on the Yucatan Peninsula. El Caracol is better known as the Observatory. It is a tower about 15 meters high, with numerous windows, allowing to observe the equinoxes and the summer solstice. The building is oriented to the orbit of Venus - bright planet was for the Maya of great importance, and it is believed that their sacred calendar Tzolkin, too, was built on the basis of the motion of Venus in the sky. According to the Mayan calendar determined the celebrations, crops, sacrifice and war.
5. Did the Maya were familiar with the aliens?
These days quite popular conspiracy theory, which states that in ancient aliens visited Earth and shared their knowledge with people. Erich von Däniken in the 1960s made millions of dollars on a book about how people run out of space by mankind, and as in ancient times, they magnify man from lowland animal instincts to the sublime spheres of consciousness.
Erich von Däniken
Scientists can not really explain how could appear drawings of Nazca in Peru, so huge that they can only be seen from a bird's flight. Daniken wrote that the ancient Maya were the aircraft, and the good aliens even opened their comic flight technology. His findings, he argues the figures on the pyramids of the Maya, which shows floating above the earth in men 'round helmets ", with drooping" oxygen tube ".
However, all these "evidence" can not be called such - too far-fetched.
6. "Apocalypse" by Mel Gibson - an invention from beginning to end and no relation to the real Maya is not
In the "Apocalypse" we see savages, dressed in colorful feathers that hunt fierce game and each other. Gibson has assured us that it was such were the Maya. Well, he did a nice interesting movie, but the story in school, he obviously skipped. Gibson's Mayan-barbarians sell women into slavery and prisoners-men sacrificed. But there is no evidence that the Maya practiced slavery at all, or at least take prisoners (wartime does not count, of course). Poor innocent Indians from the heart of the jungle Gibson did not even know about the great Mayan city, which in the end came. But at the height of the Mayan civilization all the inhabitants of the surrounding forests were under the control of the city-state, while preserving its independence at the same time.
However, Gibson was right about one thing: when in Mexico, the Spanish conquistadors arrived, the Maya lived there, but did not want to fight a war or to build a city - civilization is in decline.
7. The Maya may have come from Atlantis
To understand the history and origin of the Mayan difficult. Thank you superstitious Spanish conquistadors - they burned almost the entire written history, taking a library of strange magical symbols.
Survived only three documents: Madrid, Dresden and Paris, which are named after the cities where the result came. On the pages of these codes to describe the ancient city, fallen by earthquakes, floods and fires. These cities are not located in the mainland of North America - there are vague hints that they were somewhere in the ocean. One interpretation of the Code states that the Maya came out of the place, which is now (and during their heyday) disappeared under the water, they have even taken of the children of Atlantis.
Atlantis - it's certainly a strong word. But scientists have recently discovered what could be the remains of ancient Mayan cities on the ocean floor. Age cities and the cause of the cataclysm can not be determined.
8. Maya before anyone knew that the time has no beginning and no end
We have our own calendar, which we use to measure time. This gives us a sense of linear time.
Maya was used for three calendar. Civil calendar or Haab, includes 18 months of 20 days each - in total there was 360 days. For ceremonial purposes Tzolkin was used, which had 20 months to 13 days each, and the entire cycle thus it was 260 days. Together they formed a single complex and long calendar, which contained information about the movement of the planets and constellations.
The calendar had no beginning and no end - time for the Maya went in a circle, everything is repeated again and again. Such thing as a "year-end", for they did not exist - only the rhythm of the planetary cycles.
9. The Maya invented the sport
One thing is certain - the Maya worshiped a ball game. Long before the Europeans figured dress in skins, the Maya have made their home court for ball games and come up with the rules. Their game is, apparently, was a hard combination of football, basketball and rugby.
"Sports uniform" consisted of a helmet, knee and elbow pads. We had to throw a ball into the hoop rubber, sometimes hanging in more than six meters above the ground. To do this, you can use the shoulders, legs or hips. Penalty for loss - the losers were sacrificed. Although, as we have said, the sacrifice was a ticket to heaven, so that the losers as such did not exist.
10. Maya still exist
Usually people are firmly convinced that all the Maya as a people had disappeared - as if all members of the multi-million dollar civilization like that just took and died overnight. In fact, the number of modern Maya - about six million people, making it the largest indigenous tribe in North America. Most of the Maya did not die, but for some reason they had to abandon their great cities. Since much of the early history of the Maya lost, I do not know why they have suddenly ceased to build big buildings, to conduct the ceremony and do science. There are several versions: Due to the long severe drought could burn the crops, or the Maya became too much, or there was a war and famine.
All that is really known is that in 1524, the year of the Maya began to form small farming communities and abandoned cities. Their descendants still live next to us, but it is unlikely that it will recall about the past of their people. And if they remember hardly tell.