Mayans and its mythology. Part 1

The Mayan

That is Maya — a people who occupied the territory between the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and Nicaragua — most obliged civilization of Central America. The language spoken by the Maya, was very different from the Nahuatl language, spoken by the Nahua in Mexico, and in many ways, their customs and traditions differ from the customs and traditions of the people of Anahuac. It is worth remembering that the latter was the heir of an older civilization, that in fact they were in the valley of Mexico savages and that virtually all the knowledge he had about the crafts they had received from the remaining representatives of the people, who had been driven out of here. With the Maya, it was not so. Their arts and crafts have been their own invention, and bore the stamp of a very ancient origin. In fact they were the most intellectually developed people of America, and in contact with the people of the Nahua latest incarnation of a sufficient portion of their culture, to raise himself on several points higher on the scale of civilization.

Were the Mayan Toltec?

It has been said that many researchers see the ancient Mayan Toltec those who, because of the invasion of barbarian tribes left their homeland Anahuac and moved south to seek new homes in Chiapas and the Yucatan. It would be useless to try to support or refute this theory with an absolute lack of real evidence for or against. Remains of buildings belonging to the more ancient people of Anahuac, do not carry any significant similarity with the architectural forms of the Maya, and if the mythology of these two nations alike in some particulars, it may well be attributed to the fact that they learn from each other gods and religious customs. On the other hand, clearly it is noteworthy that the cult of the god Quetzalcoatl, who is believed in Mexico, was a foreign origin, was very popular among the Maya and related peoples.

Maya kingdom

When the Spaniards came to America (after the famous expedition of Cortes from Mexico to Central America), the Maya were divided into a number of small states, which are somewhat similar to our little kingdom in Palestine. The fact that they were separated from the original and much larger-largest state, there is good evidence, but internal strife destroyed the political system with centralized control of this empire, the collapse which occurred in ancient times. In the semi-historical legends of the people we see a glimpse of a great kingdom, occasionally referred to as the great serpent kingdom or empire of Xibalba, the area is identified with ruined cities of Palenque and Mitla. Such identification should be treated with caution, but the excavations will certainly sooner or later will help theorists to come to conclusions that will not leave room for doubt. Sphere of influence and the Mayan civilization is very well marked and covered peninsula of Yucatan, Chiapas to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in the north and Guatemala to the borders of all the modern city of San Salvador. However, the real center of the Mayan civilization to be found in that part of Chiapas, which runs along the banks of the Usumacinta and the valleys of its tributaries. Here, art and architecture of the Maya reached the pinnacle of splendor, not known anywhere else, and in this region have been found the most clever designs unusual Maya writing. Although the arts and crafts of different regions populated by the Maya, noticed many surface differences, they are so small that convinced us that different regions inhabited by the Maya, on their way to civilization took inspiration from a common source.

Mayan dialects

Probably the most effective method to find differences between the different branches of the Maya is to divide them into linguistic groups. Different dialects spoken by the Mayan people, though, and show significant differences, however consistently show the similarity of the structure and the proximity of the root morpheme, proving that they are all derived from a common proto-language. Currently, the Chiapas Maya — a widespread dialect, while in Guatemala in the course of not less than twenty-four dialects, chief among them — languages kitsch kakchikuel, tsutugil, koshohchol and Pipil. These dialects, and people talking to them, enough to occupy our attention, as they are stored securely most wonderful myths and legends of the people. People who said they were committed the greatest things in the history of the Maya.

Whence came the Maya

Whence then came those people who created civilization, it can compete with the civilization of Ancient Egypt, which, by their achievements, if she was given the chance, could compete with the glory of ancient Assyria? This we can not say. The mystery of the people in this region is as deep as the mystery of the ancient forests, which are now stored in the depths of the remains of huge monuments and surrounded by impenetrable gloom of their temples. Generations of researchers have attempted to discover the origins of the people in Egypt, Phoenicia, China, Burma. But clear signs of Indian American descent are present in all of its facilities, and the authors, who saw in them similar to the art of Asian or African nations, were unfortunately misled superficially similar features that could not deceive those who deeply studied the culture of Maya.

Maya civilization

At the risk of repetition, I consider it necessary to stress that the civilization that the Nahua received recently, was not that of the Maya. Undoubtedly, the ancient Maya were a nation with public institutions, bearing the traces of recently used for generations as the Nahua, obviously, had just inherited the law and order. When we first notice the Mayan kingdom, they are in the process of disintegration. Strong and the young blood that had brave people of Anahuac, not flowing in the veins of the people who lived in the Yucatan and Guatemala. To the people of the Nahua, they were the same as the ancient Assyrians to the hosts of Israel, who only began to take shape as a state. It would be impossible to deny that there was a basis of ethnic and cultural ties. Public institutions, architecture, customs, even mind these two people had enough similarities to show, among whom there were blood relations and cultural relations. But we can not insist too strongly on this. Is more likely to be advanced and the version that the relationship and similarities exist due to the influence of the Mayan civilization to civilization or Mexico because Mexicans and Maya inherited their common civilization from an even more ancient culture, unknown to us, evidence of which lie buried in forests of Guatemala or the sands of the Yucatan.


