Mel Gibson's Apocalypto
We like Mel Gibson's film productions because he carries realism all the way to language. His film, The Passion of Christ, was spoken entirely in the language of Jesus Christ, Aramaic. Now his new film, about the fall of the Maya Empire, is spoken entirely in Yucatec Mayan. If you wish to pick up all the subtleties of the film, you might want to learn Yucatec before seeing the film—well, at least learn something about it. This page will provide you a library of the best links on the Web to help you do that. (Click the movie logo above for the Apocalypto website.)
The original Maya culture reflected several remarkable parallels with ancient Egyptian culture: (1) Both nations built large pyramids, (2) both nations (the only two known) used hieroglyphics as a writing system, and (3) both nations had advanced systems of astronomy. Curiosity about these similarities led the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl to make two attempts to cross the Atlantic between North Africa and South America in boats made of reeds. In 1970 he succeeded in proving that such a voyage is possible. Heyerdahl denied that he was attempting to prove the two cultures related but many took his voyages to be just that.
Like Latin, whose dialects (accents) over time turned into the Romance languages (French, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, and others), the original Mayan language has become a host of modern Indian languages spoken in Central America. Click here for an listing of all the languages that have developed from Old Mayan.