The Maya and Aztecs were advanced civilizations that were from the new world.
They developed many things that we use today. The two civilizations show us that they both were similar in their way of life. As we discover more about them we start to notice a few differences about the two civilizations.
Today their civilizations are located in what is now today Mexico. The political similarities between the Aztec and Mayans were that they both organized labor for large projects such as the step pyramids for their gods; associated with the sun, moon, and the rain. Although their pyramids were designed slightly different, both cultures constructed geometrically precise pyramids out of stone.
Their pyramid both played an important role in their lives because citizens were required to visit the pyramid for religious ceremonies throughout the year. Priests would burn incense, sacrificing slaves or war captives, praying and making other offerings. Their offerings would usually be blood or human sacrifices.The political differences between the Aztec and Mayans were that the Aztecs were able to form an empire while the Mayans didn’t. The Aztecs formed their empire with three other city-states. They formed an alliance to gain political, military and economic control on their neighbors. The Mayans never had a unified political structure or a single supreme ruler. Even though the Mayan people shared a common culture, the city-states remained separate, each having their own ruling dynasty.
Another political difference is that the Aztec demanded tribute in cotton, gold, jade and cocoa beans, and if local rulers failed to pay tribute the then Aztecs would destroy the rebellious villages and capture or slaughter them. The Mayans collected cacao beans, corn, honey, and wax. If the Mayans citizens did not pay their taxes then they would become slaves to the people they owed money to. The Economic similarities that the Mayans and Aztec had were that they traded by using cocoa beans as a form of money. They both also traded with Cotton, maize (corn), jade, and gold.
They would also help their economy with selling woven goods and jewelry. Another similarity that they both shared was that they both were farmers. They would both farm corn, squash, and beans. They would perform trade and have merchant class that would exchange goods from different areas that they inhabited. The Economic differences between the Aztec and Mayans were the Mayans practiced slash and burn agriculture while the Aztec grew crops on chinampas.
The Aztec would make a raft, then they would layer enough dirt on the raft to be able to grow food. They would then anchor them in the water and that’s how they made their chinampas. The Mayans traded maize, beans, squash and chili but also luxury goods like obsidian, jade, cacao and rubber. Another difference would be that the Aztecs made most trades in markets called tianquiztli while the Mayans did sea trade across Maya region and Central Mexico.The cultural similarities that the Aztec and Mayans share are that they are both polytheistic (believe in more than one god) and they perform human sacrifices to them. The Mayans used human sacrifice for ceremonial purposes during rituals, many celebrations have people cut themselves in order to celebrate their relationship with their ancestors. These victims were usually prisoners of war but sometimes they would sacrifice people from their communities.
The Aztecs were more violent and would sacrifice humans to the gods because they believed that their gods have sacrificed themselves for the people. Many believed it was an honor to be sacrificed since they believe they would get their own section in heaven. The Aztec would perform their ritual by removing the victim’s still beating heart by using a knife. The sacrifice body would then be thrown down the temple stairs or even be cut up and be eaten by the nobles. Another similarities would be that both the Mayans and the Aztecs created accurate 365 day solar calendars, mainly for religious purposes. Mayan priest needed to measure time accurately in order to hold ceremonies at the correct moment.
As a result, priests became expert mathematicians and astronomers. Some used their knowledge of astronomy and mathematics to foretell the future.The cultural differences would be that although people from both civilizations believed in sacrifices for their gods. Aztecs believed in sacrifice of human where Mayans believed in offering blood as a sacrifice (but sometimes they would sacrifice people too). They both had two different languages, the Mayans spoke Maya and the Aztecs spoke Nahuatl. Their gods were different as well, The Aztec called their god Quetzalcoatl and The Mayans called their god Kukulcan. Another difference is that the Mayans were gentler and kinder civilization that studied the stars and came up with very scientific calendars.
They also measure time and used that to study astronomy. In the other hand Aztecs were very different and the exact opposite of them because they were war like people who waged war against their neighboring tribes, forcing them to pay tribute.