Mayans and its mythology. Part 2

Old black god

God under the letter A doctor Schellhas called "old black god" based on the fact that he is depicted as an old man with sunken cheeks and toothless gums, the upper and sometimes the lower part of his body is painted in black. His image is only in Dresden. Professor Cyrus Thomas from New York believes that it is God Ekchua, which traditionally draw black but Schellhas trying this name to God under the letter M. A more plausible theory is that Ferstemanu who sees in God A god Wotan, identical to the Aztec god of the earth Tepeyollotlyu. Both gods have similar markings on the face, and their dark color, perhaps symbolizes the underground abode, which was supposed to be lived.

God travelers

God, designated by the letter M — real black god with red lips. On his head tied with a rope roll, reminiscent goods which were Mayan class carriers. It is opposed to God, marked with the letter E, which is the enemy of all who wanders through uncharted edges. God this kind comes from the legend under the name Ekchua, and his black, probably represents the black or heavily tanned skin porters, who are constantly exposed to sunlight. He seems to be analogous to the Aztec Yakatekutli, god of traveling merchants or peddlers.

God unlucky days

God under the letter H Schellhas Uayayyabom correlates with the demon who held sway over the five unlucky days, which, if you remember, were in the end, the Mexicans and the Maya. In the Maya it was known as one who poisoned year. Making it an image of clay, they carried him out of his village, so that it could not remain his baneful influence.

Under the letter O goddess portrayed as an old woman busy spinning. This is probably the goddess of domestic virtues, the patroness of married women.

Frog god

God P draw the body and frog legs on a blue background, which is clearly intended to represent water. Like all the other gods, frogs, it is certainly a water deity, may play a role in agriculture. We see him sowing seeds and paving the furrow, and when we recall the important role played by the frog-gods of Anahuac in agriculture, then we should have no difficulty in relating it with these deities. Seler asserts his identity with Kukulkanom, but you can not push any reason other than that he is a god of rain, on which to establish this identity. On the head of the god bears the year, which may be a reference to the time of year.

Mayan architecture

It is in its remarkable architecture, which was developed without any help, the Mayan people to express their individuality. As already mentioned, those buildings that have survived to this day and is admired by generations of archaeologists, mostly limited to the samples and the formal structures of religious purpose. Homes of ordinary people were simple flimsy huts, which crumbled to pieces shortly after the tenants left them.

Buried in dense forests or collapsing under the sun on the plains of the Yucatan, Honduras and Guatemala, the cities that were proud of these buildings are mostly located away from the modern trade routes, and they are not easy to find. It was in the Yucatan, the ancient homeland and Tutul Cocomes Xius, the most perfect examples of Maya architecture, especially in its later development. Here it can be seen in the phase of decline.

Construction methods

Maya is almost always built on the mound, or ku, natural or artificial, often artificial. In this we find similarities with the Mexican teocalli. Often these ku
stand on their own, without any built on top of the building, except for a small altar, which proves that they are related to church buildings Anahuac. Typical of the architecture of the Mayan temple built on several earthen terraces, located in a strictly parallel order, the buildings themselves form a part of the square. These mounds are usually hidden under a layer of plaster or paneled. Usually it was hard sandstone, which had sizable reserves in the deposits of the Maya of Chiapas and Honduras. Because he was not very heavy, the difficulties of carriage easily overcome, and large blocks of it can be easy to get into the quarry. The Maya did not have to overcome any difficulties in the construction of large buildings and temples, except, perhaps, the lack of metal tools to extract, shape and carve carving in stone, which they used. Although they showed great ingenuity in their research of architectural techniques, they were not aware of certain elements and principles of art.

No concept of the arch

For example, they had no idea about the construction of arches. They overcame this difficulty by making each horizontal row of masonry so that it hung over there, which was under him. They were like a boy with a dice, who finds that he can do the "doorways" only in this way or by using a simple technique — Maya also applied it — when two vertically-supporting plate is placed horizontally. Subsequently, it will be easy to see that one could hardly think of is to build the second floor at a precarious basis, and such support for the roof, which rises above the doorway, have to be the most durable kind. Indeed, it often turns out that this part of the building for more than half of the building. This space is given to builders to use the Maya great wall decoration, and I must say that they are readily seized it and used it optimally: The facade is decorated with ornaments, probably the most typical features of the ancient Maya architecture.

Pyramid Construction

But the Maya were a different type of construction, which allowed to build more than one floor. They were a type of pyramid building, samples of which have reached us much. The first floor was built in the usual manner, and the second was erected by increasing the height of the mound with the back of the building, until it reached the level of the roof — another method, a well-known boy with a dice. In the center of the space thus created could build another floor, which can be reached by stairs on the outside of the building. Found it difficult to build any substantial building height, the Maya architects for that shortcoming by building significant length and width, squat form is balanced by beautiful wall decorations on the sides and along the facade.

