Maya Empire Leaders: Pacal II Starting technologies: Mining Mysticism Unique unit: Holkan Unique building: Ball Court First colony: American Empire DESCRIPTION: Strategy:
The Mayan Empire is wealthy, healthy and happy. Pacal`s "Financial" trait adds a bonus to any plot producing 2 commerce, while his "Expansive" trait not only provides extra health to your cities, but also allows Workers to quickly improve new plots to take advantage of the "Financial" trait. Have your Workers build a few Hamlets and watch the money roll in. And while money can`t buy happiness, the Ball Court certainly can, making your newly wealthy citizens jubilant. Even without the Holkan, a spearman that requires no copper, the Mayans would surely be an early game powerhouse.Background:
The Mayan Empire blossomed within the thick jungles and volcanic hills of Belize, Guatemala and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Creators of the most advanced civilization in the Americas from 700 BC until 900 AD, the Mayan population in its age was second only to the Chinese T`ang dynasty in sheer numbers.
Often referred to as the "Greeks of the New World," the Mayans were similarly organized into a series of feuding city states, although these cities served more religious and administrative purposes than as populations centers. Uniting the Maya culture was a common language, religion and artistic style, but each city state remained fiercely independent, often uniting only at the point of a Holkan spear.
Every city-state was governed by its own royal family, whom often claimed full or semi-divinity. During the Mayan Classical Period from roughly 250 to 900 AD, these cities became vast complexes of pyramids, causeways and plazas. Nakbe, the first city-state to grow on a grand scale, began its expansion around 700 BC. By 300 BC, Nakbe had been transformed into an impressive city, with four grand step pyramids and a seven mile stone causeway linking it to the nearby city of El Mirador.
Nakbe was only the first of many vast cities. Chichen Itza, Tikal and Palenque all became massive population centers. With myriad pyramids and religious structures, Tikal grew to become a city of the grandest scale and the largest of the Mayan population centers, dwarfing Palenque and Copan.
Palenque, a significantly smaller settlement to the West, reached its zenith in the seventh century AD under the reign of Pacal II, whose subjugation of neighboring cities ensured the hegemony of his own. Much is known about Pacal and his city thanks to the intricately-carved history left to us within Pacal`s tomb, "The Temple of Inscriptions," entire walls of which were filled with the Mayans` distinctive pictographic language, the only written language developed in the Americas.
Language was not the only realm in which Mayan minds excelled. Their calendars were nearly on par with those of the modern era, but were created without the use of the telescope or other tools. Independent development of the number zero, an accomplishment that eluded both the Greeks and Romans, was yet another of the impressive feats of the Mayans.
Most of these discoveries grew out of the Mayan religion. And while certainly interested in knowledge, the Mayan religion was ensconced in the belief of the power of blood. Many wars among the Maya were fought simply to provide prisoners to be sacrificed in intricate religious ceremonies, thought necessary to ensure the safety and advancement of the people.
The Mayan civilization came to a surprisingly abrupt end, and the cause of this fall is still a hotly debated topic. One of the most widely-accepted theories is that the delicate ecology of the Yucatan rainforests simply could no longer support the growing population of the Mayan people. A peasant revolt is also a likely cause of the fall of Mayan priestly caste, as belief in brutal Mayan rituals fell to the wayside.
But the popular notion that the Mayans simply disappeared is false. While the grand temple building, intricate carvings and sacrifices ceased, the Mayan language and people continued to survive in their former homeland, even after the conquest of their country by Spanish conquistadors. The Mayan languages, Yucatec being the most common, are still spoken to this day and armed resistance by the Maya continued into the twentieth century. The Maya remain a living people.