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Title: Mexican Copper Tools: the Use of Copper by the Mexicans Before the Conquest; And The Katunes of Maya History, a Chapter in the Early History of Central America, With Special Reference to the Pio Perez Manuscript.
Author: Valentini, Philipp J. J.
Language: English
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                         MEXICAN COPPER TOOLS:


                      THE KATUNES OF MAYA HISTORY,
                            A CHAPTER IN THE


                     PHILIPP J. J. VALENTINI, PH.D.


                           WORCESTER, MASS.:

                       PRESS OF CHARLES HAMILTON.






 MEXICAN COPPER TOOLS                                                  5

 THE KATUNES OF MAYA HISTORY                                          45

 NOTE BY COMMITTEE OF PUBLICATION                                     47

    _Introductory Remarks_                                            49

    _The Maya Manuscript and Translation_                             52

    _History of the Manuscript_                                       55

    _Elements of Maya Chronology_                                     60

    _Table of the 20 Days of the Maya Month_                          62

    _Table of the 18 Months of the Maya Year_                         63

    _Table of Maya Months and Days_                                   64

    _Translation of the Manuscript by Señor Perez_                    75

    _Discussion of the Manuscript_                                    77

    _Concluding Remarks_                                              92

    _Sections of the Perez Manuscript Expressed in Years_             96

    _Table of Maya Ahaues Expressed in Years_                        100

    _Results of the Chronological Investigation_                     102




 COPPER AXES, THE TRIBUTE OF CHILAPA                                  13

 COPPER AXES AND BELLS, THE TRIBUTE OF CHALA                          14

 MEXICAN GOLDSMITH SMELTING GOLD                                      18

 YUCATAN COPPER AXES                                                  30

 COPPER CHISEL FOUND IN OAXACA                                        33

 MEXICAN CARPENTER’S HATCHET                                          35

 COPPER AXE OF TEPOZCOLULA                                            36

 COPPER AXE OF TLAXIMALOYAN                                           36

 COPPER TOOL, FOUND BY DUPAIX IN OAXACA                               37

 MAYA AHAU KATUN WHEEL                                                72



 YUCATAN AXE, FROM LANDA                                              17

 INDIAN BATTLE AXE, FROM OVIEDO                                       19

                         MEXICAN COPPER TOOLS.

                   BY PHILIPP J. J. VALENTINI, PH.D.

             [_From the German, by Stephen Salisbury, Jr_.]

  [From Proceedings of American Antiquarian Society, April 30, 1879.]

The subject of prehistoric copper mining, together with the trade in the
metal and the process of its manufacture into implements and tools by
the red men of North America, has engaged the attention of numerous

It was while listening to an interesting paper on prehistoric copper
mining at Lake Superior, read by Prof. Thomas Egleston before the
Academy of Sciences, of New York, March 9, 1879, that the writer was
reminded of a number of notes which he had made, some time previous, on
the same subject. These notes, however, covered a department of research
not included in the lecture of that evening. They were collected in
order to secure all the material extant in relation to the copper
products of Mexico and Central America. Nevertheless, this treatment of
a subject so germain to ours, could not help imparting an impulse to a
rapid comparison of the results of our own studies with those of others.
It brought to light striking agreements, as well as disagreements, which
existed in connection with the copper industries of the two widely
separated races. On the one hand it appeared that both of these ancient
people were unacquainted with iron; both were trained to the practise of
war, and, strange to say, both had invariably abstained from shaping
copper into any implement of war, the metal being appropriated solely to
the uses of peace.

But, on the other hand, whilst the northern red man attained to his
highest achievement in the production of the axe, the native of Central
America could boast of important additions to his stock of tools. He
possessed copper implements for tilling the fields, and knew the uses of
the chisel. Besides, when he wished to impart to the copper a definite
form, he showed a superior ingenuity. The northern Indian simply took a
stone, and by physical force hammered the metal into the required shape.
But the skilled workman of Tecoatega and Tezcuco, subjecting the native
copper to the heat of the furnace, cast the woodcutter’s axe in a mould,
as well as the bracelets and the fragile earrings that adorned the
princesses of Motezuma.

Therefore, in view of the recently increasing interest shown in
archæological circles, respecting everything relating to Mexico, the
writer deemed it worth while to revise the notes referred to.

As to the fact that the early Mexicans used instruments of copper, there
can be no doubt. The brevity of the statements respecting these
instruments is nevertheless very perplexing. The accounts of the Spanish
chroniclers, indeed, afford a certain degree of satisfaction, but they
leave us with a desire for fuller information. We should have felt more
grateful to these authorities if, out of the thousand and more chapters
devoted to the glorious deeds of the “Castellanos and Predicadores,”
they had written one in which they had introduced us to the Mexican
work-shop, exhibiting the weaver, the paper-maker, the carpenter, the
goldsmith, and the sculptor, and initiating us into the devices and
methods respectively employed; describing the form and shape of the
tools they used, and giving an account of all those little details which
are indispensable for achieving any technical or artistical results.

Yet, as it exists, the desired information is incomplete, and, for the
present at least, we can only deplore its brevity. In looking for aid
from other quarters we feel still more perplexed. No specimen of any
copper or bronze tool, apparently, has been preserved, and we are thus
prevented from determining whether the axes or chisels mentioned by the
Spanish authors were of the same shape as ours, or whether the natives
had contrived to give them a peculiar shape of their own. Finally, no
definite hint is given whether the kind of copper metal, which they
called “brass or bronze,” was copper with the natural admixtures of
gold, silver, tin, or other tempering elements, or whether the Mexicans
had themselves discovered the devices of hardening, and combined the
elements in due conventional proportions.

All these questions are of the highest interest, and claim an answer.
Our most renowned authorities for Mexican archæology and history,
Humboldt, Prescott and Brasseur de Bourbourg,[1] pass over this subject
without giving any desired satisfaction. They do not go much farther
than to repeat the statements furnished by the writers in the same
language as they received them.

These early statements will form the principal portion of the material
out of which we weave the text of our discussion. In order that the
reader may be better prepared to enter into our reasoning and judge of
the correctness of our conclusions, we shall, in translation, place the
statements of these authors below the text, in the form of foot-notes;
though, in cases where it is believed that the reader may desire to see
the originals, the Spanish text is given. Considerable help has been
derived from a source hitherto very little consulted, that of the native
paintings, which represent copper implements. As will be seen, they make
up, to a certain extent, for the deficiency of the latter in
collections. The cuts we give are of the same size as those we find
copied in the Kingsborough Collection.

We shall speak first of those localities whence the natives procured
their copper and their tin; secondly, of the manner in which they used
to melt metals; thirdly, consider whether the metal was moulded or
hammered; and fourthly, discuss the various forms into which their tools
appear to have been shaped.

That the natives of the New World collected and worked other metals
besides gold and silver, seems to have become known to the Spaniards
only after their entrance into the city of Mexico, A.D. 1521. During the
first epoch, in which the West India Islands and the Atlantic coasts of
South and Central America were explored and conquered, no specimen of
utensils, tools or weapons, made of brass or copper, was discovered to
be in the possession of the inhabitants. So also in Yucatan, Tlascalla,
and on the high plateau of Anahuac, where mechanics and industry were
found to have a home, and where the native warrior exhibited his person
in the most gorgeous military attire, their swords, javelins, lances and
arrows, showed that concerning the manufacture of arms they had, so to
speak, not yet emerged from the Stone-Age. And finally, when brass,
copper, tin, and even lead, were seen exposed for sale in the stalls of
the market-place of Mexico, it was noticed to the great astonishment of
the conquerors, that these metals had exclusively served the natives for
the manufacture of mere instruments of peace.

The Spanish leader communicates these facts to his emperor in these few
words:[2]—“Besides all kind of merchandise, I have seen for sale
trinkets made of gold and silver, of lead, bronze, copper and tin.”
Almost the same expressions are used in the memoirs of his companion,
Bernal Diaz de Castillo:[3]—“And I saw _axes_ of _bronze_, and _copper_,
and _tin_.” Under the influences of such a revelation the hearts of the
distressed Spaniards must have been elated with joy and courage, when
they saw not only a prospect of replacing the arms which their small
band had lost, but also the source from which to equip the faithful
Indian allies of Tlascala in an efficient manner. Immediately after
having taken firm foothold on the conquered ground, Cortes ordered the
goldsmiths of Tezcuco to cast eight thousand arrow-heads of copper, and
these weapons were made ready for delivery within a single week.[4] At
the same time, too, the hope to have a supply of cannon made was
presented to the conqueror’s mind. The only question was from whence to
procure a sufficient quantity of the material necessary to carry out
this design.

Copper is found to-day in nearly all the states of the Mexican Republic.
We abstain, therefore, from quoting the localities. But as far as our
information goes, no writer or historian has stated where Cortes and
before him the natives themselves found it. To investigate this matter
might be of direct utility, at least. We intend to use a source hitherto
little explored, but which for the history of Mexico is of greatest
importance, the picture tables, called the Codices Mexicana. These
collections contain representations of their historical, religious,
social and commercial life. The writer of this article has made himself
familiar with these sources, expecting to find in them disclosures about
the location of the ancient copper mines, as soon as he could discover
what _copper_ was called in the language of the natives. The answer
comes in this connection.

The Mexicans had the habit of giving a name to their towns and districts
from the objects which were found in abundance in their neighborhood.
Therefore, copper regions ought to bear a name which related to this

In Lord Kingsborough’s Collection, Vol. V., pages 115–124, there are two
printed alphabetical indices of the names of all the towns, whose
hieroglyphic symbol, or, as we term it, whose coat of arms, is
represented in the Codex Mendoza, to be found in Vol. I. of the same
collection, pages 1–72. This Codex is arranged in three sections. The
first shows the picture-annals of the ancient Aztec-Kings, and the
cities which they conquered (pages 1–17). The second reproduces again
the coats of arms of these cities, but gives in addition the pictures of
all the objects of tribute which these cities had to pay. The third
section exhibits an illustration of how Mexican children were trained
from infancy up to their 15th year. Sections first and second will claim
our interest, exclusively.

Copper, we learn from the Dictionary of Molina[5] was named in the
language of the Nahoa speaking natives, _tepuzque_.[6] Upon searching in
the above quoted Codices, we find three names of towns which are
compounds of this word _tepuzque_. Their names appear in the following
form: Tepoztla, Vol. I., page 8, fig. 2, and the same name on page 26,
fig. 13. Tepoztitla, page 42, fig. 10, and Tepozcolula, page 43, fig. 3.

The cuts 1, 2, 3 and 4, are faithful reproductions of the coats of arms
belonging to these towns.


  CUT 1.



  CUT 2.



  CUT 3.



  CUT 4.


There cannot be any doubt as to the meaning of the objects represented
by these pictures. They mean axes. Their handles appear in a curved
form, the blades at their cutting edges are somewhat rounded, and the
tenons of the blades are inserted below the top of the handles. Both
handles and blades are painted in a reddish brown color, the wood as
well as the copper.

The differences between the pictured representations are the following:
Cuts 1, 2, and 4, show the axes growing out from the top of a mountain,
whilst the axe of cut 3 appears by itself. Further, the axes of cuts 1
and 2, those of _Tepoztla_, show something applied to the handle, which
in cut 1 we recognize to be a single bow-knot, and in cut 2 the same
girdle with a bow-knot, yet wound about a dress of white color,
embroidered with red spots. A notable difference, however, will still be
noticed between the form of the axes in cuts 1, 2, 3, and that in cut 4,
or _Tepozcolula_. We shall speak of this latter, on a later page, as an
instrument very closely related to the other axes.

By means of these pictures we arrive at the knowledge of the following
facts: Copper was undoubtedly found in the neighborhood of the three
named cities. Moreover, copper in these cities was wrought into
axe-blades. Finally, the axe will turn out to be the symbol used for
copper, in general.

Let us accept these facts and see whether this picture for the symbol
for copper does not return on other pages of the same Codex, and thereby
gain more information on the subject. We notice the picture of the
axe-blade reappearing on the pages 39 and 42. Both happen to bear the
same number, that of figure 20, and both belong to the same section of
the Codex which contains the pictures of the tributes paid by the
conquered towns. Cut 5 is a reproduction of fig. 20, page 39, Codex
Mendoza. It shows the metal axe without a handle hanging on a thread
from a line upon which we see five flags are painted. Moreover, at the
left side is a little picture. A flag in Mexican symbol writing
signifies the number twenty.[7]


  CUT 5.

  Town of Chilapa.

We may therefore conclude that by this combination one hundred copper
axes are indicated. The question now arises, what city may have paid
this tribute of copper axes? The painter has not only omitted to connect
directly these flags and axe with one of the various coats of arms that
are grouped in their neighborhood, but even, if he had done so, the
student, still unacquainted with the art of explaining pictures, would
be unable to make out the name of the city, embodied in the picture of
the coat of arms. We will overcome this difficulty by consulting the
interpretation of the Codex Mendoza, which is printed on the pages 39–89
of Vol. V., Kingsb. Collection. There, on page 73, the suggestion is
given that the tribute objects refer to the town of Chilapa, whose coat
of arms (fig. 2), as we shall notice on the cut, consists of a tub
filled with water, and on whose surface the _chilli_-fruit appears,
better known as the Spanish red pepper _chilli_, red pepper, _atl_,
water, _pa_, in or above. For this reason we learn that the town of
_Chilapa_ was tributary in 100 axes.


  CUT 6.

  Town of Chala.

In like manner we may proceed with the definition of the picture found
on page 42, fig. 20. The copy given in cut 6, shows 80 blades of copper
axes in fig. 20, and besides 40 little copper bells in fig. 19, and the
interpretation, Vol. V., page 76, informs us that it was the town of
Chala, fig. 26, which had to pay this kind of tribute.

Therefore, the towns of Tepoztla, Tepoztitla, Tepozcolula, and, besides,
those of Chilapa and Xala, must be considered to have been connected, in
one way or the other, with copper mining, copper manufacture, and the
tribute of the same.[8]

A few words on the procuring of the metal from localities where it was
discovered by the natives, may find a suitable place here. Mining, as we
understand it to-day, or as the Spaniards understood it already at the
time of the conquest, was not practised by the natives. Gold and silver
were not broken from the entrails of the rocks. They were collected from
the _placeres_ by a process of mere washing. No notice at all has come
down to us how copper was gathered. We can, however, easily imagine,
that whenever by a chance outcropping a copper vein or stratum became
visible, they probably broke off the ore or mineral to a depth easy to
be reached, and only selected the most solid pieces. It is evident that
the results of such superficial mining must have been very trifling,
certainly not greater than would barely suffice for the fabrication of
the most necessary tools. Herein we will find an explanation, why this
people, though possessing the metal and the technical skill,
nevertheless did not use it for the manufacture of arms. The production
could not have been abundant enough to supply the whole nation or even
the professional soldier with metal weapons. They preferred therefore,
to continue in the ignorance of the Stone-Age.

Where the Mexicans found the _lead_ that was seen in the market-place,
nay, even the purposes for which they might have used it, we have been
entirely unable to learn. _Lead_ in the language of the Nahoas, is
called _temeztli_ (telt stone, metzli moon), moon stone, a name
picturesque and characteristic, as were most of those which stand in the
list of objects that belong to the realm of nature. Not a single picture
referring to lead can be found in the Mexican Codices. The same must
also be said of _tin_, the name of which was _amochictl_, a word
seemingly Nahoatl in form, but whose root was probably derived from a
foreign language. It will be gratifying, however, to learn from the pen
of the great conqueror Cortes himself, where the natives, and afterwards
his followers, found their _tin_. To quote the language of Cortes,[9] “I
am without artillery and weapons, though I have often sent money to
obtain them. But as nothing drives a man to expedients so much as
distress, and as I had already lost the hope that Your Royal Majesty
might be informed of this, I have mustered all my strength to the utmost
in order that I might not lose what I have already obtained with so much
danger and sacrifice of life. I have therefore arranged to have men
immediately sent out in search of copper, and in order to obtain it
without delay I have expended a great amount of money. As soon as I had
brought together a sufficient quantity, I procured a workman, who
luckily was with us, to cast several cannons. Two half-culverines are
now ready, and we have succeeded as far as their size would permit. The
copper was indeed all ready for use, but I had no _tin_. Without _tin_ I
could do nothing, and it caused me a great deal of trouble to find a
sufficient quantity of it for these cannons, for some of our men, who
had tin plates or other vessels of that kind, were not willing to part
with them at any rate. For this reason I have sent out people in all
directions searching for tin, and the Lord, who takes care of
everything, willed graciously that when our distress had reached its
highest point, I found among the natives of _Tachco_[10] small pieces of
tin, very thin and in the form of coins.[11] Making further
investigations I found that this tin, there and in other provinces was
used for money, also that this tin was obtained from the same province
of _Tachco_, the latter being at a distance of 26 leagues from this
town. I also discovered the locality itself of these mines. The
Spaniards whom I despatched with the necessary tools brought me
_samples_ of it, and I then gave them orders that a sufficient quantity
should be procured, and, though it is a work of much labor, I shall be
supplied with the necessary quantity that I require. While searching for
tin, according to a report from those skilled in the subject, a rich
vein of iron-ore was also discovered.

Now supplied with tin I can make the desired cannons, and daily I try to
increase the number, so that now I have already five pieces ready, two
half-culverines, two which are still smaller, one field-piece and two
_sacres_, the same that I brought with me, and another half-culverine
which I purchased from the estate of the Adelantado Ponce de Leon.”

In the above report of Cortes, therefore, we are informed of the name of
the locality where tin was found and dug by the natives. So we have the
facts established that both copper and tin[12] were dug by the natives,
that there was a traffic, in them at that time, that Cortes himself
succeeded in getting at the mines from which they were extracted, and
that he had not been mistaken in his former recognition of their display
for sale in the public market.

But before these ores could be shaped into the above named commercial
forms, it is clear that they still needed to undergo a process of
smelting. As to the peculiar mode of smelting pursued by the natives, we
have not been able to find any distinct reference in the writings of the
chroniclers. It does not appear that the ancient Mexicans understood the
method of the Peruvians of melting their copper in furnaces exposed to
the wind on the lofty sierras, but we may form for ourselves an idea of
how they proceeded from a picture in Codex Mendoza, page 71, fig. 24.

Cut 7 gives a faithful reproduction.


  CUT 7.

  Smelting Gold.

