Mayan calendar dating system

They used 20-day months, and had two calendar years: the 260-day Sacred Round, or . The 52-year period of time was called a "bundle" and meant the same to the Maya as our century does to us.The Sacred Round of 260 days is composed of two smaller cycles: the numbers 1 through 13, coupled with 20 different day names.The Maya calendar in its final form probably dates from about the 1st century B. It is extremely accurate, and the calculations of Maya priests were so precise that their calendar correction is 10,000th of a day more exact than the standard calendar the world uses today.Of all the ancient calendar systems, the Maya and other Mesoamerican systems are the most complex and intricate.

The day names are Imix, Ik, Akbal, Kan, Chicchan, Cimi, Manik, Lamat, Muluc, Oc, Chuen, Eb, Ben, Ix, Men, Cib, Caban, Eiznab, Cauac, and Ahau.

Each single day had its omens and associations, and the inexorable march of the 20 days was like a perpetual fortune-telling machine, guiding the destinies of the Maya.

The Vague Year or of 365 days is similar to our modern calendar, consisting of 18 months of 20 days each, with an unlucky five-day period at the end.

The 260-day cycle may tie several celestial events together, including the configuration of Mars, appearances of Venus, or eclipse seasons.

It may even represent the interval between conception and birth of a human baby.

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The end of this 52-year cycle was particularly feared, because it was believed to be a time when the world might come to an end and the sky might fall, if the gods were not satisfied with the way humanity had carried out its obligations. This is the starting date for all subsequent counting - similar to our use of the birth of Christ as a starting point for modern historical dates.

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