The Comparison of Maya and Aztec Essay Example


The Aztecs and Mayans, due to their advanced cities, complex institution, and their versions of record keeping and language, they both were able to create civilized Societies.

In the Mayan and Aztec empires, religion and trade were very important in the advancement of these empires. In the religious aspect, for the Mayans , Sacrifice and ritual played a big role in their civilization. It is explained where and who introduced the Mayans to human sacrifice and what they did with it (doc. 1). The Mayans used a game of life or death as an assistant to their mass human sacrifices. The Mayan platform of skulls was where the ball players head ended up, after their decapitation, if they lost. This ‘game’ was also a form of entertainment for them, watching them fight to the death. This is similar to how people watched the gladiator games. The ‘game’, although extremely violent, should a lot of the Mayans complexity. They already had something similar to a wall of shame, which is more of a modern day thing. For religion, the Aztecs developed complex and interesting sacrificial ceremonies to show their love of their gods. The Codex Mendoza, drawn by Aztec artists, written by Spanish priests, and compiled by Antonio Mendoza, was a big part of showing the Aztecs organization and sophistication. Antonio Mendoza’s job was to show the Spanish courts how the Aztecs lived. He reported about how the Aztecs took 1000s of men prisoner, and killed them all. They were killed as a  sacrificed to the Aztecs gods. They sacrificed them by ripping out their hearts in a religious sacrifice to their god. Although some actions the Aztecs made, some may call barbaric and uncivilized, such as their religious beliefs and practices, they were just dedicated and loyal. Making only sacrifices they thought would appease the gods and brought good fortune. Such as Mendoza, who is seeing the Aztecs from a more regal point of view, and sees them as uncivilized.

The Mayans were not only very religious, they were also good at trade. It is explained in the photo and text about a large sink hole that was very important to the Mayans and was critical in seeing how they lived (doc 3). Showings the well built structures, roads, and interesting artifacts that were found there. Some of  artifacts the archeologists found in the sinkhole were gold, jade, pottery, and incense. The artifacts also allude to the fact that they had traded, as they didn’t have many useful metals. The photo and text of this document reveal some of the intelligence of the Mayans and some of the advancement they made. Additionally these discoveries have shown how skilled these civilizations actually were. These findings were made by Edward Herbert Thompson, an archaeologist who had that very sinkhole searched, for the very things they had found that were so useful to understanding them. Trading for the Mayans happened in many places, with many people, as trade was important for them. They don’t have many natural resources, which forces them to rely heavily on trade for certain things. The trade network is fairly advanced, trading with many different cities in Mexico. They traded with over twelve different places. These trade routes to help there economy, and many other things. Such as the building, because trading is how they got what they needed like metals. The Aztecs and Mayans both have very advanced complex institutions.

In both of these empires, how they built the city and set up the way the cities functions have become more beautiful and complex. The Aztecs agriculture became more advanced as the cities grew larger and started to boom. It is shown by the illustration that the Aztecs used the Chinampas style agriculture, which is a complicated and tedious plan. Considering the plants are usually floating on water, it took a decent amount of skill to pull this off. They organized what they were planning and it is shown in the intricate blueprint of the agricultural system. The design showed where everything divides and where the plants and other items go. (A) Mayan building techniques have advanced, creating beautiful structures with an extreme lack of useful natural resources, from the empire. In Diego de Landas writings, he wrote about the beautiful architecture and temples as well as why the temples were made. The temples were made out of , decorated stone. They were able to cut the stone, in spite of the fact that there is no metal found in the country to use for cutting. There were many temples and each were close together. Temples were very frequents due to a large supply of stone. The Mayans, to build structures like they did would have to have intelligence and could not be barbaric. They had to find metal for the stone, as well as making many of them.

The way that the Aztecs built their structures were beautiful and struck awe in those who saw them. The Conquest of Spain by Bernal Diaz, is a description of the Tenochtitlan city at the time (doc 4).  Diaz’s description of the Aztecs city went into some details about its beauty, and how it functions as a whole. In the lake near empire, the was an aqueduct coming from Chapultepec. It provided them with good drinking. Additionally the lake was filled with canoes bringing merchandise and trade items to and from the empire. The beautiful architecture and building were mentioned several times. The temples were made with white plaster, and were in every town. His description showed that even though, he himself is used to everything more civilized, but he is saying that what the Aztecs are doing is good. Concluding sentence

In both of the empires, recording keeping, and their written languages had become more advanced. The Aztecs used symbols and Illustration for their for their important documents and to keep a record. This illustration was given to different provinces as basically a different version of taxing (document 6). The different markings and symbols showed what they needed to deliver. If they didn’t deliver, there would military consequences. The different markings display that the Aztecs had a somewhat coherent written language. This bill is an important thing to the Aztecs empire, as it was basically a part of their law. The Mayans, as well as having a writing system, they had a number system that was found. It was found on a monument called La Mojarra Stela 1. It was discovered in the Acela river near La Mojarra, in 1986. Their system consists of markings and symbols, which all represent numbers. This was an important discovery for archaeologists, because it helped take a step towards understanding the Mayans more. It was critical for helping reveal that the Mayans were actually well put together and a fairly civilized empire. For the Mayans, they made a complex calendar, that had impressed several people. Diego de Landas Journal describes how the calendars worked and the calculations for it to work. The Mayans not only kept track of time through months and years, they also used ages, a 20 year period.

This calendar system helped a man be able to recall when something happened 300 years before. Their system was very complex, showing the put together, civilized Mayan people. Diego de Landa even wrote in his journal, that it was unbelievable, and that if he hadn’t known about the system he would think that you could remember super far back. That is referring back to the old man who was able to recall an event 300 years ago. Landa, a Spanish missionary still thought that the Mayans calendar was amazing, even though he grew up more ‘civilized’. In the Mayan empire, the Mayans had a decent record keeping system using glyphs. These glyphs were carved into stone slabs. These complex and intricate carving are shown in the picture in document 5. The Mayans used a mixture of these carving and pictures to make a decent written language. This is the Mayans only writing system, and form of record keeping. Due to the intricate carving detail of the symbols, it can by see that the Mayans were anything but primitive when it came to writing. Concluding Sentence

The  Aztecs and Mayans were able to create civilized Societies because of their advanced cities, complex institutions, and their record keeping systems and language.

 

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