The influence of the Maya in the Nahua was a very slow process. The peoples who shared them themselves benefited from the fact that the Mayan culture suffered Anahuac. We can say that they were a kind of filter through which the southern civilization penetrated to the north. These peoples were the Zapotecs, Mixtecs and kuikateki, the most important was the role of the first of these tribes. They had the character and civilization of both peoples and were in fact a "buffer" the people who took something and Maya and Nahua and they also gave that much of it was just as the Jews have absorbed and absorbed culture of Egypt and Assyria . They were a branch of the Nahua people, but their speech is clear signs of widespread borrowing from the vocabulary of the Maya. Over many generations, these people, being nomads roamed the territory to the territory of the Maya Nahua, drinking customs, language and mythology of both.


We would not have been right, if thought that the Maya never tried to expand their possessions and never looked for new areas for its excess population. What they tried to do so, proves one of the Mayan, uashteki who settled near the mouth of the Panuco River on the northern coast of Mexico. The presence of this curious ethnological island, of course, has led to all sorts of unusual theories concerning the relationship with the Toltecs, whereas this fact is simply saying that before the era of expansion Nahua Maya attempted to colonize the area to the north of its territory, but their efforts were stop actions wild Nahua, against which they were unable to fight.

Tuptsivilizatsii Maya

Is the time of the type of the Mayan civilization of Nahua? We can assume that the Nahua civilization characterized the culture of Central America during the period of her youth, when the Maya civilization shows it in his prime, and perhaps in old age. The difference was not significant, nor radical, and you can say that it was the result of most of the climate and of consanguinity. The climate is dry and temperate Anahuac, and the Yucatan and Guatemala — tropical, and we see that even the religious ideas of the two nations, drawn from a common source are different for this very reason, being painted a difference in temperature and rainfall.

History of the Maya

Before you start looking at art, architecture and mythology of this unusual and very interesting people, you need to give the reader an overview of its history. The material on this subject is available in English language, is small, and its value is questionable. Our knowledge of the ancient period of the history of the Maya is almost entirely dependent on the traditions and the remnants of architecture. Squeezed from these facts indicate that the Maya civilization was uniform and homogeneous, that all of the individual states, probably at some point have been through the same state of culture, debtors they are all equally have been, and that is sufficient reason to believe: they were once united under the central government. More recent history, we have the works of Spanish priests, but not as many as in the case of Mexico. In fact, these authors studied the history of the Maya and the words are trustworthy, easy to count on the fingers of one hand. Getting a grasp thoroughly the history of the Maya, we are confused, because we find that many Maya cities named in the language of Nahuatl. This happened because the Spanish conquerors in their campaign in the Mayan guides were the Nahua, who, naturally, called in their language to places whose names have asked the Spanish. These names have stuck to these areas — hence the confusion and erroneous theories, the authors of which are seen in these names traces of Aztec conquest.

Maya center of power

As already mentioned, the center of power and culture of the Maya, probably located in parts of Chiapas which obliquely down the steep Cordillera. Here the ruins of Palenque, Piedras Negras and Ocosingo eloquently about the rich imagination and grandeur of design, which go hand in hand with a developed culture. Temples and palaces of the region bear the marks of dignity and a strong consciousness of power, and this can hardly be mistaken, so wide, so free architectural design, so full — even with an excess — the desire to be a demonstration of unsurpassed. But this architectural artistry lavished only on the needs of religion and government. His dignity is not desecrated by a simple application for utilitarian purposes, as if to exclude the buildings that apparently were once palaces, it did not survive a single home construction Maya. This is of course due to the fact that people are clearly divided into classes of aristocrats and workers. First identified with the religion or the royal family, and lived in the buildings of the temple or palace rooms, while people of lower origin necessarily satisfied huts are built of perishable materials, have long disappeared. Temples were actually the city center, around which were grouped Maya communities in much the same way as in the Middle Ages in Europe, the city grew and clustered around some huge cathedral or protected fortress.

The first movement of the Maya

Leave aside the Maya tradition, until the time comes to actually turn to myths, and try to choose something from the chaos of the legends true facts relating to the history of the Maya. According to a newly found manuscripts written kuikatekami, it is likely that the intrusion into the territory of the Nahua of the Maya of Chiapas and Tabasco was about IX century AD. e. Now we have to see this as the beginning of the history of the Maya. Around the same time, the south-western part of the possessions of the Mayan movement shook the people who turned north toward Tehuantepec, and passing through Guatemala, stopped at the border Akalane Yucatan, a detainee may be inhospitable and non-aqueous conditions of these territories. Apparently, it was an invasion Nahua tribes forced the more peaceful northern Maya leave their villages and go further south. There is no evidence that the warlike Nahua for peaceful Maya to their new refuge, for some time they left them alone. This struggle, which eventually ended in the collapse of the Mayan civilization, which even at a comparatively remote period had reached its peak. Its people were divided into numerous city-state, which on the political structure much like the city-states of Italy during the fall of Rome. Perhaps, at this time began the split between the Maya of Yucatan and Maya of Guatemala, which ultimately resulted in such differences in language, religion, and architecture that almost turned them into different people.

