The ancient Maya were known for their amazing pyramids, elaborate writing system, and endeavors in mathematics and science. They also built magnificent cities, such as Tikal, Copan, and Palenque. The culture began to collapse when the Spanish invaded the region in the 1500s. Today, some of the cultural traditions and languages of the ancient Maya are carried on by their descendants in Mexico and Central America. This book explores the ancient Maya through social structure. It details the duties of a ruler, the activities of a farmer, and much more. It also describes some of the discoveries and writings that have led to our present-day understanding of this fascinating culture. People of the Ancient World creates portraits of life in ancient civilizations through a look at the inhabitants. Each book focuses on a different culture and the various parts of its society, including farmers, scribes, priests, soldiers, artisans, and rulers. Incorporated throughout each book is a discussion of how we know what we know about the featured civilization. Sidebars highlight important archaeological discoveries and interesting facts. A biographical dictionary introduces readers to important historical figures, and a horizontal time line shows the key events in the evolution of the civilization. Book jacket.