Research: Mesoamerican Civilizations - UCI - Research Paper

2495 words - 10 pages

Ramos 1
Jennifer Ramos
Professor Kara Cooney
ANE 15: Women and Power
March 20, 2019
Women in Power: Mesoamerican Civilizations
Mesoamerican civilizations including Maya, Aztec, and Inca societies relied heavily on
their women to prosper and thrive. These civilizations consisted of vast traditions and roles
which women were complacent to.Women in these civilizations played critical roles which were
often undermined. By examining women’s power through the concepts of ideological, military,
economic, and political power, as described by Michael Mann, we can see how women used the
power they accessed for the betterment of their societies. While women in Maya, Aztec, and Inca
civilizations had limited access to power due to the praising of their male counterparts from
previous generations, their access to power- primarily through family lineage, sexualization, and
gender roles- was significant as without women and their roles in these civilizations these
societies would have lacked the proper stability to prosper and thrive.
Women in these civilizations had the opportunity to participate in battles, which in turn
granted them access to military power. Many of these battles had different motives, including
battles for defending, obtaining, and protecting territory. Women who participated in these battles
were able to obtain respect from their respective male counterparts. An example of an influential
warrior queen is Lady K’abel who ruled the Mayan Wak kingdom between A.D. 672 and 692
(Ardren 54). Lady K’abel was an important female figure for the Mayan society. The Snake
dynasty, which she was a part of tend to follow the tradition of marrying off noblewomen to
Ramos 2
kings in the Wak kingdom. She essentially gained power in this manner through her marriage
with K'inich Bahlam. Even though she ruled alongside her husband, her title of Kaloomte-
meaning “supreme warrior”- granted her higher authority than him. Stela 34 is a monument
dedicated in her honor where she is depicted wearing a headdress and shield on her left hand,
both connected to war and maize god. The maize god was thought to represent rebirth and
creation of all living things. Lady K’abel representing this god was important as she was seen as
part of the ritual to rebirth and connect new creations into the Maya land. An influential warrior
goddess in the Aztec society was Coyolxauhqui, sister of Huitzilopochtli who was known as the
god of war. Coyolxauhqui was the leader of her 400 brothers, the Centzon Huitznahua, whom
she led into war against their mother Coatlicue when she learned she had gotten pregnant under a
dishonorable situation. Though she was ultimately defeated by Huitzilopochtli who intervened to
aid his mother, Coyolxauhqui became an important female figure as she was able to have support
from 400 different brothers and essentially died honorably, in war. Coyolxauhqui got a stone in
her honor, known as the Great Coyolxauhqui Stone, in which she is depicted wearin...

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