Chapter 17 (Quiet! The Sun’s Gone)



Of course, they thought of him as a god. And for almost the end of their days they worshiped him. Even kings were naming themselves on his name as an indication that they are the medium between him and the people. The Mayans started developing on their knowledge. They developed their own advanced numerical system. They build a lot of great pyramids and other monuments. But among all, they were distinguished in astronomy. They studied the sky a lot. They studied the movements of bodies in the sky. By the time, astronomy became complex enough that not any Mayan could study it. And that when ‘The Abyss’ came back.

Mayan astronomers gained a very high position in the Mayan civilization due to their knowledge of the sky. People believed that all the astronomical objects are related to the god of the sky. And because the Mayans worshipped the god of the sky more than any other god, the study of the astronomical objects was of high importance to them and of course the people studying them as well.

So they called themselves Priest-Astronomers and they became very powerful. Their main source of power was one big thing. Predictions.

The Mayan Priest-Astronomers were memorizing the entire visible sky. And they tracked every object of interest to them like the sun, the moon and Venus. They knew the synodic periods of many celestial objects. A synodic period is the time it takes for the object to appear at the same position again with reference to other celestial objects. Their predictions were very very accurate considering that they didn’t have proper tools like the sextant in other civilizations. All of their observations were with the naked eye. They were memorizing the sky and counting everything happening up there.

To make things more easier for them, they used their power over people to make them build temples at certain exact positions aligned with objects of interest. They had buildings pointing to equinoxes. Other buildings had windows or doors looking directly in the direction of the most northern or southern rising of Venus. To be able to do all this just their memorizing and counting skills were not enough. They needed something more powerful. Here is when they invented their mathematics.

They – like many other civilizations – realized the power of numbers and how it can help decode the entire universe. So, they studied numbers thoroughly and used mathematics to help them gain more astronomical power. To be even more powerful they used their astronomical knowledge towards astrology. They were telling normal people a lot of things concerning life and death using their observations of celestial bodies. That – of course – gave them enormous power over their people. Everything was going normal until one day a huge event threatened all this.

A total solar eclipse. Now, you see? total solar eclipses are rare. They happen in the same place (on average) once every 360 – 410 years. So, this was not the Mayans first total solar eclipse but sure it was their first as a an advanced civilization. They only heard about the previous ones in their ancestors tales and they didn’t believe it that much. Until it happened to them. It was just for a few minutes but it scared them so much. Of course they ran to their priest-astronomers who had no idea about this because of all their observations it didn’t happen before. It was terrifying to the people because the sun was their most sacred object. They even had two gods for the sun not only one. It was terrifying to the priest-astronomers as well because that threatened their power over the people.

Something had to be done.

<Chapter 16 (Power of the Skies)

>Chapter 18 (Revolution)


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