Certainty plan

That would be just a superficial observer, who will conclude that these spontaneously evolved architectural patterns have been created without a plan, design or preliminary calculations. The fact that in their construction invested as much thought as a modern architect puts into his work shows the manner in which the stones are covered with carvings adjusted to one another. It would be absurd to suggest that these huge facades teeming infinite number of intricate designs could be first put into place, and then decorated with bas-reliefs. Clearly, first worked on them separately, following one holistic plan. Thus, we see that for the construction of these imposing buildings were needed highest architectural abilities.

Architectural areas

Although craft mason Mayans were highly similar in all regions, populated by its various tribes and tribal offshoots in several areas inhabited by them, there are some differences in the construction and ornamentation, which enable us to select them as the architectural sphere. For example, in Chiapas, we see that there are common reliefs of stone and stucco. In Honduras, we see rigidity scheme, which implies an older type of architecture, along with caryatids and obelisks in the form of man. In Guatemala, again, we find traces of the use of wood. Since the Maya civilization can not be understood without a good knowledge of their architecture as the art was, by far, their strengths, which are the most distinguishes them from the surrounding semi-nations, it would be good to consider the most famous monuments.

The appeal of this item

That would be really unimaginative, who would proceed to the consideration of such a subject as this without experiencing some trepidation of the mystery that surrounds it. Familiar with Maya antiquities because of their many years of careful study, the author can not address this subject without feeling the deepest reverence. We view the monuments of the people, separated from the rest of mankind thousands of years, people who had created and developed civilization in all respects comparable to the civilizations of ancient Egypt or Assyria. In these impenetrable forests and sun-baked plains were built strong buildings which tell of a very high culture. We know that the people who erected them, engaged in religious and perhaps philosophical thoughts that equate them with the most enlightened nations of antiquity. But we just touched the edge of Maya history. Witnessed what terrible secrets, what scenes and unprecedented luxury, these walls were made of carved stone? What holy convocations of priests, what splendor rites of initiation seen what wonders these forest temples? We will never know. It is hidden away in the dark, such as tangible as those woody thickets, in which we find these creations destroyed once powerful theocracy.

Mysterious Palenque

One of the most famous of the ancient centers of priestly rule Palenque is located in the modern state of Chiapas. The city first came to the attention of Don Jose Calderon in 1774, when he found no less than eighteen palaces, twenty large buildings and one hundred and sixty houses, and it proves that, in those days, the virgin forest has not entered here so to cover the remaining buildings as this happened in the last few generations. Besides, there is reliable evidence that Palenque was still standing at the time of the conquest of Yucatan Cortes. And they will be immediately presented to dispel any doubts that might arise in the reader regarding the huge antiquity of these cities and are in their buildings. The oldest of them dates back to the XIII century, but few eminent Americanists would admit that they are so old. In parts of Central America, and some may be more ancient ruins, but no temple or building, preserved to this day, can not claim to greater age.

Palenque is built in the shape of an amphitheater, conveniently clinging to the lower slopes of the Cordillera. If you stand on the central pyramid, the gaze presents a ring of ruined palaces and temples, built on artificial terraces. Among them, the main and most impressive is the palace, hulk, built on a single platform, which forms an irregular quadrangle, with a double gallery on the east, north and west sides, which surrounds the internal structure with a gallery and two courtyards. It is obvious that the construction of this building does not have any system or plan, which is unusual for Maya architecture. Living quarters were located on the south side of the building, and here there is a perfect mess as various other purpose and size of the building closer to each other, built on different levels.

Probably the first excite our interest three underground residential premises, if go down the dark stairs. Here you will find three large stone table, the edges of which are covered with stucco symbols. The fact that it was the altar, there is little doubt, though some visitors do not hesitate to call them dinner tables! They are just one of the many mysteries of this building, which has 70 m of the façade, 55 meters in depth, and yet only 8 meters in height!

On the north side of the Palace of the pyramid facade of the palace was destroyed completely, but some features of the entrance can still be seen. Probably, the facade was only fourteen inputs, a width of about 3 m and the columns were covered with bas-reliefs. The interior of the gallery is also covered — at regular intervals — like drawings or medallions, many of which are likely to be representations of priests or priestesses who once inhabited these strict walls and in an unusual rituals, worshiping the gods long since forgotten. Among them is an image of a woman with delicate features thoroughbred person, and frame or frame surrounding it, is decorated in a manner reminiscent of the style of Louis XV.

East Gallery is 35 meters long, the north — 56 m, and the West — 31 m, so that, as noted above, the lack of symmetry is obvious. In a large yard can be accessed through the Mayan arch that leads to the stairs on either side of which are fashioned kind of grotesque human figures, shape resembling the Maya. Whom they were supposed to represent, or for any rite meant hard to say. One can assume that this is the priests, since they wear the belt, typical ladies clergy, maxtli, a one of them is an ornament in the form of beads, which can be seen in images of the god of death. Besides, they are wearing a miter.

