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Xipe Totec
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Xipe Totec

Xipe Totec (pron. Xi-pe To-tec) or 'Flayed One' in Nahuatl, was a major god in ancient Mesoamerican culture and particularly important for the Toltecs and Aztecs. He was considered the god of spring, the patron god of seeds and planting...
Quetzalcóatl
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Quetzalcóatl

Quetzalcóatl (pron. Quet-zal-co-at) or 'Plumed Serpent' was one of the most important gods in ancient Mesoamerica. A mix of bird and rattlesnake, his name is a combination of the Nahuatl words quetzal (the emerald plumed bird) and coatl (serpent...
Remnants of Maya Ruins at San Gervasio, Mexico
Imageby James Blake Wiener

Remnants of Maya Ruins at San Gervasio, Mexico

The ruins of San Gervasio — located on the island of Cozumel in Mexico — were once an important site of pilgrimage to Maya people who lived from c. 1000-1650 CE. A sanctuary of the Maya goddess Ix Chel used to be located at this...
Maya Religion
Definitionby Maria C. Gomez

Maya Religion

Maya religious beliefs are formed on the notion that virtually everything in the world contains k'uh, or sacredness. K'uh and k'uhul, similar terms which are used to explain the spirituality of all inanimate and animate things, describe the...
Architecture in the Ancient World
Collectionby Mark Cartwright

Architecture in the Ancient World

One of the lasting contributions ancient cultures have made to modern life is architecture, both in terms of surviving monuments and their influence on contemporary buildings around the world. Ambitious rulers set up pyramids in Egypt and...
Interview: Preclassic Maya
Interviewby James Blake Wiener

Interview: Preclassic Maya

The genesis of Maya civilization in Mesoamerica was marked by an effervescence in the arts, the beginnings of their written language with glyphs, and a great attention to detail in the sphere of urban planning. Yet, despite these tremendous...
Teotihuacan
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan, located in the Basin of Central Mexico, was the largest, most influential, and most revered city in the history of the New World. It flourished in Mesoamerica's Golden Age, the Classic Period of the first millennium CE. Dominated...
Tikal
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Tikal

Tikal, located in the north of the Petén region of Guatemala, was a major Maya city which flourished between 300 and 850 CE. The city, known to the Maya themselves as Mutul, is one of the grandest in Mesoamerica. Amongst the first...
Mixcoatl
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Mixcoatl

Mixcoatl, 'Cloud Serpent,' was a Mesoamerican god identified with hunting, the Milky Way and the stars and heavens in general. The god may originally have derived from a deified hunter and warrior-leader of the Toltec-Chichimec peoples of...
The Aztec Calendar
Articleby Mark Cartwright

The Aztec Calendar

The Aztecs of ancient Mexico measured time with a sophisticated and interconnected triple calendar system which followed the movements of the celestial bodies and provided a comprehensive list of important religious festivals and sacred dates...
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