By 300 AD, the Mayan Classic period was in full bloom. This was the age of kings. Great rulers such as Smoke-Jaguar (or Smoke-Imix), Pacal, Eighteen Rabbits, and Blue-Quetzal Macaw, rose to prominence and ruled brilliantly over their lands. Mayan society was divided into city-states, each with its own king and cultural center. During the Classic period, the political influence of various cities rose and fell: Chichen Itza, Palenque, Copan, and Tikal, to name a few. It was also during the Classic period that the Mayan military grew in organization and in strength. The Mayan soldier carried knives and spears, clubs, bows and arrows, javelins, and even perfected the art of throwing hornets nests (called hornet bombs) into enemy troops to create confusion and panic. For defense, they used small shields made of jaguar skins. And Mayan generals called upon their priests to divine the gods and determine the best place and time to attack the enemy. It was through warfare that the Mayans collected slaves to sacrifice to their gods.Thus, temples (in the stair-step design) were constructed with sacrificial altars. On these altars were laid human offerings. Stone knives were produced and the bodies cut to let the blood flow. Then, with speed and determination, the chests were cut open and hearts ripped out. It was these ritual offerings that allowed Mayan kings and priests to hold absolute control over their subjects.
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