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Author Topic: Zapotec RELIGION  (Read 418 times)
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« on: January 23, 2009, 10:06:20 pm »

                                                           ZAPOTEC RELIGION

The perceived relationship between humans and supernaturals

Anything that moved had "pee" and was alive. Anything animate was somewhat sacred and had had to be approached with some ritual and sense of reciprocity (Marcus 1994:345). Animate things included: animals, men, the 260 day ritual calendar, the moon, light, "the effervescent foam on a cup of stirred hot chocolate," etc. (Id.). Living supernatural forces included such things as clouds, earthquakes, and lightning (Id.).

Principal beliefs and major gods

Zapotec religion was animatistic. Although not monotheists, "they did recognize a supreme being who was without beginning or end, who created everything but was not himself created, but he was so infinite and incorporeal that no images were ever made of him" (Marcus 1994:345). "This supreme being had, in turn, created a series of powerful supernatural forces including lightning, sun, earthquake, fire, and clouds which interacted with the Zapotecs but cannot be considered the equivalent of a Greco-Roman pantheon. . . .An important aspect of Zapotec religion was ancestor worship, especially the veneration of royal ancestors" (Id.).

Expression of religious themes in art and writing

Zapotec writing and art frequently showed sacrificed conquered captives and royal genealogies. Human sacrifice and the veneration of ancestry were prominent themes in Zapotec art and writing.

The "ideological" function of religion in the society

The religion that justified the capture and sacrifice of captives (who also happened to be the leaders of competing polities) justified the payment of tribute and provided new agricultural land to support the ruling elites. Professional religious practitioners also probably helped to integrate or unify Zapotec society.

Religion and the needs of the state: the relationship between religion and political, military, and economic institutions

The Zapotec religion was intertwined with politics, the military, and the economy and justified the rule of elites who could show long genealogies and a connection to the supernatural.

Zapotec religion also justified creation of large religiously important public buildings that enhanced the prestige of elites, and justified wars to capture neighboring rulers to keep the supernatural and natural forces in balance.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 10:08:09 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.

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