Decoding the Baqtun
I am continuing my exploration into the ancient world and I am looking into the Mayans and their calendar for today’s documentary. It is a surprising documentary to review for a history class.
Elisabeth Thieriot embarks on a journey to dispel the myths of the Mayan Calendar in Decoding the Baqtun. On December 21, 2012, everyone believed that the end of the world was going to happen. This was the result of the belief in the Mayan calendar that predicted the end of the World. The Mayan prophecy stated that there was going to be an apocalypse. The events in the world at the time seemed to lean toward that prophecy. However, December 21, 2012, passed and life went on as normal. So, what is the story of the Mayan Calendar? The runtime for this documentary is 1:21:20.
Everyone kept an eye on December 21, 2012, because the Mayans had predicted that it was going to be the end of the world. However, this myth was based on the wrong calendar. It was based on the Aztec Calendar. The modern-day descendants of the Mayan did not understand the fuss about this frenzy over the potential for the end of the world. For them, December 21, 2012, was going to be the beginning of a new cycle.
The Ancient Man tried to invent ways to measure time. Man used the night sky for navigation. The early man saw gods in the stars and these gods controlled their lives. Finally, in the third millennium BC, the Sumerians created a lunar calendar of 354 days and divided those days into twelve months. The Sumerians created their calendar after observing the cycle of the sun and the moon. The Hebrews and Greeks continued to use the Sumerian Calendar. The Romans took over the Sumerian calendar but then took inspiration from the Egyptian calendar to reform the Sumerians calendar. Finally, a pope adjusted the calendar to the calendar we have today.
So how did the Mayans work on their calendar? They created their calendar to mark their cycles and their celebrations. The calendar was the code of their life, it was carved into their games and their walls. The Mayans used math to create their calendar and this math was common to all cultures in Mesoamerica. Math was based on twenty. These numbers were tied to their gods and Mayans created the number zero. Zero had value for the Mayans, unlike other cultures. Zero both symbolized the begging and infinity.
The spiral was found in nature and was an essential part of creation. Spirals are found in nature, in galaxies, and in DNA. It is an infant sequence of numbers. It was known as the Fibonacci sequence. The Mayans created their calendar based on spirals. In fact, the Mayans were tied to nature and their environment. The environment where the Mayans lived was tied to their spirituality.
The Mayan Calendar was circular, much like a wheel. It could be described as gear and this gear cycled for 290 days. Then there were two smaller gear-like wheels that went around this larger circle. There were a variety of cycles that were marked by the calendar. It would take many rotations to repeat a day. When the calendar was reset, it would mean a new beginning for the Mayans, much like January First of the new year in Western Cultures.
However, when the Spanish came, Mayan culture was changed. The bishops burned the Mayan records and the codex. They imposed the Spanish Inquisition on the people. This would prevent Mayan future generations from understanding the Mayans and Mayan culture.
This was a fascinating look at the Mayan calendar and Mayan culture. Despite this, this was a challenging documentary to write a review on. It was hard to follow at times with a lot of bouncing around the subject. It potentially could have been better by talking more about the Mayans and their culture and how it was discovered that the Mayan Calendar was worked out. This would be an interesting episode to show in a science class because the Mayans based their calendar heavily on science. Additionally, this could have a potential application for a Spanish class. This would not be a documentary I would show in a history class.
Leave a Reply.
I'm a librarian with an active imagination who likes to create. Genealogist and Researcher.
My Teachers Pay Teachers Store! Worksheets available as a Word Document.
I am also on Lulu! If you're interested in genealogy I have several books available!
HistoryDocTube will not collect any personal information and will not sell any personal information to a third party. We will not request any personal information.
The purpose of this blog is to share information on what can be used in a classroom, private school, or home school setting as well as serve as a portfolio of my personal and professional work.
The reviews are my opinions and should be treated as such. I just want to provide a tool for teachers to select documentaries for their classrooms.