The courtyard has a very irregular shape. On the south side is a small building, which helped to increase our understanding of the Mayan wall hangings. Of particular value is the beautiful frieze in which we see our familiar feathered serpent Kukulcan, or Quetzalcoatl. Everywhere we see the flat head of the Maya — racial type, caused, perhaps, the deformation of the skull in his youth. One of the most important parts of the palace from the architectural point of view is the east side of its inner wing, which is probably the best preserved of all. Here is the luxurious ornamentation. The two arcades supported by six columns with carvings, staircase, which to this day are visible characters. Cement reliefs on the columns are still slightly visible, they are likely to be very beautiful. They are mythological characters in different poses. On top of the researcher with the grim threat of viewing seven huge heads. The effect produced by all facade — even destroyed — all in all a huge, and thanks to him we can get at least a vague idea of the splendor of this great civilization.

The architectural marvel

One of the few towers that can be seen in the ruins of Maya architecture, stands at Palenque. It is square in shape and has a height of three floors, sloping roof and a certain resemblance to the bell tower of some small country church in England.

The building, which we describe, although it is traditionally known as the "palace" was, without a doubt, a huge monastery or abode of the clergy. Indeed, the entire city of Palenque was exclusively priestly center, a place of pilgrimage. Bas-relief depicting the priests and their servants prove it, as well as the lack of plot in military or monarchical theme.

Temple of Inscriptions

Temple of Inscriptions, located on a ledge at about 12 m above the ground, is the largest building in Palenque. He has 23 yards on the facade, 8 m deep and huge gallery, which runs along the entire front of the temple. The building received its name because of the inscriptions, which cover some of the plates in the central areas. Nearby uphill climb three other church. This is the Temple of the Sun, is of the type related to many Japanese temple buildings, Temple of the Cross, which was discovered by an amazing altar and the Temple of the Cross second. Mottled inscriptions altar in the Temple of the Cross gave a name to this building. In the central plate is a cross of American-style, which seemed to arise from its roots in the terrible appearance of the head of the goddess Chikomekouatl, Mother Earth or its equivalent. Its branches extend to where the left and right are two figures, apparently a priest and his acolyte, performing a mysterious ritual. At the top of the tree sits the sacred turkey, or Emerald bird, which make offerings of corn halva. All this is surrounded by inscriptions.

Ake and Itzamal

Thirty miles east of Merida is Ake, colossal primeval ruins of which speak of the long-standing presence of the Maya. There are pyramids, areas for ball games and huge columns that once supported large galleries — all in a state of extreme destruction. Chief among them are the great pyramid and the gallery, powerful staircase that rises to very high pillars, and what looked like Stonehenge. For what purpose it was built — a completely unknown.

House of Darkness

There are ruins, which tradition calls home darkness. Here no sunlight, except that seeps in through the open doorway. Arch system is lost in the distant darkness. So exactly were mangled huge blocks of stone, which is composed of the building, that is between them can not even stick a needle. The whole structure is faced with a hard plaster or cement.

Palace of Owls

Noteworthy Knook (Palace of owls), where you can see the beautiful frieze of diamond-shaped stones and balls. All this, no doubt, refers to the first Yucatec era, the time when the Maya first invaded the territory.

In Itzamal main object of interest is a huge pyramid-Kinich Kakmo (Sunny face with fiery rays), the base of which has an area of about 60 square meters. Usually by this shrine visited by thousands of people anxious or famine, and from the top, where the idol of brilliant, cloudless sky to the smoke rising from the sacrifices, while a lot of white-robed priests and soothsayers doing chants and predictions. To the south of this building are the ruins of a powerful Ppapp Hole-Chuck (House heads and lightning), home of the High Priest.

Temple Itzamna

In Itzamal also was one of the main temples of the great god Itzamna, the legendary founder of the Maya empire. He was placed on a high pyramid, and from it in all directions were four roads in Tabasco, Chiapas and Guatemala. There they stood, the crippled and the blind, even the dead to get help and then back to life — this faith they had in the power of Kab-Ula (Miracle hand), as they called this god. The fourth road went to the sacred island of Cozumel, where the Spaniards first found cross Maya and decided that it is proof that St. Thomas has opened in the old days the American continent and its inhabitants turned to Christianity, which is then subjected to tampering.

