Religion Midterm 1 Notes

Religion Midterm 1 Notes - Olmec 1800 BCE-400 BCE Main...

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Olmec 1800 BCE-400 BCE Main sites San Lorenzo – known for gigantic heads La Venta – first pyramid in the Americas, had open air platforms for rituals Representations of beings with access to the supernatural – jaguars, toads, cats, contortionists, child gods, sacred dwarves, Bufo Marinus (licking toads as a hallucinogen) Ball game – ball of rubber symbolizes the sun, gods maintain the cosmos, humans maintain the gods by reenacting the gods’ behavior, losers forced to perform sacrifice Characteristics of Mesoamerican societies first expressed by the Olmec Complex settlements – hierarchical settlements that include cities, towns, villages, specialized locations for specific rituals Cosmological town plans – settlements were laid out along pre-planned axis and buildings were arranged in symbolic orders that recreated or modeled the cosmos Sacrilization of space through the burial of sacred objects, such as jade Highly sophisticated symbolic system expressed in a coherent and consistent artistic style Monumental stone sculpture – Olmecs established models and were among the most prolific Mesoamerican sculptors Portraits of rulers – the tradition of images of individual rulers first seen in Olmec head sculptures became crucial in later Mayan and Aztec societies Earthen ritual spaces – focus on springs, caves, and mountains as sacred sites were established by the Olmecs and continue to survive in many regions to this day The ballgame - the oldest evidence for the Mesoamerican ballgame has been found at Olmec sites Infant and blood sacrifice – this remained an important form of sacrifice in Mesoamerica until the Spanish Conquest Large politically integrated territories and extensive trade networks – although trade routes predated the Olmecs, they were the first people in the Americas to establish routes that went beyond their local environments and that brought a wide variety of goods to their settlements from as far as central western Mexico and current day Guatemala Zapotec 600 BCE – 900 CE Principal sites - Monte Alban, Mitla Characteristics – venerated their ancestors, first writing found in Latin America, figurines found of people sacrificed,
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