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Chinese and Mayan Civilization


The histories of various civilizations have indicated that religion was an important aspect that impacted lives of people. The type of religion adopted by the civilizations had prominent roles in construction of government laws which consequently affected all manner of aspects in those societies such as mythology, politics, family, technology and material life.


 Religion

Foundational civilization in China is very ancient and the history can be traced through tales of legendary emperors that ruled over China and teaching the people arts, agriculture, crafts and diverse manners of civilization. Chinese mythology began with Pangu or the creator of the universe. The earliest religion of Chinese people involved worship of forces of nature such as the sky and the earth. Ancestor worship was inclusive and a significant part in their religion.


The people embraced worshipping that involved making sacrifices to appease the gods to favor them in various ways. The worship of many gods made them polytheistic with worship of strange spirits and mythical animals like the tiger and dragon. The Maya civilizations existed in 200BCE in southern Mexico and were Stone Age people (Coe, 2001). They were skilled architects, mathematicians and astronomers. The Mayan tribes had diverse culture and traditions like the Chinese and they worshipped nature gods like the god of corn, god of rain and god of sun. Sacrifice was also part of their religion where they sacrificed humans to appease the gods. The difference in religion and mythology between them and Chinese civilization was the importance of astrology and astronomy where they developed the Mayan calendar to depict events.


 Governments

The government of the Mayan civilization was comprised of unified empire with hereditary absolute monarchy under the ancient system. Their law had had close union with temporal and spiritual elements. A hereditary priest was the king who was consulted by monarchs in important matters such as rituals and ceremonies. The society was organized into clan system and chiefs were imposed as custodians for the tribes. In the Chinese civilization emperors formed governments and the law systems which influenced the Chinese culture and religion. The Ming Dynasty is the most recognized government that contributed much of Chinese arts (Edward, 2000). Ruling families passed control through generations. Ancient China law was based on natural laws of universe where the legislative, executive and judicial systems were separated by Chinese system of thought with the express distinction for law purposes. The emperor and his executive officers declared punishments foe citizens who broke the law. These laws affected families, commercial and custom activities.


 Societies

The Mayan society was divided into distinct classes which differentiated the ruling class and the farmers or laborers (Sharer, 1994). Also, there was educated nobility such as scribes, architects and artists whose innovation and skills was proven in works of stucco, pottery, obsidian or flint. The class system also included priesthood. Marriage was a significant event and prohibitions were placed concerning rituals and what was allowed. In ancient China, family was also an important factor in the social order. The ruling elites had military and administrative posts with hereditary aristocrats. Craftsmen and free artisans worked for the elites. Peasants formed the majority of the population and slaves were taken from war exploits.


 Technology and commerce

Merchants managed their various businesses freely and trade was viewed to be important as it established networks from west to south of China. They also developed oar-propelled boats that enhanced trade with the Koreans and the offshore islands. Arts and culture were also important which part of the trade goods that they exchanged for. Earliest technologies in China civilization included the iron plough, matches, paper gun powder and crossbow. The ancient Mayan religion placed importance in agriculture and timing in harvest. They believed that agricultural produce as a result of the gods’ gifts. Fairly advanced construction and agricultural technology was also witnessed during the Mayan civilization with development of complex astrological and writing systems and sculptured works as part of their commerce.   


Reference:

Coe, M. D. (2001). The Maya. (6th Ed). Thames and Hudson, Singapore.

Edward, S. L. (2000). China: Empire and Civilization. OxfordUniversity Press. Oxford.

Sharer, R. J. (1994). The Ancient Maya. StanfordUniversity Press. Stanford.


 

 
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