The Mayans were indigenous people who lived up and down the Yucatan Peninsula.
The whole area was dotted with wealthy city-states that were great areas of activity. The many cities were not unified under one leader. Each town had a king that ruled the land from his palace, located in the center of the metropolis.
Cities grew along the network of trade routes or a highway. This road was called sacbeob, making travel between towns convenient and easy.
People grew rich from the products that made their way up and down the land. Each city had a temple for worship that attracted people to settle, creating centers of exchange and learning.
You might have made your home in the outskirts of the bustling city state of Tikal. Sixty to seventy thousand people lived in the busy area. It was famous for its six large pyramids. You lived there during the Classic Age, and it is remembered as being the Golden Age of Mayan life.
Tikal is an impressive city that rose out of the rainforest like a giant mountain range. The ceremonial and government buildings were placed in the center. There were plazas, ball courts, and markets. The city sprawled to where the residential areas spread on the outskirts.
The city was filled with carved monuments celebrating the deeds of the ruling kings, and your found your home in the shadow of a great wall separating it from a sacred pyramid.
This historical story of a once thriving nation, which can be traced back to 1800 BC... Just imagine if you had lived then, you might have been born around 572 BC! The amazing thing was that they wrote their own history from the very beginning and produced magnificent architectural buildings well before they were seen in the Americas...
Carole Roman, with the illustrated help by Paula Tabor, has provided us with over 50 pages of intensive historical data and paintings that beautifully present children, and adults, with a comprehensive study of the Mayan Empire. Life was hard and women worked constantly to provide food and clothing for the family. Men and boys would hunt for food, including turkey, deer, iguanas, et.al., but they had no knives so used stones and flint as their sharp-edge tools. Every part of the animals were used, not only for food, but for clothing, etc.
Each home had a shrine to their god and then the day began to do the daily work...giving a share to the king first and then using the rest of your goods in support of your family.
It was interesting to see how much of their daily living is still similar to today's life...including, for women, to wear jewelry and make their own makeup to color their cheeks, although I admit to being shocked when I learned that they purposefully changed physical characteristics of their children in order to enhance what they considered beautiful... Even more bizarre were what they did to teeth...Whew!
All in all, I was happy to learn about it all, but glad I'm living during the time we are...
There is a special section of contributions of the Mayan which adds greatly to the value of this early society... Learning about this Empire certainly spotlights how much we have learned from the past...and how much of our daily activities lead forward to the future... This was one of the more important books in this historical series and is highly recommended...