Tikal: The Mayan City of the Jaguar God

Tikal: The Mayan City of the Jaguar God

For todays’ Geographics we are going to
explore the Petén Province, in Northern Guatemala. In the heart of the jungle, surrounded by
lush vegetation, lies one of the major archaeological sites of the Maya civilization — a bustling
city-state which flourished from the year 300 to 850 CE. This is Tikal, also known as Mutul — the
City of the Jaguar God of the Underworld. Perhaps less known and less celebrated than
Palenque, Teotihuacan, or other ancient cities of central America, Tikal is wonderfully preserved
and simply breath-taking, with its towering pyramids emerging from the greenery. Along the way, we are going to find out about
the Mayas’ history, complex religion, and the two reasons why we should be thankful
for them. History of Tikal
The Maya were a native people of Mexico and Central America who inhabited the lands comprising
modern-day Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, and Chiapas. Their civilization stretched well beyond current-day
Mexican borders, southward through Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. The overall time span of the Maya extended
from 7000 BCE to 1524 CE. But their civilisation reached its apex of
maximum splendor during the so-called ‘Classic Period’, from 250 to 900 CE. The Maya have intrigued the world since their
modern `discovery’ in the 1840s by John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood. Contrary to popular imagination, the Maya
did not vanish, and their descendants still inhabit the same lands. Many even continue to practice, sometimes
in a modified form, the same rituals of their ancestors. A prime example of the Maya cultural peak
is the ancient city-state of Tikal. Tikal, one of the grandest cities in Mesoamerica,
dates back to 300 BCE, when the first settlements were established. In the 1st Century CE, the Tikalians undertook
a massive clearing of jungle vegetation and built the first monumental buildings. Tikal was surrounded by valuable goods, and
it didn’t take long for the city to thrive. Cedar wood, colour dyes, copal resin, all
contributed to its economic growth. So did maize – or corn – a major crop
that fed much of the growing city. In the year 378 Tikal came into contact with
forces from distant Teotihuacan, the powerful Aztec centre in Mexico. We don’t know if the nature of this contact
was an invasion, or simply trade, but the Aztecs definitely had an influence on the
cultural practices at Tikal, from art to architecture. From the late 4th century, Tikal initiated
an aggressive expansionist campaign, forming an alliance with Kaminaljuyú, a rich highland
city controlling crucial trade routes in the Maya region. The Tikalians also conquered the long-time
rival city of Uaxactún. In the 6th century, Tikal got a taste of its
own medicine, suffering a military defeat from the city-state Caracol in 562. But during the following century, Tikal recovered,
big time. The city reached its zenith in the 7th century,
becoming a sort of Maya superpower. At this time, the population of Tikal reached
50,000 inhabitants, spread over 200 square kilometres of multiple settlements. The ruler responsible for this resurgence
was Jasaw Chan K’awiil, who defeated rival Calakmul in 695 and oversaw a significant
rebuilding programme in the city. This is when the Tikalians erected the most
impressive monuments, such as the massive pyramids known as Temple I and II. These buildings granted for Tikal a listing
as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Along with other major Maya cities, Tikal
went into gradual decline during the 8th century, and by 900 it had become a ghost town. Its gigantic structures and soaring pyramids
were abandoned by its inhabitants. The once-proud architecture fell into disrepair
and was reclaimed by nature, covered by the jungle, month after month, inch after inch,
waiting to be rediscovered. A Lost World
Tikal was eventually found following Stephens’ and Cathewoods’ expeditions in the mid-19th
Century. Of course, the ancient city was known to the
locals, so it wasn’t really a ‘discovery’ to anyone near the Yucatan. Today’s UNESCO heritage site consists of
nine clearings, or ‘plazas’ and courts connected by causeways and ramps, surrounded
by more than 3,000 structures. Before the year 250, the Great Plaza and North
Acropolis were built along a north-south axis. Later constructions, such as Temples I and
II in the 8th century, followed an east-west axis, balancing the plan of the city. Besides its imposing temples, the city also
had palaces, a market complex, ten reservoirs, two sacred causeways, and a unique triple
ballcourt. Yes, it is well known that the Mayas played
ball. More on this later. The larger structures at the site all display
