The king, or k’ul ahau or sacred ruler, was an absolute monarchy . In the Pre-Classic Maya era, rule was predominantly through a village elder, but gradually the Maya adopted a hierarchical governmental system with rule by a monarch and the aristocracy. While the king ruled by divine right, even he could only go so far.
As a result of the states’ jealousy, the Mayans were very eager to go to war with the other lands. And when they fought the other lands, they had increased their power so much that they were effortlessly victorious over these Yucatan states.
Each of the ancient Maya cities was ruled by a different king or queen . The Mayas believed these rulers had the task of keeping the gods happy.
Scholars have suggested a number of potential reasons for the downfall of Maya civilization in the southern lowlands, including overpopulation, environmental degradation, warfare, shifting trade routes and extended drought. It’s likely that a complex combination of factors was behind the collapse.
Blood was viewed as a potent source of nourishment for the Maya deities, and the sacrifice of a living creature was a powerful blood offering. By extension, the sacrifice of a human life was the ultimate offering of blood to the gods, and the most important Maya rituals culminated in human sacrifice .
The Maya had a system of serfdom and slavery . Serfs typically worked lands that belonged to the ruler or local town leader. There was an active slave trade in the Maya region, and commoners and elites were both permitted to own slaves .
The ancient Maya never used coins as money . Instead, like many early civilizations, they were thought to mostly barter, trading items such as tobacco, maize, and clothing.
Responsibilities. A Mayan king was expected to be an excellent military leader. He would often carry out raids against rival city-states. The Mayan kings also offered his own blood to the gods.
Do The Maya Still Exist ? Descendants of the Maya still live in Central America in modern-day Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and parts of Mexico. The majority of them live in Guatemala, which is home to Tikal National Park, the site of the ruins of the ancient city of Tikal.
The Maya have lived in Central America for many centuries. They are one of the many Precolumbian native peoples of Mesoamerica . In the past and today they occupy Guatemala, adjacent portions of Chiapas and Tabasco, the whole of the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, and the western edges of Honduras and Salvador.
The Maya believed that when people died, they entered the Underworld through a cave or a cenote. When kings died, they followed the path linked to the cosmic movement of the sun and fell into the Underworld; but, because they possessed supernatural powers, they were reborn into the Sky World and became gods.
Under the Maya legal system, punishments for various crimes were severe. Murder, rape, incest, treachery, arson, and acts that offended the gods were punishable by death. However, the Maya distinguished between intentional and accidental acts.
The elites were the ones who ruled the government and waged war. But their responsibilities also included religious and intellectual pursuits, like serving as priests , studying astronomy, and maintaining the Mayan calendar. Below the Mayan nobles were commoners.