Arrival Yucatan

Just as the Welsh and Scottish Celts were driven raids Saxons in less hospitable regions of Wales and Scotland, and one of the branches of the Maya was forced to seek refuge in the almost deserted expanse of Yucatan. There can be no doubt that the Mayans came to this barren and waterless land against their will. This prudent, having great achievements in the field of agriculture with concern the people would have reacted to the prospect of moving to such an unattractive edge after the rich and easily cultivated land on which they have lived for many generations. But behind the Nahua were ruthless, and they were a peaceful people, unaccustomed to the horrors of a bloody war. Therefore, meeting the spirit, they wandered in the wilderness. Everything points to the fact that the Maya Yucatan later settled, and in the architecture visible deterioration of style, evidenced by a high conditional appearance and excessive jewelry. In the proofs of Nahua influence there is no shortage, that speaks volumes about the later period of contact, which is known to have occurred between the two nations. He alone is almost enough to set the date of settlement of the Maya in the Yucatan. We should not think that the Maya of Yucatan formed one homogeneous state to recognize the central government. On the contrary, as often happens with the colonists, several groups of settlers formed the different states or kingdoms, each with its own individual stories. Thus, it is difficult to compare and so critically evaluate these traditions to reconstruct the history of the Maya in the Yucatan. We find that the various cities were founded by divine beings, who are more or less important role in the Maya pantheon. For example, Kukulkan — the first king of Mayapan and Itzamna appears as the founder of the state Itzamal. The gods were the spiritual leaders of these Mayan groups, just as Jehovah was the spiritual leader and guide of the Israelites in the desert. Therefore, no one is surprised to find in the book of tales Quiche Maya people in Guatemala that god Tohil (drums) brought them to the place of the first people of Quiche. Some authors who are interested in the topic, obviously, believe that the events in the myths of the relocation, especially in terms of custody and management of the tribal gods, and descriptions of the desert landscape, they contain enough to hang a label on their local version of the Book of Exodus or, at best, see them as myths, changed under the influence of missionaries. The truth is that the conditions under which the Maya made their resettlement, were similar to those described in the Scriptures, and they do not in any way reflect the biblical story, as the authors argue surface.

Clans Yucatan

Kings, priests Mayapan, who claimed that they were the descendants of Kukulkan or Quetzalcoatl, soon raised their state to an unprecedented level of surrounding cities. Those who founded the Chichen Itza and were known as itsai belonged, on the other hand, to the warrior caste, and apparently not very carefully and zealously regarded religious rites. Itsaev rulers, who were known as Tutul Xius apparently came, according to their tradition, the western states of the Maya, perhaps because of Nonoualko in Tabasco. Arriving there on the southern tip of the Yucatan, they founded the city on Lake Bacalar Tsiyan Ka'an, which flourished for at least for two generations. When this period is over, for some inexplicable reason, they moved north, possibly because at this time the center of power began to shift toward the northern Yucatan, and settled in the city they founded Chichen Itza, over time, has become a sacred Mayan city .


But they were not destined to have peace in the new location. Cocomes of Mayapan, who was then at the zenith of power, reacted with hostility to the settlement of the people Tutul Xius. After a period of prosperity, which lasted about 120 years, it has been enslaved tribe Kokomo, which allowed only a small number of the rulers and their subjects to go to other places.

People fleeing Tutul Xius

Exiled so people Tutul Xius fled south from where it originally came and settled in Potonchane or Champoton, where he lived for nearly three hundred years. Of this new center with mercenaries from the Nahua Indians, they began to expand their territory in the north and entered into diplomatic relations with other heads of state Maya. It was at this time they have built Ushmal, and their power has spread so widely that they have won the the territory they formerly gave Kokomo. In general, it seems to have been a period when art flourished under the enlightened rulers, who were able to engage and maintain friendly relations with other states, and a great network of roads, which was covered by country, and ample evidence of architectural excellence proves that this people had leisure to achieve much in the arts and crafts. Thus, the city of Chichen Itza was associated with the island Cozumel road on which hardly walked thousands of pilgrims to the temples of the gods of wind and water. Itzamal of roads also branched out in different directions, so that people can get to the main sanctuary of the country who are there. But Cocomes imposed heavy hand of the state to the other Mayan, who became their tributaries. As in the Yucatan today, where the unfortunate collector agave drags this slave life, there exist heavy system of slavery. Kokomo levied tribute Tutul Xius people who, in turn, drove up a sweat and beyond the limits of human possibilities unfortunate he rules tribes. As with all the dying civilizations, a sense of responsibility among the higher classes lie dormant, and they indulged in the pleasures of life, not thinking about tomorrow. Virtue is no longer valued, and the corruption has become the heart of Mayan life. Everywhere quickly spread discontent.

Revolution in Mayyapane

The consequence was, of course, revolution. Crushed by tyranny dissolute oligarchy dependent states revolted. Kokomo surrounded themselves with mercenaries from the Nahua tribe, who managed to knock down the first wave of revolt, led by the king Ushmala.

He was defeated, and his men, in turn, turned against him. As a result, the city was abandoned Ushmal. People Tutul Xius again was forced to go on the journey. This time, he founded the town of Mani, who was only a shadow of the splendor Ushmala and Chichen Itza.

