Of every the world"s old calendar systems, the Maya and other Mesoamerican systems are the many complex, intricate and also accurate. Calculations that the congruence of the 260-day and also the 365-day Maya cycles is almost exactly same to the actual solar year in the tropics, with just a 19-minute margin that error. Maya astronomer-priests looked to the heavens for guidance. They used observatories, shadow-casting devices, and observations of the horizon to map the complicated motions the the sun, the stars and also planets in order to observe, calculate and record this information in their chronicles, or "codices". From these observations, the Maya emerged calendars to save track that celestial movements and the i of time. The Maya likewise kept comprehensive records the the moon, although these perform not seem come constitute a formal lunar calendar.
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The Maya developed observatories at plenty of of their cities, and aligned essential structures with the motions of celestial bodies. Few of these room temple groupings, such as a team of 3 at Uaxactún, which marks the Sun"s rising place at summer solstice, the 2 equinoxes and winter solstice. Design such together the Caracol in ~ Chichén Itzá was additionally aligned with the figure ofcelestial bodies such as the Pleiades and also Venus. An additional temple in ~ Uxmalcontains hundreds of Venus symbols. Astronomical metaphors and also celestial events characterized the routine landscape for Maya rulers. Transfers of royal power, because that example, it seems ~ to have actually been timed by the summer solstice at particular centres. In ~ Palenque, an inscription notes the Pacal"s kid Chan-Bahlum devoted the Cross temple grouping top top July 23, 690 - timed to coincide v the connect of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and also the Moon. Come the Maya, this occasion may have represented the primordial bear of the 3 ancestor gods of the Palenque dynasty with the first Mother (the Moon), and would have actually been an suitable moment come consecrate an accession monument.Maya murals and also carvings display rulers wearing signs of the heavens, consisting of a belt or sky-band make of a chain of signs relating to the Moon, the Sun, Venus, day, night and also the sky. Rulers are also depicted transporting bars decorated as sky-bands to indicate that they had actually the mandate the heaven. Periodically they are seated, surrounded by a sky-band which provides the leader a halo of celestial authority. Rulers likewise liked to associate themselves through auspicious god of the sky such as the sunlight God, and also Maya rulers and also priests in actual life often "clothed themselves through the heavens" by dressing in the pelt of the jaguar, who spots were taken to stand for the stars.The Maya believed that the gods guided the Sun and also Moon throughout the sky. Also in the darkness that night, the Maya thought that the Sun and Moon continued to journey through the Underworld, endangered all the method by angry gods that wanted to avoid their progress. For this reason, the Maya thought that the heavenly bodies needed human being help, i beg your pardon was listed through spiritual rituals such together self-mutilation, torture, and also human sacrifice. To the Maya, giving this help was merely the price to be paid because that the continued survival the the universe. Fatality from such rituals was a privilege, and also conferred immortality ~ above those that died, or who offered themselves together victims.The repeating cycles that creation and also destruction as described in Maya mythology to be a reminder that the after-effects if people neglected their duties to the gods. Humans had an innate responsibility come the gods that made humanity"s continued existence possible. According to the Maya spiritual calendar, each 52-year duration signalled the renewed opportunity of the devastation of the world. This was seen as a frightening time when the gods and also other pressures of creation and chaos would do battle in the world of mortals, determining the fate of every earthly creatures. The world Venus was particularly far-ranging to the Maya; the vital god Quetzalcoatl, because that example, is established with Venus. The Dresden Codex, one of 4 surviving Maya chronicles, contains substantial tabulation the the appearances of Venus, and also was provided to suspect the future. The Maya likewise went to battle by the sky, again motivated by the planet Venus. Venus war regalia is seen on stelae and also other carvings, and also raids and captures to be timed through appearances of Venus, specifically as an evening "star". Warfare related to the motions of Venus was, in fact, well established throughout Mesoamerica.Maya calendars, mythology and astrology were integrated into a single system the belief. The Maya it was observed the sky and calendars come predict solar and also lunar eclipses, the cycles of the planet Venus, and the motions of the constellations. These events were far more than mere mechanical activities of the heavens, and were believed to be the tasks of god replaying mythical events from the moment of Creation. Calendar priests still exist in Maya regions today, and also keep the 260-day spiritual Round counting for divination and also other shamanistic activity. Countless of the contents of this id system source in the sky, yet were manipulated on earth by astronomer-priests who applied the spiritual structure that the cosmos toaffairs on Earth.