Bearded gods

In the west, rose another pyramid on top of which was built the palace Hanpiktoka (Commander eight thousand flints). This is probably a reference to the god of lightning Huracan, whose face giant once towered over basement wall, and now disappeared. On this face was a huge mustache — a detail exterior, unknown Mayan people. And indeed, we are struck by the frequency with which the Mexican and Mayan gods and heroes adorn beard and other hair as monuments and in manuscripts. Was originally the ruling class of the people, who wore a beard? This is hardly likely. Where then are these always found beards and mustaches? Perhaps they began to appear in the priests of the class due to the constant ceremonial shaving, making frequent appearances sparse beard, the Mongols — the proof of this is the modern Japanese, who, in imitation of the Western tradition, often succeed in gaining quite respectable beards.

Giant Head

Nearby is the giant head, which probably belongs to god Itzamna. It has a 4 m in height, and features were first identified in the rough stone, and then everything was covered with a layer of plaster. Surround the spiral shape, the characters wind or speech. On the opposite side of the pyramid in question, above, found a magnificent bas-relief depicting a tiger lying and human head, which may have been a portrait of one of the ancient Mayan ancestors Balam-Kitse (Tiger with a gentle smile) about it, we can read in "Popol Vuh."

Chichen Itza

At Chichen Itza, located in the Yucatan, the main miracle is a gigantic temple pyramid known as El Castillo. It is reached by a steep staircase of her community apart extensive ruins of Chichen Itza. On the east side is a plaza on the north — a huge church and a playground for ball games, which is probably the best example of this kind in the Yucatan, and on the west side are the convent and chicha-BER, or jail. Kogollyudo tells of Chichen Itza this story: "King of the Chichen Itza named Kaneko desperately in love with the young princess, who either did not respond to him in return, or was forced to submit to the will of the parent and married a powerful cacique. Was dismissed in love, unable to move his loss and moved by love and despair, he armed his men and suddenly attacked his successful rival. Then the fun wedding feast was replaced by the noise of the battle, and the confusion of the ruler of Chichen Itza was gone, took with him a beautiful bride. But, realizing that his power is less than the capacity of his opponent, and fearing his vengeance, he fled the country with most of his vassals. " It is a historical fact that the inhabitants of Chichen Itza left the city, but for one reason, whether offered by the story, it is not.


Convent at Chichen Itza is a building of exceptional beauty. Frieze above the doorway and pitted decoration upstairs is admired by most of the authors who have written about him. There lived a woman who devoted herself to God, the oldest of which were devoted Kukulkanu and enjoyed great respect. Plinth of the building occupied by eight large pieces, and over the door is a picture of a priest with a plume, and a series of giant heads crowns northern facade. There are also statues of the god of wind with protruding lips, which many generations of scholars of antiquity were made for the heads of elephants with raised trunks! The entire building is one of the architectural gems of Central America and pleasing to the eye is equally as archaeologist and artist. In El Castillo found amazing relief depicting bearded men, apparently priests of Quetzalcoatl, and he also had a beard. A trained eye would seem that one of them has a mustache and beard, just as it used to do the kings in ancient Egypt. Were these artificial beards and are they symbols?

Writing in the Dark

Acab-sib (Writing in the Dark) is a bas-relief found on the lintel of an inner door in a remote part of the building. It depicts a figure with his index finger, sitting in front of the vase. Where is the bas-relief was its name, it's hard to tell if it is considered that the images it captures people in the process of writing. This figure is surrounded by inscriptions. At Chichen Itza was found a statue of Tlaloc, god of rain or moisture, and huge torsos of Kukulkan. There was also a horrible pit, which in times of drought dropping people as atonement god of rain.


In the city of Kabah is the facade, which is strikingly similar to the North American Indian totem house the fantastic wealth of detail. The debris scattered over a large area, and probably once all were painted with bright colors. It was found in the land of the two stone horse heads, which shows that the local people just copied the horses of the conquering Spaniards. On the history of Kabah is not known, but his neighbor Uxmal, located fifteen miles away, far more famous.


The impressive bulk Casa del Gobernador (the so-called Governor's Palace) in Uxmal, is probably the best known and best described the construction of all the native plants of Central America. It occupies three successive terraces another giant, and its frieze line stretches 90 m in length and is divided into sections, each of which frames the enormous head of the priest or god. And what is striking in this building: although it has been abandoned for more than three hundred years, but to this day as well new in the architectural sense, as when came out of the hands of their builders. Here and there a fallen lintel or vandals were carried stones to build a nearby hacienda, but in general we have the most pristine of the existing models of Yucatec construction. On the side of the palace, where the main entrance is located directly above the door and an amazing carved molding, made in the form of high relief, on which three eagles soar, carved in stone, and all that the human head is crowned with a feather decoration. On the base are three heads, the type similar to Roman, surrounded by inscriptions. Exact proof comparatively late period, which was built in Uxmal, one can see that all the doors are made of wood floors, most of which is still preserved in good condition. Many of the roof beams were made of wood and attached to the masonry through specially cut ends.