In the midst of an earthen tripod, surrounded by smoke and flames, we
perceive a small disk of a yellow color. Our attention is called to the
peculiar mark imprinted on the surface of the disk. Upon searching in
Lord Kingsborough’s Collection, Vol. V., page 112, plate 71, where the
interpretation of the little picture is given, we learn, that the man
sitting by the tripod, is meant to be a goldsmith. Hence we conclude the
disk must be understood to mean a round piece of gold, and that very
probably the mark printed on it, was the usual symbolical sign for
gold.[13] At the right of the tripod sits a man wrapped in his mantle,
no doubt the master of the work-shop; for the addition of a flake flying
from his mouth, as the typical sign for language or command, gives us a
right to suppose that we have before us the so-called _temachtiani_, or
master of the trade. At the left side crouches the apprentice,
_tlamachtilli_. He holds in his right hand a staff, one end of which is
in his mouth and the other is placed in the crucible. _Tlapitzqui_, in
the Nahoatl language means at the same time a flute player and a melter
of metal. This etymological version therefore conveys the idea, that the
staff held by the smelter signifies a pipe or tube used for increasing
heat by blowing the fire, as the staff is similar to a long pipe or
flute and is held in the mouth of the workman. In his left hand he holds
a similar staff, but there is no means of recognizing whether it is a
stick for stirring the embers, or a tube to be used alternately with the
other. Now, we shall be permitted to draw a conclusion from this process
of smelting gold as to the manner of smelting copper. The process must
have been exactly the same with both. For, if the Mexican goldsmith,
with the aid of a blowpipe, was able to increase the heat of the fire to
such a degree as to make gold fusible, a heat which requires 1,100° C.,
he cannot have found greater difficulties in melting copper, which
requires nearly the same degree of heat; and tin, which is far more
easily fusible, could have been treated in the same way.

Melting was followed by casting into forms or moulds, and these moulds
must have been of stone. This might be concluded from the language of
Torquemada and Gomara.[14] The words “_by placing one stone above
another one_” are too clear to leave the least doubt as to what the
author meant. This process will account for the absolute identity we had
the opportunity to observe existing between certain trinkets of the same
class, coming chiefly from Nicaragua and Chiriqui. No specimens of a
mould, however, have come to our view, or have been heard of as existing
in any collection, probably because whenever they were met by the
“_huaqueros_,” they did not recognize them as such, and threw them away.

The scanty knowledge we have of all these interesting technical details
will not be wondered at, if we consider that we derive it from no other
class of writers than from unlearned soldiers, and monks unskilled in
the practical matters of this world. But still, the principal reason for
this want of information is that the Mexican artist was as jealous in
keeping his devices secret, as the European. They also formed guilds,
into which the apprentices were sworn, and their tongues were bound by
fear as well as interest. Let us quote only one instance. The Vice-King
Mendoza reports to the Emperor[15] that he offered to pardon one of
those workmen, if he would disclose how he was able to counterfeit the
Spanish coins in so striking a way. But the native preferred to remain
silent and was put to death.

Here is the place for asking the question: Would not the early Mexicans,
aside from their practice of casting the above metals, have employed
also that of hammering? Our reply would be emphatically in the negative,
if taking the expression “hammering” in its strict meaning, which is
that of working with the hammer. The writers of the Conquest have left
the most explicit testimony, that the natives, only after the arrival of
the Spaniards became acquainted with this instrument, and with the art
of using it for working high reliefs out of a metal sheet. Moreover, the
native vocabulary has no word for the metal hammer as it is commonly
understood. Yet the wooden mallet was known, the so-called
_quauhololli_, and used by the sculptors. In the gradual education of
mankind in technical knowledge, beating of metals, of course, must have
preceded casting. The ancestors of the early Mexicans, at a certain
epoch, stood on the same low stage of workmanship as their more distant
northern brethren. But when the inventor of the mould had taught them
how to multiply the objects most in demand, by the means of this easy,
rapid and almost infallible operation, we must not imagine that he had
done away entirely with the old practice of beating and stretching metal
with a stone. The practice, in certain cases, would have been
maintained: as for instance, when a diadem, a shield, or a breastplate
was to be shaped, and on occasions when the object to be made required
the use of a thin flat sheet of metal. Such objects are not only
described by the writers, but are also represented by the native
painters. A specimen of such a kind is mentioned, which on account of
its extraordinary beauty, workmanship and value left a deep impression
on the conquerors. It was the present which Motezuma made to Cortes at
his landing, on the _Culhua_ coast, “the two gold and silver wheels;”
the one, as they said, representing the Sun, the other the Moon.
According to the measures they took of them, these round discs must have
had a diameter of more than five feet. It is preposterous to imagine
that round sheets of this size should have been the product of

We pass on now to discuss the various tools which we have reason to
think were cast in copper or in bronze, by the early Mexicans.

The _axe_ stands in the first place. Cortes, we shall remember, omitted
to specify any of the objects which he saw exposed for sale in the
market-place. Not so his companion, Bernal Diaz. He, after a lapse of 40
years, when occupied with the writing of his memoirs, has no
recollection of other tools, which he undoubtedly must have seen, except
the much admired bronze axes. Specimens of these were sent over to Spain
in the same vessel on which the above mentioned presents to the Emperor
were shipped. At their arrival at Palos, Petrus Martyr of the Council
House of the Indies was one of the first to examine the curiosities sent
from the New World, and to gather from the lips of the bearers their
verbal comments. His remarks on the axes he had seen, are “with their
bronze axes and hatchets, cunningly tempered, they (the Indians) fell
the trees.” There are three expressions in this passage which will claim
our attention. First, we learn that two classes of axes were sent over,
one of which Martyr recognized as a “_secūris_” the other as a
“_dolabra_” hence a common axe, and another which was like a pick or a
hoe. Further on we shall give an illustration of these axes, taken from
the pictures of the natives, when we are to recur again to this subject.
Our author, in the second place, describes the two axes as of bronze,
for this is the English rendering of the Latin expression:
_aurichalcea_. Thirdly, we learn, that the blades were “cunningly
tempered” or “_argute temperata_.” This language requires explanation.

The attentive reader will remember what has been said respecting Cortes
and Bernal Diaz, whether they recognized the bronze objects in the
market as a mixture of copper and tin, of themselves, or whether they
had been inquisitive enough to ask for information, and in consequence
learned that it was a common practice among the workmen to mix these two
metals, in certain proportions, in order to produce a harder quality of
copper. The latter hypothesis seems to gain a certain corroboration from
Martyr’s language. For there cannot be the slightest doubt as to what he
meant when putting down the words “cunningly tempered.” He wished to
express the idea, that he had positive grounds for the conviction, that
the metal of which the axes were made, was not a _natural_ but an
_artificial_ product. What grounds for this conviction he had, he does
not, however, communicate to his reader.

Our author has the well deserved reputation of being one of the fullest
authorities for all that concerns the discovery and conquest of the
western hemisphere. Of all, however, that he has written, the pages
containing the landing of Cortes in Yucatan, and the entrance of the
Spaniards in the capital of Motezuma, appear to have been the most
attractive to the general reader and the student; these pages being torn
and soiled in the existing copies of his original Latin, as well as of
its translation into foreign languages. We mention this circumstance,
for it is not without a certain bearing upon our question. It proves how
confidently the reading public has drawn upon the author’s statement,
and how eagerly students have sought to digest his amazing accounts,
quite unsuspicious, however, of the errors in dates as well as facts;
admiring rather than criticizing the pompous phraseology of his mediæval
Latin, or his often very suggestive but somewhat flighty speculations.
In Petrus Martyr, therefore, we may recognize the originator of the
widespread theory that the Mexicans possessed the secret of
manufacturing bronze in the highest perfection and in accordance with
metallurgical rules. We are, however, forewarned. The statement is of
importance, and must be weighed before accepting it. We fear it will
fail like many genial but unsupported inspirations, of which our author
was susceptible. If we ask whence he derived the notion that the bronze
tools were “argute temperata” we shall find that he failed to give any
authority. Petrus Martyr, whom we often find quoting the full names and
special circumstances by the aid of which he gathered the material for
his historical letters, does not follow this laudable practice on this
occasion, even though the matter was one of importance to investigators
like himself. For these instruments of bronze, and many other tools sent
over, must have been, in another way, still more interesting to him than
the objects of industry themselves. These tools afforded the most
palpable proof of an independent industry practised by that strange
people beyond the sea; they were a key perhaps also to the riddle, how
it was possible to perform those marvels of workmanship. This silence of
Petrus Martyr respecting the details of the “_argutia_” which he
professes that the natives employed in manufacturing their bronze is so
much the more striking, since we find him enlarging a long while upon
their manufacture of paper; and he shows himself correctly informed
respecting that process. It is clear that the one was as well worth
detailing as the other. Therefore we cannot help expressing the
suspicion, that whilst he had correct information respecting the one, he
had none respecting the other.

It would, however, be venturing too much to reject so important a
statement merely on the grounds alleged. In order to save it, we could
fairly say, that he omitted his references through carelessness.
Accepting this position, let us then seek to ascertain, who his
informants might have been, and chiefly inquire what they were able to
tell him about the manufacture of bronze in Mexico.

The circumstances accompanying the arrival of the precious gifts from
the capital at the Camp of Cortes, their shipping and unlading at Palos,
and their registration at the custom-house, are perfectly known. From
them we gather the following points: First, no Spaniard had yet set foot
in the interior, they were still loitering on the shores of Vera Cruz,
where the embassies of Motezuma made their appearance. Hence, they were
still shut off from the opportunity of inspecting the workshops of
Tezcuco, Mexico and Azcapotzalco, the centres from which this special
class of merchandise was spread over the whole isthmus. Cortes, who had
many reasons for hastening the transfer of the precious treasures to the
ships, without much delay despatched one of them, intrusting two of his
friends, Montejo and Puerto Carrero, with the mission of presenting to
the Emperor the report of his startling discoveries and the presents
coming from the new vassal-king. Petrus Martyr, indeed, mentions these
two cavaliers, as being Cortes’ messengers, and it is highly probable
that it was from their lips that he gathered among other correct
information also that about the manufacture of paper. The special kind
of paper he describes, is one which was manufactured and used
exclusively on the coast of Yucatan and Vera Cruz, not the paper of the
maguey-plant which grows on the high plateaus, but that of the
amatl-tree, a native of the tierra caliente. Being in the very country
where this kind of paper was manufactured, the Spanish writers,
therefore, had the opportunity of hearing how paper was made, even,
possibly, of seeing the process itself, which they had not enjoyed in
the case of bronze. Could they have got the information from the mouths
of the embassadors? We know they held shyly aloof. The intercourse was
very ceremonious, and difficult besides, since the conversation passed
through the two native languages, and we cannot fairly imagine that the
technical question of manufacturing bronze should have become one of the
topics of inquiry. Moreover, we do not believe that special attention
would have been paid to these bronze implements, if we consider the
overpowering impression which the richness and rareness of the other
objects must have caused them. Finally, would they not have believed the
yellow metal to be gold? since they dreamt of nothing else, and were far
from imagining that the opulent ruler of Mexico would have made their
Emperor a present of poor bronze tools.

We are not able to offer any conclusive evidence against the remarkable
statement made by Petrus Martyr. We are fully aware how many positive
proofs are required to render it totally invalid. But we deemed it to be
our duty not to withhold from our readers the many grave doubts we
entertain against its too ready acceptance. We have still to add, that
this statement stands isolated and without support in the whole
literature of the Conquest. His contemporary writers, indeed,
occasionally speak of copper axes that were tempered by an alloy. None
of them, however, goes so far as he, to impute to the early Mexicans the
preparation of an artificial bronze, as was so manifestly implied by the
words, _argute temperatis_.

The passages which speak about the axes used by the natives are cited
below[17]. Three kinds are mentioned, stone, copper and bronze axes. The
first of them must have been in use among such tribes as lived outside
of the circle of Mexican trade and civilization, or among those which
intentionally held themselves aloof. For its retention and use the
complete absence of ores in certain districts may have had a decided
influence, as for instance was the case with the peninsula of
Yucatan.[18] The shape of the Yucatecan blades and that of the handle
and the adjustment of both, at least as far as is shown (see cut 8) by
the pictures of the Dresden Codex, which are of genuine Yucatecan
origin, appear to have been identical with those of the interior of


  CUT 8.

  Axes of Yucatan.

Among the copper and bronze axes noted below, those of Nicaragua appear
to have been of an uncommonly rich alloy of gold. The reader will smile
at Herrera’s account of the shrewdness shown by the native ladies in
keeping for themselves the plates of pure gold they were attired with,
and burdening the soldiers of Gonzales with heavy metal axes.[19] The
axes mentioned by Gomara, undoubtedly came from the mines of Anahuac,
since their alloy was not only gold, but tin and silver. Gomara is the
first who notes the chisel and the borer.

Let us further ascertain, what Father Sahagun[20] is able to tell us
about Mexican metal tools. As a teacher of the young native generation,
he made it his life’s task to teach his pupils all that concerned the
religious belief, the history and the industry of their forefathers. We
extract from Lib. 10, Cap. 7, the following passages and translate them
as literally as possible: “The goldsmith is an expert in the selection
of good metal. He knows how to make of it whatever he likes and does it
with skill and elegance. He is conversant with all kinds of devices, and
all this he does with composure and accuracy. (_Con medida y compas_).
He knows how to purify the ore, and makes plates of silver as well as of
gold from the cast metal. He knows likewise how to make moulds of carbon
(_moldes de carbon_), and how to put the metal into the fire in order to
smelt it. The unskilful goldsmith does not know how to purify the
silver, he leaves it mixed up with the ashes, and has his sly ways in
taking and stealing something of the silver.” Further on in Cap. 24: “he
who is a trader in needles (_agujas_), casts, cleans, and, polishes them
well; he makes also bells (_cascabeles_), filters (_aguijillos_),
punches (_punzones_), nails (_clavos_), axes (_hachas_), hatchets
(_destrales_), cooper’s adzes (_azuelas_), and chisels (_escoplos_).”

In these two passages is summed up all that we sought to gather
piecewise from the writers of the Conquest, on our special question. A
few new features, however, are cropping out in this enumeration of
implements, which give rise to the suspicion, that the goldsmith is
described, not as he worked before the year 1521, but as he had
perfected himself and enlarged his technical knowledge through the
intervention of Spanish mechanics, in the year of Sahagun’s writing,
about 1550. We mean the moulds of carbon, the nails,[21] and the
cooper’s adze, of which we read in Sahagun exclusively, and of which no
pictures or other evidences of their ante-Spanish existence have been

Pictures of needles frequently occur in the Mexican paintings. But it is
understood that they are without an eye, the introduction of our sewing
needle having been an actual revelation to the natives. The head of a
Mexican needle, or rather pin, was full, and split like that of an
animal’s bone. The borer, certainly, had no handle or spiral point. Of
all these stitching, piercing and drilling instruments nothing has been
preserved, in kind.


  CUT 9.

  Copper Chisel found in Oaxaca.

A chisel of copper was, however, discovered by Captain Dupaix[22] near
the city of Antequera (in Oaxaca). We give a faithful fac-simile of it
in cut 9. It is described by the discoverer in the following words:
“There are also many chisels of red copper found in the neighborhood of
this city, a specimen of which I possess, and will show in the
illustrations. Its length is seven inches, and the thickness is one
square inch (_sic_), and one side is edged, and this edge is a little
dull, showing that it had been in use. We do not know the temper they
gave to these instruments in order to employ them in their labors and in
their arts, or to give the wood or possibly the stone a regular form.”

We do not know if this chisel is still preserved in the Museum of
Mexico, to which it was presented by Captain Dupaix. If not, we hope to
be somewhat indemnified by another specimen of bronze chisel, of which
we are now in pursuit, and which according to description is similar in
form and composition to the one spoken of. Señor Andrez Aznar Perez, now
in New York, ploughed up such a tool about twelve years ago, on his
plantation near the river Tzompan in Tabasco, at the depth of nearly 12
inches. It was entirely solid, and had a slightly rounded edge, about an
inch in length, and he offers to have it brought from Yucatan for
further examination.

From the illustration of Captain Dupaix and the description of Mr.
Perez, we can for the moment only conclude that the ancient Mexican
chisel was similar in its form to that which our stone-masons now make
use of.

In regard to the form of ancient Mexican axes, we gave a general idea at
the beginning of this essay, but we have still several details to
discuss. In the illustrations the curved wooden handle will no doubt
appear remarkable. The Mexican painters were such faithful imitators of
what they saw, that we cannot presume they would have indulged in what
was an essential alteration of the object to be copied. If the handle of
the axe was curved, they would have copied it curved, and thus it
appears not only in the Mexican but also in the Yucatecan picture

Those acquainted with the practical handling of axes, and with felling
trees, know that a curved handle must increase the swinging power of an
axe to a considerable degree, and to have used this form is a remarkable
instance of Mexican technical craft and cunning. It would be worth while
to investigate whether this use of a curved handle was exclusively
confined to the natives of Central America, or had passed beyond its
boundaries, north as well as south.

We further learn from the pictures, that not the blade of the axe, but
the handle had an opening at a certain distance from the top, into which
the blade was fitted.

The specimens represented in the cuts 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, appear to be common
chopping axes. In the coat of arms of the town of Tepozcolula (see cut
4), however, as already pointed out, the form of the axe differs from
those of Tepoztla and Tepoztitlan. In order to obtain a correct idea of
these particular kinds of axes, we invite the reader to compare it with
another picture (Cod. Mendoza, page 71, fig. 77), and which we give in
cut 10. The shape of the axes themselves are evidently alike, in the one
as well as in the other picture, only that in cut 10 the axe is not in
connection with the coat of arms, but is held by a man who is at work
dropping or squaring the branch of a tree, from which chips are flying
off. This kind of axe, evidently, served a different purpose from those
chopping axes of Tepoztla. It was the hatchet used by the carpenter.
Thus reads the explanation given in Kingsb. Coll., Vol. V., page 112.


  CUT 10.

  Mexican carpenter.

This instrument is of the most extravagant form. Were it not for the
authentic interpretation of the picture and the accessories we should
not be able to make out what kind of object it represented, and least of
all that it was a hatchet.

Let us examine its construction. The wooden handle has the shape of all
the Mexican and Yucatecan axes,—that of a somewhat curved club. But
instead of its being chopped off at the top, the handle extends farther
and is bent down to an angle of about 45 degrees. On the head of this
bent top a deep notch is visible, into which the blade of a little axe
is fixed, being fastened by a tongue or string wound three times around.
Thus, when a blow was struck, we can presume, the head of the tenon
would not move, from the resistance it met from the bottom of the notch.
Thus much the picture proves, and we cannot learn anything more of this
instrument. We only presume that in order to get a durable handle, they
sought a curved branch, and that this branch came generally from one
particular class of trees. The word _Tepozcolula_ signifies, properly,
the town in which copper was bent, _tepuzque_ (copper), and coloa (to
bend), but we learn from our picture, that the natives understood these
words to signify the town where the curved handles were manufactured,
which seems to be corroborated by another picture which we found for the
coat of arms of the town of Tepozcolula, Cod. Mendoza, pl. 45, fig. 5,
in which the painter (see cut 11) has laid a special stress upon this
curving of the _handle_, by shaping the end of the handle into an
exaggerated spiral form.


  CUT 11.


There existed also a town, in which carpenter’s work was the chief
occupation of the inhabitants. This is to be inferred from the coat of
arms belonging to the town of Tlaximaloyan, cut 12, Cod. Mendoza, pl.
10, fig. 5.

_Tlaxima_ signifies to work as a carpenter, and _tlaximalli_ a chip of
wood. The “_little_” axe of copper, found by Dupaix at Quilapa, and of
which he gives an illustration not differing from the known shapes of
all axes, is very probably a specimen of this carpenter’s axe (see
Dupaix, Vol. II., 3d Expedition, Planche II., fig. 4).


  CUT 12.

  Town of Tlaximaloyan.

