Were Mayans more advanced than France and England from 500-900 AD?

Jun 2014
4,516
India
What do our learned members think on this, from what I can tell, Mayans had larger urban sites than modern day France and England during this period, can we say that despite living in stone age, Mayas were more advanced than these two European nations?
 
Mar 2014
8,881
Canterbury
1) Medieval, especially Dark Age, Europe gets a bad rep. It was far more advanced relative to elsewhere in the world than tumblrites and bad textbooks give it credit for.

2) The size of urban areas doesn't have much to do with how advanced a society is. If that's all the Mayans have going for them (and I'm not sure if it is: I know next-to-nothing about them) then the answer's no.
 

Zhang LaoYong

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
5,123
On the prowl.
What do you mean by more "advanced?" Are we talking about science and technology, cultural/social advancement in terms of rights and laws, military advancements, or what? I do not really understand the question.
 
Jun 2014
4,516
India
Thanks for giving a real start to this thread. My understanding is that larger urban sites means better state of agriculture and it is urban population that plays a great role in advancement of society, just look at today, countries which are poorest have least rate of urbanization. Ofcourse technologically, there is no contest, Celtics were more advanced than Mayas in cattle domestication, work with metals,military etc.
 

Lowell2

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,541
California
A large urban area (say Rome at the height of the Republic or Empire) didn't have a good state of agriculture in it's immediate environs, Rome depended on grain imports from Egypt and elsewhere. London didn't have a large agricultural area. It's a matter of if one has the transport means. In this regard, both South and North America were at a disadvantage in that the largest domestic animal wasn't capable of hauling or carrying large loads (the llama can't even carry a person). Another issue is sewers -- Rome had very sophisticated ones, London and Paris, not so much. Building materials? Yes, Maya had great pyramidal temples in stone.
http://www.csupomona.edu/~lugo/MAYA/index-2.html
Europe was building these: Rheinstein Castle, Trechtingshausen. Situated 270 feet above the Rhine River originally built in 900

Château de Brest, France, which started as a Roman fortification:

Basilica of Saint Servatius, Netherlands, 550AD
 
Feb 2011
1,595
The Maya were much more urbanized, yes. But advanced? Certainly not in direct comparison which, however, is largely meaningless since the basic natural-spatial conditions were so utterly different.
 

Zhang LaoYong

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
5,123
On the prowl.
We studied many great Mayan cities in the Gulf Lowlands and Highlands from the era or 500-900 CE (AD). I would have to flip through my notes to really highlight many of the wonderful aspects of their cities and leaders, but they had certainly built up a wonderful civilization that could rival any at the time.

They had great cities in places like Tikal, Calakmul, Copan, among others, that spanned that entire period of time. I believe Copan was even before that great Mayan period. Tikal and Calakmul were the last great cities of that area to be abandoned.

I wish I had kept the textbook we used on Ancient Meso-American civilizations. It was a fascinating course, and one I did not had much prior knowledge of before stepping into the classroom.
 
May 2014
280
Portland, Oregon
What do our learned members think on this, from what I can tell, Mayans had larger urban sites than modern day France and England during this period, can we say that despite living in stone age, Mayas were more advanced than these two European nations?
I'm skeptical. The Maya were roughly equivalent to the Sumerians, lacking the plow and bronze but advanced in stonemasonry. For Maya to have a higher quality of life than the French or English in 500 AD implies that standards of living fell from Roman levels back to Sumerian levels.
 

Zhang LaoYong

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
5,123
On the prowl.
I'm skeptical. The Maya were roughly equivalent to the Sumerians, lacking the plow and bronze but advanced in stonemasonry. For Maya to have a higher quality of life than the French or English in 500 AD implies that standards of living fell from Roman levels back to Sumerian levels.
Rubbish. There was a very fine standard of living in many Maya cities. The Maya had a stratified society like in Europe, and life could be hard as it is anywhere, but I don't think the people in Maya cities were living at a much lower standard than those suffering in Europe.

The Maya cities in the period mentioned above were quite modern for their time. I dug up a very fine thread about the Maya by Hresvelgr in the American forum. The posts there really help to push out a lot of the misconceptions of the Maya from the truth of their civilization over the centuries. I really recommend anyone interested to check it out.

Many people may be surprised at just how advanced those societies really were (not just the Maya but others from the region).
 
Jun 2014
4,516
India
I'm skeptical. The Maya were roughly equivalent to the Sumerians, lacking the plow and bronze but advanced in stonemasonry. For Maya to have a higher quality of life than the French or English in 500 AD implies that standards of living fell from Roman levels back to Sumerian levels.
Thanks for answer, can we say that a people knowing use of chariots, iron weapons, plough and having large number of domesticated a animals but having no cities are more advanced than such highly urbanized people as Mayas?