The Dwarf's House

There is another convent, which is very similar to the monastery at Chichen Itza and its architectural design is as complete and richly decorated. But the real mystery at Uxmal is the Casa del Adivino (House of the Prophet), who is also known for its local name: House dwarf. It consists of two parts, one of which is on top of an artificial pyramid, while the other, a small but beautiful in its completeness Chapel, located below and to the facade facing the city. Prior to the building, which is located above, you can get at a very steep staircase. Apparently, it was used as a sanctuary, as there have found traces of burnt cocoa and gum — which, according to Kogollyudo was not until 1656, and it is a good proof that yukateki not immediately abandoned their ancient faith on the orders of the Spanish Holy Fathers.

Legend of the dwarf

In his book "Travels in Yucatan," Stephens brings the legend pertaining to this house, which is quite possible to give in his own narrative. He writes: "In his hut lived a lonely old woman, rarely leaving his place before the fire. She was very grieved that she had no children, and one day in grief, she took an egg, carefully wrapped in a cloth and placed in a corner of her hut. Every day, she peeked in there with great excitement, but the egg was not any visible change. But one morning she found the broken shell, and a charming tiny creature held out their hands. The woman was delighted. She pressed it to his heart, he found a nurse and take care of him so that in the end, the child is already walking and talking as well as adult. However, he stopped growing. A good woman in his joy exclaimed that this child should be a great leader. One day she told him to go to the palace and ask it experienced its power. Dwarf begged that she did not send him there. But the woman insisted he still went, and he complied. When he was brought before the eyes of the king, the king smiled, and asked him to pick up a stone weighing three arrobas (34 kilograms). The child, crying, back to his mother, who sent it back, saying: "If the king can raise the stone, then you might as well." King picked it up, but the dwarf also managed to do it. His strength was tested in many other ways, but that neither the king did as easily performed and dwarf. irate that he was defeated by a little man, a dwarf king said that if he did not build the palace, which is higher than any palace in the city, he shall die. Scared dwarf returned to the old woman, who told him not to give up, and the next morning they both woke up in the palace, which stands to this day. king saw this palace and surprised. He immediately sent for the dwarf, and wished that he made two bundles cogoiol (Kind of hard wood). One of them he was going to use in order to beat the dwarf's head, and agreed to back it broke his tiny opponent. Dwarf returned again to his mother, moaning and complaining. But she encouraged him, and laid him on the head tortilla (A kind of bread), went back to the king. The test took place in the presence of all the nobles of the state. The king broke the whole bundle of firewood on her head dwarf, without causing any harm to. Seeing this, he wanted to save his own head from certain tests, but his words were in the presence of all the assembled courtiers, and he could not refuse. Dwarf struck, and the second hit the skull king split. The audience immediately proclaimed victorious dwarf their monarch. After that, the old woman disappeared. In the village of Mani, located fifty miles, there is a deep well, leading to an underground passage, which stretches to the Merida. Here on the banks of the river in the shade of a large tree sits an old woman, and next to it is a snake. It in small quantities and sells water does not charge because it needs people, innocent babies who eats the snake. This old woman is the mother of a dwarf. "

The interpretation of this myth is not too difficult. The old woman, without a doubt, the goddess of rain, dwarf — Sunny man who emerges from the cosmic egg. In Yucatan dwarfs dedicated to the sun god, and occasionally bring them to him as a sacrifice for unclear reasons.

Sacrificial mound

Other buildings at Uxmal, causing passing interest is the sacrificial pyramid building, built on the plan of Mexican teocalli. Indeed, it is likely to Aztec origin, and could be raised mercenaries who in XV century crowds poured out of Mexico in the Yucatan and Guatemala, to enter the service of rival leaders, who were in these countries civil war. Next to it is another mound, topped a very beautiful temple, which currently resides in a highly dilapidated condition. "Pigeon House" is an ornate building with a huge pinnacles pierced by large openings, which probably served as dovecotes. The whole architecture of Uxmal in type more primitive than that which can be seen in other places in the Yucatan. There is documentary evidence that in 1673 the Indians still prayed to their gods in the ruins of Uxmal.

There they burned wood tar and committed "other disgusting sacrifices." So even a hundred and fifty years of Spanish rule was not enough to wean the natives pray ancient gods, to whom tended generation of their fathers. This also seems to be convincing evidence that the structure of Uxmal were, at least, the work of the existing people.


