Components Of The Mayan Civilization

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Beginning in around 1800 B.C., the Mayan civilization had many components. The Maya believed in many rituals and practices as well as many gods and myths. They also believed in a series of creation stories. Mythology allowed the Maya to express themselves in different ways and devote themselves to something greater than themselves. In Mayan Mythology, there were many ways that humans could connect to the gods. Before the Spanish conquest of Mexico and Central America, one of the largest and most advanced civilizations of the Western Hemisphere belonged to the Maya. The Maya practiced agriculture, used a form of hieroglyphics, and built buildings and pyramid temples from stone (The Editors of Encyclopedia Brittanica). The Maya used bark from…show more content…
The Maya documented their mythology as well as their history in volumes known as codices. Major codices include the “Popol Vuh” and the “Chilam Balam” (“Mayan Mythology”). One of the most important gods was Itzamna, the chief god. Itzamna was the god of writing and learning. He was usually depicted as an old man with a hooked nose and no teeth. Itzamna’s companion was Ix Chex, who was the goddess of medicine, weaving, childbirth, and possibly the moon goddess. Another important god was Ahau Kin. Ahau Kin was the sun god and was either depicted as young or old. It was believed that between the sunset and the sunrise he journeyed through the underworld as the jaguar god. Jaguars were often associated with fertility, royalty, and the earth, which was a common theme in Mayan culture (Willis, Roy G). Other deities of the underworld were God L, who was often depicted as wearing a muan bird headdress and sitting on a jaguar throne, and God N who was associated with a conch or turtle shell. Other important deities were Gucumatz, Ah mun, and God K. The four benevolent rain gods, known as the Chacs, demonstrated their presence through thunder and lightning (Willis, Roy G). It was also believed by the Maya that if you outsmart the gods then you will be reborn as a celestial body. There Hero Twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, outsmarted the gods and were reborn as the sun and the moon in one story. Another thing that the gods are associated with is the directions. Each Maya god was associated with the four cardinal directions. The Maya accepted that there were five components to the cardinal directions; the four directions and also the center. The Maya believed that the most important direction was the East because it is where the sun rises and it is also associated with birth due to the Maya belief that the sun is born every day from the East (“Maya
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