Mythology is a study that seeks to establish the gods and the goddesses that a certain society pledged allegiance to in the past days. The Mayan and the Egyptian people had beliefs that are different to certain extents but similar, on the other hand. This paper explores the differences and the similarities of the mythology of the two societies. Before the Spanish people arrived in the Mesoamerica, the Maya people had a complex culture among the communities in the Western Hemisphere. Their religion involved worship of nature gods like the god of the sun, god of the rain, god of corn and many others. They also had human sacrifices of human beings, building pyramid temples, which were so elaborate, insisted on the importance of astrology and, astronomy and, they had a class of priests. Egypt is a country located in the Middle East on river Nile’s banks. It has a mythology that is so rich and attracts the attention of people in the whole world.
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The two societies had a complex polytheistic system where gods occurred in more than one form. They took the form of human, jaguars, animals, reptiles or other variant natures. These deities had thematic tasks related to mankind and the environment. The roles relate to the sun, earth, fertility, war, rain and many others.
The deities in these two ancient societies could merge exchange or even replace each other’s roles altogether. For example, in Egypt, there was a replacement for god Monthu by a moon after a spell of time. This meant that a god performing a role in one time could perform another some other time.
The deities had complex interrelationships where they linked to accomplish similar functions. This brought some degree of association between these deities. Eventually the interaction among them evolved in to complex interrelationships. For example, goddess Amun linked to Ra in the ancient Egyptian society.
In both societies, rulers had an association with gods and goddesses. They involved in sacrificing rituals through bloodletting or sacrificing blood from members of the royal family. The rulers acted as intermediaries between their subjects and the deities. In both civilizations, the rulers believed to be descendants of the gods. In Egypt, the Pharaoh was the center of religious practices.
The belief in an afterlife was a prominent feature of religion in both societies. There was a general belief in continuity of life in another world with different nature from the earth. Deities controlled the new world. The Mayans believed in life after death in an underworld called Xibalba.
The mythology of these societies also anchored in the supreme power and authority of the gods. They believed that the gods existed to explain the meaning and origin of natural forces. People believed that the gods controlled the relationship between mankind and the environment. Deities were also responsible for the creation of the earth and mankind. The worshippers expected protection, favour and provision from the gods.
However, there existed differences in the mythology of these two societies. The main tenet of Egyptian culture was religion but not science. Among the Maya, religion and science was one and the same thing. The Mayans would for instance conduct rituals related to the disciplines of Mathematics and astronomy.
Although the Egyptyian gods and goddesses were over 2000 and with varying roles, they appeared to have defined roles and acted in a more predictable manner. Egyptian gods also occupied different realms for the performance of their duties. However, Mayan gods took different forms and performed numerous roles in various times of the day. The Mayan gods also merged to assume different roles and meanings thereby causing confusion.
The gods and goddesses of Egypt took the form of human and animal in part. For instance, some deities would have eyes or head belonging to hawks. Mayan gods and goddesses varied in appearances and names. Stories also occurred in different scenes, formsand figures while shifting and changing rapidly.
Both societies seem to have different views on the creation and the end of the world. The Mayans believed that god created and destroyed the world five times. They also practiced divination using time and seasons, and they predicted the end of the world to be on 21st December 2012. The Egyptians believed in the creation of the universe, but they did not emphasize on divination or prophecies.
Both civilizations tend to differ on the issue of sacrifice to the deities. Bloodletting of the royal families was essential, the Mayans sacrificed outsiders to nourish the gods and escape calamity. Human sacrifices emphasized under the Mayan religion demonstrated piety and propitiated the gods that encouraged fertility. Rulers performed these practices after capturing cities through military invasions.
The Egyptians mainly performed their religious rituals through written hymns and prayer. These had a clear procedure and structure and, they served different purposes to the gods. Some were to appease certain gods depending on the need of the day. Mayans, on the other hand, had rituals such as dancing, games, drama and competition based on cycles.
In conclusion, beliefs in deities shaped the development of these ancient societies. These interactions also meant success or failure of every aspect of their complex civilizations. To date, the Mayan beliefs exist although they heavily intertwine with the Roman Catholic beliefs. In Egypt, these beliefs left an influence on the Egyptian culture that is evident to date.