It is but natural to think that being in possession of the large
chopping axe, the invention of the small hatchet would have become
incomparably easier than that of this awkward carpenter’s tool. We are,
however, too little informed to judge or to criticize its construction
and rather incline to think that these people had reasons of their own
for giving it the form it has. It must have been the one which Sahagun
called “destral,” or carpenter’s hatchet.[23]

We can still offer another form of copper tool once used by the natives.
Dupaix[24] discovered the original near the same town where he had found
the chisel. Below is a copy of his drawing in cut 13:


  CUT 13.

  Copper Tool, found by Dupaix in Oaxaca.

The edge of this tool will be noticed to have a curve belonging to the
circumference of a circle. The cutting blade is 10 inches wide. Like the
axes, it has a tenon by which it could be fastened to an opening in a
wooden handle. It will appear from closer description that it was too
thin to have been used for heavy operations. Let us consult the
narration of the explorer: “This instrument is of red and very pure
copper, and when touched it gives out a sonorous sound. The metal is
_not hammered_ but _cast_. It is of not much weight, symmetrical, and of
graceful shape. The contours are regular and resemble those of an
anchor. It is flat on both sides, the portion serving as a handle (or
tenon) is a little thicker and slopes towards the edge, which cuts as
well as a chisel. An Indian, named Pascual Baltolano, from the village
of Zocho Xocotlan, half a mile distant from this city of Antequera, a
few months ago, when tilling his field met with an earthen pot which
contained 23 dozen of these blades, their quality, thickness and size
being a little different from each other. This gives rise to the
supposition that there existed various moulds, by means of which these
specimens were multiplied and cast. They did not differ greatly from
that which I possess. We meet here with a great difficulty, which is to
determine to what usage these instruments were destined,—to agriculture
or mechanics, as instruments of sacrifice or a variety of offensive
weapon that was fixed in the point of a lance? That which is certain,
however, is that they are found in abundance in this province and that
merchants buy these metals from the Indians and rank them high on
account of the superior quality of the ore.” On proceeding in his
expedition, the same author reaches the village of Mitla, where in the
parochial church he receives the following disclosure on the purpose of
the before-mentioned tools: “One day, when hearing mass in Mitla, I
noticed an ancient picture, which represented (San.) Isidro, the patron
of the laborers, and saw him painted holding in his right hand a pole
armed with the problematic blade. I therefrom conclude, that like the
ancient Indians, the native laborers of to-day have adopted this
instrument as a distinctive mark of their profession, and that instead
of being an instrument of death it must be viewed as one for giving
life.” This explanation agrees satisfactorily with what could be
inferred from its size and its peculiar shape, and if we imagine the
tenon bent and in this form fastened to the top of a pole we should
possibly have discovered a certain garden instrument of which the
Spaniards spoke as always used by the natives, the _uictli_, or coa,
hoe. It was never described in particular, nor could we discover it in
the pictures, but Molina’s translation of _uictli_ with “_coa_” which is
hoe, tells the story.

There is still something more in this passage of Dupaix, that is worth
considering. Among the 23 dozen of the instruments contained in the
earthen pot, and of which he was informed that they were similar in
shape to that which he had found, it is clear that there must have been
a great number of very diminutive size; otherwise we cannot conceive how
so many of them would have been placed in the pot, at all. Let us take
advantage of this suggestion and suppose Dupaix’s engraving, cut 13,
reduced to a diminutive size. We make thereby a little figure, and we
cannot deny that it looks like a Greek _Tau_. Of such a _Greek Tau_,
formed from copper, and used by the natives as money at the time of the
Conquest mention is made by the chroniclers.[25] They may be right, but
with the understanding that these copper pieces were not manufactured
for the purpose of serving as coin, but as tools, which of course, came
into market and became objects of barter, as we read the copper bells
also did, besides grains of the cacao fruit, bales of cotton, axes and
other articles of common necessity.

Thus much, and no more, we were able to glean from the early literature
of the Conquest and from the paintings of the natives. As we anticipated
at the outset, the testimony bearing on copper industry among the early
Mexicans is altogether incomplete and lacks that fulness of description
in which those writers indulge when treating topics of social customs,
religious rites, or monstrous idols. In but few instances the pictures
gathered from the codices illustrate the dim suggestions and the
doubtful wording of the Spanish text, so as to give at least a general
idea of the localities where the copper ores were obtained, of the
process of smelting, of the moulds that were used, and the objects or
tools that were produced by these means.

One point however we think we have come very near deciding, and one
which when collecting our notes was constantly in mind, namely: Whether
the Mexican bronze was to be viewed as an artificial or a natural
product? There was a great doubt concerning this question caused by the
first notices respecting the composition of the bronze. The expressions
of Cortes and Bernal Diaz were of so condensed a character that we were
at a loss how to reduce them to their elementary meaning, and the doubt
was not removed when examining apart each of the subsequent writers on
the same subject. But when putting their statements together, a certain
basis, at least, could be obtained, from which to deduce a settled
opinion. From the combined statements we learned that the bronze found
among the natives contained a rich basis of copper, which was mixed
either with gold, or with silver, or with tin, and we might infer from
this variety of admixtures, that the natives manufactured their _laton_
according to a fixed method. But, on the contrary, as the three metals
named are always found to be the steady components of Mexican copper
ore, we are led to the presumption, that these ores were worked in their
unaltered condition, just as nature had produced them. It is not indeed
meant to teach thereby, that the native did not appreciate the fact,
that copper of a deep red was softer than that of a lighter color.
Whenever they had to manufacture a chisel and had a choice between the
two qualities, we are certain they would have employed the lighter metal
for this purpose. But we hardly believe that they considered the light
metal to be a composition of the red colored copper with either silver,
gold or tin. This belief would involve a presupposition of metallurgical
science in the early Mexicans, that we have not the least knowledge they
had ever attained to. On the other hand, however, there is a strong
reason for the belief, that they recognized this light metal to be
related to the red copper. For if they had thought this bronze or
_laton_ to be a separate kind of metal, they would have had a separate
name for it, as they had for all the other metals, from the gold down to
the tin, and even to the cinnabar. Bronze would have been called
_tepuzque_ as was copper, but probably—with the addition descriptive
either of color or of hardness.

We were unable to discover one single hint, from which to infer that
they possessed the knowledge of hardening copper by dipping the hot
metal into water. This is a hypothesis, often noted and spoken of, but
which ranges under the efforts made for explaining what we have no
positive means to verify or to ascertain.

Though we have gained so little from our researches, this little,
however, we hope may incite others to extend their investigations, and
thus render the path clearer which we have tried to explore into this
field of prehistoric industry. The most substantial proofs and
contributions may be expected from our fellow-students in Mexico. They
dwell upon the ground which was the scene of this ancient industry. They
are also in a continuous contact with a numerous indigenous race, which
despite of European attempts to improve their working facilities, still
tenaciously cling to their old usages and fashions. Our Museums are
overcrowded with Mexican idols, pottery, and flint arrow-heads. One
specimen of an ancient tin-borer, one of a copper axe or hoe, or of a
bronze chisel would be counted as a very welcome and valuable


Footnote 1:

  _A. v. Humboldt_, Essai s. 1. Nouv. Espagne, Tome III., Livre 4, Chap.
  ii. _W. H. Prescott_, History of the Conquest of Mexico, Book I.,
  Chap. 5. _Brasseur de Bourbourg_, Hist. d. Nat. Civ. du Mexique, Livre
  III., Chap. 7, pag. 678.

Footnote 2:

  _Carta (2da) de relacion_, por _Fernando Cortes_, de la villa Segura
  de Frontera desta Nueva España, á 30 de Octubre de 1520 años “donde
  hay todos los generos de mercaderias, que en todas las tierras se
  hallan, asi de mantenimientos como de vituallas, joyas de oro y de
  plata, de plomo, de _laton_, de _cobre_, de _estano_, de piedras, de
  huesos, etc.”

Footnote 3:

  _Bernal Diaz de Castillo_, Historia verdadera de la conquista de la
  Nuevo España, Madrid, 1632, I. Vol., Cap. 92, “y vendian hachas de
  laton, y cobre y estaño.” The meaning of this passage is, beyond all
  misinterpretation: He saw for sale bronze axes, and besides pieces of
  copper and others of tin. The order, in which these three words stand,
  conveys a suggestion that we should not wholly ignore. The word
  _laton_ (bronze) is followed by _cobre_ (copper) and _estano_ (tin),
  the two well known components of bronze. Might not the relative
  position of the three words teach that, to them, bronze was the most
  important metal and was therefore assigned the first place, mentioning
  the copper and tin afterwards as the elements from which the bronze
  was made? We might also go farther and inquire how the first metal
  came to be recognized by them as bronze. In framing a reply, let us
  consider three possible explanations. Let us suppose, first, that they
  knew the bronze well enough to recognize it at once. They, further,
  may have entertained doubts as to its identity, but finally have been
  led to this conclusion by seeing the copper and tin exhibited in the
  stalls, together with the bronze. Thirdly, we may also suppose, that
  they would desire to obtain more positive confirmation and therefore
  have inquired and learned from their native guides that this bronze
  was actually a composition of the two other metals before them.
  Therefore, considering all these cases, when engaged in composing
  their narration, the Spaniards would have remembered the circumstances
  connected with the memorable visit to the market, and have enumerated
  the metals in the order in which they actually are found; first, the
  bronze, the main object of their curiosity, and then the copper and
  tin as the key to the puzzle.

  We, however, make no defence of this forced and artificial
  interpretation of the language, and still less would in this manner
  build a premise from which to deduce the final conclusion, that the
  natives make bronze from copper and tin. On the contrary, the facts
  elicited from our material, as will be seen later, conduct us to very
  different conclusions. Still, having been struck by the occurrence of
  the three words and their relative positions, we could not dismiss
  them altogether, especially as Cortes and Bernal Diaz were
  eye-witnesses and were, therefore, of highest authority. Besides, it
  is by no means impossible that in the future, instruments of bronze
  may actually be discovered and found to be composed of tin and copper.
  In such an event our judgment would favor the opinion that Cortes and
  his followers were keener observers and investigators than those who
  during three and one-half centuries have attempted to ventilate the

  For the same position of words, compare also _Gomara_ (_Francisco
  Lopez de_), Historia General de las Indias, Ed. Barcia, Cap. 79:
  “There is also much featherwork in the market, and gold, silver,
  copper, lead, bronze (_laton_) and tin, though these three latter
  metals are scarce.” Gomara, it will be noticed, changed somewhat the
  position of the words, as compilers often do. He was a secretary to
  Cortes, and his work appeared in Zaragoza, 1552–1553, five years after
  Cortes’ death.

Footnote 4:

  _Bernal Diaz_, Chap. 147.

Footnote 5:

  A Vocabulario en la lengua Castellana y Mexicana, por el Rev^n Padre
  Fray _Alonso de Molina_: Guardian del Convento de San Antonio de
  Tezcuco, de la Orden de los Frayles Menores. México, 1572. This
  edition was preceded by a smaller one, 1552, which was the _fourteenth
  book_ in the series of those which were printed in Mexico.

Footnote 6:

  Let us quote from Bernal Diaz, Chapter 157, without any comment, the
  following anecdote concerning the word _tepuzque_. “In the smelting of
  gold there was also allowed an eighth of alloy to every ounce to
  assist the men in the purchase of the necessaries of life. But we (the
  soldiers) derived no advantage from this, but on the contrary, it
  proved very prejudicial to us, for the merchants added the same
  percentage to the price of their goods and sold for five pesos what
  was only worth three, and so this alloy became, as the Indians term
  it, tepuzque or copper. This expression became so common among us,
  that we added it to the names of the distinguished cavaliers to
  express the worth of their character, as, for instance, we used to
  say, Señor Don Juan of so much tepuzque.”

Footnote 7:

  Those who wish to be more extensively instructed in the Mexican system
  of numeration can read: _Leon y Gama_, Descripcion Hist. y Cronol. de
  las dos Piedras, Parte II., Appendice II., page 128, Edit. C. M. de
  Bustamante, Mexico, 1832. _Clavigero_, Storia antica di Messico,
  English translation by Ch. Cullen, London, 1807, Vol. I., Book 4, pag.
  410; and an article recently published by _Orozco y Berra_, in Tom.
  I., Entrega 6ma of the Anales del Museo Nacional de Mexico, 1879, page
  258, which article is the most complete hitherto written on the
  subject, and is illustrated by 53 cuts.

Footnote 8:

  There is, indeed, one passage in _Herrera (Antonio de)_, Hist. Gen. de
  los hechos de los Castellanos, Madrid, 1729, in his introductory
  Descripcion de las Indias, §§ Zacatula and Colima, where the working
  of copper mines by the indigenous people of these provinces is
  mentioned: “There are very abundant copper mines in this district,
  more towards the East, and near the port of Santiago. The Indians make
  _marvelous vessels_ (_vasos_) of this copper, because it is sweet
  (_dulce_). They have, however, still another kind of copper, which is
  hard, and which they employed for tilling the ground, instead of using
  iron, for they were not acquainted with iron before the Spaniards
  entered the kingdom.” As will be seen later, there is no doubt as to
  the latter assertion. But we fear the former to be an anachronism and
  the manufacturing of _vasos de cobre_ (copper vessels) will have to be
  assigned to the epoch after the Conquest, when the art of hammering
  was introduced and eagerly accepted and practised by the natives.

Footnote 9:

  Carta de Hernan Cortes al Emperador, de la gran ciudad de
  Tenochtitlan, desta Nueva España, a 13 dias del mes de Octubre de
  1524. Edicion _Gayangos_ (Don Pascual de), Paris, 1866.

Footnote 10:

  Tachco, to-day Tasco, at a distance of 25 miles, S. S. W. from the
  Capital. A. v. Humboldt visited the memorable spot. See Essay s. l.
  Nouv. Espagne, Livre IV., Chap. xi.: “At the west of Tehuilotepec, is
  the Cerro de la Campañia, where Cortes began his work of

Footnote 11:

  The words of the text are: “Ciertas pieçeçuelas dello, a manera de
  moneda muy delgada, y procediendo por mio pezoquiza, halle que en la
  dicha provincia y aun en otras, se trataba por moneda.”

Footnote 12:

  In Molina’s vocabulary a suggestion can be found for what technical
  purposes _tin_ might have been employed. The word _teputzlacopintli_
  is translated with cañuto de estaño, para horadar piedras preciosas
  (cylinder of tin for perforating precious stones). We may, therefore,
  presume that the holes bored through the well known green jade
  trinkets, were drilled by the aid of the mentioned cañuto de estaño.

Footnote 13:

  This little figure symbolizing gold, recurs only once more in all
  those Mexican paintings which we have been able to examine. It stands
  in Vol. I., Kingsb. Collection, Cod. Mendoza, page 13, fig. 4, and is
  identical with that represented by the engraving. We do not venture
  too far in asserting that the symbol on this gold piece represents a
  genuine Mexican numeral. It is composed of a cross, having a dot in
  each of its quadrants. This cross is the well known symbol of the
  number 8000 (_xiquipilli_), and each dot stands for the number 1. We
  have thus expressed four times 8000 (nahui xiquipilli) or 32,000.
  Here, however, the interpretation ends, so far as it may be based upon
  accepted authorities. Whatever else there is to be learned concerning
  this number 32,000, found on the gold piece, must be derived by the
  confessedly hazardous process of induction.

  Nevertheless, let us try this process and ascertain what the number
  32,000 actually refers to. In answering this question it may, perhaps,
  fairly be assumed that the number stands in a direct relation to a
  certain numerical unity, like that in which hundreds stand to the
  tens, 100:1. Such a numerical unity, however, presupposes the
  existence of some tangible equivalent, which in Mexican commerce, if
  it was not some small piece of metal, would have had some other
  conventional representation, either in merchandise or in labor. If
  such a unity actually existed it is clear that its value must have
  been fixed either by weight or by measure. There is, however, no
  positive proof that such a unity, fixed by weight or measure, ever
  existed among the Mexicans. Cortes, in the above quoted letter,
  pretends that it was impossible for him to detect the use of any
  weights or scales, and no writer after him has touched this question
  or given any other decision. Respecting measures, there is no direct
  testimony at all. But, on the other hand, it is hardly to be imagined
  that these people, of whose religious administration and social polity
  we have such abundant evidences, should have been deficient to such an
  extent in the department of their commercial polity as not to have
  found any method by which the proportion between the value of the
  precious metal to merchandise in all its forms was to be expressed. We
  must guard ourselves against the fallacy that because we are not
  acquainted with the method it could not have existed. There are
  grounds to believe that Cortes was right in saying that the Mexicans
  did not know the use of weights (their vocabulary does not show any
  word answering to peso, pesilla, libra, balanza romana), but, we think
  they knew perfectly the use of measures (the vocabulary gives about
  twenty words for all varieties of this operation); and in regard to a
  certain unity of measure employed in gold transactions, there are
  indications given by other trustworthy writers that this unity might
  be detected in the quills, of conventional length, and probably of
  conventional diameter, which quills were filled up with grains of gold
  dust, by the color and shades of which they graduated the respective
  value. Bernal Diaz, Chapter 92: Antes de salir de la misma plaza,
  estaban otros muchos mercaderes, que, segun dixeron, era que tenian a
  _vender oro en granos_ como lo sacan de las minas, metido el oro en
  unos _canutillos_ delgados de los anserones de tierra (thin goose
  quills) e asi blancos porque se pareciese el oro por defuera, y por el
  _largor y gordor_ de los canutillos (length and width of the quills)
  tenian entre ellos su cuenta (they made up their account) que tantas
  mantas o que xiquipiles de cacao salia o qualquier otra cosa a que lo

  This point being settled let us next introduce one other, for it will
  contribute to strengthen the probability that besides the quill there
  existed still a lower unity, that of the grain of gold itself, by
  which they counted. For this purpose, let us turn again to the gold
  piece represented in the painting. It is round. This reminds us of
  what was told by Cortes of the little pieces of _tin_ discovered in
  Tachco, which, he said, were used as coins. Likewise, we read in
  Bernal Diaz that Motezuma used to pay with pieces of gold when he lost
  in playing _patol_ (trictrac) with his Spanish jailors. The word
  employed by the author and eye-witness of the game, is “_tejuelo_,”
  which, according to Spanish usages and the dictionaries of their
  language, signifies: a round piece of metal. The author moreover
  informs us of the value of this tejuelo. It was 50 ducats of weight
  and must, therefore, have been equivalent to, at least, one hundred
  dollars of gold. Since Bernal Diaz in this entire passage wishes to
  express his highest esteem for Motezuma on account of the princely
  generosity with which he paid even those whom he knew had cheated him,
  we may fairly conclude that these tejuelos were not the lowest, but
  rather the highest, gold pieces that he had at his disposal. Should we
  now remember the number, 32,000, which is the highest found
  represented in Mexican pictures (they generally never exceed that of
  8000, the _xiquipilli_), it is not at all improbable that the
  Motezuma-tejuelo, about 100 dollars worth, might have been equivalent
  to 32,000 unities, while this unity may have been one grain of gold.
  For if we would divide 100 dollars of gold into 32,000 equal parts, or
  still farther divide one gold dollar into 320 equal parts, each part
  would represent a very small portion of gold, but still large enough
  to be counted separately with the finger. This was the way the
  gold-dust was collected on the placeres, not by men but by women and
  children. The procedure was primitive, indeed, in the highest degree.
  In such a way, however, gold gathering was undoubtedly practised in
  the first stage of men’s civilization. If not written in history, yet
  the linguistical testimony bears witness to it. We find the expression
  “_grain of gold_” to be the common property among the ancient and
  modern nations in connection with commerce and the weighing of gold.