Hunak IL

If Cocomes aristocracy consisted of men effeminate, their ruler was made of a harder material. Hunak Il, who ruled his people and keep down a small principality in the Yucatan, was not only cruel tyrant and a vengeful person, but also reasonable and experienced statesman, he drew himself to help neighbors Nahua, which was used in a campaign against a new rival its power, the ruler of Chichen Itza. Having collected his vassals in a powerful army Hunak Il opposed the doomed city, whose prince dared to challenge him. The city suffered a crushing defeat, but, obviously, was allowed to remain under the rule of his princes. Rebellion choked, but in the realm of the Mayapan, territory Kokomo burned fires of rebellion. This state of affairs continued for almost a century. Then came the crash. Cocomes enemies together. The people of Chichen Itza has teamed up with the people Tutul Xius who took refuge in the central highlands of Yucatan, and with the city-states, which are located around the main city of Mayapan. Joint forces was made a furious attack, under the pressure of a completely collapsed power Kokomo. Angry allies have left no stone unturned: so they took revenge for his nearly three hundred-year slavery. This event is considered to be 1436, but as with many dates in the history of the Maya, it must be treated with great caution.

The last of the tribe Cocomes

Only a few of Cocomes survived. They were not in the Nahua, and they attempted to collect fresh forces for the defense of Mayapan. Winners of spared, and, in the end, they settled in the center Tsotute Yucatan, in the region, which is covered with almost impenetrable forests.

City of Chichen-Itza, whose prince was always ready to lead a rebellion against the cook, did not benefit from the fall of the overlord. On the contrary, tradition says that people left the city and it has turned into ruins. In this state, the Spanish and found it when they came to this country. Perhaps people have left it because of the repeated incursions cook, who saw it as a major obstacle to the establishment of their power over the edge. This confirms the legend, which tells the story of how Prince Chichen Itza, tired of fighting and bloody struggle, left in search of the cradle of the Maya people in the country of the setting sun. Indeed, further said that this Prince founded the city of Peten Itza Lake Peten in Guatemala.

Maya peoples in Guatemala

When the Maya peoples in Guatemala, Quiche and Kaqchikel, first came to the area, they are quite likely to have found there a more developed nation, which had its roots in old Maya and have a more ancient tradition than themselves. From the connection to these people as they won in the arts and crafts. About the people there are lots of legends in the "Popol Vuh," the ancient epic, the contents of which we shall proceed to detailed chapter on the myths and legends of the Maya. We can not treat him as a credible historical document, but there is little doubt that it contains stories have factual basis. The difference between the language of the people and the language of their brothers from Yucatan only dialectic, and in mythology is the same small difference is due, no doubt, local environmental conditions, due to the difference between the plain and the relatively anhydrous edge and mountainous, covered with dense forests. Other differences will be detailed further when we come to consider the art and architecture of the Maya people in general, and its two most distinctive branches.

Tulane Maya

It is the city of Tula, who is probably in the state of Tabasco, Guatemalan Mayans considered the starting point of their migrations. We should not confuse this place with the Tollan of the Mexican legends. Perhaps this name in both cases comes from a root meaning the place from which the tribe set out, starting point, but the geographical relationship is completely missing. Hence Nima-quiche, great quiche, began his journey to the mountains, accompanied by three of his brothers. In the "Popol Vuh" says Tulan was unhappy place for people there they suffered much from cold and hunger, and, as in the construction of the Tower of Babel, the languages of the first four Quiche and their wives so messed up that they could not understand each other. Of course, this legend was created to explain the differences in the various groups of the Mayan dialects and can hardly have any real reason, as dialectical changes occur very gradually. Brothers, as related further divided the land so that one got areas Mames and Pokomams, another — Verapaz, the third — Chiapas, and Nima-Quiche Quiche country received, Kaqchikel and tsutuhiley. It would be extremely difficult to say whether this is a tradition for an authentic historical basis. If this is the case, it refers to the period preceding the invasion of the Nahua, as mentioned regions inhabited by these tribes were not so separated from each other by the time the Spaniards arrived here.

Doubtful dynasty

As is the case with the earlier dynasties in Egypt, many uncertainties surrounding the history of the early kings of Quiche. Indeed, there is a period of uncertainty, even the number of the kings who ruled is unknown. Emerge from the chaos following facts: Quiche kings exercising supreme power over the nations of Guatemala, they were contemporaries of the rulers of Mexico City, and they are often elected from among the princes of the dependent states. Akshopil, successor Nima Quiché, handed his middle son Kakchiquels control people and put his youngest son tsutuhil over the people, and the elder son gave throne Kiche. His eldest son Ikutemal, succeeding his father, gave Kakchiquels kingdom to his eldest son, relegating his brother and thus inflicting a mortal insult. The ensuing struggle lasted for several generations. It worsened the relationship between these two kinds of Maya in Guatemala and undermined their power. Both sides used in their fight mercenaries from among the Nahua, who brought the existence of the Mayan many own unsavory traits.

The arrival of the Spaniards

This state of affairs continued until the time of arrival of the Spaniards. Kaqchikel are regarded as the beginning of a new timing caused by them in 1492, defeated Kai Hun-Apu. They may not have to try, because it is almost time when all the calendars of their people would have run out, and the records were destined to lead other people and have other writings. One by one, mainly because of an unreasonable practice to make alliances with the aggressors against their neighbors, the ancient kingdom of Guatemala became the prey desperate conquistadors, their people came under the yoke of Spain and became slaves, which was destined to produce countless generations of slaves.