In his "Travels in Central America," Stephens presents a fascinating story told him by a priest of Santa Cruz del Quiché, that four days' journey from the place you could see a large, densely populated Indian city that has preserved their ancient civilization. He did see it from the top of the cliff. He beamed magnificent white building at a distance of many leagues away. Perhaps it was the city Lorillard opened Suarez and then Charneem. In general, the Lorillard closely resembles Palenque. It was found a stone idol amazing work, which, as decided Charnay, portrayed a different racial type than the one they saw in the other Central American cities. The most interesting findings in this ancient city were intricate bas-reliefs — one of the main entrance to the temple. Perhaps it is a symbolic representation of Quetzalcoatl, holding in both hands a cross from the rain in front of which stands a servant, also holding a symbol. It is also possible that this figure represents the high priest Quetzalcoatl or Kukulcan. Bas-relief on the other we see the priest in the sacrifice Kukulkanu. He handed over his tongue pita to remove the blood, — an example of a replacement for a part in the sacrifice.

God the horse

In Peten Itza Cortes left his horse in the care of the sick Indians. The animal died because they had been treated properly and given the wrong food. Came to dread the Indians, who saw his divine being, put a statue of a horse and named it Itsimin Chuck (Thunder and Lightning), because they saw the rider fired a weapon, and imagined that the fire outbreak and the shot came from the animal. The form of this idol is caused deep resentment in the breast of a passionate Spanish monk that he broke it a huge stone, and if not for the intervention of the leader, could lose his life for his temerity. Petain was a city "full of idols." So was and Tayasal located nearby where in the XVII century was built at least nine new churches, which proves that the religion of the indigenous population is not extinguished. One of these new churches, according Villaguterre, was a Spanish balcony of hewn stone! In the Temple of the Sun in the city of Tikal, located next door, surprising the altar plate, which depicts an unknown deity, and also has many other great carved stone idols, which provides excellent images Stephens, in his fascinating book.


Copan, one of the most interesting of these amazing cities, whose name has become almost commonplace in truth, is located in the same area as just described the city. It can be seen in abundance mainly monolithic statues. After a desperate struggle he gave up in 1530 by Hernandez de Chavez, one of the Vice Alvarado. Monolithic sculptures, which are so many, are presented here, split from stelae and bas-reliefs and statues are not in the full sense of the word, because they are not completely free from the stone foundation of a cut. Found in Copan altar is a work of art sculpture. Hats, jewelry, and facial expressions in eight figures carved on its sides, extremely well designed, and they both live. Here again we see a different racial type, which is the proof that one nation alone can not force it to create all these great ruined cities and the fact that they contain. We have to imagine the change of races and peoples movements in Central America, such as those who, as we know, took place in Europe and Asia, before we can properly understand the ethnological problems of civilization the New World. And any theory that does not properly take into account these conditions, is doomed to failure.


Now we come to the last of these amazing remains of a vanished civilization, to Mitla, which in any case can not be considered the most insignificant of the works of the hands of civilized man in Central America. During the conquest the city occupies a larger area, but is now preserved only six palaces and three ruined pyramids. The Grand Palace is a spacious building in the shape of the letter T, the longest side of which is 40 meters and it is located a room of the same size. Six giant monolithic columns supporting the roof, still stand alone, and the roof collapsed long ago. Dark passage leads to the inner courtyard, the walls of which are covered with mosaics sectional, which is somewhat similar pattern, known as the "Greek fret." Door covering made of huge stone blocks of nearly eighteen feet. About the building Violet-le-Duc wrote: "Only the heyday of monuments of Greece and Rome can be compared to the grandeur of this great building."

Burial place

The ruins of Mitla in no way similar to the ruins of Mexico and Yucatan, neither in architecture or in decorating. If the buildings of Yucatan have overlapping walls, the palaces of Mitla located perpendicular walls are designed to support the flat roof. Of these buildings, only the second and fourth palaces preserved so that permit a general description. His sculptural door bar and two inner columns second palace shows that during its construction subject to the same plan as the Grand Palace, which has just been described. On the southern facade of the palace has four oval panels and interesting caryatids, or columns in the form of human figures. These palaces were composed of four upper chambers with beautiful sculptural decorations, and the same number of rooms are on the lower floor, which held the high priest and the king to come to mourn the death of any family member. It also buried the priests, and in the adjoining room to store the image of the gods. Body of outstanding soldiers and victims of the gods were thrown into a huge underground chamber. Attempts were made to identify with Miktlanom Mitla, the kingdom of shadows among the Mexicans, and there is reason to believe that this identification is correct. It should be remembered that Mictlan was as much a realm of the dead, in what place and punishment, as was the Greek Hades, so he rightfully could mean a place of burial, which was, no doubt, Mitla. The following excerpts from the written description of the old historiography Mitla Burgoa Torquemada and shed much light on this side of the city. In addition, they are full of interesting information, so that they can bring the letter. But, before you go to them, we must digress for a moment on the Celera assumption that Native Americans imagined that their ancestors originally came to the white light from the underworld through some caves, and that for this reason, Mitla was not only a place of burial, but and sanctuary.

