*Includes pictures of Mayan buildings, art, hieroglyphics, numbers, and more. Many ancient civilizations have influenced and inspired people in the 21st century. The Greeks and Romans continue to fascinate the West today. But of all the world’s civilizations, none have intrigued people more than the Mayans, whose culture, astronomy, language, and mysterious disappearance all continue to captivate people. In 2012 especially, there has been a renewed focus on the Mayans, whose advanced calendar has led many to speculate the world will end on the same date the Mayan calendar ends. The focus on the “doomsday” scenario, however, has overshadowed the Mayans’ true contribution to astronomy, language, sports, and art. The World’s Greatest Civilizations: The History and Culture of the Maya discusses the Mayan calendar within the larger context of their astronomical advances, while also providing a comprehensive analysis of their history, empire, and culture. Along with a description of Mayan life and pictures of Mayan ruins and art, the mystique of the Maya is traced from the height of their empire to the present day, in an attempt to understand a civilization often been best described as an enigma.
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