the usual Maya features of multi-level pyramids, raised platforms, vaulted chambers, large
stucco masks of gods flanking staircases. But the most important feature is that many
of the buildings were placed according to astrological considerations. For example: from one of the temples you can
see the sun rising on the 12th of February. From another temple, along the same axis,
the sun can be observed rising on the 30th of October. Both are key dates of the Maya sacred calendar,
more on this later. It is believed that the pyramidal structure
was a representation of the sacred mountain-top caves: Mesoamerican people had used them as
places of worship for millennia. The North Acropolis houses temples built on
two rectangular platforms used as mausoleums for the early Tikal kings. The richest tomb belongs to Yax Nuun Ayiin,
also known as ‘Curled Nose,’ who died in 420. He was buried in all his finery along with
maize gruel, which may explain the curled nose. But as a powerful ruler, he had the privilege
of having nine sacrificial victims also buried with him. Also, a more pleasant surprise: several fine
pots of chocolate. As an aside, I would not be surprised if one
day an archaeologist translated one of the inscriptions at Tikal to find it to be a giant
sign saying ‘You Are Welcome.’ That’s because the Mayas discovered cocoa
and invented chocolate. They consumed it mostly in its liquid form,
and treated it as a delicacy, a medicine and an aphrodisiac. Other rulers buried in the temples, with or
without chocolate, include Moon Zero Bird, Great Jaguar Paw, Stormy Sky, and Smoking
Frog. When hearing those names, you may have noticed
that a) they sound awesome, and
b) one of them may sound familiar. Jaguar Paw is in fact the protagonist of Mel
Gibson’s film Apocalypto, about the decline of the Maya civilisation. The film was mainly shot in Mexico, although
second unit filming took place in and around Tikal. According to the local tour guides, Gibson
and scriptwriter Safinia visited Tikal to draw inspiration from local historical characters
and their stories. All these rulers I mentioned dwelled in the
five-story Royal palace in the Great Plaza. The structure has extensive galleries, enclosed
courtyards, and artistic depictions of captives. The courtyards were used for ceremonies such
as royal blood-letting and sacrifices. I’ll get into these later. Obviously, viewer discretion is advised. Nearby all this is the ‘Lost World’, or ‘Mundo
Perdido’ in Spanish. It is dominated by a huge pyramid flanked
by a row of small temples. Their exact purpose is unknown, but those
to the east are aligned with the sunrise at the equinoxes. This is more proof of the Maya’s incredibly
sophisticated astronomical knowledge. The real centre-pieces of the Tikal site are
the late temples, built on the east-west axis. Temple I is a 50 meter (164 ft) high pyramid. If you want to get on top, you will have to
climb a steep 70-degree staircase, with steps so narrow they can only be climbed side-footed. Temple I is layered over nine levels, in imitation
of the nine levels of the Maya underworld. This temple was also the burial site for the
king of the Maya resurgence, Jasaw Chan K’awiil. His wife may have been buried in Temple II,
42-metre high. The tallest structure in Tikal, though, is
the 70-meter high Temple IV, which acts as a tomb to a king named Yax Kin. Fun fact: it was from the top of this Temple
that George Lucas filmed a shot for ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’. I am no expert of Star Wars lore, but according
to fan forums Tikal doubled as the Rebel base of Yavin IV. Tikal rulers were celebrated not only by massive
pyramids, but also by simple stone slabs, which depicted their features and recorded
their stories. Such stelae in Tikal are the oldest recorded
inscribed slabs in Mesoamerica. One of them shows a ruler holding in his left
hand an interesting fellow, who will be our guide to the religion and customs of the Mayas:
the Jaguar God of the Underworld. The Jaguar God of Xibalba
The Jaguar God is considered to be the protector deity of Tikal. Among other things he was the patron of War,
of the Number Seven and maybe even a fire god. But most importantly, he was one of the Lords
of Xibalba, also called Metnal, a dark and frightening place we would call the Underworld. The Jaguar God is usually depicted as having
square eyes with spiral pupils, and a single large tooth. The Maya carved or drew this God with so-called
k’in signs, which are symbols of the Sun, a curious attribute for one of the Lords of
the Afterlife. This has led to interpret the Jaguar as a
symbol of the sun during night time, while it travels through Xibalba. Xibalba was a terrifying place, in which all
souls would end up after death. It was populated by deities with cheerful