Mystery of the Ancient Maya writing

What could be the most valuable source for the history of the Maya, — alas! — Are now hidden from us by the seven seals. We refer to the Maya manuscripts and inscriptions, the meaning of which can not explain the modern scientists. Some of the old Spanish monks, who lived in the period that followed immediately after the occupation of these territories white people were able to read the letters and even writing them, but, unfortunately, they either thought they were evil, or, once it was a local script, the thing that does not have any value. After a few generations, all knowledge of how to interpret these writings were completely lost, and our contemporaries, they are a little book with seven seals. Science tries to apply to them the logic and deduction, and the people whose qualifications are undeniable, dedicated their lives to resolve the problem of one of the greatest and most mysterious of mysteries, which mankind has ever attempted to solve.

Well-known love story open the key to the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing system. For centuries, the icons shown on the temples and monuments of the country of the Nile, were for European pundits just a mass of meaningless images and signs. So it was up until a hundred years ago, there was discovered the Rosetta Stone, which gave the possibility of interpreting them. On this stone had the same inscription in Greek, demotic recorded (short form of cursive Egyptian writing) and the characters, so that the opening of the "alphabet" of the lost literature has become quite easy. But in Central America is not the Rosetta stone and there is no chance that such aid could ever be found.

Maya manuscripts

The major manuscripts Maya escaped the ravages of time, are the codes that are in the libraries of Dresden, Paris and Madrid. Of these known Codex Perezianus, stored in the National Library in Paris, Dresden Codex, long seen as the Aztec manuscript, and the Code Troano, named after one of its owners, seniors and Tro-Ortolan and found in Madrid in 1865. These manuscripts are related mainly to the Mayan mythology, but because they can not decipher even with some accuracy, they can not help us much to enhance the knowledge on the subject.

Writing System

The altar in the Temple of the Cross gives an idea of how, in general writing looked ancient peoples of Central America. This style is more varied in most manuscripts and inscriptions, but generally recognized that all systems were used initially arose from a common source. The square icons that look like a weave of persons and objects, say that they have the form of cobblestone. And you can not say that this description does not fit them. Of ancient Spanish manuscripts known to have read from top to bottom, while two columns. Maya, as well as all the languages of the peoples of America, was such that the expression of some thought the whole sentence was collected in one word. Believed that the number of icons or parts of each square or diagramming needed to make such a complex expression.

The first (called) the key to the hieroglyphs of Central America was found by Bishop Landa, who in about 1575 attempted to isolate the Maya alphabet, using local sources. Landa not likable locals, whose literary treasures he almost completely destroyed, and those in revenge deliberately deceived him when it came to the true values of the various characters.

The first real step in deciphering Maya writing made in 1876 by Leon de Rosny, a Frenchman, who studied ancient America, who managed to interpret the signs for four quarters. As was the case with many important discoveries, the significance of these characters was at the same time revealed Professor Cyrus Thomas in America. In two of these four icons found a symbol that meant "sun", which, according to De Rosny, was granted. However, a word that represents the sun Maya (Kin),
also means "day", and later it turned out that this sign was also used in the latter sense. The opening of the meaning of this sign pretty much was the impetus for further research, and due to its material available now at their disposal, and Dr. Fersteman Schellhas Berlin managed to succeed in finding a symbol denoting the moon, and the character for a Mayan month extension in the twenty days.


In 1887, Dr. Seler discovered symbol for night (Akbal),
in a 1894 Fersteman decoded symbols to the "beginning" and "end." These are two of the head, the first of which is on the site of the eye just mentioned Schwimann icon. Here Schwimann means — in addition to the "night" — "the beginning of the month," and below the face with the icon you can see the stage or specks that resemble their shape, meaning to move forward. Symbol marked another head, means "seventh" and "end." Due to the frequent opposition of these elements is almost no doubt that their meaning is true.

"Union" is portrayed as a sting rattlesnake, which rings to signify the unification of the Maya. This sign is opposed to the image residing nearby. It is a knife, and means "division" or "cutting." Important "letter" is the hand that is often found in manuscripts and inscriptions. Sometimes it is painted as if she grabbed something from the bent thumb, and sometimes — as if it points in one direction. In the first case, it seems, means union or joining, as well as an icon of rattlesnake, and in the second case, according to Ferstemana, it represents time. The fact that it may represent the future, comes to mind as a modern researcher more probable hypothesis.

The symbol for the spring balance, the evidence was discovered by an image as a cloud from which the earth poured three streams of water. The square, located above, depicts the sky. Obsidian knife down means the division or the time period, which is separated from other parts of the year. The fact that it is a symbol, "spring", confirmed its position among the other characters representing the seasons.

The "week" was opened on the grounds that it is almost always accompanied by a sign for the number 13, which is the number of days in the sacred Mayan week. The sign of a quill pen points to the plural, and when it is connected to a specific character, then this item is multiplied. Feather, if you think, is one of the most suitable character provided by nature to mean the plural, when the number of branches on both sides of the cutting to express the concepts of "many" or "two."

Water is indicated image of a snake, as this represents the undulating reptile nature of this disaster. A very interesting character called "ritual sacrifice." The first part of this sign — a dead bird, and the second shows the variation, prostrate captive, ready for the sacrifice of one of the worst of Maya gods, whose bloodthirsty religion demanded human sacrifices. Drawing, meaning "day of the year" in the month Ceh, was transcribed as follows. A sign in the upper left corner represents the word "sun" or "day" sign in the top right corner — the "year." In the lower right corner is a sign of "division", and in the lower left — a sign of the month Ceh, already known from the Mayan calendar.

