Huitzilopochtl, God of the Sun, was the Aztec principal god. He had an insatiable appetite for blood. Under his urging, the Aztecs rose from a band of primitive farmers to become the bloodiest civilization of the early Americas. Many Central America cultures indulged in human sacrifice. The Aztec practiced it on an industrial scale, sacrificing tens of thousands of victims each year.
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In the wake of Columbus' historic voyage in 1492, expeditions, especially from Imperial Spain, swarmed into Aztec territory. They came in search of gold and souls gold to enrich the coffers of the Spanish king (and their own), and heathen souls to rescue for Christianity. Within a generation, America's ancient civilizations were crushed. Both the Aztec and Inca Empires collapsed after campaigns lasting just a couple of years. How did they fall so fast? Historians suggest many causes.
They were called the Lost Generation. America's most talented writers of the 1920s were completely disillusioned by the world and alienated by the changes in modern America. The ghastly horrors of trench warfare were a testament to human inhumanity. The ability of the human race to destroy itself had never been more evident. The materialism sparked by the Roaring Twenties left many intellectuals empty. Surely there was more to life than middle-class conformity, they pined.
Powerful kingdoms, beautiful sculpture, complex trade, tremendous wealth, centers for advanced learning all are hallmarks of African civilization on the eve of the age of exploration. Hardly living up to the "dark continent" label given by European adventurers, Africa's cultural heritage runs deep. The empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay are some of the greatest the world has ever known. Timbuktu, arguably the world's oldest university, was the intellectual center of its age.
When immigrants reach a new land, their old ways die hard. This has been the case with most immigrant groups to the New World. The language, customs, values, religious beliefs, and artistic forms they bring across the Atlantic are reshaped by the new realities of America and, in turn, add to its fabric. The rich traditions of Africa combined with the British colonial experience created a new ethnicity the African American.
In this unit, students will become familiar with fables and trickster tales from different cultural traditions and will see how stories change when transferred orally between generations and cultures. They will learn how both types of folktales employ various animals in different ways to portray human strengths and weaknesses and to pass down wisdom from one generation to the next. Use the following lessons to introduce students to world folklore and to explore how folktales convey the perspectives of different world cultures.
In this lesson plan, students will learn about the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. In the introductory first lesson, they will see how animals are often used as symbols. In the second lesson, they will hear one of several versions of how the 12 animals were chosen. They will then focus upon a few of the animals in the story and see how they can be used as symbols of certain human characteristics. In the third lesson, they will be introduced to the other animals of the zodiac, and they will be given a chart on which they will assign traits to each animal. Then they will consult a number of websites to find the traits traditionally associated with the animals, which they will add to their list. Then, they will come up with a number of ways to compare and contrast the animals in the list. In the third lesson, they will focus upon the animal associated with the year of their birth, learning about its traits and discussing whether or not these apply to themselves and their peers. Finally, each student will make an acrostic, combining the letters of his or her first name with adjectives that relate to his or her zodiac sign.
The Bedouins of ancient Arabia and Persia made poetry a conversational art form. Several poetic forms developed from the participatory nature of tribal poetry. Today in most Arabic cultures, you may still experience public storytelling and spontaneous poetry challenges in the streets. The art of turning a rhyme into sly verbal sparring is considered a mark of intelligence and a badge of honor. Students will learn about the origins and structure of Arabic Poetry.
Australian Aboriginal art is one of the oldest continuing art traditions in the world. Much of the most important knowledge of aboriginal society was conveyed through different kinds of storytelling—including narratives that were spoken, performed as dances or songs, and those that were painted. In this lesson students will learn about the Aboriginal storytelling tradition through the spoken word and through visual culture. They will have the opportunity to hear stories of the Dreamtime told by the Aboriginal people, as well as to investigate Aboriginal storytelling in contemporary dot paintings.
Advertisements can present a biased cultural representation that can affect our perceptions of others. For example, a television show may show commercials with some groups of people more than others. A magazine may have advertisements and articles representing a certain type of people in a way that reinforces stereotypes. Students need to be taught to recognize the culture that is being represented in the media they consume as well as the cultures that are absent from the same media.This is Part 5 of a 5 Part Unit: Media Manipulation: What Are They Really Saying?
The most important festival in the Chinese calendar is the New Year or Spring Festival. One of the annual events used to commemorate the festival is a colorful parade complete with animated dragon and lion figures.
In the first activity the student will learn the major differences between Eastern and Western dragons and discover why Eastern dragons are associated with Chinese New Year. They will hear a story about how the dragons came to rule major rivers of China. In the second activity, they will also learn about the Chinese New Year Dragon Parade and discover why firecrackers are used to drive off evil spirits, especially one called the Nian. In the third activity the students will see images of parading dragons, including sound-enhanced video and read poems about the New Year. In the fourth lesson the students will discover that the Chinese lion has imaginary characteristics similar to the dragon. They will view images of the lion and hear about how this highly stylized beast once fought the ferocious Nian. They will learn about the lion dancers in the New Year parade and compare them to the dragon dancers. Finally they will make their own lion masks.