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Lecture

Pre-Hispanic Cultures

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Department
History
Course
History 2501E
Professor
Luz Hernandez- Saenz
Semester
Fall

Description
Sept, 11, 2012 Pre-Hispanic Cultures Introduction: -The climate is that of extremes and so the cultures are all very different as well as their economies -Very few rivers can be used for transport because they are too strong or they disappear in the heat -Have mountains, huge rivers, many extremes, and some areas were so steep terraces were used for cultivation Sources: -Some areas are better for preservation than other and what survives in one area will disintegrate in another -Most of these cultures did not have writing so we don’t have documents but there were exceptions and the writings describing life in these cultures are from the Spanish and thus are through the eyes of the conqueror -Spaniards wanted to understand writing so they would have an easier time converting them and collecting taxes -We know there were many different cultures and languages and this frustrated the Spanish because they would learn the language of one area go to another and would have to learn another so they wanted to have a main language used by all the people so information could be shared easier and the people easier controlled Cultural Diversity: -Mayans lived on the peninsula in Mexico and were very culturally diverse with many small groups speaking different languages and all their writings are on stone so many survived -To understand their writings you have to understand their whole culture symbolically and religiously -Spaniards were very impressed with the memory of the Incas because they had to remember information and could not simply record things to read later Mesoamerica – Classic Period (300-900): -Thought this was the civilized part of the area (Spaniards and Natives believed that) -The north is very dry so people are not sedentary and are much more nomadic than in the south Teotihuacán: -We don’t know much about them but the Aztecs later believed it was the city of the gods and it was a very impressive place with many pyramids -Had a main plaza and a place for priests to live and all the buildings were painted with bright murals and these people are believed to be where the culture of Mesoamerica originated from -There was a ceremonial centre in the middle and the out lying areas were where people lived and were divided between artists, musicians, etc and they had a huge population for the time (European cities were smaller) -Quetzalcoatl refers to the feathered serpent who was one of the main gods also seen on many of the pyramids Maya: -The main people in the area and we can say they are a Stone Age culture but they are very sophisticated and were probably the most developed culture in the whole of the Americas -They knew the movement of the stars and were great astronomers and were great architects and all of it was built with out metal tools, or horses for labour and their style is different from the rest around at the time -When the Spaniards arrived they were in decline Pre-Inca Period (900-1300): Moche Culture – 200-900 AD (El Brujo): -Not much is known about them and what we know is from burial sites and artifacts found there but we do know they have a god who was a decapitator and thus some of the sacrifices were decapitated -Left some very nice ceramics and textiles and this was very typical for cultures in the south and they had much of the same things as the Incas so they probably borrowed from the Moche in many ways -El Brujo was a site found where the chi
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