Sign of the "wind" was found because he accompanied the symbol for divinity four winds, from which, according to the beliefs of American tribes, the wind arrives.

Methods of study

Technique, followed by those who were engaged in the interpretation of these characters, is a model of modern science. Various signs and symbols literally "wear out" in the process of hard study. Researcher sitting for hours staring at some character, absorbing every detail, no matter how small it may be, until the whole picture and all its parts are etched in the whole and individually in his memory. It then compares the part of that character with similar parts to other characters, the meaning of which is known. Of which he can obtain clues to the value of the mark as a whole. Thus, moving from the known to the unknown, it logically progresses to a complete interpretation of characters depicted in the various manuscripts and inscriptions.

The method by which Dr. Seler discovered hieroglyphs or symbols related to various Mayan gods, was both simple and original. He writes: "The way in which this was done, remarkably simple. At its core, it goes back to the fact that in ordinary life we call "human memory", and almost naturally from a careful study of manuscripts. Indeed, often looking at the picture, the man gradually learns to recognize at once similar and familiar figures of gods by the typical impression they leave a whole, or for specific details. This is also true for the accompanying characters. "

Mayan number system

If over evil Bishop Landa played a joke when it came to the Maya alphabet, its success was waiting to open their numerical system, which he has left us, and that was much more developed than that of many civilized nations, because it was, for example, a more practical and better than the numerical system of ancient Rome. In this system, used only four characters: a point to represent the unit, horizontal line to denote the number 5 and two sign for 20 and 0. Nevertheless, these simple elements Maya developed a method of calculation, which is probably just as original as can be original every achievement in the history of mathematics. In the Maya, like us, determines the position of the sign its value. The numbers are written vertically, and one of them is used as a decimal factor. The lowest number in the column had an arithmetic value that it represents. The figures, which stood on the second, fourth and each subsequent place, had a value of twenty times the previous figures, while the figures standing in third place, were highest in eighteen times more than those that were on the second place. This system allows the score to millions and is one of the obvious signs of the Mayan culture.

Much controversy has raged around the nature of Maya glyphs. Did they do the Indians any image concepts or just pictures, or they passed on to the reader a sound, as in our alphabet? To some extent, debate on this issue in vain, as those Spanish Fathers, who were able to learn the letter of the Maya themselves, confirmed its phonetic nature, so that, in reality, each character is probably conveyed to the reader a sound or sounds, and not just what -the concept or image. Recent surveys have proven this, so that the full transcript of this long and difficult puzzles, a waste of so much time and patience may be near.

Mayan mythology

Maya pantheon, though he is very similar to the Nahua pantheon, in many ways different from it, so it's easy to see that at some time he might have been entirely free from the influence of the Nahua. Then we can conditionally accept the theory that the ancient Maya and Nahua mycology were influenced from a common center, if not initially identical. But later included in the closely related, but separated by a system of local gods and deities and rites moved people caused such a differentiation, which has blurred the initial similarity between them. Leitmotif of Mexican mythology — is the custom of human sacrifice. It is often argued that the superiority of the Mayan civilization demonstrates that their religion was repelling lifestyles of Nahua beliefs. However, this is totally wrong. Although the Maya were not so inclined to make human sacrifices, as the Nahua, they are often made them, and the images of their bloodless sacrifices must not lead us to believe that they never indulged in any other action. It is known, for example, that during the spring bloom, they sacrificed to the god of water virgins by throwing them into a deep body of water, where they drowned.

Quetzalcoatl among the Maya

One of the most obvious mythological connections between the Maya and Nahua manifested in the cult of the god Quetzalcoatl, the Maya. In Mexico, apparently, was widespread belief that Quetzalcoatl was alien god, or at least relatively local with respect to its rival Tezcatlipoca, if not to the Nahua. It's funny to see the adoption of high authority that his cult was not associated with blood. It is not clear whether the bloodthirsty rituals associated with the name of Quetzalcoatl in Mexico, perpetrated by his priests at their will, or at the instigation and under pressure from the high priest of Huitzilopochtli, under whose jurisdiction they are. The name under which Quetzalcoatl was known to the Maya was Kukulkan, the Feathered Serpent, which means that is the exact translation of his name from the language of the Mexicans. In Guatemala Gucumatz his name, which is also the language of Quiche same as its name in other Indian languages. But the Mayan Kukulkan is different from Quetzalcoatl in some aspects. Explanation for most of them can probably serve the difference in climate. Quetzalcoatl in Mexico, as we have seen, was not only a man of the Sun, and was originally the god of the wind in the country. We have more of Kukulkan Mayan devil god of thunder. In the tropical climate of Yucatan and Guatemala around the sun in the afternoon going to the cloud, which are snake-like shape. From them comes the thunder and lightning, and beneficial rain, and Kukulkan Mayan Indians seemed rather the God of heaven, who can shoot lightning than a god proper atmosphere, like Quetzalcoatl, though several stelae in Yucatan Kukulkan depicted as well as in Mexico, with wind, departing from his mouth.

