Mayans were a fairly advanced civilisation which excelled in architecture, medicine, mathematics and various form of art. The Mayan society was complexed enough to have many different vocations and institutions, and it had a vast array of jobs, most of them occupied by Mayan men since women were not very active in the social or political life of Mayan society. Mayan men worked as farmers, hunters, craftsmen, artists, builders, architects and on a number of other jobs. The higher-level jobs in Mayan Society, such as military chiefs and civil officials, were occupied by the Mayan nobility.
The king or the ruler in the Mayan cities held supreme power and had the divine sanction on his side. However, he was required to perform certain tasks failing which, he ran the risk of being overthrown. These include his military eminence. The more military prowess a ruler carried and the better he was at warfare, the more esteemed he was in the eyes of the people. Mayan rulers also had to erect religious temples and other monumental architectural structures to please the gods. Such acts appeased the nobility as well as the commoners. It was also the job of the Mayan ruler to provide enough food for his people to ensure their security.
The nobility class played a very important role in Mayan society. They were essentially allied with royalty and the priestly class. The ruler appointed members of the nobility class on the important administrative positions throughout the government. These included jobs such as magistrates who would make decisions in local towns, town counsellors, officials who helped major lords in carrying out certain social affairs, policemen, leaders of the military who would lead the troops in wars, among others.
Mayan society relied heavily on the hard work of the farmers. They tilled the land, cultivated the crops and produced enough food for the entire population of a given Mayan city. In doing so, farmers had to take the help of slash-and-burn techniques and make highly efficient use of available water. The Mayan farmers didn’t have any sophisticated tools neither did they have any beasts of burden. Fields were cleared using stone axes while seeds were planted using simple sticks. Rainfall was unreliable in Mayan regions, so farmers often had to come up with innovative methods in order to meet their food demands.
Mayan warriors were trained rigorously. The main component of their job was to fight with enemies of the city, subdue and capture them and bring them back to the city for ritual human sacrifices. In this, the warriors were esteemed more for capturing enemies alive rather than killing them. Mayan warriors lived a hard life and were perpetually engaged in combat, in one way or the other. They also enjoyed high esteem in the eyes of Mayan society and were usually ranked alongside the nobility.
Scribes in the Mayan society were usually associated with the royal courts. It was their job to pen down any messages or edicts from royalty and pass them on to the desired personnel. Since the knowledge of the written language was exclusively limited to the priests, scribes had to learn their art from them directly. This involved training under the priests for a certain amount of time. The scribes themselves belonged to the nobility class since the teaching of language to any commoner was generally forbidden. Scribes were considered an important part of Mayan society and had their own patron deities, such as the Howler Monkeys.
Mayan priests had a wide range of responsibilities on their shoulders. But since these came with a lot of power and influence, the priestly class was very closely allied with the royalty and the nobility. In fact, so powerful were the priests that they were generally consulted by the King or the ruler in most important matters. The job of the priests was to conduct religious rituals, overlook religious ceremonies and ensure that religion ruled over all aspects of Mayan society. Priests were also tasked with developing sciences such as astronomy, mathematics, medicine and the written language. Their job involved teaching this knowledge to the children of the nobility.
Women in Mayan society performed many different jobs, although they played no role in public life. The primary job of women was to look after the household, do cooking, take care of the children and do gardening in their personal gardens which usually accompanied each household. Women would also occasionally help out their husbands with their farming. Another important part of a women’s work was to weave clothes for the society at large. Nearly all commoner women wove cloth at their homes in their spare time. More intricately woven clothes were considered akin to art and esteemed similarly.
Merchants played an important role in Mayan society. They took wares from one Mayan city to another, selling them in exchange for different products. Merchants were very efficient and travelled by water and by land. Mayans built special roads to facilitate the merchants. The merchant class played a critical role in the rise of certain Mayan cities by exporting the artworks of the artisans to other cities and helping the city amass wealth through them. In time, the merchants became a powerful class of the Mayan society.
Mayan society was fairly advanced in that it excelled in many different aspects of life. These included architecture, farming, astronomy, craftsmanship and writing among others. Consequently, Mayans had many diverse jobs for different classes of society. Priests were engaged as religious leaders, astronomers, researchers and educators. The ruler was required to protect the city, provide food for people and make other decisions. The nobility occupied jobs in the governments administration. The commoner class was mostly engaged in farming and hunting, and more rarely in craftsmanship or as artists.