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The Ancient Maya writing . What exactly is known and unknown

Through the years scholars have debated the question of just what the hallmarks of civilization are.

Many consider the growth of writing, mathematics, astronomy, stratified society, trade systems, etc. as a measurement of progression towards high culture. ( A foolish argument, within my judgement. Right now everyone should be aware that true civilization is earmarked by hot showers and ice in your drink.) Even so the utilization of writing traditionally been considered a gauge for determining how long a civilization has evolved from more modest beginnings.

When it comes to the ancient Maya that is definitely correct that their system of writing is hailed among the most remarkable achievements for the New that is pre-Columbian World. The capability to record information in relatively permanent records which may be handed down from one generation to another insured continuity in the transmission of seasonal and astronomical data. This resulted in the refinement of mathematic systems and, since it ended up, development of a calendar much more accurate than which used in Europe well into the sixteenth century.

While it is certainly correct that the Maya writing system was the most refined in all of Mesoamerica, other cultures eventually caught on to the idea. The Aztec and Mixtec cultures adopted a somewhat less sophisticated as a type of record keeping, with strong emphasis on picture-writing as opposed to the Maya system that has been language oriented. In south usa, the Inca developed a complex system of record keeping using knotted strings which suited their needs keeping in mind track of herds of animals, nevertheless they never got around to writng down things.

The Maya, on the other side hand, manufactured paper from the bark that is inner of forms of trees, mainly the amate and ficus. Stone bark-beaters, oblong, flat grooved tools about hand-size were utilized to pound out of the bark that has been then bleached with lime, cut into strips and folded like a screen that is japanese. Many different paints were employed to illustrate these “books”, which were painted on both relative sides and bound between elaborately decorated boards.

Nearly all for the Maya books did not survive the conquest that is spanish the Maya writing was deemed to possess been inspired by the Devil, together with church and government officials went to extreme lengths to destroy these examples of “paganism”. No telling how many hundreds or numerous of volumes were burned into the name of Christianity, but three books have survived. Each is presently reposing in European museums having been provided for patrons and friends of Spanish conquistadors when you look at the century that is sixteenth. Because of the determination of Bishop Diego de Landa, the second bishop of Yucatan when you look at the century that is mid-sixteenth it really is a wonder that anything Maya survived. Landa was something of a sword that is double-edged. A great deal of data concerning the day-to-day life of the Yucatec Maya while systematically destroying the very culture he recorded as a scholar he was very interested in all aspects of Maya culture and went so far as to interview informants and record. In a passage that accompanies Landa’s description of Maya writing, he ironically discusses his role into the destruction of this Maya libraries: “We found a large number of books in these characters, and we burned all of them, which they regretted to a great degree, and which caused them much affliction. as they contained nothing by which there have been to not be observed superstition and lies associated with devil,”

No Maya books (called a codex, or plural codices) have now been present in an archeological context.

The climate of the Maya world is indeed moist as well as the mildew so pervasive it really paper writing service is highly unlikely any have survived. Fragments have already been present in tombs in lot of Maya sites, including Altun Ha in Belize. It is often said the remnants associated with codex had the consistency of a cigar ash. The Mirador that is so-called Codex found at the early Classic site of El Mirador in Mexico remains unopened at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico. The paper part of the book has long since rotted away, leaving only the lime coating additionally the painted characters which may have melded into a block that is solid. Present technology will not permit further study, but it is hoped that some day an easy method is going to be found to extract the information contained is this rare treasure trove of Maya writing. Archeologists and epigraphers (students of ancient writing) alike are biting their nails over this one because nearly everything known about the ancient Maya mathematics, calendrics, astronomy and also the pantheon that is religious been recovered by scholars through the three existing codices. Imagine what could be learned from, let’s say, ten books- or one hundred. It is a thought that is disquieting. We would have such a understanding that is complete of ancient Maya I would personally certainly be out of a job.

With all the Maya books, paintings, decorated pottery, carved stone monuments all containing samples of the Maya writing, exactly why is it that scholars have so far been not able to decipher almost all of the hieroglyphic symbols? Next- breaking the Maya code.

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