Alphabet Gods

The main sources of our knowledge of the Mayan gods are Dresden, Madrid and Paris codes mentioned above. They all contain a lot of graphic images of Representatives Maya pantheon. Very names of some of these gods are unknown, but the process of correlating them with traditional names of Maya gods, reached up to us, is so complex that a German researcher Dr. Paul Maya antiquities Schellhas suggested that images of gods appearing in the codices or manuscripts Maya conditionally assign a letter alphabet. Images of the gods, found a way only fifteen, and poetWim assigned letters of the alphabet from A to F, except J and E.

Difficulties in comparing

Unfortunately, the works of Spanish authors affecting Maya mythology, are not consistent with the images of the gods, painted in the codes. The fact that three of these codes combined mythology, no doubt. Again, it is extremely difficult to compare the gods of these codes to those engraved and sculpted in relief in the region inhabited by the Maya. In the mythology surrounding the scientist generally very considerable difficulties. So little data so far collected on Maya mythology that make categorical statements on matters connected with it, it would be rash indeed. But over the past decade, much has been achieved, so that slowly but surely gather evidence on which to draw logical conclusions.

The conflict between light and darkness

In Mayan mythology, we see almost the same duality, as in ancient Persia — the conflict between light and darkness. We see two opposing, on the one hand, the gods of the sun, heat and light, civilized and happy life, and on the other hand — the sinister gods of death, night, darkness and fear. From these initial concepts of light and darkness came all forms of Maya mythology. When we take a first look at the beliefs of the Maya, is aware of the fact that at the time when they come to the attention of Europeans, the gods of darkness were influential, and the thinking and theology of the Maya dominated deep pessimism. Cheerful aspect of faith Mayan culture was subdued dark creatures, deities of death and hell. And if the cult of light still kept with touching fidelity, it is because that kind of force promised not to leave humanity forever, and return sometime in the future and replace the light and peace.


As with the Nahua, Maya mythology was based almost entirely on the calendar, which by its astronomical significance and duration was the same as the Mexican. Ritual year, consisting of twenty "weeks" for thirteen days each, was divided into four quarters, each of which was under the auspices of a special quarter of the heavens. Each "week" was administered by a single deity.

Traditional knowledge of the gods

Heavenly bodies were thoroughly represented in the Maya pantheon. In Yucatan sun god was known as Kinich-Ahau (Lord of the solar face.) He was identified with fiery bird or APAP so-called Kinich Kakmo (Fire Bird). He was also the main spirit of the North.

Itzamna, one of the most important Mayan gods, was the god of the moon, the ancestor of gods and men. He represented decay and restoration of life in nature. Its name comes from the words with which, it was thought, he introduced himself to people: «Itz en caan, itz en muyal» («I am the dew of heaven, I wet clouds"). He was a god — the patron saint of the West.

Chac, the rain god, is the holder of an elongated nose, somewhat similar to the trunk of tapir, which of course is a trough from which flows by his will to the ground rain. He favors the east. Black god Ek Chuah was the patron saint of merchants and those who grow cocoa trees. In the manuscripts of his image appears more than once.

Ix Chel was the goddess of medicine, and Ish Chebel Yash Father Hernandez identified with the Virgin Mary. There were also several gods, or rather spirits, called Bakabami, and they supported the heavens on four sides. They were called Cannes, Muluk, Ish and Cauac. They represented the east, north, west and south. Their symbolic colors were respectively yellow, white, black and red. To some extent they match the four variants of the Mexican rain god Tlaloc, as many people of America believed that the rain fertilizing the ground, based on the four cardinal directions. We find more and the other gods, when we come to consider the "Popol Vuh," a book of legends Kiche, but hard to say how deeply they have been associated with the gods of the Maya in the Yucatan, about which we know little of the legends. So it is better to treat them separately, emphasizing similarities, where it exists.

Polytheism Maya

In general, it seems, the Maya were not burdened with such a vast pantheon of gods, as the Nahua, and polytheism is clearly limited. Although they have existed a number of deities, most often they are just different forms of the same divine power — probably its local forms. Different tribes Maya worshiped like gods that existed under different names. They accepted the divine unity in the god Hunab Ku, which was invisible, and above all, but he did not hold in their mythology, more important than the progenitor of all things in the other early beliefs. The sun was a great deity in Maya religion, and myths that tell of the origin of this people, are connected directly to the sun. As the sun comes from the east, the gods and heroes, supporting culture and education are Eastern origin. As Wotan, as Kab Il (Miracle hand), to introduce people to the art of writing and architecture, the culture of the people of the gods of the sun are just as Quetzalcoatl.

God — bat

Sinister figure, the leader of the Legion of Darkness Maya, was a god in the image of a bat Tsotsilaha Chimalman, living in dwelling bats, scary cave located on the way to the abode of death and darkness. He, no doubt, was a relic of the cult of the caves in the pure and simple form. "Maya, — says an old chronicler, — too afraid of death, and clothed her in a particularly disgusting way." A reference to the deity we find in the "Popol Vuh," where he will appear under the name Kamatsots, living in close proximity to the Lords of Death and Hell and trying to block the way of the gods, heroes during their travels in this eerie realms. His images are often seen in relief of Copan, and one of the families of the Maya, Tzotzil-ah, was called by its name. According to their origin, they were close Kaqchikel, and perhaps it was their totem.