Footnote 14:

  _Torquemada_ (Fray Juan de) Monarquia Indiana, Madrid, 1613, Vol. II.,
  Book 13, Chapter 1. “The goldsmiths did not possess the tools
  necessary for hammering metals, but with one stone placed above
  another one, they make a flat cup or a plate.” (Pero con una piedra
  sobre otra hacian una taza llana y un plato.) _Gomara, l. c._ “They
  will cast a platter in a mould with eight corners, and every corner of
  several metals, that is to say, the one of gold, the other of silver,
  without any kind of solder. They will also cast a little caldron with
  loose handles hanging thereto, as we used to cast a bell. They will
  also cast in a mould a fish with one scale of silver on its back and
  another of gold; they will make a parrot of metal so that his tongue
  shall shake and his head move and his wings flutter; they will cast an
  ape in a mould so that both hands and feet will stir, and holding a
  spindle in his hand, seeming to spin, yea, and an apple in his hand,
  as if he would eat it. Our Spaniards were not a little amazed at the
  sight of these things, for our goldsmiths are not to be compared to
  theirs.” _Bernal Diaz, Chapter_ 91. “I will first mention the
  sculptors and the gold and silversmiths, who were clever in working
  and smelting gold, and would have astonished the most celebrated of
  our Spanish goldsmiths; the number of these were very great and the
  most skilful lived at a place called Azcapotzalco, about four leagues
  from Mexico.” _Petrus Martyr, Decade VI., Chapter 6_. (A letter
  written to Pope Adrian VI.) “The chief noblemen’s houses (in
  Nicaragua) compass and inclose the King’s street on every side; in the
  middle site whereof one is erected, in which the goldsmiths dwell.
  Gold is there molten and forged (?) to be formed into divers jewels,
  and is formed into small plates or bars, to be stamped after the
  pleasure of its owners and at length is brought into the form and
  fashion they desire, and that neatly too.”

Footnote 15:

  Lorenzana (Don Franc, Antonia de) Historia de Nueva España, page 378,
  Note 2.

Footnote 16:

  See _Bernal Diaz_, Chap. 39.

  _Petrus Martyr de Angleria_, English edition of Eden, Islands of the
  West Indies, page 169: “Circumference of xxviii spans (_spithamarum_

  _Torquemada Mon. Ind._, Lib. IV., Cap. 17.

  Three letters, on Cortes’ landing in Yucatan, edited by _Fredric
  Muller_, Amsterdam, 1871. (1) Their width being seven spans, (2)
  larger than a wagon’s wheel, and made as if beaten out of white iron.
  (3) Two wheels, the one of gold and weighing 30,000 castellanos, the
  other of silver, weighing 50 mark. These pieces are as large as a

Footnote 17:

[Illustration: From Landa.]

  _Bernal Diaz, Chap. 92_: “Bronze axes, and copper and tin.” _Petrus
  Martyr, Dec. V., Chap. 10_: “Bronze axes and edges, cunningly
  tempered.” _Gomara, Chap. 210_: “They also have axes, borers and
  chisels of copper mixed with gold, silver or tin.” _Landa Rel. d. l.,
  Cosas de Yucatan_, Ed. Brasseur, Paris, 1864, pag. 170, with a cut of
  a Yucatecan axe: “They had little axes made of a certain metal, and
  shaped as the illustration shows. They fastened them into the top of a
  wooden handle, one side serving as a weapon, the other for cutting
  wood. They sharpened them by hammering the edge with stones.”
  _Torquemada, Mon. Ind., Lib. 13, Cap. 34_: “The carpenters and carvers
  worked with copper instruments.” _Herrera, Dec. IV., Lib. 8, Cap. 3_:
  “In Honduras (1530) they cleared large mountains, for agricultural
  purposes, with axes made of flintstone.”

  _Remesal, Hist. d. l. Prov. de Chiapas y Guatemala, 1606_: “They
  clear, every year, large mountains of woods, in order to prepare them
  for the reception of the seed corn, as is the custom in the whole
  province of Vera-paz; and before they got the iron axes they had to
  work hard because they felled the trees with copper axes and often
  spent an entire day in cutting one single tree, though of inferior
  size; and if the tree was larger three and four days, those axes being
  very apt to break; and having experienced the strength of iron, they
  appreciate all tools made of it, and thus they held our axes and
  machetes in great esteem.” _Cogolludo_, _Hist. d. Yucatan, Lib. IV.,
  Cap. 3_, mentions axes as an article of trade in Yucatan: “Copper
  axes, brought from Mexico, which they exchanged for other
  merchandize.” _Documentos ineditos, Madrid, 1864, Vol. I., pag. 470_:
  “The Captain, Gil Gonzales de Avila, arrived here in Sto. Domingo
  (from Nicaragua) and sends to His Majesty 14,000 pesos de oro and
  15,000 pesos, proceeding from axes which they said contained gold, and
  6150 pesos de oro proceeding from bells which they also said contained
  gold. All this he said he was presented with during his discoveries
  which he was making in the Province of the South sea.” _Petrus
  Martyr_, _Dec. VI., Chapt. 2 and 3_, states the same fact on the
  authority of Gil Gonzales’ treasurer, Cereceda.

Footnote 18:

  The absolute absence of mines in Yucatan is a fact that needs no
  further corroboration. It might, however, be of interest to hear the
  language used by Landa, Rel. d. las cosas de Yucatan: 1. c. § 5 “There
  exist many beautiful structures of masonry in Yucatan, all of them
  built of stone and showing the finest workmanship, the most
  astonishing that ever were discovered in the Indies; and we cannot
  wonder at it enough because there is not any class of metal in this
  country by which such works could be accomplished.”

Footnote 19:

[Illustration: From Oviedo.]

  _Herrera_ (_Dec. III., Lib. 4, Cap. 5_) having the original reports
  before his eyes, represents this scene as follows: “Multitudes of
  Indians flocked along the ways, astonished to see the beards and the
  dressing of the Spaniards. The chief person they met was Dirianjeu,
  the warlike cacique, who came attended by five hundred men and
  seventeen women, covered with gold plates, all drawn up in order, but
  without arms and with ten banners and trumpets, after their fashion.
  When they came near, the banners were displayed and the cacique
  touched Gonzales’ hand, as did all the five hundred, everyone giving
  him a turkey. Yet each of the women gave him twenty axes of gold
  (veinte hachas de oro) fourteen carats fine, each weighing eighteen
  pesos and some more.” We find in _Oviedo_ (_Gonzalo Fernandez de_),
  _Historia gen. y nat. de las Indias_, at the end of Vol. IV., five
  folio quarto pages with illustrations referring to the chapter he
  wrote on Nicaragua, and we learn from his text that he made the
  sketches himself during his sojourn in Nicaragua (1524). They
  represent views of the volcano of Masaya, gymnastic sports of the
  Indians, a plan of the town of Tecoatega, and three Indian arms, an
  _estorica_, a _porra_ and an _alabarda_. Each of the drawings is
  provided with a number which correctly corresponds to that written in
  the text, except those three drawings of the arms, for which we could
  not find the text. Upon closer examination we discovered a suggestion
  made (on page 81) that some ancient copyist or editor must have
  revised Oviedo’s original manuscript, who was supposed to have dropped
  the inscription to which the drawings of the three arms belong,
  perhaps, only on account of the illegibility of Oviedo’s handwriting.
  On the other hand, we cannot help expressing our doubts as to the fact
  that these three kinds of arms should have been in use with the
  Nicoyans or Nicaraguans. Notwithstanding we give the cut of the
  alabarda, which has the shape of a genuine mediæval battle-axe.

Footnote 20:

  Sahagun (Bernardino de), Historia de la N. España, Ed. Carlos M. de
  Bustamante, 3 Vol., Mexico, 1830.

Footnote 21:

  The following notice of three prehistoric nails is given for what it
  is worth. Torquemada, Lib. VI., Cap. 23: Under the reign of
  Nezahualpilli of Tezcuco, the statue of the God of Rain, Tlaloc,
  having been found to be timeworn and corroded, a new one was made and
  located on the mountain of Matlalcueye, the ancient site of this
  statue. “When this idol of Tlaloc was replaced by the new one, it
  happened that one of its arms broke off. They put it on again and
  fastened it with three gold nails. Later, when the new faith was
  introduced in their countries, this diabolical image was brought down
  from the hills, at the time of the first Bishop Zummaraga, and was
  broken to pieces in his presence, but not before removing the three
  gold nails spoken of.”

Footnote 22:

  Dupaix, Antiquités Mexicaines, Paris, 1834, Vol. II., Planche 26, fig.
  75, and text in Vol. I., page 21, No. 75.

Footnote 23:

  With our first glance at the picture of _Tepozcolula_ we were induced
  to believe that we had found therein a representation of the
  instrument which Petrus Martyr called a “_dolabra_,” and Sahagun
  “_azuela_.” The translation of the one is, pick or hoe, and of the
  other, cooper’s adze. Both of these, therefore, would have been
  instruments in which the blade and its edge are at right angles to
  their handle, and the management of which requires both hands of the
  workman. This supposition is refuted by the picture of the carpenter
  (cut 10), who is distinctly seen to hold the piece of wood in the left
  and the tool in his right hand.

Footnote 24:

  Dupaix, l. c., Vol. II., Planche 26, fig. 74, and text Vol. I., page

Footnote 25:

  Torquemada, Mon. Ind., Lib.—, Chap.—: “They also used certain copper
  coins, almost in the shape of a Greek Tau, Τ, its width about three or
  four fingers. It was a thin piece of plate of an uncertain size, and
  contained much gold.” Clavigero, The History of Mexico, Ed. Ch.
  Cullen, London, 1807, Vol. VII., Sect. 36, page 386, evidently copies
  the sentence when he says: “Their fourth species of money, which most
  resembled coined money, was made of pieces of copper, in the form of a
  T, and was employed in purchases of little value.”

                      THE KATUNES OF MAYA HISTORY.

                   BY PHILIPP J. J. VALENTINI, PH.D.

       [_Translated from the German, by Stephen Salisbury, Jr._]

 [From Proceedings of American Antiquarian Society, October 21, 1879.]


The Publishing Committee are glad of the opportunity to print another
paper from the pen of Professor Valentini. His previous contributions
have been favorably received by some of the most competent judges. He is
always ingenious and suggestive, taking care to sustain his views by
adequate collateral information, and leaving an impression of
earnestness and thoroughness, even though the reader should not be able
always to see the way through his bold inferences to the important
conclusions deduced from them.

It seems apparent that new phases of opinion respecting the position in
the world’s history held by the races occupying the central portions of
the American Continent may be looked for in the near future. Or rather,
perhaps, it may be claimed that vestiges of ancient and independent
culture, of revolutions, conquests, and changing dynasties, extending
back to a remote period of time, which have hitherto simply excited and
bewildered travellers and explorers, bid fair to be subjected to tests
and comparisons derived from wider and closer observation, for which the
means are accumulating, and from which definite results are anticipated.

It is remarkable how one tidal wave of investigation after another has,
at different eras, invaded and receded from these regions, carrying from
them more or less of the fragments of their architectural, monumental,
and pictorial records—the sources of doubtful and unsatisfactory
interpretation. The Spanish chroniclers; the scientists of the period of
Humboldt and his contemporaries; the French government and the learned
societies of France, uniting their efforts to render effective the
honest but undisciplined enthusiasm of Brasseur de Bourbourg; all have
experienced a subsidence of interest arising mainly from a want of
success in yielding a sufficiently plausible solution of a mysterious
subject. The death of Brasseur, the fall of Maximilian, and the
political distractions of the French government and people, are not
alone the causes of suspended action on the part of the learned bodies
of France. They deemed it prudent to discredit the judgment and
correctness of their own agent. One at least of Brasseur’s Commission
publicly disavowed responsibility for his opinions; and his attempt to
interpret the Codex Troano by means of the alphabet of Bishop Landa was
pronounced by themselves to be a failure.

How signally the explorations of Del Rio, of Dupaix, of Galindo, and of
De Waldeck, failed to make a permanent impression on the public mind!
How soon the illustrated narrative of Stephens became in a measure
disregarded, and even his reliableness questioned! How completely the
nine ponderous folios of Lord Kingsborough’s extensive collection fell
dead from the press, until the great work to which he had devoted his
life and his entire fortune sold in the market for less than a single
useless production of Increase or Cotton Mather! We have seen the
elaborate and learned essays of Gallatin upon Mexican civilization
slumbering with the long sleep of the Ethnological Society; the
Geographical Society cautious about travelling out of the routes of
regular expeditions; even the sardonic “Nation,” assumed arbiter in
literature, politics, and science, and always ready for caustic
criticism, hesitating to venture far beneath the surface of these
important inquiries. The ill-fated Berendt has perished in the midst of
his unfinished labors; and, lastly, one of the most purely philosophical
investigators of Indian habits and history reasons in a direction
opposed to the antiquity and extent of aboriginal civilization.

If there is to be a renewal of interest in Mexican archæology, and a
revived consciousness of something more to be gained from the relics of
culture among the early races of this continent (a meaning in its
mystical remains that has not been developed), our Society may claim its
share in the re-kindling or fostering of the newly excited impulse. In
saying this we do not overlook the preparation which recent studies of
the general condition of prehistoric races has created for such
investigations; but, in this particular field, it has had the fortune to
draw special attention to certain regions and opportunities of research.
This has been due to the earnest and liberal exertions of one of its
members, who, some years since, passed a winter in Yucatan, and has kept
up a correspondence with friends and acquaintances there.[26] He
embodied his observations and experiences in a report on behalf of the
Council rendered in 1876. He has since endeavored to promote the
operations of Dr. and Mrs. Le Plongeon in the actual field, and has
assisted in preparing the papers of Professor Valentini for our
publications, providing illustrations in all cases when practicable. The
Report of the Council in the present number of “Proceedings” is largely
devoted to an account, by the writer[27] of a visit to the city of
Mexico, and his observations upon the country and its history. More than
twelve years ago, in January, 1868, a generous member of the Society[28]
had the forethought to establish a department of the library composed of
books relating to Spanish America, beginning with the gift of Lord
Kingsborough’s mammoth publication, and others, for the specialty of
antiquities, and accompanied by a pecuniary foundation for future
growth. The importance of a provision for this particular purpose
becomes daily more conspicuous as attention is directed to that portion
of the continent.

It is gratifying to perceive that such movements, with the greater
activity in publishing its “Anales” on the part of the Museo Naçional de
México, and the issue of such publications as that of Prof. Rau by the
Smithsonian Institution,[29] and the private work of Mr. Short,[30] are
not without their influence.

The scheme, which, although not fully matured, we have reason to believe
a real one, of sending an expedition to some of the original Mexican
provinces for a thorough exploration, at the cost of a wealthy citizen
of New York, the results to be printed in the North American Review, may
be regarded as one of the fruits of the “_Renaissance_.”

                                              S. F. HAVEN,
                                                    _For the Committee_.

                         INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.

In the ensuing discussion an attempt is made to explain the so-called
“Katunes of Maya history.”

The Manuscript which bears this name is written in the Maya language,
and its discovery is of comparatively recent date. At its first
publication in 1841 it could not fail to attract the attention of all
those who were engaged in the study of ancient American history, because
it unveiled a portion of the history of Yucatan, which had been till
then entirely unknown and seriously missed. At that date only a scanty
number of data, loosely described, and referring to an epoch removed
from the Spanish conquest of the Peninsula by only a few decades, had
appeared as the sole representatives of a long past, in which the
builders of the ruined cities undoubtedly must have lived an eventful
life, not to be counted by a few generations, but by a long and hardly
calculable number of centuries. This vacuum of time the manuscript
promised to fill out. Though it did not offer a history conceived in the
common acceptation of the word, the brief epitome of events which it
presented, began by telling us of the arrival of foreigners from distant
lands, who, step by step succeeded in conquering the Maya soil and who
were brought into significant connection with the name as well as the
fall of cities now lying in ruins over the whole country.

As to the authenticity of the events reported, they have been received
by many students with a confidence and faith rarely manifested when
discoveries of such importance are brought to light. As to the form in
which they were presented, the author seemed to exhibit neither the
skill of a professional nor the clumsiness of an occasional forger. If
on the one hand the gaps he left betrayed a defective memory, this
circumstance should be held rather as an indication of his credibility.
The material from which his information was derived, we might add, was
extensive, and much of it was probably lost when he gave the account at
a later period of his life.

The events communicated being in themselves of the highest interest,
rose in importance from the fact that they were arranged in successive
epochs. A chance was thereby given to calculate the long space of time
that intervened between the arrival of the ancient and of the modern
conquerors. This difficult task was attempted by the fortunate
discoverer himself, Señor Juan Pio Perez, of Yucatan, accompanied by a
learned discussion on ancient Maya chronology. His calculation furnishes
the sum of 1392 years, the first initial date to be assigned to the year
144 A. D., and the last to 1536 A. D.

When, some years ago we undertook to examine the argument of Señor Perez
we were not at all astonished by the great antiquity of the date he had
drawn from the Maya Manuscript. For, nearly at the same time, we had
reached similar results in an attempt made to utilize certain records
which Ixtlilxochitl (1590), and Veytia (1760), (Kingsborough Collection,
Vols. 8 and 9), have left regarding the earliest chronology of the
Nahuatl tribes. By adopting a more rational method of computation than
these Mexican writers had followed, we were unable to withstand the
conclusion, that the Nahuatl people who were immediate territorial
neighbors of the Mayas, considered the year 258 A. D. the earliest date
of their arrival on and occupancy of the Mexican soil. Thus we had
reached in this line of investigation very nearly the same results with
the Nahuatl as Señor Perez with the Maya chronology, and the suspicion
began to dawn upon us that these two neighboring people might, possibly,
have stood in a still closer than a mere territorial connection.

These results, however, were only of a very problematical nature. They
were derived from written reports, which, after all, could not be
regarded as unquestionable authority. But they received a strong
confirmation from a discovery we made later on the so-called Mexican
Calendar Stone. In our discussion of this monument we believe that we
have given ample proof of the fact, that its principal zone contains a
sculptured record, showing a series of numerical symbols, from the
computation of which the year 231 A. D. resulted as that which the
Nahuatls had accepted as the first date of their national era.

Records presented in stone and compiled by the nation whose history they
convey, must always be considered the most authentic evidence of
historical truth. Now, were we also so fortunate as to possess some Maya
monument, similar to the Mexican Calendar Stone, and were we also able
to decipher it, we should thereby have the means for determining whether
Maya chronology extended back to an epoch different from that of the
Nahuatl, or to one identical with it. That such a monument once existed
we have no doubt. That it may still exist, we have no reasonable grounds
for denying the possibility. It remains, however, still to be discovered
and to be interpreted. But since the fortunate discovery has not yet
been made, we must rest satisfied for the present with conclusions
derived from extant written records. The only manuscript of this
character thus far brought to light, is that said to have been found at
Mani,[31] which was translated by Señor Perez from the Maya language,
and accompanied by a very valuable chronological interpretation.