names like Bloody Teeth, Flying Scab, and Bloody Claw. Which by total coincidence, are the names
of my three cats. Xibalba was covered in eternal darkness and
the barren landscape was strewn with rivers of blood and pus. A newly arrived soul would start a quest for
Tamoanchan, the Maya paradise, and the mischievous Lords of Xibalba would steer them in the right
or wrong direction, according to their whims. Souls of the dead had to ascend the nine levels
to reach the middle world, our Earth, and then climb thirteen more levels before reaching
Heaven. The stay here was short, for souls then descended
to a lower level, on the earth or just above it, to live in eternal happiness. A well deserved happiness, I’d like to add. The only souls considered exempt from this
journey were sacrificial victims, women who died in childbirth, those killed in warfare,
suicides, and those who died playing the ball game Poc-a-Toc. Before I continue my exquisite investigation
of the Maya afterlife and their pantheon, please allow me to talk sports. I am a bloke after all. So what is Poc-a-Toc exactly? Poc-a-toc
As a major Maya city, Tikal could boast several courts for playing Poc-a-toc, located in its
inner urban zone of around 400 hectares. Here the courts are surrounded by palaces,
temples, ceremonial platforms, residential buildings and terraces. The traditional ball game of Poc-a-toc was
developed during the Classic Period of Maya history. Some sources claim it is even older, invented
3500 years ago. That would make it arguably the first organized
game in the history of sports, and certainly the first organized ball sport. Another reason to say ‘thank you’ to the
Mayas. Poc-a-Toc was the most popular game among
the Mayas and was far more than a simple sport or competition: it symbolized the human struggle,
the cyclical nature of time and reflected the way the Mayas viewed existence. If you want to try your hand at Poc-a-toc,
the rules are not entirely clear to Mayanists. But we do know that the game involved two
opposing teams of two to seven men each. They faced each other, trying to score a small
rubber ball through a vertical hoop affixed to a wall, twenty feet in the air or even
higher. Sounds easy? Wait to hear this. The solid rubber balls used were heavy, up
to eight or nine pounds, and could cause serious injury or even death. Plus, players were not allowed to use the
hands or the feet, having to rely only on their hips, shoulders, head and knees to hurl
the balls around. Spanish Bishop Diego De Landa wrote that watching
the Mayas play Poc-a-Toc was like watching lightning strikes, due to the speed and skill
of the players. Some matches were simply what they looked
like: a game of ball – sometimes with gambling on the side, very often with critical injuries
at the end. But others had a deep religious meaning, involving
human sacrifice. It has long been believed that the losing
team, or their captain, would be killed at the end of the match. But recent findings suggest the opposite:
it was the winners who had the honour of being put to a quick death. This would ensure them an escape from the
darkness of Xibalba and an instant passage to paradise, as I said earlier. In other occasions, the city rulers would
challenge a team of captive warriors in a rigged game. In that case, it was the losing captives who
were killed by ritual sacrifice. Other theories about the mysterious Poc-a-toc
is that it was used as a proxy for war between rival cities, which is a great way to resolve
international conflict if you ask me. In WWII my country could have won in just
a week by challenging Germany and Italy to a game of test cricket, for example. Although I am not so sure about the results
if the chosen sport was football – also known as soccer if you belong to the former colonies. Warfare aside, the game of Poc-a-toc’s importance
is made clear by its inclusion in the Popol Vuh, one of the few remaining books of the
Mayas. Here, the game is played by Hunahpu and Xbalanque,
the hero Twins who defeated the Dark Masters of Xibalba. The Popol Vuh
Most of the ancient Maya texts had been carelessly destroyed following the invasion of the Spanish
conquistadores. The Bishop of the Yucatan peninsula, and sports
commentator, Diego De Landa, was the main culprit: he had most of these books burned
in July of 1562. As they used to say, nobody expects the Spanish
Inquisition. The Popol Vuh was one of the very few survivors,
making it all the more important in understanding Maya traditions and especially their creation
myths. The Mayas also knew this book as ‘The Light
That Came From Beside The Sea,’ but following its translation into Spanish by the missionary
Ximenez in the 18th Century, it became known in Europe as “the Maya Bible”. The comparison is not precise, though, as