Gods, marked by the letters A, B, C and D

In Dresden and other codes god under the letter A is shown as a figure with a naked spine, face, reminiscent of a skull, the following decomposition on the body, his whole appearance is showing signs of death. On the head of the god image is a snail, the Aztec symbol of birth, perhaps to show the relationship between birth and death. It also shows a pair of crossed bones. Character that accompanies this figure consists of a death's head with closed eyes, skull, and the sacrificial knife. It is a symbol of calendar days Simi, is death. This god is a patron of the West, the home of the dead, where they always go with the setting sun. What is the god of death, there can be no doubt, but his name is unknown to us. Perhaps it is similar to the Aztec god of death and the underworld Miktlanom, perhaps, is one of the Lords of Death and Hell, which invite the characters to take part in the famous ball game, as it is written in the epic of the Quiche "Popol Vuh," and then holding them captive in his dark kingdom.

God under the letter B is most often found in the manuscripts. He has a long truncated nose as tapir, and it shows all the signs of the god of the elements. He walks on water, has a fiery flashes and sits on the cross-tree of the four winds, which so often glimpsed in the myths of the peoples of America. Obviously, this is a god or hero-sower, as can be seen to plant corn, carrying instruments and goes on a journey — a fact, its relation to the sun. In fact, this Kukulkan or Quetzalcoatl, and by studying it, we understand that there can be no doubt about this identity.

Oh god under the letter in the data is not sufficient, but it is clearly a god of the North Star, as in one of the codes shown in the planetary environment and characters in a nimbus of light.

Marked with the letter D — almost certainly the god of the moon. He is depicted as an old man with sunken cheeks and a wrinkled forehead, on which hangs the sign of the night. His character is surrounded by dots, representing the night sky, followed by the number 20, to show the length of the lunar cycle. Like most moon deities, it is associated with birth, as is sometimes the head snail symbol, embodying labor. It is likely that this Itzamna, one of the greatest gods of the Maya, who was considered the ancestor of all things, and that was probably a very ancient origin.

Maize God

God under the letter D is not difficult to identify. As the hat he wears corn cob with leaves. In fact, his head emerged from the conventional image of corn cob, so we can just say that the god of corn, such as the Aztec god Centeotl. Brinton calls this god Ghananom and Schellhas believes that it may be similar to the god Yum Kaash, whose name means Lord of fertile fields.

You can see a great similarity between the gods, designated by letters E and A, and assume that the latter resembles the Aztec god Xipe, the god of human sacrifice. It is decorated with the same black lines running across the face and body, which symbolize death gaping wound.

The sun god

We can be sure that under the letter F found the sun god. His character is a symbol of the sun, kin.
But we should be careful not to confuse it with such deities as Quetzalcoatl or Kukulcan. He, like the Mexicans Totec is the sun itself, and not the messenger of the sun, carrying people civilization, who leaves his home beaming, to live among the people and introduce them to the craft of cultural life. He is very light, whose only acceptable food is human blood, which must be fed, constantly supporting this horrible diet, or it will die, dragging the human world into an abyss of darkness. So we should not be surprised, seeing that God sometimes under the letter M is symbolic of death.

God, the three-letter apparently has something to do with the snake, but what it may be, it is not clear, and no definite conclusions can be drawn.

Under letter and significant water goddess, an old woman with a wrinkled brown body and feet, like claws on his head, it is the fear of causing a snake coiled in a knot, which serves the personification of water that flows, writhing like a serpent. In her hands she holds a clay pot from which the water flows. We can not say that it looks like a Mexican goddess of water Chalchiuitlikue, wife of Tlaloc, who was in many ways the deity, do good deeds. Goddess, marked with the letter and it seems the personification of water in its more terrible incarnation of floods and waterspouts, as inevitably it would seem more people torrid regions of Central America. And the fact that it was considered a messenger of death, can be seen from the fact that sometimes it is crossbones god of death.

"God is adorned with nose"

God as identified by the letter K, in science known as "God with decorated nose." Maybe he has a close relationship with God by the letter B. In respect of its authoritative opinions are not equal. Someone thinks his patron storms whose trunk like nose as Kukulkan, to symbolize impact of elements. But we see some stellar marks associated with the god to which prove that he actually belongs to a group of Quetzalcoatl. His features are continuously met in the doorways and corners destroyed shrines of Central America and led many researchers to believe in the existence of the ancient god with an elephant head, hobotopodobny whose nose is just a funnel. That of a storm erupt shows careful study pinturas. At the same time, his nose could be modeled in the image of the trunk tapir. "If the rain god Chac Mayan manuscript differs particularly long nose, his mouth curving necessary, and if the other species of the rain god, which seems to belong Balon Tsakab, nose expands and spewing rapid flow, I believe that, as the model was used tapir, which was blinded with Chuck, the Mayan god of rain, "- says Dr. Seler. What, then God under the letter K is Chuck? Chuck has all the features of similarity with the Mexican god Tlaloc, whose face is formed of rings of two snakes, and a person with such a nose is a bit like the Gods features B and C. But again, the Mexican Quetzalcoatl images do not look like the image of Tlaloc, so between Tlaloc and God is not to be similarities. Therefore, if the Mexican Tlaloc and Chuck Maya match, Tlaloc and Quetzalcoatl different, which in turn coincides with the god B and K, it is clear that Chuck has nothing to do with God under the letter K.

Lewis Spence, Inca and Mayan Myths

Category: Mystery stories

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