An old description of Mitla

Father Torquemada wrote of Mitla as follows:

"When some Franciscan monks of my order came, preaching and holding the sins of the Province of the Zapotec, whose capital is the city of Tehuantepec, they came to the village, which was called Mictlan, that is Underworld (Hell). In addition to mentioning the large number of people in the village, they told of buildings that had a view over the majestic and imposing than those which they had hitherto seen in New Spain. Among them was the temple of the evil spirit and living quarters for his evil minions, and among other curiosities there was a hall with patterned panels, constructed of stone, decorated with a variety of fancy ornaments and other great figures. There were doors, each of which was built in three blocks of stone: the two vertical sides and one cross — so that although these doorways were very high and wide, these boulders enough for all this construction. They were so thick and wide that we were assured that there are few like them. These buildings or rectangular temple was another hall, which was built entirely on round stone pillars, very high and very thick. Such thick that two grown men could scarcely clasp their hands, and they could not reach out to each other with the tips of his fingers. These columns were made of a single piece of stone, and they say the whole barrel column from top to bottom is five Elam. They were very similar to the columns in the church Santamaria Maggiore in Rome, very skillfully made and polished. "

Father Burgoa gives a more accurate description. He writes:

"Palace of the living and dead has been built for this man (the high priest Zapotec) … They built this magnificent house or pantheon in a rectangle, parts of which rise above the ground, while others descend into the earth. The latter being a hole or cavity, which was found under the surface of the earth. It has elaborate facilities of the same size, connected to each other in such a way that the center is a spacious courtyard. And to ensure the reliability of these four equal-sized rooms, they did what they are barbarians and pagans (as they were) could be achieved only with the help of supernatural beings and the art of the architect. Known in what career they have cut down the pillars, which are so thick that two men can hardly embrace their hands. They are simple cylinders without capitals or bases, but they are remarkably smooth and well shaped and have a height of about five ales, and this is a solid piece of stone. They serve as a support for the roof, which is made of stone slabs instead of beams. These plates are about two ells long, one ale in width and half ale thick and extend from one column to another. The columns are in a row, one after the other to get the load. Stone slabs are so well shaped and so well adjusted, that without any mortar or cement at the joints, they resemble fastened with tongue and groove beams. Very spacious four rooms are located in the same way and covered with a roof. But in the construction of the walls, they have surpassed the greatest architects of the earth, because I have not found any description of an architecture of the Egyptians or the Greeks. After all, they start at the foundation with a narrow path, and as the buildings in height, it is expanded using the upper broad overlapping of masonry so that the upper part is more than the width of the base, and looks as if it is, that and look to fall. On the inside of the walls are covered with mortar or plaster such firmness that no one knows with any liquid could be involved such a solution. Their outer side is made with extraordinary skill, that on top of the masonry wall height of about one ale put a stone slab with protruding edges that form the backbone for an infinite number of small white stones, the smallest of which has a length of one ale, ale, half in width and the thickness of a quarter of ale. They are smooth and have the correct form, as are all made using the same template. The stones they had so much that, setting them next to each other, they use them to make up a large number of different beautiful geometric patterns, each of which had a width of one ale and stretched the entire length of the wall. Each pattern had a picture up to the crowning part of it, which was just beautiful. And that always seemed inexplicable greatest architects — setting these small handful of stones without any mortar. Surprising as the fact that, without any tools, using nothing but solid rock and sand, they were able to achieve such strength that, although the entire building is very old and no one knows who raised her, she has survived to the present day ".

Human sacrifice in Mitla

"I have carefully examined these sites about thirty years ago in the part above ground. They have the same size and are built exactly the same as those that are underground, and although some fragments were destroyed, because some stones shattered, there was still a lot of things than you admire. The doorways were very large. Their sides are monolithic stones of the same thickness as the wall and the floor was made of other stones, which connected the two lower stone top. There were four rooms above the ground and four below it. Underground facilities were located according to their destination so that one front chamber served as chapel and sanctuary for the images that were on the great stone which served as an altar. And for the most important holiday, which they celebrated the sacrifices or the funeral of the king or great lords high priest ordered the priests of lower rank or temple servants to prepare the chapel and his vestments, incense and they smoked in large quantities. And then he came down with a large retinue, and none of the common people did not see him and did not dare to look him in the face, convinced that if he does so, he would fall dead on the ground that it would be a punishment for insolence. And when he came into the chapel, it wore a long white robe of cotton like terra cotta, and on top of it — apparel, like dalmatic, which was embroidered with pictures of wild animals and birds. On his head he wore a hat, and on his feet — shoes woven from colored feathers. Donning these vestments, he was a solemn expression on his face and walked with measured steps to the altar, bowed low before the idols, incense burned again, and then he began to whisper unintelligible talk with these idols, these repositories of underground spirits. So he continued his original prayer, accompanying her horrible grimaces and antics and uttering inarticulate sounds, which filled all present with fear and horror, until he came out of this diabolical trance and did not begin to tell all the people standing around him all the lies and fabrications which gave him spirit, or that he invented himself. When sacrificed people, increasing the number of rituals. Assistant high priest stretched victims on a large stone, revealing their breasts, which they ripped open by a huge stone knife, while the body writhed in horrible convulsions. They reveal the heart and pulled it out of his chest, and with it the soul, which took away the devil, as they carried the heart of the high priest, so that he could give it to the idols, holding it in front of their mouths, among other ceremonies. A body thrown into the burial place of the "saints" — as they called them. And if after the sacrifice he is to hold more of those who asked for some favor, he through subordinate priests to inform them that they can not leave their homes, while the gods are not appeased. During this time, he commanded them to undergo penance, fasting and not to communicate with women. And as long as the father of sin had not applied for pardon penitents and had declared that the gods propitiated, they did not dare to cross the threshold their homes.