the Popol Vuh should be seen more as an epic poem, the equivalent of the Iliad and Odyssey,
rather than a purely religious work. The Mayas would have defined this book as
an Ilb’al: an instrument of sight, providing a hearer with clarity. The Popol Vuh is a collection of stories that
describe the creation of the world, of the human beings, and how the order was established
by the great Hero Twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, through their victory over the forces of darkness
and death. In these stories, the early demi-gods Hun
Hunahpu and Vucub Hunahpu, symbols of the planets and fertility, are excellent Poc-a-Toc
players. They enjoy themselves too much playing it,
though, and the noise they make enrages the dark Lords of Xibalba. They invite the two brothers to the underworld,
challenging them to a match. This is just a pretext, and the two demi-gods
are tricked and murdered. Their bodies are buried under the Poc-a-toc
court, but Hun Hunahpu’s head is placed inside a calabash tree, as a warning for the
dark Lords’ strength. This head is still animated, though, and it
spits into the palm of the virgin goddess Xquiq. She later becomes pregnant with two boys:
the Hero Twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque. Not only they are both ace Poc-a-Toc-ans (if
that’s a word), but they are also fierce warriors who defeat the Lords of Xibalba and
all the forces of chaos and darkness. A Spiritual World, A Cyclical Time
These stories only offer a glimpse of the complex nature of Maya religion, which trickled
into every aspect of their civilization — from their architecture, to their personal appearance,
and even their calendar. The Maya gods may have lived in Tamoanchan,
or paradise, but they were an integral part of everyday life. The jungles surrounding their cities were
inhabited by the great god of the woods, Yum Caax, protector of plants and animals. The rains came because Chac was pleased and
Lord Yaluk flashed his lightning. Each individual had a spirit guide, the Wayob,
who helped him or her as an animal, or as a dream, relaying messages from the spiritual
realm. Each year, at the spring and autumn equinoxes,
the great serpent god Kukulcan descended from the sky down the staircase of his temples. In summary, the whole of the earth, and human
life, were imbued with spiritual forces which needed to be honoured and consulted, for the
community and individuals to prosper. Mathematics and Astronomy were also part of
religious observance and were key components in the creation of the Sacred Calendar. The Maya actually had two calendars: a secular
one to track the days and the seasons, and a sacred one to predict the future and chart
the courses of the stars. The scribes and the priests doubled as astronomers,
studying the cycles of the planets, seeking in the celestial patterns the celestial messages
of the gods. These messages would be carried to the ruler
of the city, an intermediary between the gods and the people. Inconveniently, these gods had a taste for
human blood. Blood was their food and the kings were not
exempt from this sacrifice. A ritual involved the king using a string
of thorns on his tongue or penis to draw blood on a leaf which was then burned as an offering
to the gods. If the offering was acceptable, based on the
pattern of the burning leaf, the petition of the king was granted. If not, a further sacrifice was needed. While gods accepted animals and gems as a
gift, human sacrifice was central to Maya beliefs. Excavations in and around Tikal and other
sites have revealed bones of what appear to be sacrificial victims. Human sacrifice is also depicted in paintings
and carvings throughout the Maya region. Some of these victims were prisoners of war,
while others were citizens of the community. Remember — Dying as a sacrificial victim
was a great honour, as it granted immediate ascension to Heaven. Our ‘friend’ Bishop De Landa, wrote:
“Their festivals were only to secure the goodwill or favour of their gods…They believed
them angry whenever they were molested by pestilences, dissensions, or droughts or the
like ills, and then … forgetful of all natural piety and all law of reason they made sacrifices
of human beings as easily as they did of birds” In other cities, like Chichen Itza the sacrifice
took the form of being thrown into the Sacred Cenote, a deep natural well. But in Tikal and other sites, victims were
usually disembowelled. Or, as depicted most frequently by popular
culture, the victims had their hearts torn out on the altar of a temple. The Mayas believed in the cyclical nature
of time and of life. So, for them, nothing and no one ever truly
`died.’ Sacrificial victims were considered to have
