Pre-Columbian Civilizations

Start Free Trial

Mayans and Aztecs: compare and contrast the social and political patterns of the Mayans and the Aztecs.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Both groups were quite similar. Both civilizations controlled large amounts of territory—the Aztecs were the chief player in central Mexico, while the Mayans controlled the Yucatan. Both civilizations had significant trade networks that allowed for a small group of wealthy individuals. Both civilizations were also highly religious. The Aztecs relied on human sacrifice in order to appease their many gods. Wars waged to gain captives for these rituals were also ways to show dominance in the region. The Mayans may have also practiced human sacrifice, but theirs is not chronicled as well as that of the Aztecs, as the Mayan civilization collapsed before European contact.

Both groups were also famous for their pyramids and sports. These buildings and games also had religious significance. One major difference between the two, however, would be Mayan emphasis on astronomy. The Mayan calendar has proven to be quite accurate, even in terms of modern calculations. Another difference between the...

(The entire section contains 6 answers and 582 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team