Difference Between Aztec & Mayan Cultures

Aztec vs Mayan

The distinctions between the Aztec and Mayan civilizations can be seen as two diverse Mesoamerican cultures. The Mayans arrived first in modern-day Mexico, followed by the Aztecs. Mayan civilization is frequently linked with knowledge due to their writing systems and astronomical understanding, while Aztec civilization is often associated with warfare. The Mayan civilization eventually dissipated, but not entirely, unlike other cultures. The Aztec civilization eventually succumbed to Spanish conquest. Both civilizations are highly intriguing and valuable to study.

Key Takeaways

  • The Mayans were a more scientifically focused civilization, while the Aztecs were primarily involved in warfare.
  • The Mayans believed in offering blood as a sacrifice, while the Aztecs believed in human sacrifice.
  • The Aztecs had a single supreme ruler, while the Mayans had rule divided into states governed by separate rulers.

More about Aztecs

Aztecs are a group of people belonging to specific ethnic groups in Central Mexico. They were groups of people who spoke the Nahuatl language and dominated a large part of Mesoamerica between the 14th and 16th centuries. The word “Aztec” comes from the Nahuatl language, meaning “people from Aztlan,” a mythological place for Nahuatl speakers. People from Tenochtitlan, the site of present-day Mexico City, are also referred to as Aztecs. The Mexican Valley became the center of Aztec civilization in the 13th century and was the location of the Aztecs’ Triple Alliance’s capital. This Triple Alliance created a tributary empire to expand the political hegemony of the Aztecs in areas other than the Mexican Valley during the time when cities in the rest of Mesoamerica were being conquered. Aztec culture’s peak is marked by religious and mythological traditions, impressive architecture, and artistic accomplishments. Archaeological remains discovered in Aztec sites provide insight into their culture and history, with some of the most notable findings being excavated at the Templo Mayor in Mexico City.

More about Mayans

The Mayan civilization is believed to have originated around 2600 B.C. The Maya civilization is known for developing written language, architecture, astronomical and mathematical systems, and art. The civilization was established during the Pre-Classic period, and by the Classic period, most Maya cities had reached their highest stage of development. These advancements continued until the arrival of the Spanish. The interaction with other Mesoamerican civilizations and the merging of their cultures resulted in the Maya civilization sharing many features with these civilizations. The Mayans developed the art of writing calendars and epigraphy, though they did not originate these. The influence of the Mayan civilization on other cultures can be seen in their architectural and artistic developments. The Mayans did not disappear during the Classic period and still make up a significant portion of the population in the Maya region. They continue to maintain their beliefs and traditions to this day.

What is the difference between Aztec and Mayan?

Several differences exist between the Mayan and Aztec civilizations:

  • The Mayans arrived and settled in modern-day Mexico before the Aztecs.
  • Both civilizations believed in sacrifice, but the Aztecs believed in human sacrifice while the Mayans believed in offering blood as a sacrifice.
  • The Mayans had a more scientific approach, were interested in the study of stars, and created a calendar that is still comparable to the one in use today. They were skilled in astronomy, while the Aztecs were primarily focused on war and displays of power and force.
  • Compared to the Aztecs, who took pride in war, the Mayans were much gentler and kinder.
  • The ruling methods of these civilizations were also different. The Aztecs had a single supreme ruler, while the Mayans had rule divided into states governed by separate rulers.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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