simply `moved on’ to live among the gods. We don’t have their views on the matter,
sadly. All of existence carried on eternally in the
great cycle of time, and this was illustrated in both the secular and sacred calendars. Now, if you are aged seven or younger … you
shouldn’t be watching this. I have been talking about people being disembowelled. For Pete’s sake, go back to Peppa Pig. But if you are eight or older, you may remember
the big 2012 scare. Based on an incorrect interpretation of the
Maya calendars, many believed that the world would end on the 21st of December 2012. But this is the wrong way to look at the Maya
beliefs, through a western European lens. For the Maya, time was eternal, bound in endless
cycles, and as such it could never end. The identified date in 2012 was simply the
end of one cycle, called a ‘Baktun’, and the beginning of another. It could be argued that Time itself was the
supreme god of the Maya pantheon and their intricate calendars rose from, and then shaped,
their religious beliefs. Decline of the Mayas
Around 900 AD, the Maya may have marked the end of one such cycles of time. That period, during which Tikal was abandoned
by its inhabitants, marked the end of the so-called Classic Maya Period. This was the age of maximum splendour for
this civilization: this is when the Mayas reached their peak in science, architecture,
military power and demography, numbering in the millions. Then, the Mayas mysteriously started abandoning
their once-grandiose cities and dispersing into the surrounding rural areas. So far, archaeologists and historians have
not found a clear explanation as to why this happened: climate change and overpopulation
are two likely possibilities. The Toltecs, a new tribe moving into the region,
took over the vacant urban centres and re-populated them. The Mayas scattered around the jungles and
mountains of central America, divided into several tribes such as the Quiche [Key-tches]
or the Cakchiquel [Cahk-chee-kell]. After a long period of decline, a calamity
befell upon them. This one is clearly documented — the arrival
of the Conquistadores. On the 6th of December 1523, one of Hernan
Cortes’ lieutenants, Pedro De Alvarado, left Tenochtitlán – Mexico City – looking
for more riches in the area of today’s Guatemala. He was leading 400 Spanish soldiers and over
5000 native auxiliaries. The area was not completely unknown to the
Spanish: in fact, a previous expedition had introduced smallpox, which had eradicated
one third of the population. Alvarado soon clashed with the Quiche Mayas,
ruling the highlands since the 14th century, from their capital Utatlan. The Quiche were not a unified people, though:
constant infighting had led them to abandon the fertile valleys to inhabit fortress-like
towns, like their capital. All this had put them in a position of weakness
against the invaders. When Alvarado and his men arrived at Utatlan
they asked the Mayas to surrender peacefully. The Quiches refused to cooperate and their
leader Tecum rallied 10,000 troops. But Alvarado had already brought the Cakchiquel
tribes to his side, in exchange for favourable treatment. Tecum succeeded in increasing his army to
30,000 warriors. They marched into battle behind flag bearers,
conch-shell trumpet players, and rows of drummers. Then, on a plain outside of Quetzaltenango,
both sides clashed in a fierce battle. The Quiches, numerically superior, were outclassed
by the superior Spanish weapons and suffered a horrific defeat. The Quiches surrendered, and Alvarado burned
Utatlan to the ground. The year of the battle of Utatlan, 1524, traditionally
marks the end of the Maya Civilization. Going to Tikal
Today the Tikal National Park is a UNESCO Heritage site, embedded within the Maya Biosphere
Reserve. The Park is one of the few World Heritage
properties inscribed according to both natural and cultural criteria, for its extraordinary
biodiversity and archaeological importance. The park boasts 57,600 hectares of wetlands,
savannah, tropical broadleaf and palm forests, plus the main archaeological sites. Local wildlife includes jaguars, pumas, anteaters,
300 species of birds, and several species of monkeys. By the way, watch out for the monkeys. You don’t piss off the monkeys. One of our team went there some years ago,
and he managed to piss off the monkeys. He was targeted with vines, branches and faeces. From the monkeys. You leave the monkeys alone. So, if you are lucky enough to visit Guatemala,
definitely go visit Tikal. If time is indeed cyclical, and nothing ever
dies, then Tikal is a clear example: preserved and mostly intact since it was abandoned hundreds
of years ago, this city is a unique experience to witness the might and spiritual knowledge
of the ancient Mayas.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

