Upon doing research for this book, I came across some very interesting facts about the ancient Maya. I have decided to add these facts as a bonus to my book, along with a few others, because I believe it will pique the interest of the reader….and upon doing so, will encourage the reader to embark on their own journey of discovery of the ancient Maya. I hope you find them as intriguing as I did!
Did you know?
- The Maya people thought the earth was flat.
Maya believed the earth was flat and was four-cornered. Each corner was located at an essential point and had a color value; red for east, white for north, black for west, yellow for south, and the center was green.
- The Maya people believed heaven and hell were layered.
Heaven was believed to have 13 layers with each layer having its own god. The underworld, or hell, had 9 layers and also had a god for each layer.
- The Maya people could calculate an eclipse with a stick.
The Maya priest used only a forked stick and the naked eye to calculate the path of Venus and other outer space bodies such as meteors and comets. From these observations they could calculate, with exactness, a solar eclipse!
- The Maya created a Numeric System.
The Maya discovered two fundamental ideas in mathematics: positional value and the concept of zero. This was accomplished by only one other great culture of ancient times, the Hindu, but they did it 300 years after the Maya. The ancient Greek and Roman cultures never discovered these principles.
- The Maya developed a calendar system more accurate than ours.
The Maya created various calendars that when used together made them the most accurate inventors of time reaching an accuracy of being 1 day off every 6000 years! That sure beats our calendar which needs a leap year every 4 years to stay accurate!
- Being crossed-eyed was considered beautiful to the Maya.
The ancient Maya believed being crossed-eyed was attractive. In order to achieve this goal they would hang an object that fell between the eyes of their children in hope that this would bring about the crossed-eyed effect.
- The Maya had elongated heads.
The Maya believed that having a sloping forehead was a sign of beauty. At birth the Maya would bind their infant’s head between two boards for several days. The pressure between the boards was sufficient in reshaping the skull on a permanent basis – giving the Maya an elongated sloping forehead. The process would have no effect on the brain or intelligence of the infant since at infancy the brain has a great deal of flexibility and it would simply accommodate itself to the new shape of the head.
- The Maya built pyramids like the Egyptians.
The Maya built their temple pyramids with hand-cut limestone blocks. The temple pyramids usually contained one or more rooms that were very narrow which might suggest they were not used by the public but for ceremonial purposes.