Quetzalcoatl – Codex Telleriano
Quetzalcoatl (ket-sal-ko-a-tel) is a Meso-american deity whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and has the meaning of “feather-serpent”.
The worship of a feathered serpent deity is first documented in Teotihuacan in the Late Preclassic through the Early Classic period (400 BCE – 600CE) of Meso-american chronology – whereafter it appears to have spread throughout Mesoamerica by the Late Classic (600 – 900 CE) (Ringle et al.).
In the Postclassic period (900 – 1519 CE) the Continue reading
Caste War of Yucatán
The Caste War of Yucatán (1847–1901) began with the revolt of native Maya people of Yucatán, Mexico against the population of European descent, called Yucatecos, who held political and economic control of the region.
A lengthy war ensued between the Yucateco forces in the north-west of the Yucatán and the independent Maya in the south-east. It officially ended with the occupation of the Maya capital of Chan Santa Cruz by the Mexican army in 1901, although skirmishes with villages and small settlements that refused to acknowledge Mexican control Continue reading
The term Five Suns in the context of creation myths, describes the doctrine of the Aztec and other Nahua peoples in which the present world was preceded by four other cycles of creation and destruction. It is primarily derived from the mythological, cosmological and eschatological beliefs and traditions of earlier cultures from central Mexico and the Meso-american region in general. The Late Postclassic Aztec society inherited many traditions concerning Meso-american creation accounts, while however modifying some aspects and supplying novel interpretations of their own. Continue reading
One of the earliest and most enduring scribal traditions in Mesoamerica developed in the central valleys of Oaxaca. Seemingly a logo-syllabic system since its inception, ca 600 BCE, several lines of evidence strongly suggest that the script encoded an ancient version of the contemporary Zapotecan family of languages.
The early societal uses of writing that can be elicited from what survives in the archaeological record were to promote group identities in the genesis of widening social inequalities, differential access to power, political centralization, and urbanism.
Through time, the script spread over a wide portion of southwestern Mesoamerica, at times imposed by groups with hegemonic interests, or appropriated by aspiring elites to form part of increasingly wider networks of interaction. These processes led the script in a trajectory that minimized phoneticism (confined as time went on to renditions of personal names and toponyms) but maximized logophonic, semantic, and hence multilingual encoding. Continue reading
Haab – 365 days
The Haab, or “vague” year, is the one most similar to the Christian calendar. With 365 days in its count, it is obviously based on solar observations. It’s called the “vague” year because, unlike the Christian calendar, it does not include a leap year. The Haab was in use by at least 100 BC and was created to be used in conjunction with the Tzolk’in.
(Image adapted from Voss, 2000)
The Eighteen months of the Haab
In point of fact, one cannot find a Haab date that is not recorded with a Tzolk’in date within ancient hieroglyphic texts. In operation together, the Haab and Tzolk’in create a larger, 52-year cycle called the Calendar Round that was used not only by the Maya but also by every other culture in Mesoamerica.
The Haab is made up of 18 months of 20 days each and a final short month of only 5 days. Together they form the 365-day, solar-based year. Continue reading
Mayan codices (singular codex) are books written by the Mayans in the ancient Mayan hieroglyphic writing system. There were many such books in existence, but they were destroyed in bulk by the Conquistadors and priests after the Spanish conquest, famously all those in Yucatan were ordered destroyed by Bishop Diego de Landa in July of 1562.
Only three codices and a fragment of a fourth survived to modern times. These are:
- The Madrid Codex, also known as the Tro-Cortesianus Codex
- The Dresden Codex
- The Paris Codex, also known as the Peresianus Codex
- The Grolier Fragment
The Madrid Codex deals with horoscopes and astrological tables and is the product of eight different scribes. It was separated into two parts very early on in its European [journey], and thus traveled different paths in Europe until 1888. In 1880, the Frenchman Léon de Rosny figured out that the two parts were a single codex, now commonly called the “Madrid”, or the “Tro-Cortesianus”. Continue reading
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for a fully developed written language of the pre-colonized Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established circa 2000 BCE, according to the Mesoamerican chronology, many Maya cities reached their highest state of development circa 250 to 1200 CE, and until the arrival of the Europeans.
Discoveries of Maya occupation at Cuello, Belize have been carbon dated to around 2600 BCE. This level of occupation included monumental structures. The Maya calendar, which is based around the so-called Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, begins on a date circa 11 August 3114 BCE. Continue reading