100 thoughts on “Tikal: The Mayan City of the Jaguar God

  1. You should do a history channel like this. Not one like highlighting history but one that tracks causes and events. Like explain the history of the aztec or mya empires. The British empire. The English civil war. The acts of union in the uk and so on

  2. Of course, it wouldn't be a Mayan temple complex without human sacrifices happening there! That's the real trigger warning!

  3. You should do a Geographics about Siberia and all the archaeological finds archaeologisthave discovered.
    The countless dinosaur fossils and human fossils and artifacts they've been finding over the decades

  4. Teotihuacanos are not Azteca. And Azteca calendar are not Mayan calendar and Azteca codex is not Mayan codex… XD In this video all mixed together 😂😂

  5. Wait a fuckin minute you Prague livin ass hole, when did you get another channel, and how did you trick me into watching you again? Every day man. Top tenz, biographics, today i found out, visualpolitk! Why? Are you going to take Barbs job from geography now too? Fuck. Good video though. Just…slow down. Other people youtube too.

  6. New discoveries through the LIDAR technology, estimates the population of Tikal, to be 2 or 3 times more, around 150, 200 thousand. Thanks for the great video. keep doing a good job!

  7. The winners were put to death lol, I bet there were a few thrown matches by skilled teams who simply didnt want to die.

  8. I love the trigger warnings on here. They just lean into it, like "I don't speak the language, but here's my best, educated guess. If you want to have a go at me, whatever."

  9. Lascaux caves would make a good episode. You know, that famous one in France with the 17,000 year old paintings. Which, incidentally predate the Great Lakes and was so long ago that the Sahara was Lush, Green and wet.

  10. It's surreal to hear a few seconds of Kevin MacLeod's 'Big Mojo' in the opening to the Maya. Had that track burned into my brain from dungeon diving in Elona. It's nice to know Simon has good taste in royalty free music.

  11. You have a lot of Jaguars (two syllables) over there in the UK? Maybe they’re owned by a clerk watching the derby in Berkeley. I rest my case.

  12. Teotihuacán was not Aztec at all. The Aztecs would not appear until much much later. It is believed it was the toltecs or maybe even Mayan ancestors were the original founders of Teotihuacán

  13. I've never played it but I have the idea that I would suck at poc-a-toc. At least I would try very hard to suck at it.

  14. Hi everyone at geographics. Any chance you could do a vid in Doggerland. Love all your channels thanks for all the hard work xx 😊

  15. If you are triggered by a non-native Spanish speaker mispronouncing Spanish words … well, what can one even say?

  16. The Jacksonville Jaguars is a proper noun. If you ever mention my city's football team, you better say it right motherfucker! lol.

  17. I actually bring up JAGYOUARES in everday conservation ( which is not easy) just so I can say JAGYOUARE! because it erks people and its awesome and youre
    awesome and this channel is the best! keep up the great work!

  18. Bonus fact: 15 year old David Stuart cracked the Mayan written language. He figured out that the Mayan writing was very artistic and the words could be represented in different ways. Think "phish" and "fish." Check out the Nova documentary Cracking the Maya Code on PBS.

  19. You guys should make a vid about the irrigation system of the Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka that incline as gradually as an inch a mile. Many ancient temples are extraordinary, like Hindu or Sufi, but some of the ancient Buddhist temples especially are a marvel of ancient civilizations. I'm sure there is a video in there somewhere lol. ☸

  20. Love the videos my dude! but could you talk a little slower. Because some times I forget what you said 30 seconds after you said it hahaha

  21. This video needed to have been better researched. By the time the Aztecs arrived in central Mexico, Teotihuacan had already been long abandoned. The Aztecs didn't build the city. It's not known who founded it. Other than that, good video.