Since the close revision we undertook of the latter, brought out very
striking coincidences of early Maya dates with those of the Nahuatl, and
especially with that indicated on the Calendar Stone, we thought it
worth while to reprint the manuscript, to discuss its contents again,
and to arrange them under new points of view. Regarded by itself, the
manuscript, indeed, might seem of only doubtful value in settling an
important chronological question. But the comparison of its earliest
date with that of the Nahuatl monument will enhance the value of each of
them, because they may be considered as corroborative of each other.

                          THE MAYA MANUSCRIPT.

               _Maya._                         _Translation._

 Lai u tzolan Katun lukci ti cab ti  This is the series of “Katunes”
 yotoch Nonoual cante anilo Tutul    that elapsed from the time of their
 Xiu ti chikin Zuiua; u luumil u     departure from the land and house
 talelob Tulapan chiconahthan.       of Nonoual, in which were the four
                                     Tutul Xiu, lying to the west of
                                     Zuina, going out of the country of

 §1. Cante bin ti Katun lic u        §1. Four epochs were spent in
 ximbalob ca uliob uaye yetel Holon  travelling, before they arrived
 Chantepeuh yetel u cuchulob: ca     here with Holonchantepeuh and his
 hokiob ti petene uaxac Ahau bin yan followers. When they began their
 cuchi, uac Ahau, can Ahau cabil     journey toward this island, it was
 Ahau, cankal haab catac hunppel     the 8th Ahau, and the 6th, 4th and
 haab; tumen hun piztun oxlahun Ahau 2d were spent in travelling;
 cuchie ca uliob uay ti petene       because in the year of the 13th
 caukal haab catac hunppel haab tu   Ahau they arrived at this island,
 pakteil yetel cu ximbalob lukci tu  making together eighty-one years
 luumilob ca talob uay ti petene     they were travelling, between their
 Chacnouitan lae, u añoil lae 81.    departure from their country and
                                     their arrival at this island of
                            81 años.                           Years 81.

 § 2. Vaxac Ahau, uac Ahau, cabil    § 2. The 8th Ahau, the 6th Ahau; in
 Ajau kuchci Chacnouitan Ahmekat     the 2d Ahau arrived Ajmekat Tutul
 Tutul Xiu hunppel haab minan ti     Xiu, and ninety-nine years they
 hokal haab cuchi yanob Chacnouitan  remained in Chacnouitan.
 lae: lai u habil lae.
                            99 años.                           Years 99.

 § 3. Laitun uchci u chicpahal       § 3. In this time also took place
 tzucubte Ziyan-caan lae Bakhalal,   the discovery of the province of
 can Ahau, cabil Ahau, oxlahun Ahau  Ziyan-caan or Bacalar, the 4th Ahau
 oxkal haab cu tepalob Ziyan-caan ca and 2d Ahau, or sixty years, they
 emob uay lac: lai u haabil cu       had ruled in Ziyan-caan when they
 tepalob Bakhalal chuulte laitun     came here. During these years of
 chicpahci Chichen Itza lae.         their government of the province of
                                     Bacalar occurred the discovery of
                            60 años.                           Years 60.

 § 4. Buluc Ahau, bolon Ahau, uuc    § 4. The 11th Ahau, the 9th, 7th,
 Ahau, ho Ahau ox Ahau, hun Ahau uac 5th, 3d and 1st Ahau, or 120 years,
 kal haab cu tepalob Chichen Itza ca they ruled in Chichen-Itza, when it
 paxi Chichen Itza, ca binob cahtal  was destroyed, and they emigrated
 Champutun ti yanhi u yotochob ah    to Champoton, where the Itzaes holy
 Ytzoab kuyen uincob lae.            men, had houses.
                           120 años.                          Years 120.

 § 5. Vac Ahau, chucuc u luumil      § 5. The 6th Ahau they took
 Chanputun, can Ahau, cabil Ahau,    possession of the territory of
 oxlahun Ahau, buluc Ahau, bolon     Champoton; the 4th Ahau, 2d, 13th,
 Ahau, uuc Ahau, ho Ahau, ox Ahau,   11th, 9th, 7th, 5th, 3d, 1st, 12th,
 hun Ahau, lahca Ahau, lahun Ajau,   10th and 8th, Champoton was
 uaxac Ahau, paxci Chanputun,        destroyed or abandoned. Two hundred
 oxlahun kaal haab cu tepalob        and sixty years the Itzaes reigned
 Chanputun tumenel Ytza uincob ca    in Champoton, when they returned in
 talob u tzaclé u yotochob tu caten, search of their homes, and they
 laix tun u katunil binciob ah       lived for several katunes under the
 Ytzaob yalan che yalan aban yalan   uninhabited mountains.
 ak ti numyaob lae; lai u habil
 cuchinbal lae.
                           260 años.                          Years 260.

 § 6. Vac Ahau, can Ahau, ca kal     § 6. The 6th Ahau, 4th Ahau, after
 haabcatalob u heↄob yotoch tu caten 40 years, they returned to their
 ca tu zatahob Chakanputun: lay u    homes once more and Champoton was
 habil lae.                          lost to them.
                            40 años.                           Years 40.

 § 7. Lai u katunil cabil Ahau. u    § 7. In this Katun of the 2d Ahau,
 heↄci cab Ajcuitok Tutul Xiu Vxmal. Ajcuitok Tutul Xiu established
 Cabil Ahau, oxlahun Ahau, buluc     himself in Uxmal; the 2d Ahau, the
 Ahau, bolon Ahau, uuc Ahau, ho      13th, 11th, 9th, 7th, 5th, 3d, 1st,
 Ahau, ox Ahau, hun Ahau, lahca      the 12th and 10th Ahau, equal to
 Ahau, lahun Ahau, lahun kal haab cu 200 years, they governed in Uxmal,
 tepalob yetel u halach uinicil      with the governors of Chichen Itza
 Chichen Itza yetel Mayalpan: lay u  and of Mayapan.
 habil lae.
                           200 años.                          Years 200.

 § 8. Lai u katunil buluc Ahau,      § 8. These are the Katunes 11th,
 bolon Ahau, uac Ahau, uaxac Ahau,   9th and 6th Ahau (_sic_). In the
 paxci u halach uinicil Chichen Itza 8th Ahau the governor of
 tumenel u kebanthan Hunac-eel, ca   Chichen-Itza was deposed, because
 uch ti Chacxib chac Chichen Itza tu he murmured disrespectfully against
 kebanthan Hunac-eel u halach        Hunac-eel. This happened to
 uinicil Mayalpan ichpac. Cankal     Chacxibchac of Chichen-Itza,
 haab catac lahun piz haab, tu lahun governor of the fortress of
 tun uaxac Ahau cuchie; lai u haabil Mayapan. Ninety years had elapsed,
 paxci tumenel Ahzinteyutchan yetel  but the 10th year of the 8th Ahau
 Tzunte-cum, yetel Taxcal, yetel     was the year in which he was
 Pantemit, Xuchu-cuet, yetel         overthrown by Ajzinte-yut-chan,
 Ytzcuat, yetel Kakaltecat lay u     with Tzunte-cum, Taxcal, Pantemit,
 kaba uinicilob: lae muctulob        Xuch-ueuet, Ytzcuat and Kakaltecat;
 ahmayal panob lae.                  these are the names of the seven
                            90 años.                           Years 90.

 § 9. Laili u katunil uaxac Ahau,    § 9. In the same Katun of the 8th
 lai ca binob u pâ ah Vlmil Ahau     Ahau they attacked Chief Ulmil, in
 tumenel u uahal-uahob yetel ah      consequence of his quarrel with
 Ytzmal Vlil Ahau; lae oxlahun uuↄ u Ulil, Chief of Yzamal; thirteen
 katunilob ca paxob tumen Hunac-eel: divisions of troops he had when he
 tumenel u ↄabal u naatob; uac Ahau  was routed by Hunac-eel; in the 6th
 ca ↄoci: hunkal haab catac can      Ahau the war was over, after 34
 lahun pizi: lai u habil cu xinbal.  years.
                            34 años.                           Years 34.

 § 10. Vac Ahau, can Ahau, cabil     § 10. In the 6th Ahau, 4th, 2d,
 Ahau, oxlahun Ahau, buluc Ahau,     13th and 11th Ahau, the fortified
 chucuc u luumil ich pâ Mayalpan,    territory of Mayapan was invaded by
 tumenel u pach tulum, tumenel       the men of Itza, under their Chief
 multepal ich cab Mayalpan, tumenel  Ulmil, because they had walls, and
 Ytza uinicob yetel ah Vlmil Ahau    governed in common the people of
 lae; can kaal haab catac oxppel     Mayalpan; eighty-three years
 haab: yocol buluc Ahau cuchie paxci elapsed after this event, and at
 Mayalpan tumenel ahuitzil ↄul, tau  the beginning of the 11th Ahau
 cah Mayalpan.                       Mayalpan was destroyed by strangers
                                     of the Uitzes, Highlanders, as was
                                     also Tancaj of Mayalpan.
                            83 años.                           Years 83.

 § 11. Vaxac Ahau lay paxci Mayalpan § 11. In the 8th Ahau, Mayalpan was
 lai u katunil uac Ahau, can Ahau,   destroyed; the epochs of the 6th,
 cabil Ahau, lai haab cu ximbal ca   4th and 2d Ahau elapsed, and at
 yax mani españoles u yaxilci caa    this period the Spaniards for the
 luumi Yucatan tzucubte lae, oxkal   first time arrived, and gave the
 haab pâaxac ich pâ cuchie.          name of Yucatan to this province,
                                     sixty years after the destruction
                                     of the fortress.
                            60 años.                           Years 60.

 § 12. Oxlahun Ahau, buluc Ahau,     § 12. The 13th and 11th Ahau,
 uchci mayacimil ich pâ yetel        pestilence and small pox were in
 nohkakil: oxlahun Ahau cimci        the castles. In the 13th Ahau,
 Ahpula: uacppel haab u binel ma     Chief Ajpula died; six years were
 ↄococ u xocol oxlahun Ahau cuchie,  wanting to the completion of the
 ti yanil u xocol haab ti lakin      13th Ahau; this year was counted
 cuchie, canil kan cumlahi pop, tu   toward the east of the wheel, and
 holhun Zip catac oxppeli, bolon     began on the 4th “Kan.” Ajpula died
 Ymix u kinil lai cimi Ahpula;       on the 18th day of the month Zip,
 laitun año cu ximbal cuchi lae ca   in the 9th Ymix; and that it may be
 oheltabac lay u xoc numeroil años   known in numbers, it was the year
 lae 1536 años cuchie, oxkal haab    1536, sixty years after the
 paaxac ich pâ cuchi lae.            destruction of the fortress.

 § 13. Laili ma ↄococ u xocol buluc  § 13. Before the termination of the
 Ahau lae lai ulci españoles kul     11th Ahau, the Spaniards arrived,
 uincob ti lakin u talob ca uliob    holy men from the east came with
 uay tac luumil lae; bolon Ahau      them when they reached the land.
 hoppci cristianoil uchci            The 9th Ahau was the commencement
 caputzihil: laili ichil u katunil   of baptism and Christianity; and in
 lae ulci yax obispo Toroba u kaba,  this year was the arrival of Toroba
 heix año cu ximbal uchie.           (Toral), the first bishop.
                          1544 años.                          1544 A. D.

  NOTE.—This Manuscript has also an introduction and close, which
  Señor Perez has not published, because the dates specified occurred
  in the Spanish epoch, and consequently were of no interest to the
  Maya student.

                       HISTORY OF THE MANUSCRIPT.

In the interest of authenticity it is much to be regretted that neither
the name of the author, his residence, nor the date when the Manuscript
was written, are known to us, and we are also ignorant of other matters
of moment; whether the Manuscript is an original or a copy, or how often
copied, or by what family or person it may have been preserved before it
came into the hands of Don Juan Pio Perez. That Yucatecan gentleman had
retired from Mérida, the capital, to the District of Peto, to devote
himself to his favorite studies, the ancient language and the history of
his nation. The unusual interest that he showed in this direction,
united to his influential position as first officer of the district,
enabled him to obtain many small manuscript documents known to have been
written by the natives in their vernacular language, the Maya, soon
after the time of the conquest, which, for the most part, contained
historical reminiscences of the time of the supremacy of their
ancestors. Among these manuscripts there was a so-called _Chilam Balam
Calendar_, which, in the form of an appendix, contained, besides, the
outlines of the primitive history of Yucatan. It was, indeed, but a
brief epitome of historical events, accompanied by the corresponding
dates. But its value consisted in the circumstance that these dates were
catalogued according to successive epochs; and it required only slight
inspection to disclose the fact that they extended back to a period not
very distant from our Christian Era.

This was a discovery to the learned world as welcome as any that could
be made. It was unique in its kind. All attempts, thus far, had vainly
sought to learn something about the history of the builders of those
palaces and temples with whose ruins the peninsula was covered at the
date of the arrival of the Spaniards, and which pointed to a long past
and to the unceasing activity of a numberless population, which, while
it was skilled in the most important branches of art and industry, and
familiar with a luxury such as only ancient Asia and India had
displayed, was yet governed by a despotic and hierarchical power. The
native, when asked whose work the ruins were, would answer nothing but
that they owed their origin to men who, in ancient times, had immigrated
from far distant countries.

The Manuscript disclosed at once the history of these strange
immigrants, showed the progressive march of the conquest, and the
contemporaneous foundation of the largest cities then in ruins, and
furnished in the Maya language the chronology of each event and its
corresponding epoch. By means of his extensive antiquarian knowledge
Señor Perez made an exact translation of this Manuscript into Spanish,
and afterwards undertook a critical interpretation of its contents, and
accompanied the whole with an introductory explanation of the system of
ancient Maya chronology.

In the midst of these labors he was surprised by the arrival of the
celebrated American traveller and archæologist, John Lloyd Stephens, and
was induced to entrust to him a copy of the MSS. and interpretations to
be embodied in his work on Yucatan, in order to bring them more fully
before the world. His wishes were scrupulously complied with, and the
Spanish translation has been rendered into literal English by Mr.
Stephens in “Incidents of Travel in Yucatan,” vol. I., Appendix, pages
434–459, and vol. II., Appendix, pages 465–469.

Mr. Albert Gallatin, who, of all American students, has made himself
most thoroughly acquainted with what remains of the historical elements
of the Nahuatl and Maya people, has brought together the results of his
investigations in a lecture published in the “Transactions of the
American Ethnological Society,” New York, 1858, vol. I., pages 104–114.
The information therein contained attests an entire familiarity with the
method pursued by Señor Perez in his commentary, without, indeed,
undertaking any severe criticism of it. In our opinion Mr. John L.
Stephens and Mr. Gallatin are the only Americans who have recognized
Señor Perez’s merits in an unequivocal manner, and have brought them to
the knowledge of the world.

This is all we could learn about the Manuscript, nor have we been able
to form a supposition, much less to discover in the text itself any clue
to the source from which the unknown Maya author could have drawn his
data. At the end of the Manuscript Señor Perez gives his opinion that
the whole was written from memory, because it must have been done long
after the conquest, and after Bishop Landa had publicly destroyed much
of the historical picture-writing of the Mayas by an _auto-da-fé_, and
because the whole narration is so concise and condensed that it appears
more like an index than a circumstantial description of events.

These opinions of Señor Perez might cast a well grounded suspicion on
the authenticity of the manuscript. We shall try to remove such doubts,
at once, by presenting the following considerations. We do not believe
that Bishop Landa succeeded in burning the entire treasures of Maya
literature at the notorious _auto-da-fé_ in the town of Mani in 1561.
The authorities[32] to which we have access describe the number of the
destroyed objects so precisely that we have every reason to confide in
their correctness. We read of 5,000 idols of different size and form, 13
large altar stones, 22 smaller stones, 197 vessels of every form and
size, and lastly of 27 rolls (_sic_) on deerskin covered with signs and
hieroglyphics, given to destruction at that time and place. We may
believe that the terrorism exercised by Bishop Landa had a powerful
influence on the minds and on the newly converted consciences of the
natives, and the Bishop no doubt used every possible means to get into
his hands as much as he could of what he considered to be “cabalistic
signs and invocations to the devil.” But we can never believe that these
27 rolls represented the entire Maya literature, collected for hundreds
of years with the greatest care and held sacred by the natives. Such a
wholesale destruction would have been an impossibility. We could refer
to a similar occurrence that took place in Mexico; and though Bishop
Zumarraga has the bad reputation of having destroyed all the picture
treasures of the Nahuatls by an _auto-da-fé_, there were notwithstanding
so many of them in existence soon after his time in the possession of
native families that Ixtlilxochitl, Tezozomoc, and others, were able to
build up their detailed accounts of the primitive history of their
country from these original sources. Possibly numbers of them may have
been preserved among the Maya tribes, for only under such favorable
conditions could Cogolludo, Villagutierre and Lizana have obtained the
valuable information and material which form the chief interest of their
labors and researches, and which enabled also Pio Perez in the year
1835, to discover material from which to interpret so complete a
description of the system of Maya chronology. Nay, even, we have a
suspicion that Bishop Landa may have laid aside the most important part
of these records, or what was the most intelligible to him, for we
cannot comprehend how he would have been able without these pictures
before his eyes to present in his work the symbols for the days so
correctly, and also those for the months, or how otherwise he could have
written his work in Spain, so far removed from all sources of
information and from consultation with the natives.

No reason, therefore, exists why the Maya author should not have
remained in possession of some painting, which exhibited the annals of
his forefathers. If, however, he was compelled to write his “Series of
Katunes” from memory, there is no reason for not relying on the accuracy
of his retentive faculties alone. The noble Indians, and he belonged
undoubtedly to this class, were very particular in training their sons
to learn by heart songs expressing the glorious deeds of their
ancestors. It is a fact attested by the Spanish chroniclers, that these
songs were recited publicly in the temples and on solemn religious
occasions. They were the only kind of positive knowledge with which we
know the brains of the Indian pupils were burdened. In either case,
therefore, the accuracy of the written Maya report needs not be doubted,
at least not on the grounds alleged. Had it been composed in the Spanish
language instead of Maya, we should have viewed this circumstance with a
more critical eye. But as the native under Spanish rule expressed it in
his native language, this kind of loyalty appears to us to give a
certain warranty of dealing with a man who described the traditions of
his oppressed race, and who wished to perpetuate its memory by handing
down to posterity the principal events of the past history of his

At this place, we should not like to omit pointing out an interesting
suggestion which the clear headed and sagacious author, Señor Eligio
Ancona[33] made in his before mentioned work, that Bishop Landa and the
author of the Manuscript agree so often in their mention of historic
dates, in the manner as well as the matter, as to lead to the idea that
both drew their information from the same source. Whatever be its
origin, we agree with the views of Señor Perez, that, in spite of the
deficiency and breaks occurring in the Manuscript, it deserves critical
attention as the only document thus far discovered that gives
information of the early history of Yucatan.

