Ancient Mayan Social Hierarchy Kings – The highest power and authority holder in the ancient Mayan social hierarchy structure was the king. Priests – The next rank in the ladder of ancient Mayan social hierarchy structure is of priests .
The five levels of the Mayan social pyramid are the ruler, nobles, artisans and merchants, peasants, and finally slaves.
The Mayans developed a hierarchical government ruled by kings and priests. They lived in independent city-states consisting of rural communities and large urban ceremonial centers. There were no standing armies, but warfare played an important role in religion, power and prestige.
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 most important food that the Maya ate was maize, which is a vegetable like corn. They made all types of food from maize including tortillas, porridge, and even drinks. Other staple crops included beans, squash, and chilies. For meat the Maya ate fish, deer, ducks, and turkey.
The Maya writing system is considered by archaeologists to be the most sophisticated system ever developed in Mesoamerica. The Maya wrote using 800 individual signs or glyphs, paired in columns that read together from left to right and top to bottom. There is no Maya alphabet.
Civilizations like the Olmec, Maya , Aztec and Inca all built pyramids to house their deities, as well as to bury their kings. In many of their great city-states, temple- pyramids formed the center of public life and were the site of holy rituals, including 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 .
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.
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.
Mysterious Decline of the Maya From the late eighth through the end of the ninth century, something unknown happened to shake the Maya civilization to its foundations. One by one, the Classic cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned, and by A.D. 900, Maya civilization in that region had collapsed.
The Aztecs additionally had landless serfs and slaves . Serfs worked land that was owned by nobles and did not live in the calpulli. Individuals became slaves (tlacotin) as a form of punishment for certain crimes or for failure to pay tribute. Prisoners of war who were not used as human sacrifices became slaves .
The Mayan religion was Polytheist, and they worshiped more than 165 Gods. The Gods were human-like. The Gods were born, grew up and died. Gods would do other human like activity that was deemed acceptable behavior.