  22. After reading about the history of BCE and CE, I understand why Simon uses those terms to refer to BC and AD. But it still makes my teeth cringe when he says it…

  23. Seriously, who did the research in this one? Teotihuacan was not Aztec. Also you left out the Calakmul-Teotihuacan alliance against Tikal. Also at 18:03 that's the Aztec sun stone

  24. lol are you serious….? jag-U-a? jag-war. i mean there are a lot of words the English say different then us Americans (aluminum: aluminium, budder:butter/a, Schedule:Shedule german to Greek root) but this one is a new one for me, and just as ridiculous even though i know the history of this linguistic differences. Someone please teach the English how to speak English. XD lol

  25. Another terrific video! When I see something new from one of the 'graphics or Top Tenz, I know it'll be good. 👏💟 Watch out for Flying Scab in Xibalba.

  26. Since you've done Tikal and Pompeii could you do Cuzco, the capital of the Inca? It is a beautiful and historical city. Love the new channel.

  27. Teotihuacan was founded around 100 BCE, moreover the Mexicas (Aztecs) had not yet even moved in to the Central Valley in Mexico soo, unless they could time travel the teotihucanos were a separate ancestor culture. You should check your sources a bit better maybe experience the culture these are living cultures, that made some of your comments a tad cringe. Then again your British so I will asume it’s a cultural tradition.

  28. First and foremost, as dozens of people have already mentioned, Teotihuacan was defiantly not founded by the Aztecs.
    Second, I have been to Tikal and I can unequivocally say it is one of the best travel experiences I have ever had. Absolutely do not miss this one.

  29. Ancient Maya and Aztec history is so mysterious. I’ve been to Mexico twice and taken tours of historical sites, museums, been to xcaret and there are some historical details that change depending on who you are on a tour with. It’s so amazing to see all the ruins and incredible art that is left behind from so long ago.

  30. 09:05 This underworld journey is remarkably similar to what little I know of what ancient Egyptians tell of what happens after death, where the soul travels thru a perilous land of the dark between sunset & sunrise, ultimately if successful joining with the gods and sharing their immortality.

  31. Hey, Ian, regarding Apocalypto, you are totally correct. I am a trained social anthropologist and health scientist and when viewed Apocalypto, I thought..what B.S. is this??

  32. the movie Apocalypto is highly inaccurate and brutaly racist like anything that is made by Mel Gibson. Do not take it as a reference for pre columbian peoples of America!

  33. ………..and yet another example of the unecessary brutality humanity inflicts upon its itself….While still a fascinating civilization , let's face it as deep as their spirituality ran so did their blood thirstiness ….

  34. Why not start a fairy tales channel? Children seems to easily copy your accent. No joke, and they will keep on watching endlessly

  35. This guy infuses no soul into his videos. Just sounds like he is a retainer of info. It becomes boring to listen to him after hearing his videos after a while.

  36. I'm American, but thanks to watching so much Top Gear, I can't say Jaguar the American way because it just sounds and feels wrong.

  37. Tecum deserves a place with Quisquis and any of the many Native North Americans, who were strong men determined to win and, if not, to go down fighting. Theres a great book called 500 Nations, a fascinating and vidual look at the indigenous American peoples that existed before European contact. I recommend it to everyone.

  38. Thanks for the video– bloody brilliant!
    And if you can go see the Maya ruins, any of them, go in the above-the-equator winter to avoid jungle insects. It's just fine, temperature-wise you are so far south.
    Also, see the ruins as soon as they open to the public, before the enormous and many jam-packed tourist busses show up, about 10:30 or so.

  39. I used to jokingly say I was sad the world didn't end then cause my student loans for 6 years of college and gradschool would have been wiped and instead they turned due that Jan.

  40. Well Simon. You have a people channel, now a places channel. May I suggest a "things" channel. 1000s to make videos on. Peace.

  41. Simon! Thank you so much for NOT apologizing for your prononciation! I am SOOOOOO tired of the prononciation nazi's! Just get over it we all speak differently and that is beautiful! Love your accent!

  42. so ya. Europeans go to explore, bring army and disease, and destory an entire civilization! Makes me so proud to be part of that heritage….. :/ that's sarcasm in case you get confused….

  43. Imagining WW2 as a high stakes game of basketball is hilarious, FDR has to stand up from his wheelchair to save Churchill and Stalin from getting dunked on by Hitler.

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself, but your ass has to fear my b-ball skills, Adolf!"

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