Maya ‘End of the world’ myth – Nottingham wakes sunny side up!
I run a website for St Ann's, and already I Have had a steady stream of Emails & comments over the last few hours about the end of the world – "The end is neigh." One contributor even sent me a quote from the late Eric Morecambe: "If you want to be a goanna, buy a record by Des O'Conner."
The Maya Calendar comes to a close at precisely the date and time of the December solstice which is at 11: 11 Am., although I doubt anything will happen today.
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period (c. 2000 BC to AD 250).
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The Maya centres of the southern lowlands went into decline during the 8th and 9th centuries and were abandoned shortly thereafter. This decline was coupled with a cessation of monumental inscriptions and large-scale architectural construction. No universally accepted theory explains this collapse.
In common with the other Mesoamerican civilizations, the Maya had measured the length of the solar year to a high degree of accuracy, far more accurately than that used in Europe as the basis of the Gregorian calendar. They did not use this figure for the length of year in their calendars, however; the calendars they used were crude, being based on a year length of exactly 365 days, which means that the calendar falls out of step with the seasons by one day every four years. By comparison, the Julian calendar, used in Europe from Roman times until about the 16th Century, accumulated an error of only one day every 128 years. The modern Gregorian calendar is even more accurate, accumulating only a day's error in approximately 3,257 years.
The Maya calendar is complex involving different cycles for the Sun & Moon.
The Maya calendar doesn't end in 2012, as some have said, and the ancients never viewed that year as the time of the end of the world, archaeologists say.
But December 21, 2012, was nonetheless momentous to the Maya.
It's the time when the largest grand cycle in the Mayan calendar -- 1,872,000 days or 5,125.37 years -- overturns and a new cycle begin.
The Maya kept time on a scale few other cultures have considered.
During the empire's heyday, the Maya invented the Long Count -- a lengthy circular calendar that transplanted the roots of Maya culture all the way back to creation itself.
During the 2012 winter solstice, time runs out on the current era of the Long Count calendar, which began at what the Maya saw as the dawn of the last creation period: August 11, 3114 B.C. The Maya wrote that date, which preceded their civilization by thousands of years, as Day Zero, or 184.108.40.206.0.
In December 2012 the lengthy era ends and the complicated, cyclical calendar will roll over again to Day Zero, beginning another enormous cycle.
The idea is that time gets renewed, that the world gets renewed all over again -- often after a period of stress – in the same way we renew time on New Year's Day or even on Monday morning at midnight on New years Eve.
Our website will continue into 2013 printing updated news item, and I have no doubt that the Evening Post will do the same.
So Des O'Conner can rest assured that we will be able to continue buying his records this Christmas!