The second (underground) room was the burial place of the high priests. Third — the burial place of the kings Teotsapotlana whom they brought here richly dressed in their best clothes, pens, jewelry, gold necklaces and precious stones. The left hand of the king invested shield, and to the right — a spear, just as they kept them in the war. During their funeral ceremonies reigned deep mourning, musical instruments published harrowing sounds, with loud wailing and continuous sobbing they chanted the life and exploits of his master as long as it was laid on a special structure, which has been prepared for this purpose. "

Living sacrifices

"The last (underground) room had a second door, which was behind and kept in the dark and terrible room. It was locked with a stone slab that covered the entire passage. Through this door, they threw the bodies of the victims and the great lords and chieftains who had fallen in battle. They were brought from the places where they were killed, even if it was very far away, to the place of burial. And so great was the obsession of the barbarous Indians, that the belief in the happy life that awaited them, many of those whom piled illness or difficulties, asked this infamous priest to accept them as living sacrifices and allow them to enter the door and wander in the dark bowels of the mountain in search of the places where their ancestors feasted. And when someone got such grace, servants of high priest led him thither with special ceremonies. After he entered the small door, they again filled up the entrance with stones and left him, and unhappy man, wandering in the dark abyss, was dying of hunger and thirst, feeling pain during the life of hell torments. And because of this terrible abyss called Liyobaa this village. "

The cave of death

"Later, when these people shed some light of the Gospel, his ministers have made great efforts to reason with them and find out whether the dominant so far this error is common to all these people. And from the stories they learned that they were all convinced that this damp cave extends more than thirty leagues under the earth, and that its arches supported by columns. And there were people, zealous prelates thirst of knowledge that in order to convince these ignorant people in their error, and went to the cave, accompanied by large numbers of people with torches and firebrands, and descended a few more steps. Soon they came to a large set of props, which formed a kind of street. They prudently took a rope to use it as a guide traffic and not get lost in this labyrinth. Decomposition and odor and wetness of land have been very strong, and there walked the cold wind that blew out their torches. After going a short distance, they were afraid to die from the stench, or step on poisonous snakes, which they saw, and decided to come out and finally wall up this back door to hell. The four above-ground buildings were the only ones that are still open. They were like the courtyard and rooms that were on the ground, and the ruins of the buildings survived even to the present time. "

Palace of the High Priest

"One of the above ground was the palace of the high priest, where he sat and slept, as in these quarters was a place for everything. His throne was like a pillow with a high back that it could sit. It was covered with a tiger skin, stuffed with soft feathers or grass, which was used for this purpose. Other seats were smaller, even for the king, who came here to see him. The power of this evil priest was so great that no one dared to go through the court, and to avoid it in the other three areas were behind the door, through which even includes kings. To do this, they had narrow passages and corridors on the outside at the top and at the bottom, on which people can come and go when they came to see the high priest …

The second room of the palace ground was for the priests and assistants to the high priest. Third meant king, when he came here, and the fourth — the leaders and commanders. Although the place was a little for so many people and for so many different families, yet they adjust themselves to each other out of respect for the place and avoid strife and intrigue. In this palace was no longer any tribunal, except for the high priest, before unlimited power which all bowed. "

The situation of churches

"All the rooms are clean and carpeted with mats. They did not have the habit of sleeping on the bed, no matter how senior or a person. They used very skillfully woven mats, which were spread on the floor, and soft animal skins and thin fabric as covers. Their meals were usually animals killed in hunting: deer, rabbits, armadillos, etc., and also birds, which they killed with arrows or caught snares. Bread baked from their corn was white and well mixed. Their drinks were always cold, made from ground cocoa, which is mixed with water and pounded maize. Other drinks made from fruit pulp, which is then mixed with an intoxicating drink made from agave. Since the common people were forbidden to drink intoxicating beverages, such were always on hand in abundance. "

Lewis Spence, Inca and Mayan Myths

Category: Mystery stories

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