                      ELEMENTS OF MAYA CHRONOLOGY.

It is impossible to understand the Manuscript before obtaining a
knowledge of the division of time prevalent in Yucatan before the
Spanish Conquest. Señor Perez has the incontestable merit of having been
the first to lay before the world not only the chief points of the
system but also all the technical details. Before his time but little
was known of Maya chronology. From the great historic works of
Torquemada, Herrera and Cogolludo, we learn only that the Mayas, in
conformity with the Mexicans, held that the solar year was composed of
360 days, and when these were passed they added 5 days more as a
correction. We are told that both nations divided their years into 18
months, and their months into twenty days each. As to the longer periods
of time, however, we hear of certain differences. While the Mexicans had
an epoch of 52 years which they divided into 4 smaller periods, the so
called _Tlapilli_, each of 13 years, the Mayas counted a great epoch of
260 years, the so called _Ahau Katun_, subdivided into 13 smaller
periods each of 20 years, with the simple name _Ahau_. This period of 20
years was according to Cogolludo[34] subdivided again into what he calls
_lustra_ of 5 years each, but he does not give the native name of this

The discovery of the Manuscript, no doubt, induced Señor Perez to make a
systematic and detailed sketch of the early native chronology of his
country. We shall mention only the most interesting and important of his
details and refer the reader for the rest to Stephens’ work already
mentioned. The names of the 20 days in the month are as follows:—

                                1 Kan.
                                2 Chicchan.
                                3 Quimij.
                                4 Manik.
                                5 Lamat.
                                6 Muluc.
                                7 Oc.
                                8 Chuen.
                                9 Eb.
                               10 Been.
                               11 Gix.
                               12 Men.
                               13 Quib.
                             ^114 Caban.
                             ^215 Edznab.
                             ^316 Cavac.
                             ^417 Ahau.
                             ^518 Ymix.
                             ^619 Yx.
                             ^720 Akbal.

The 18 months were as follows:—

                    1 Pop (16th of July.)
                    2 Uoo (5th of August)
                    3 Zip (25th of August).
                    4 Zodz (14th of September).
                    5 Zeec (4th of October).
                    6 Xal (24th of October).
                    7 Dze-yaxkin (13th of November).
                    8 Mol (3d of December).
                    9 Dchen (23d of December).
                   10 Yaax (12th of January).
                   11 Zae (1st of February).
                   12 Quej (21st of February).
                   13 Mac (13th of March).
                   14 Kankin (2d of April).
                   15 Moan (22d of April).
                   16 Pax (12th of May).
                   17 Kayab (1st of June).
                   18 Cumkū (21st of June).

As the table shows their year began with the first day of the month Pop,
which corresponded to the 16th of July in our calendar, when, as Señor
Perez observes, the sun was almost vertical over the Peninsula. The day
itself was called _Kin_, Sun, the month _U_, Moon, and the 5 intercalary
days were called nameless days, _Xona-Kaba-Kin_, not-name-Sun.

In the arrangement of their yearly calendar the Mayas proceeded as
follows: Like the Mexicans they used a combination of the numbers 1 to
13, with the names of the 20 days of the month. They called the first
day of the month Pop (our 16 July) 1 Kan, the second 2 Chicchan, the
third 3 Quimij, and so on. The fourteenth day was called 1 Caban, the
fifteenth 2 Edznab, and the last or twentieth day 7 Akbal. The first day
of the second month followed in correct numerical sequence with the name
8 Kan, the second with the name 9 Chicchan. Thus repeating the 20 names
of the days with the above combination of numbers from 1 to 13 they
reached the 360th day with the name 9 Akbal. Then followed the
intercalary week of 5 days bearing the names 10 Kan, 11 Chicchan, 12
Cimij, 13 Manik, and 1 Lamat.

The second year begins with 2 Muluc. In the same manner going on with
the combination the first day of the third year was 3 Hix, then followed
4 Cavac, 9 Kan, 10 Muluc, 11 Hix, 12 Cavac, 13 Kan, 1 Muluc, 2 Hix, and
so on. At the end of the 52d year the above-mentioned combination was
exhausted, for the 53d year began again with the day 1 Kan.

 Names of │Pop. │Uoo. │Zip. │Zodz.│Zeec.│Xul. │Dze-yaxkin.│Mol. │Dchen.
    the   │     │     │     │     │     │     │           │     │
  Months. │     │     │     │     │     │     │           │     │
 Names of │    1│    2│    3│    4│    5│    6│          7│    8│     9
 the Days.│     │     │     │     │     │     │           │     │
 Kan,     │    1│    8│    2│    9│    3│   10│          4│   11│     5
 Chicchau,│    2│    9│    3│   10│    4│   11│          5│   12│     6
 Quimij,  │    3│   10│    4│   11│    5│   12│          6│   13│     7
 Manik,   │    4│   11│    5│   12│    6│   13│          7│    1│     8
 Lamat,   │    5│   12│    6│   13│    7│    1│          8│    2│     9
 Muluc,   │    6│   13│    7│    1│    8│    2│          9│    3│    10
 Oc,      │    7│    1│    8│    2│    9│    3│         10│    4│    11
 Chuen,   │    8│    2│    9│    3│   10│    4│         11│    5│    12
 Eb,      │    9│    3│   10│    4│   11│    5│         12│    6│    13
 Been,    │   10│    4│   11│    5│   12│    6│         13│    7│     1
 Gix,     │   11│    5│   12│    6│   13│    7│          1│    8│     2
 Men,     │   12│    6│   13│    7│    1│    8│          2│    9│     3
 Quib,    │   13│    7│    1│    8│    2│    9│          3│   10│     4
 Caban,   │    1│    8│    2│    9│    3│   10│          4│   11│     5
 Edznab,  │    2│    9│    3│   10│    4│   11│          5│   12│     6
 Cavac,   │    3│   10│    4│   11│    5│   12│          6│   13│     7
 Ahau,    │    4│   11│    5│   12│    6│   13│          7│    1│     8
 Ymix,    │    5│   12│    6│   13│    7│    1│          8│    2│     9
 Yk,      │    6│   13│    7│    1│    8│    2│          9│    3│    10
 Akbal,   │    7│    1│    8│    2│    9│    3│         10│    4│    11

 Names of │Yeax.│Zac. │Quej.│Mac. │Kankin.│Moan.│Pax. │Kayab.│Cumkū.
    the   │     │     │     │     │       │     │     │      │
  Months. │     │     │     │     │       │     │     │      │
 Names of │   10│   11│   12│   13│     14│   15│   16│    17│    18
 the Days.│     │     │     │     │       │     │     │      │
 Kan,     │   12│    6│   13│    7│      1│    8│    2│     9│     3
 Chicchau,│   13│    7│    1│    8│      2│    9│    3│    10│     4
 Quimij,  │    1│    8│    2│    9│      3│   10│    4│    11│     5
 Manik,   │    2│    9│    3│   10│      4│   11│    5│    12│     6
 Lamat,   │    3│   10│    4│   11│      5│   12│    6│    13│     7
 Muluc,   │    4│   11│    5│   12│      6│   13│    7│     1│     8
 Oc,      │    5│   12│    6│   13│      7│    1│    8│     2│     9
 Chuen,   │    6│   13│    7│    1│      8│    2│    9│     3│    10
 Eb,      │    7│    1│    8│    2│      9│    3│   10│     4│    11
 Been,    │    8│    2│    9│    3│     10│    4│   11│     5│    12
 Gix,     │    9│    3│   10│    4│     11│    5│   12│     6│    13
 Men,     │   10│    4│   11│    5│     12│    6│   13│     7│     1
 Quib,    │   11│    5│   12│    6│     13│    7│    1│     8│     2
 Caban,   │   12│    6│   13│    7│      1│    8│    2│     9│     3
 Edznab,  │   13│    7│    1│    8│      2│    9│    3│    10│     4
 Cavac,   │    1│    8│    2│    9│      3│   10│    4│    11│     5
 Ahau,    │    2│    9│    3│   10│      4│   11│    5│    12│     6
 Ymix,    │    3│   10│    4│   11│      5│   12│    6│    13│     7
 Yk,      │    4│   11│    5│   12│      6│   13│    7│     1│     8
 Akbal,   │    5│   12│    6│   13│      7│    1│    8│     2│     9

The following year must begin with 2 Muluc.

                    Each week had 5 days│Kan      10
                                        │Chicchan 11
                                        │Quimij   12
                                        │Manik    13
                                        │Lamat     1

It is to be observed here that this arrangement of a calendar of epochs
agrees with that in use in the interior of Mexico. There, the numbers
from 1 to 13 were combined with four names, Tecpatl, Calli, Tochtli and
Acatl, which they had taken, like the Mayas, from the names for the 20
days of the month; and both calendars represent the first days of their
weeks of five days as occurring upon the 1st, 6th, 11th and 16th days of
the month. From this system Señor Perez arrives at the division into
great epochs of 52 years used in Mexico as well as in Yucatan. This
statement appears hazardous in the highest degree when compared with the
statements made by the before-mentioned authorities. They claim for
Yucatan an epoch of 20 and 260 years respectively; and Landa, who wrote
with the first impressions of the conquest still fresh in his mind, and
whose information came directly from the natives themselves, agrees with
them. Without doubt Señor Perez must have been aware of this
contradiction. After he had developed in §7 the so-called epoch of the
Mayas of 52 years he makes us acquainted with this national Maya epoch,
though, as we shall presently learn, he disagrees with the Maya writers
as to the time of its duration. His statement is: §8. “The Yucatecans,
besides the great cycle of 52 years, employed still another great cycle,
which had reference to certain portions of it, in order to date the main
epoch, and the most notable events of their history. Each of these
cycles contained 13 periods, of 24 years each, making together 312
years. Each period, or _Ahau-Katun_ was divided into two parts. The
first of these parts of 20 years was enclosed in a square (_sic_), and
was called on that account _amaytun_, _lamayte_ or _lamaytun_. The
second part of 4 years formed, so to speak, a pedestal for the first
part, and was called _chek oc Katun_, or _lath oc Katun_, which
signifies a _chair_ or pedestal. These years were considered
intercalary, and were held to be unlucky years. They were called _u yail
Jaab_, and the same was the case with the 5 intercalary days to which
they corresponded. The separation of the 20 years from the following 4
years gave rise to the erroneous idea that the _Ahaues_ consisted of
twenty years only, an error which has prevailed almost universally among
those who have written upon this subject. But if they had counted the
years which compose a period, and had taken notice of the positive
declarations of the manuscript to the effect that the _Ahaues_ consisted
of 24 years divided as above stated, they would not have misled their
readers on this point.”

Señor Perez continues:—

“It is an incontrovertible fact that those Maya periods, epochs or ages,
took their name from _Ahau Katun_, for they began to be counted from the
day which bore the name _Ahau_, the second day of those years, which
began with the name _Cavac_. But as these days and numbers were taken
from years which had run their course, the periods of 24 years could
never maintain an arithmetical order, but succeeded each other according
to the following arrangement of numbers: 13, 11, 9, 7, 5, 3, 1, 12, 10,
8, 6, 4, 2. As the Indians considered the number 13 the initial number,
it is probable that some remarkable event had happened in that year,
because, when the Spaniards arrived in the Peninsula, the Indians then
counted the 8th as the 1st, that being the date at which their ancestors
came to settle there; and an Indian writer proposed that they should
abandon that order also, and begin counting from the 11th, solely
because the Conquest had happened in that Ahau. Now, if the 13th Ahau
Katun began on a second day of the year, it must be that year which
began on 12 Cavac, and the 12th of the series. The 11th Ahau would
commence in the year of 10 Cavac, which occurred after a period of 24
years, and so on with the rest; taking notice that after the lapse of
years we come to the respective number marked in the course of the
Ahaues which is placed first; proving that they consisted of 24, and
not, as some have believed, of 20 years.”

From the heading (§8), “_Of the Great Cycle of 312 years, or Ahau
Katunes_,” as well as of the text just quoted, it is apparent that Señor
Perez intended to establish the fact that the ancient Maya cycles were
composed of 24 and 312 years respectively. He does so in manifest
contradiction to the prevalent opinion that they consisted of 20 and 260
years. We do not understand the reasons why he should have come to this
conclusion. It grew out neither from the facts alleged nor from the
connection into which he wove them together. The peculiar circumstance
of having, in his commentary references, four years intercalated in
succession to the usual cycle of twenty years, and included in a square,
to serve as a “_pedestal_” to the former, is not capable of shedding new
light upon the question and causing us to distrust authorities on which
we were accustomed to rely. The other reason, which stands second in his
order of forming premises for his conclusion, is said to be the
undeniable fact, that those periods took their name of _Ahau Katun_,
because they began to be counted from the day Ahau, which was the second
day of those years that began in _Cavac_. Of this incontrovertible fact
the readers are not elsewhere informed. The information, however, which
we are able to give is that according to all we have been able to gather
on the Maya Calendar, a period, or a single year, commencing with a day
named _Ahau_, has never existed in their system of counting. They always
commenced it with the words _Kan_, _Muluc_, _Hix_, _Cavac_. If there
existed any exceptional ground for changing an old established method of
dating, the reason should have been stated, for it is preposterous to
assume that the first day of a great cyclical period should have taken
its name from any other day of the year’s calendar than from the four
above named. Nor do we understand the reason why, just here, the topic
of the succession of the numbers 13, 11, 9, 7, 5, 3, 1, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4,
2, was introduced. Could it have been with the intention of showing that
this singular enumeration of alternating _Ahaues_, which we shall
hereafter speak of, occurred only in cycles of 24 years, and that
therefrom a proof might be derived for establishing the pretended cycle
of 24 and 312 years? Evidence of this should have been given by a table
showing the series, and by still another table in which should be shown
that such an alternating succession did not occur in cycles composed of
20 years. Not one single fact can be detected in Señor Perez’s text, by
which the long established assumption of a 20 years’ cycle has been

Nevertheless, the data which we possess of the ancient Maya Calendar are
not so complete as to disprove emphatically that a cycle of 24 and 312
years respectively was never used by the Maya chronologers.

Without doubt, Yucatan owed its ancient greatness to the success of
uniting a rude and scattered population around a number of theocratical
centres, where similar forms of worship were maintained. Though the
ancient records are wanting, this feature of the Maya system stands out
upon the background of dim traditions with great distinctness. After
this concentration of tribes, and with the view of regulating worship, a
uniform calendar would have been introduced, the main features of which
would probably have been a solar year of 365 days, the division of the
year into 20 months, and a cyclical period of 20 and 260 years
respectively. In the middle of the 11th century great tribal revolutions
took place on the high plateaus of Anahuac, by which the lowlands of
Yucatan were also affected. An adventurous tribe of the Nahuatl stock
possessed itself of one of the principal towns of Yucatan and
established its influence and power. Mayapan became the centre of
Nahuatl worship. The calendar the invaders brought with them must have
been the old honored division of the years into 365 days, with 20
months, and their cyclical period of not 20 but 52 years, and it is also
known that about the year 1450, the political union of the Mayas was
broken into several smaller divisions, some of which presumably would
have held to the ancient cycle of 20 years; others may have adopted the
Nahuatl cycle of 52 years, and possibly, may have introduced the cycle
of 24 years spoken of by Señor Perez. Political schism was likely to
have generated also a hierarchical one, and each newly formed body of
priests, in whose hands the custody and composition of annals fell,
would have sought to distinguish themselves from their predecessors by
innovations, if only of a formal character. Such changes we also observe
among the Nahuatls in Anahuac. The period of 52 years, however, seems to
have constantly prevailed among them, and also the divisions of the 365
days into 18 months of 20 days each.

We find, for instance, that one of the Nahuatl tribes begins its annals
with December 9, another selects December 26, another January 9, and
others January 12, February 4, and February 22. We also know that a
different calculation prevailed among these tribes in beginning their
annals. The State of Colhuacan began its chronology with a year 1
_Calli_, the State of Mexico with 2 _Acatl_, others with 1 _Tochtli_,
and seemingly the most ancient calculation began with the year 1
_Tecpatl_. Thus we have a historical basis for our assertion that the
Nahuatl as well as the Maya tribes did not conform to a uniform rule in
beginning their first year’s date, in their chronological epochs, or in
the division of their cyclical epochs.

In spite of this diversity, so perplexing to modern chronologists, the
Aztecs and the Mayas were both governed by the same general principle in
arranging their calendars. Both nations recognized the fact that in the
past their solar year had numbered only 360 days; and they preserved in
the words nemotemi and xona-kaba-kin, the remembrance of a not to be
forgotten effort exerted by their ancestors to correct the primordial
solar year of 360 days into one of 365 days. Both nations
conscientiously kept on dividing the year into 18 months, and each of
the months into 20 days, and with both the number 13 returns as a basis
governing the calendar of years as well as that of periods.[35]

We notice, moreover, that both nations omit to count the 20 days of the
month in the succession of the figures 1–20, but after the thirteenth
day they again begin with the number 1, and the 20th day therefore was
figured with the number 7, and also that the Mexicans counted their
smallest period with 13 years, the so-called _tlapilli_, and upon its
quadruple the cycle of 52 years was based. The lesser Maya or _Ahau_
period is 20 years, while the greater or _Ahau Katun_ is 260 years or 13
times the smaller. Señor Perez’s lesser period of 24, and the greater
one of 312 years show the same method and calculation (13 × 24 = 312).

This conformity between the early calendars of Central America should
not escape the observation of the future historical enquirer. He will be
compelled to adopt a very remote period of time when both nations,
differing so entirely in their language, dwelt in peace, connected by
the strong bands of a hierarchical power. One of these two nations, it
is clear, must have invented it. Hence the question arises, was it
original with the immigrating Nahuatl tribes who came from the higher
northern countries as is reported, and did they succeed in forming such
a consolidation with the Maya races as to mingle both under the same
hierarchical government, or did the contrary take place? The most
prevalent opinion makes the Nahuas the inventors of the general system
of chronology, but later students begin to express themselves in favor
of its Maya origin. On a more fitting occasion we are desirous to
present our reasons for taking the latter view.

Before passing from these chronological speculations to the discussion
of the Maya Manuscript, we wish to state briefly our idea of the origin
of the system of reckoning by alternating Ahaues. [See page 66]. We
promised to return to this subject, and shall now endeavor to give a
solution to this chronological problem differing from that of Señor
Perez. A passage in Bishop Landa’s work, determined our decision. After
a previous and positive assertion that the lesser Ahau period consisted
of 20 years, Landa continues, ... “The order in which they computed
their dates and made their prophecies by the aid of this computation (of
20 years) was arrived at by having two idols, dedicated to two of these
characters (_Ahaues_). To the first idol, which stands with a cross
marked above the circle, they paid homage by making him offerings and
sacrifices, in order to obtain an immunity from the calamities to come
in these 20 years, but after ten of these years had passed they offered
nothing but incense and worship. When the twenty years of the first were
fully passed they began to occupy themselves with the presages of their
second idol and to offer sacrifices to him, having taken away their
first idol to replace it by the second, in order to worship it in the
coming ten years.”[36]



  [Above we give a reproduction of a Maya Ahau Katun wheel taken from
    that in Landa’s “Las cosas de Yucatan,” § XL., in order that his
    explanation may be understood.]

