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The Aztec and Maya Essay

The Aztec and Maya were Mesoamerican civilizations living in Mexico/Central America while the Incas lived in South America. The religious beliefs and practices of the Mayans and Aztecs were similar, but the Incas worshiped the sun. The Mayans are credited for the Mayan calendar and the Aztecs also have a calendar, while the Incas are famed for their masonry and engineering skills. All three were great civilizations. The Mayan civilization is located in the Mexican and Central American rain forest which is represented by Chichen Itza. Its group of city-states are ruled by a king.

Its economy is based on agriculture and trade. Their religion is polytheistic. While the Aztec civilization is located in an arid valley in central Mexico. While Tenochtitlan was the capital of the Aztecs and was ruled by an emperor. The economy is based on agriculture. Their religion is polytheistic and based on warfare. The Incan civilization is located in the Andes Mountains of South America. Cuzco is the capital city of the Incas and it is ruled by an emperor. Their economy is based on high-altitude agriculture. Their religion is polytheistic also.

To compare between the Aztec and the Mayan civilizations, both Aztec and Mayan were ancient American civilizations who were encountered by the Spaniards when they invaded America. Both Aztec and Mayan believed that continuation of universe depended on religious ceremonies. Both believed that they had to please gods by performing blood offerings and both practiced human sacrifices. The Aztecs believed in offering human hearts and blood as form of nourishment required by the gods. The economy of both Mayans and Aztecs were primarily based on Agriculture. Both civilizations lived in permanent towns and cities.

They developed great art and architecture by working in clay, wood, metal and stone. They produced woven fabrics. Both societies observed and measured movements of celestial bodies like the sun and moon. Both possessed calendars which were very accurate. Both societies had written languages and were highly organized (while the Incas did not have one). To contrasting Aztec and Mayan civilizations, the Mayans had scientific calendar and developed the scientific calendar. The Mayans had obsession with time and tried measuring time by studying astronomy and correlating it with their current events.

On the other hand Aztecs had warlike temperament. They waged war against neighboring tribes and forced them to pay tributes. The male warrior had the pride of place in the Aztec society. Aztecs were ruled by one supreme ruler while the Mayans had many city states each of which had its own sovereign ruler and the rulers prestige mattered the most. Both lived in different geographical locations: Aztecs ruled in Central America while the Mayans were dominant in South America. Mayans were present about thousand years before Aztecs arrived. While Mayans still exist but Aztecs were decimated by the Spaniards.

The Aztec and Inca civilizations were directly destroyed by the Spanish Conquistadors, the Mayan civilization declined for internal reasons and almost vanished before the Spanish came. Their languages were different: Aztecs spoke Nahuatl while the Mayan spoke Mayan. Their beliefs: Belief gods of both were different, while the Aztecs called their god Quetzalcoatl but Mayan called their god Kukulcan. Their architectures: the Mayan construction materials were limestone and basalt, while Aztecs used riolita, andesite and different styles of construction. Aztecs did not use Maya blue while Aztecs used black on orange.

Mayans mainly used reddish, orange and brown colors. Sculpture in stone, to find the Maya steles Representation of the rulers while Aztecs have sculptures of their gods and rulers of one another myth. The city of Teotihuacan had enormous pyramids and rows of temples and palaces laid out along broad avenues. Many building were painted red. It was not an Aztec city but grew to prominence and then abandoned before Aztecs. The type of writing: Aztecs represented their gods and doing some human activity that denote something while the Mayans mostly be used in many gerogrificos.

The Mayan style of art was true to life, having representations of contemporary life in murals while the Aztecs were outstanding craftsmen and sculptors. To compare Mayan and Aztec with Incan civilization, all three believed in Sun as god. All three believed in human sacrifices. The contrasts show that only Aztecs had a class system. Only Aztecs considered death as honorable due to their belief in warfare. Also Aztecs feasted on roasted snakes. While the Incas had the most organized government.


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