Maya mathematics constituted the most sophisticated mathematical system ever developed in the Americas. The Maya counting system required only three symbols : a dot representing a value of one, a bar representing five, and a shell representing zero.
As we said, Maya writing is a combination of glyphs that stand for syllables, or “syllable glyphs,” and glyphs that stand for whole words, or “logos.” There are 200 to 250 syllable glyphs that were used in Classical Maya writing, and about 500 logos.
The turtle is the one that had a fundamental role as the origin of life for this culture. The sea turtle was not only important within the Maya cosmogony but also for other cultures in Mesoamerica that related its shell to the celestial vault and the animal’s body was the axis that united both heaven and earth.
Eagle : The eagle represents contemplative thought. When focused upon, this Mayan symbol assists in accessing inner wisdom. Known for its power of clarity – this symbol facilitates clear mental focus.
The first recorded zero appeared in Mesopotamia around 3 B.C. The Mayans invented it independently circa 4 A.D. It was later devised in India in the mid-fifth century, spread to Cambodia near the end of the seventh century, and into China and the Islamic countries at the end of the eighth.
Of all the ancient calendar systems, the Maya and other Mesoamerican systems are the most complex and intricate. They used 20-day months, and had two calendar years: the 260-day Sacred Round, or tzolkin , and the 365-day Vague Year, or haab . These two calendars coincided every 52 years.
Diego de Landa
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The Mayan numeral system was the system to represent numbers and calendar dates in the Maya civilization . It was a vigesimal (base-20) positional numeral system. The numerals are made up of three symbols; zero (shell shape, with the plastron uppermost), one (a dot) and five (a bar).
|Seq. Num.||Yucatec name||Meaning of glyph|
Maya mythology describes serpents as being the vehicles by which celestial bodies, such as the sun and stars, cross the heavens. The shedding of their skin made them a symbol of rebirth and renewal. They were so revered, that one of the main Mesoamerican deities, Quetzalcoatl, was represented as a feathered serpent .