“The Indians say, for example, that the Spaniards arrived at the City of
Mérida in the year of the nativity of our Lord and Master 1541, which
was precisely the first year of _Buluc Ahau_ (11 Ahau), the same that we
find placed at the top of the instrument[37] below the cross, and which
also indicates that they arrived in the month _Pop_, which is the first
in their year. Had the Spaniards not come as they did, then they would
have placed the Idol of _Bolon Ahau_ (9 Ahau), offering homage to it,
and continuing to refer to the prognostics of _Buluc Ahau_, till the
year 1561; and then they would take it from the temple and put in its
place that of _Vuc Ahau_ (7 Ahau), all the while continuing to refer to
the prognostics of _Buluc Ahau_, for ten years more, and the same with
the others until the tour was made. In this way they made up their
Katuns of twenty and ten years, worshipping them according to their
superstitions and juggleries, which were in such great numbers that
there were more than enough to deceive that simple people, and there is
reason for astonishment when one knows what kind of things in nature and
experience belong to the Demon.”

Whoever is acquainted with the awkwardness and literary negligence of
Landa’s writing will not be astonished that in his statement he left out
something which a more careful writer would have expressed, and placed
at the head of his explanation. The wanting statement, however, can be
supplied. It will be noticed that Landa in his text only refers to two
Ahau Idols worshipped in the temple. But this number must have been 13,
as is evident from the 3d Idol _Vuc Ahau_, mentioned afterwards in the
statement with which he finished his description, in order not to always
repeat the same thing of the ten other idols which are painted on the
wheel. Let us then take the statement of Landa supplemented by what we
have said above as to the questionable nomenclature of these Ahaues as
they appear in the row of numbers 13, 11, 9, 7, 5, 3, 1, 12, 10, 8, 6,
4, 2. Landa’s description gives us to understand that the lapse of
twenty years was always required before the new combination of two idols
was presented to the worshippers, and which had not before been seen in
the temple in company with the former Idols. For example: When Idol 3
was placed in the temple, Idol 2 took a first place among the
worshippers. Indeed, Idol 2 was in the temple with Idol 1, but Idol 3
was not with Idol 1, nor Idol 4 with Idol 2. If such a combination
repeating itself after 20 years, represented a space of time familiar to
the Mayas, it is natural that it should receive the name Ahau or period
of the _god_,[38] and that it should receive its name from the number of
the Idol presiding at the expiration of this space of 20 years. If
therefore in the rotation of the circle Idols 2 and 3 passed out of the
temple, the combination, or what is the same, the space of 20 years,
during which they had ornamented the temple will have borne the name 2
_Ahau_, on the ground that Idol 2 had preceded it. The second
combination, then, would follow when the presidency of Idol 4 would have
finished its term, and in this way the row 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 1, 3, 5,
7, 9, 11, 13, may have had its origin.

Now, it is true that the order in which these numbers stand is different
from that transmitted to us, which begins with 13 and is followed by 11
and 9. The reverse of this method of reckoning may possibly be accounted
for in this way: An epoch unknown to us may have occurred when the Maya
chroniclers desired to review past events and bring them into order.
Counting backwards from such a date they would have called the first
period of twenty years not the 13th, nor, according to our above
statement, the 1st, but the 2d Ahau. Consequently the period after the
expiration of the great cycles of 260 years would have been called the
13th Ahau, though properly speaking it should have been the 2d Ahau. An
historical epoch for such reckoning backward is known to have occurred.
It occurred again in the year 1542, when the conquest of Yucatan by the
Spaniards took place. It appears that the Mayas in that year declared
their 13th Ahau period to be at an end, from 1522 to 1542; consequently
a back reckoning, according to this system of the Mayas, gave a 2d Ahau
for the period of 1502–22, a 4th Ahau for that of 1482–1502, and going
on in the same way of reckoning the year 1282 would have represented the
expiration of the 13th _Ahau_.

The circle of Landa exemplifies this manner of counting. He starts from
the 13th Ahau, counting from left to right. But if we count in the
opposite direction we should obtain the row of numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, &c.,
as we have shown above. If we refer to the striking discovery on the
Mexican Calendar stone[39] that the days upon that circle are not
counted towards the right but towards the left, and generalize it as a
rule to be adopted also for the chronological cycles of the Mayas, we
should come to the conclusion that the Mayas in some of their former
chronological epochs counted their Ahaues in that natural order. Who
shall say that the reversed counting did not originate from a
misunderstanding on the part of the Spaniards? We do not claim to have
finally disposed of the question. Every new attempt will be a welcome
addition to the cause, for each new investigator is obliged to descend
deeper into the dark mine where Maya history lies buried.


Señor Perez is thus far the only interpreter of the Maya Manuscript, and
his Spanish text found a skilful translator in Mr. John L. Stephens.
Neither the Spanish text nor the special chronological analysis of each
paragraph composed by Señor Perez, have hitherto been made public; we
owe the possession of both these documents to the kindness of our
friend, Dr. Carl Hermann Berendt, lately deceased, who, during his long
residence in Yucatan, was occupied in amassing a large collection of
matters relating to Maya literature and history, in original form or in
authentic copies. In comparing the Spanish with the English
translations, it seems that many things, not clear in the first, had
been made more intelligible in the last. It is evident that Señor Perez
sought to translate the Maya text as literally and faithfully as he
could into the Spanish language, otherwise his text would have been more
fluent and finished. The abruptness of expression, and the frequent
ellipses in the construction of its sentences, show that the Maya idiom
has been faithfully rendered. Such a course increases the interest, and
at the same time it creates confidence in the correctness of the
translation. Dr. Berendt, the profound scholar of the Maya language,
wrote us as follows on March 14, 1873: “I have several times undertaken
to translate this manuscript myself, but have always given up the task.
The manifold doubts which the original text leaves open seem to me
correctly solved by Señor Perez, and it always appeared to me that I
might indeed make another but not a better translation. The small
changes in the text of Stephens, of which you speak, I do not believe
were introduced merely from a love of his own expressions. I believe
that he first came to an understanding with Perez, and sought only to
assist the better comprehension of the manuscript for the benefit of the
public at large.”

It is to be hoped that the differences of translation of the manuscript
spoken of above, and to which Señor Eligio Ancona[40] draws attention,
will be critically investigated and finally decided by the coming
generation of scholars in Yucatan. The sons of the country should be the
born judges of the language and the spirit of the literary relics of the
indigenous race. Recent investigations have shown that this language was
split into sixteen dialects, which were spoken by as many tribes, whose
territories extended far beyond the present area of the Yucatecan
peninsula.[41] Like all languages, these Maya idioms have undergone
changes during the last three or four centuries. To understand and
explain their now obsolete elements, must be left exclusively to the
native scholar.

                     DISCUSSION OF THE MANUSCRIPT.

It will now be our task to endeavor to clear away such doubts as may
arise in regard to the chronological interpretation of the Maya
Manuscript. These doubts have reference, first, to the choice of the
method to be pursued in reckoning the Ahaues either at 24 or at 20
years. Second, as to the manner of filling up certain gaps which the
author has left open in the chronological sequence of the Ahau period;
and finally, after building again this chronological structure in its
logical order, we must adapt the dates expressed in Ahaues to the
current language of our Christian chronological era.

In order to avoid troublesome reference to the text of the preceding
pages, we shall repeat the English translation, and for better
convenience, shall present two or more sections together. To demonstrate
Señor Perez’s system and method of counting, we shall give the
translation of the Spanish text, as communicated by Dr. Berendt, without
undertaking to make any special criticisms of it.

  _This is the series of Katuns that elapsed from the time of their
  separation from the land and house of Nonoual, in which were the
  four Tutul Xiu, lying to the west of Zuina, going out of the country
  of Tulapan._

With these few words the Maya author states his purpose. He wishes to
enumerate the Katuns or periods of time from the beginning of the
history of his nation to the arrival of the Spanish conquerors. He tells
us that his nation lived in a land called Tulapan, which was westerly
from another called Zuina, and that from thence, under the lead of four
chiefs, the Tutul Xiu, they had immigrated into this new country,


  [Map showing the movement of the Mayas as stated in the Manuscript.]

By Tutul Xiu the author evidently means the name of the reigning family,
which, at the arrival of the Spaniards, were considered as the ancient
rulers and hereditary lords of Chichen-Itza.[42] In regard to the
countries referred to by the names Tulapan and Zuina, we can only say
that in Central American traditions the name Tulapan oftentimes returns
under the form of Tulan. Thus, for example, the Quichés and
Cakchiqueles, sister nations of the Mayas, make mention of the above
countries in their annals.[43] Upon a closer examination of the text,
contained in the so-called “Popol Vuh,” we were unable to detect any
grounds for the assumption that these countries or places lay in a
distant orient. They probably will turn out to have been, or by the
annalists were thought to have been, situated on the northern boundaries
of Mexico, on a route of migration ending with the high plateaus of

  _§1. Four epochs were spent in travelling before they arrived here
  with Holon Chantepeuh and his followers. When they began their
  journey towards this island, it was the 8th Ahau, and the 6th, 4th
  and 2d were spent in travelling, because in the 1st year of the 13th
  Ahau they arrived at this island, making together eighty-one years
  they were travelling between their departure from their country and
  their arrival at this island of Chacnouitan. These are 81 years._

We learn that four Ahau periods had passed the 8th, 6th, 4th and 2d
before the wanderers arrived with their leader, Holon Chantepeuh, at the
island of Chacnouitan. In the following 13th Ahau they are said to have
been already settled there. It is of the highest importance to note that
the Maya author here acknowledges that he reckoned each Ahau period as
20 years, and he remains faithful to this method to the end of the
manuscript. By this fact alone, we should be compelled to follow the
division of 20 years thus established, even if in contradiction to the
statements of other chroniclers, which fortunately is not the case.

As the author treats of the affairs of the Tutul Xiu or the so-called
Itza race, and attributes to them the discovery and colonization of
Yucatan, it is highly probable that he made use of the annals of the
Itzaes, and that they were arranged in periods of just 20 years. If we
should be right in this assumption the 20–year period must be regarded
as the most ancient ever used in Yucatan.

We cannot fully agree with Señor Perez and his countrymen that the
author intended to designate the peninsula of Yucatan when he speaks of
the Island of Chacnouitan. This name appears for the first and only time
in this manuscript. It is generally acknowledged that the name had never
previously been heard of.[44] We should state that the words of the text
are always _nay ti petene Chacnouitan_. If in Maya _peten_ meant only a
peninsula, we should take no exceptions. But the fundamental meaning of
_peten_ is an island, and as the demonstrative pronoun _nay_ means as
well “of this place” as “of that place,” the translation could as well
stand for “that distant island.” Whether the island was situated in the
ocean or in any of the many inland lakes, the probabilities seem to lie
with the latter supposition, for they came by land. Had they come by
sea, tradition would have dwelt with some characteristic remark upon
such an exceptional case. From the following paragraph it will become
still more evident that the Chacnouitan discovered by the Itzaes was
neither the whole nor the northern part of Yucatan, but a district
situated in the southwest of the peninsula.

  _§2. The 8th Ahau, the 6th Ahau, in the 2d Ahau arrived Ajmekat
  Tutul Xiu, and ninety-nine years they remained in Chacnouitan—years

  _§3. In this time also took place the discovery of the Province of
  Ziyan-caan or Bacalar; the 4th Ahau and the 2d Ahau and the 13th
  Ahau, or sixty years they had ruled in Ziyan-caan when_ THEY CAME
  HERE. _During these years of their government of the Province of
  Bacalar occurred the discovery of the Province of Chichen-Itza.
  These are years 60._

As the first section closed with the arrival at Chacnouitan, which took
place upon the 2d Ahau, it was to be expected that the second section
would continue the sequence of Ahaues so as to connect with the
necessarily following 13th Ahau. But we see that it begins with the 8th
Ahau, follows with the 6th and closes with the 2d Ahau.

Before taking notice of the accounts given in these two paragraphs let
us first ascertain what Ahaues were left out between the 2d Ahau, at the
end of the first section, and the 8th Ahau, with which the second
section begins. According to the rule above given on the alternating
Ahaues, the missing ones would be the following: The (13), (11), (9),
(7), (5), (3), (1), (12), and (10th) Ahau. Of these nine Ahaues, or 180
years, the author had nothing in mind to tell us. No event of
significance appears to have taken place. Perhaps the wanderers had to
rest to gather strength before attempting further conquests. Moreover,
this time belongs to the most ancient epochs of Maya history, and
information regarding it was so dim and so obscure that it appeared to
the author as of no account. The chronological sequence thus being
established, let us now turn to the contents of the two section, 2 and
3. They begin with the 8th Ahau and close with the 13th Ahau. As to the
events happening within the 8th, 6th, 4th, 2d and 13th Ahau, they indeed
do not appear in the wished for sequence. But the sequence, as will be
shown, can be established without making interpolations. It will be
noticed that in section 2 the 4th Ahau is not mentioned. After having
quoted the 8th and 6th Ahau, the author passes over this 4th Ahau and
mentions the arrival of Ajmekat, belonging to the family of the renowned
Tutul Xiu, who seems to have led in the conquests of Bacalar and
Chichen-Itza, which are recorded in section 3, as happening in the 4th,
2d and 13th Ahau. That these conquests must be counted into the epoch
mentioned with the names 8th, 6th, 4th, 2d and 13th Ahau is clearly
expressed by the words, “_in this time_,” so that no mistake can take
place as to the intimate connection with the arrival of Ajmekat. We
learn moreover that the time which the conquerors remained in the
province of Chacnouitan is said to have been 99 years. These 99 or 100
years cover exactly the time represented by the above five Ahaues, and
when reading at the end of the 3d paragraph that they had ruled 60 years
in Ziyan-caan Bacalar, it becomes clear that these 60 years are not
years that follow the 99 years, but that they were the last years of the
99 mentioned. The two sections supplement each other, and from them the
following impression is conveyed, that Chacnouitan was the territory
situated southwest of the shores of the great lagoon of Bacalar. The
wanderers had been waiting during eleven Ahaues, from the 13th to the
4th Ahau, before they made an attack against the possessors of Bacalar.
An attempt to take it appears to have been made during the 8th, 6th and
4th Ahaues, and only accomplished in the 2d Ahau, through the arrival or
help of Ajmekat, who led them further on to the discovery or conquest of
Chichen-Itza, in the 13th Ahau.

The difficulty of interpreting the two sections is removed as soon as we
view them in the light of the reasons given, not as two distinct epochs
of which the one follows the other, as Señor Perez does (see
commentary), but as belonging to one and the same epoch from the 8th to
the 13th Ahau. It must not be so much questioned what the author ought
to have done in order to represent his history in a logical way, _and on
account of his omissions cast a doubt upon the whole record_, as how to
use what he has left to construct a system from these elements, and to
avail ourselves unhesitatingly of the help of the chronological sequence
of Ahaues, which is and will remain the only reliable thread to lead us
through and out of the labyrinth.

  COMMENTARY OF SEÑOR PEREZ.—“The manuscript informs us that at the
  8th Ahau a colony of Toltecs under their leader Holon Chantépeuh,
  marched out from the city of Tulapan, and that in their wanderings
  they spent 4 Ahaues, 8, 6, 4, 2, till they came to Chacnouitan,
  which happened in the first year of the 13th Ahau. To doubt this is
  not possible, for this statement is the beginning and foundation of
  all later dates. According to my calculation which I will explain
  hereafter, it was from the year 144 to 217, which is 97 and not 81
  years, as the manuscript reports, for if we _compute_ the Ahaues
  with 24 years, as we have shown, and include the first year of the
  Ahau following as the time of their arrival, then the account makes
  97 years. They stayed in Chacnouitan with Ajmekat Tutul Xiu during
  the remaining years of the 13th Ahau, until the 2d Ahau.

  These Ahaues, as we have explained, should follow in the order 13,
  9, 7, 5, and not 13, 6, 8, 2, for this latter list represents
  earlier Ahaues, and as they represent different epochs they can only
  be expressed by the same figures after the expiration of 312 years,
  thereby clearly showing the error.

  It is likewise asserted that they remained 99 years in Chacnouitan,
  which could not have been true, for this would have made 119 actual
  years, or only 95 years if we reckon only four Ahaues, without the
  second, for if we regard the succession we miss the 4th Ahau, which
  the manuscript has left out. But the manuscript does not count four
  but five Ahaues, as it reckons an Ahau at 20 years, the five
  _Ahaues_ less one year make the aforesaid 99 years.”

  _§4. The 11th Ahau, 9th, 7th, 5th, 3d and 1st Ahau, or 120 years,
  they ruled in Chichen-Itza, when it was destroyed, and they
  emigrated to Champutun where the Itzaes, holy men, had houses._

                                                          _Years 120._

  _§5. The 6th Ahau they took possession of the territory of
  Champutun, the 4th Ahau, 2d, 13th, 11th, 9th, 7th, 5th, 3d, 1st,
  12th, 10th and 8th, Champutun was destroyed or abandoned. The Itzaes
  reigned two hundred and sixty years in Champutun when they returned
  in search of their homes, and they lived for several Katuns in the
  uninhabited mountains._

                                                          _Years 260._

  _§6. The 6th Ahau, 4th Ahau, after 40 years they returned to their
  homes once more and Champutun was lost to them._

                                                           _Years 40._

The fourth section, in correct sequence, continues the series from the
13th Ahau when Chichen-Itza was founded. It covers the 11th, 9th, 7th,
5th, 3d, and 1st Ahau, a space of 20 years, in which the wanderers make
the new region of Chichen-Itza their metropolis. Enemies, however, whose
names are not indicated, destroy the place and oblige them to look
elsewhere. They then turn to Champutun (now Champoton, also Potonchan),
situated in a southwesterly direction from Chichen-Itza, on the westerly
shore of the Peninsula.

The fifth section should begin with the 12th Ahau, but instead it
follows the 6th Ahau. Hence the (12th), (10th) and (8th) Ahau are
missing. These 60 years may be supposed to be the time required by the
exiles to recuperate their strength in order to conquer the new
territory of Champoton. In the 6th Ahau then they succeeded in taking
Champoton, and they remained there during the 4th, 2d, 13th, 11th, 9th,
7th, 5th, 3d, 1st, 12th, 10th and 8th Ahaus, a full _Ahau-Katun_ epoch
of 260 years. They were obliged to leave Champoton in the 8th _Ahau_,
and seemed willing to return to their old home, but determined to
reconquer Champoton. We are told in the sixth section that two Katuns or
40 years, were passed in delays and preparations, correctly figured by
the 6th and 4th Ahau; that they then made an attempt to reconquer
Champoton, failing in which, they were obliged to look about for a new

  remained in Chichen-Itza and ruled there until it was destroyed,
  when they betook themselves to Champoton. Here they built their
  houses during the 11th, 9th, 7th, 5th, 3d and 1st Ahaues (_sic_). If
  this succession should be stated correctly it would be the 10th,
  8th, 6th, 4th, 2d and 13th Ahau, or from the year 452 to 576, A. D.,
  when the 13th _Ahau_ expired. The Ahaues represented the years 432,
  456, 480, 504, 528 and 552 A. D.

