Abstract

The concept of religion and its practice within ancient societies across the world is a subject that has fascinated scientists for centuries. The pre-Columbian Maya codices, first-hand Postclassic hieroglyphic documents, have been examined by hundreds of anthropologists. Analysis of these books has led scientist to hypothesize that these manuscripts were vitally connected to the Maya Postclassic belief system. Understanding the central focus of a civilization's religion and how, why and under what circumstances the religion is practiced truly distinguishes them as a culture. The intent of this thesis is to examine the role of rain in Maya Postclassic religious belief. Through an examination of Postclassic Maya ethnographies, archaeological evidence and the Maya Dresden, Paris and Madrid codices, this thesis evaluates the major theme of rain that is threaded throughout the culture and religion of the Maya people. By cross referencing ethnohistoric, ethnographic and archaeological evidence, it is revealed that rain was a fundamental-part of Maya religious practice as: 1) a symbol of fertility, 2) a phenomenon that people actively sought to control through religious practice and 3) as a fundamental building block of the Maya universe, construed broadly to encompass both the natural and divine elements of the universe.

Notes

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Thesis Completion

2011

Semester

Fall

Advisor

Barber, Sarah

Degree

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

College

College of Sciences

Degree Program

Anthropology

Subjects

Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

Format

PDF

Identifier

CFH0004126

Language

English

Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

Included in

Anthropology Commons

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