How Did The Olmecs Influence The Culture Of Mesoamerican Civilization

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The Olmec's were the first major civilization in Mesoamerica that lasted from about 1600-350 BCE. They lived in the tropical parts of south- central Mexico near the Gulf coast of what is now Tabasco and Veracruz. Using all the natural resources they were able to build great art and complexes made from stone and were able to advance in their society creating new inventions which helped their civilization last for about 1250 years. Their religion and culture became the "cradle" of the Mesoamerican culture because they laid many foundations for the civilizations to come, such a as the Aztecs and Mayans.
First, the Olmecs made two accurate parallel calendars. One was a 365-day solar calendar used as an everyday calendar and the other was a 260-day …show more content…

They created the first writing system in Mesoamerica by using glyphs and created the bar and dot numbering system. The Olmecs had two forms of hieroglyphic writing: The first being pure hieroglyphics (pictures); and the phonetic hieroglyphics, which is a combination of logographic and syllabic signs. As a symbol for the number zero, they used a shell glyph. Furthermore, women were often taught to cook, clean, and how to be modest, unlike men. Most men would go out hunting and taught young men how to hunt at an early age while other men became merchants, warriors, artists, or builders. The Olmecs spoke more than one Mixe-Zoquean language, one of them being the Aztec language (Nahuatl). The Olmec name came from the Nahuatl word Olmecatl (singular) or Olmecah (plural). Composed of two words the first, olli which means "rubber" and the second, mecatl meaning "people". "Olmecs" means "rubber people". The Olmecs lived in small complexes made from resources nearby and near their dwellings they would have gardens full of herbs used for cooking and medicine. They also have fruit trees, such as avocado and cacao near their houses which were located on higher ground away from flood …show more content…

They were the first to use stone architecturally and sculpturally in Mesoamerica. They created stone masks and outstanding colossal heads sculpted from boulders brought from the Sierra de los Tuxtlas mountains of Veracruz. The smallest weighing from six tons and the biggest weighing about forty to fifty tons. These heads could reach up to three meters in height and were usually made to commemorate passed rulers. The heads also express facial features common in indigenous people from Venezuela and Tabasco. In total, seventeen stone heads have been found. They didn't believe in warfare or conquest. Some smaller villages later developed into cities which became trade centers which influenced other cultures. The Olmecs also built the first enormous sacred complexes in Mesoamerica such as temples and pyramids where they performed rituals and ceremonies to satisfy their gods and where thousands could gather for special occasions. Some Olmec gods, such as Feathered Serpent, the Rain god and the Jaguar God, would later become a part of the Mayan and Aztec religion. They gave special significance to animals such as jaguars, eagles and caimans which were at the top of the food chain. Moreover, the deadly Mesoamerican ballgame Ulama was played by all major civilizations in Mesoamerica which was created by the Olmecs. This game usually consisted of candidates for human sacrifice and if a player lost he

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