  §5. In the 6th Ahau they took Champoton and held sway there during
  the following twelve Ahaues until it was destroyed. After this they
  looked again for a home after they had passed several Katunes in the
  mountainous regions, which were the 11th, 9th, 7th, 5th, 3d, 1st,
  12th, 10th, 8th, 6th, 4th, 2d and 13th Ahaues, making a complete
  epoch of 312 years. Their coming should not have been stated as the
  6th, but the 11th Ahau, according to the explanation.

  §6. In the 6th and 4th Ahau they again erected houses after they had
  lost Champoton, that is after a lapse of 48 years, which requires a
  connection with the 11th and 9th Ahau. This occurred in the years
  888 to 936 A. D., for the 11th _Ahau_ began in 888, the 9th in 912,
  and ended in the year 936 A. D.

  _§7. In this Katun of the 2d Ahau, Ajcuitok Tutul Xiu established
  himself in Uxmal; the 2d Ahau, 13th, 11th, 9th, 7th, 5th, 3d, 1st,
  12th and 10th Ahau, equal to 200 years, they governed in Uxmal, with
  the governors of Chichen-Itza and Mayapan._

The former section closing with the 4th Ahau, this begins with the 2d
and is followed in correct succession by the 13th, 11th, 9th, 7th, 5th,
3d, 1st, 12th and 10th, a space of 200 years. In the 2d Ahau, under
their leader Ajcuitok, they settled down in a new region at the town of
Uxmal. It appears that Chichen-Itza had been rebuilt, and Mayapan newly
founded. Rulers resided at both places at peace with the Tutul Xiu at

  Tutul Xiu made a settlement in Uxmal, and reigned there with the
  Governors of Chichen-Itza and Mayapan during 2d, 13th, 11th, 9th,
  7th, 5th, 3d, 1st, 12th and 10th Ahau. A correction of these Ahaues
  gives us the 7th, 5th, 3d, 1st, 12th, 10th, 8th, 6th, 4th and 2d,
  and brings them into harmony with the Christian era, to wit: the
  years 936, 960, 987, 1008, 1032, 1056, 1080, 1104, 1128 and 1152
  A. D. The 2d Ahau ended with the foundation and with the completion
  of 240 years in the year 1176, for the foundation took place in the
  year 936, when the 7th Ahau just now corrected began.

§8. _These are the Katuns, 11th, 9th and 6th Ahau (sic.) In the 8th the
Governor of Chichen-Itza was deposed because he murmured disrespectfully
against Hunac-eel. This happened to Chacxibchac of Chichen-Itza,
governor of the fortress of Mayalpan. Ninety years had elapsed, but the
tenth year of the 8th Ahau was the year in which he was overthrown by
Ajzinte-yut-chan with Tzunte-cum, Taxcal, Pantemit, Xuch-cuet, Ytzcuat
and Kakaltecat. These are the names of the seven Mayalpanes._

§9. _In the same Katun of the 8th Ahau, they attacked King Ulmil in
consequence of his quarrel with Ulil, King of Yzamal; thirteen divisions
of troops he had when he was routed by Hunac-eel; in the 6th Ahau the
war was over after 34 years._

As the foregoing section 7 closed with the 10th Ahau, we should expect
section 8 to begin with the 8th Ahau. We read, however, 11th, 9th and
6th Ahau. This sequence is evidently incorrect in itself, because the
9th can never be followed by the 6th Ahau. If the period began with the
11th Ahau, the sequence should follow with the 9th and 7th Ahau. The
correct reading of the text, however, will result from the examination
of that which follows immediately after this introductory sentence.
There we read these words: “In the 8th Ahau the governor of Chichen-Itza
was deposed,” etc., and this same 8th Ahau is mentioned again in the
sentence that follows, beginning with “Ninety years,” etc. So also it
reappears for a third time in section 9, at its beginning. Now, as
section 8 was expected to commence with the 8th Ahau, it is more than
probable that the author has blundered in some way. We presume that
instead of 11th, 9th and 6th, he intended to write 10th, 8th and 6th.
The 10th would indicate a reference made to the ending of the last
section. The 8th and 6th are those in which all the events described in
our two sections occur, for the insulted governor Hunac-eel of section 8
is the same who takes revenge in section 9.

This difficulty being removed, another arises, how to interpret the
words “ninety years elapsed, but the tenth year of the 8th Ahau was the
year in which he was overthrown,” etc. This reads as if these ninety
years were predecessors of the 8th Ahau. If this were so, they would
fall in the 10th, 12th, 1st, 3d and the first half of the 5th Ahau. Of
such Ahaues mention is made in the foregoing section 7. But we notice
these Ahaues were passed in peace and not in war, as our passage
evidently suggests. We cannot help thinking that another blunder is
concealed in this phrase, and that the author meant to write nine years.
If we write, _Nine years had elapsed, but the tenth year of the 8th Ahau
was the year in which he was overthrown_, the idea of the author seems
stated correctly. These nine years, then, would have fallen in the 10th
Ahau, with which we proposed to commence section 8, and nine years added
to the twenty years of the 8th Ahau, make twenty-nine years, and five
more years of the 6th Ahau give those thirty-four years, which, at the
end of section 9 are expressly indicated as passed in war. Such is the
sense which we give to these two somewhat perplexing sections.

  6th and 8th passed away, and in the latter the governor Hunac-eel of
  Mayapan overthrew Chacxibchac, the governor of Chichen-Itza, because
  he had spoken ill of him, and in the 10th year of the last Ahau, the
  seven chiefs of Hunac-eel overcame the governor Chacxibchac. If a
  correction is to be made it should then stand 13th, 11th, 9th and
  7th Ahau, or the years 1176, 1200, 1224 and 1248 to the year 1272
  A. D. Hence it was the year 1258, the tenth year of the 7th Ahau
  that Chacxibchac was overcome.

  During the 8th Ahau occurred the destruction of the power of King
  Ulmil, because he had waged war against Ulil of Izamal, and
  Hunac-eel at the head of 13 divisions overcame Ulmil in the 6th
  Ahau. [We are unable to give the correction of Señor Perez, as we do
  not comprehend his text.]

  §10. _In the 6th Ahau, 4th Ahau, 2d Ahau, 13th Ahau, 11th Ahau the
  fortified territory of Mayapan was invaded by the men of Itza under
  their king Ulmil because they had walls, and governed in common the
  people of Mayalpan; eighty-three years elapsed after this event, and
  at the beginning of the 11th Ahau, Mayalpan was destroyed by
  strangers of the Uitzes or Highlanders, as was also Tancaj of

                                                           _Years 83._

  _§11. In the 8th Ahau, Mayalpan was destroyed; the epochs of the
  6th, 4th, 2d elapsed, and at this period the Spaniards, for the
  first time arrived, and gave the name of Yucatan to this province,
  sixty years after the destruction of the fortress._

                                                           _Years 60._

In section 10 the 6th Ahau follows the 8th correctly, and the 4th, 2d,
13th and 11th Ahaues were passed in internal wars between Chichen-Itza
and Mayalpan. In the 11th Ahau a highland people, called Uitze (probably
Quiché), unite with the rulers of Chichen-Itza, and they then succeed in
destroying Mayalpan. In section 11 another destruction of Mayalpan is
reported. As this section begins with the 8th Ahau, and the foregoing
ended with the 11th, a gap was left which represents the (9th), (7th),
(5th), (3d), (1st), (12th) and (10th) Ahau. This gap undoubtedly means a
period of great exhaustion to both contending parties, and as a second
destruction of Mayalpan is reported in the 8th Ahau, we may fairly
assume that this city had recovered, and in making a last effort to
regain supremacy, was finally conquered. We understand the two reported
destructions of this city as the heroic and victorious effort of the
Maya race to exterminate the foreign Nahuatl invader, who, for a long
period succeeded in taking a strong foothold in the country. In the
succeeding epochs of the 6th, 4th and 2d Ahau, exhaustion from the war
and disintegration must have ensued, for such was the condition in which
the Spaniards found the Maya people in the following 13th and 11th
Ahaues, which were the last they were allowed to count.

  and 11th Ahaues the fortified land of Mayapan is attacked by the men
  of Itza and their king Ulmil, for it had walls, and the people were
  governed in a community. The place was destroyed by foreigners from
  the Highlands in the 11th Ahau, and Tancaj of Mayapan was also
  conquered. The correction of the reckoning gives us the 5th, 3d,
  1st, 12th and 10th Ahau. We have stated that the 5th _Ahau_ began in
  the year 1272, and the others were consequently 1296, 1320, 1344,
  and 1368, and the 8th Ahau ended in the year 1392 A. D.

  In the 8th Ahau Mayapan was destroyed, then followed the Katunes of
  the 6th, 4th and 2d Ahau, in which latter the Spaniards passed by
  and gave to the province the name of Yucatan. Hence, the Ahaues
  begin again their regular course, though it is a contradiction to
  say in the foregoing section that Mayapan had been destroyed in the
  11th Ahau (corrected to the 10th _Ahau_). It would perhaps have been
  better to say it had been destroyed for the second time, possibly
  for the purpose of rebuilding it. The 8th Ahau began in the year
  1392, the 6th, 4th and 2d Ahaues fell in the years 1416, 1440 and
  1464, which last ended in the year 1488 A. D.

  _§12. The 13th Ahau, 11th Ahau pestilence and small-pox were in the
  castles. In the 13th Ahau chief Ajpulà died. Six years were wanting
  to complete the 13th Ahau. This year was counted towards the east of
  the wheel, and began on the 4th Kan. Ajpulà died on the 18th day of
  the month Zip, on the 9th Imix; and that it may be known in numbers
  it was the year 1536, sixty years after the demolition of the

  _§13. Before the termination of the 11th Ahau the Spaniards arrived,
  holy men from the East came with them when they reached the land.
  The 9th Ahau was the commencement of baptism and Christianity; and
  in this year was the arrival of Toroba (Toral), the first bishop,

After the 11th section had closed with the 2d Ahau, the 12th section
correctly begins with the 13th Ahau, and the 13th and last section
closed the manuscript with the 11th Ahau, when the government of the
Mayas was brought to an end by the arrival of the Spaniards. The
particular details contained in these two sections will be discussed

  11th Ahaues pestilence and small-pox reigned. In the sixth year,
  before the expiration of the 13th _Ahau_, Ajpulà died at the time
  when four Katunes were counted on the east of the wheel. His death
  happened on the 18th day of the month _Zip_, on the 9th day Imix.
  This date is wrong according to my reckoning; for the year 4 _Cavac_
  expired at the beginning and not at the end of the epoch, otherwise
  it would have been the year 4 _Muluc_. In the first case, the year 4
  Cavac was that of 1496, in the other case it would be the year 1506,
  and never that of 1536, for in that year the 9th Ahau began.[45]

We give, besides, a recapitulation which Señor Perez himself added to
his commentary, and for which we are indebted to the kindness of the
late Dr. C. Hermann Berendt:—

  “From what we have stated it will be seen that by only taking into
  account the number of epochs which are mentioned in the manuscript,
  and which elapsed between events, and by restoring this nomenclature
  according to the progressive series of the Ahaues, it appears that
  all indicated facts occur within the space of 58 epochs of 24 years
  each, which makes in all 1392 years to the expiration of the 11th
  Ahau. If we subtract these years from the year 1536, in which the
  11th Ahau expired, 1444 A. D. remains as the year when the Toltecs
  seem to have arrived to colonize the country.

  But if we allow the epochs and their enumeration to stand as they
  are, and in order to integrate the Ahaues in the sequence above
  indicated, add those which are missing, we should find that 97
  epochs, each of 24 years had passed. The sum of 2328 years,
  represented by this count, is a space of time of too great magnitude
  to bring into harmony with Mexican history, and would signify that
  this country was 40 years older than the foundation of Rome, and 17
  years older than the introduction of Greek Olympiads, which is very

  Should any hypercritical person fail to believe in the list of
  epochs because their succession is incorrect, let him remember that
  the list has much to render it worthy of belief, though it must be
  subjected to corrections. Still less ought any one to refuse belief
  in the historical statement of events. The manuscript indicates a
  traditional origin common to the history of all primitive nations.
  It is noticeable that no traditions exist to contradict the
  manuscript, and that it is the only one thus far discovered. The
  contents of the manuscript might be thus epitomized:—

  1. The Toltecs occupied 4 epochs in going from their home to

                                                         144–217 A. D.

  2. They arrived there in the first year of the succeeding epoch, and
  remained still 4 epochs more with their chieftain, Ajmekat Tutul

                                                         218–360 A. D.

  3. They discovered Ziyan-Caan or Bacalar and ruled therein 3 epochs,
  till they discovered Chichen-Itza.

                                                         360–432 A. D.

  4. They remained at Chichen-Itza 6 epochs, till they set out to
  colonize Champoton.

                                                         432–576 A. D.

  5. From the discovery of Champoton, which they colonized and ruled
  until they lost it, 13 epochs elapsed.

                                                         576–888 A. D.

  6. They remain 2 epochs in the wilderness till they return again to

                                                         888–936 A. D.

  7. In the following epoch Ajcuitok Tutul Xiu colonized Uxmal, and
  ruled during 10 epochs in harmony with the governors of Mayapan and

                                                        936–1176 A. D.

  8. Three other epochs pass, and in the 10th year of the following
  epoch Chacxibchac, ruler of Chichen, was defeated by Hunac-eel,
  ruler of Mayapan, and his captains.

                                                       1176–1258 A. D.

  9. In the same epoch of the defeat of the ruler of Chichen they
  marched against Ulmil, who was king in the same Chichen, because he
  had waged war against Ulil, king of Izamal, which war Hunac-eel,
  brought to a close in the following epoch.

                                                       1258–1572 A. D.

  10. In spite of Ulmil’s defeat this ruler of Chichen planned an
  invasion of Mayapan. After the lapse of 2 more epochs, and in the
  third year of that which followed, Mayapan was destroyed in the year
  1368 by strangers who came from the mountains.

                                                       1272–1392 A. D.

  11. Besides the three named epochs, and indeed in the last of them,
  the Spaniards passed along, who gave to the province the name of

                                                       1392–1488 A. D.

  12. In the following epoch an epidemic reigned even in the temples
  and fortified places, and in the 6th year Ajpula died on the 11th of
  September, 1493.

                                                       1488–1512 A. D.

  13. In the 11th and last epoch (1536–1576) the conquerors arrived,
  to wit: in 1527, and in the following the first Bishop came, in the
  year 1541, and the conquest was completed in 1560 A. D.

                  *       *       *       *       *

  Thus much I have been able to bring to light in this matter. But
  with the help of dates, which I do not possess, and with that of the
  travels you have made in our country, the information which you have
  gathered must have enlarged your ideas on this subject, and I wish
  you would be so kind as to communicate them to your most devoted

                                                   F. I. JUAN PIO PEREZ.

 _Peto, April 2, 1842._

                          CONCLUDING REMARKS.

It will be noticed from the text of the Manuscript, that no events are
commemorated but such as are connected with _war_. In this style also
the Nahuatl annals were drawn up. With both nations _war_ was recognized
as the only fact worthy to be kept in the memory of the coming
generations. Nor does the author state whether the country was ruled by
kings or an emperor. It is rather suggested (section 7) that the tribes
were gathered in groups, with a large town as a centre, and this town
was governed by a priest. The words _halach uinicil_, _holy men_, were
somewhat too freely interpreted with _governor_ by the translator. In
regard to the considerable gaps in the sequence of years in the
manuscript, we will not longer attribute them to a lack of memory on the
part of the author, but to the custom generally observed among the
annalists to be regardless of any work of peace performed by the nation;
and whenever the question shall be discussed, at what epoch the building
of the huge pyramids and temples took place, these dates will contribute
to the answer. Periods of peace certainly began with years of great
exhaustion; but recovery must have ensued, and the unshaken energy of
the people and their leaders must have been directed to the undertaking
of works, in which they could exhibit also their taste for pomp and
architectural achievements. The gaps, therefore, instead of casting a
shadow upon the authority and completeness of the manuscript, may rather
be thought to perform the silent office of throwing light into the
obscure past of the Maya history. As to the method, however, which we
employed in computing the omitted periods of Ahaues, we have only to say
that it grew out from the nature of the Maya enumeration itself. The two
ends of the interrupted series being given, the number of the
intervening Ahaues could be easily supplied.

What now remains is, to discover for the restored and completed series
of Ahaues the corresponding chronological expressions in our era. We
find the total Ahau periods mentioned in the annals were 50. We have
thought it necessary to complete twenty more periods, so that we have
seventy periods (20×70), or 1400 years. As soon therefore as we know in
which year of our era the last or 13th Ahau mentioned in the manuscript
fell, we can, by reckoning backward, find the years date of the first
Ahau mentioned, to wit: the 8th Ahau, and also determine the dates and
events of each of all the other intervening Ahaues. The manuscript
fortunately affords us the necessary material for determining with
incontestable certainty the years date of the last 13th Ahau. It is the
following: we read in the 12th section that Chief Ajpulà died in a year
when there were still six years wanting before the expiration of the
13th Ahau, and that the year of his decease was 1536 A. D.

According to this statement the 13th Ahau ended with the year 1542.
Bishop Landa (see §41 of his Relacion de las Cosas de Yucatan) confirms
the correctness of the above calculation, though he says that the 13th
Ahau expired with the year 1541. Landa undoubtedly selects this date of
June 10th, 1541, as that of the last decisive victory at T’ho over the
Indians, while the author of the manuscript may have had in mind the
date when Mérida was officially incorporated as the capital, and a
dependency of the Spanish crown, which was January 6, 1542.[46] If we
subtract the total number of Ahaues already obtained, and amounting to
1400 years, from the year 1542, we obtain for the first epoch named in
the manuscript which is the 8th Ahau, or the starting of the conquerors
from Tulapan, the years 142–162 of our modern Christian era.

Of all the dates calculated from the manuscript only that of 1542 is
well established from a historical point of view, as that when Mérida
was declared the future capital of the conquered country. It is
represented by the last year of the 13th Ahau. A second date and event,
that of the final destruction of Mayapan, is mentioned by Cogolludo, who
places it about the year 1420 A. D., which would give (see table, page
96) a 12th or a 10th _Ahau_ period. But the manuscript in §11 gives
_Vaxac Ahau_, or the 8th _Ahau_, which according to our computation
represents the years between 1442 and 1462. Landa agrees with this
statement (Relacion de las Cosas de Yucatan, §IX., page 52). “_It is now
120 years since Mayapan was destroyed._” Landa wrote in the year 1566,
therefore, in his conception Mayapan was destroyed in 1446, which year
falls correctly in the 8th _Ahau_.

Landa’s account agrees also with another event mentioned in the
manuscript, the wanderings of the Itzaes 40 years in the wilderness
before they settled down at Uxmal and Mayapan, in the 6th and 4th Ahau,
which is in our calculation from 942–982 A. D. Landa, however, does not
fix the year (Relacion de las Cosas de Yucatan, §VIII., page 46). In
§VIII., page 49, he likewise speaks of a king of the tribes of Cocomes,
hostile to the Itzaes, who kept a Mexican garrison in Mayapan. This is
an allusion to the seven Mayalpanes mentioned in the manuscript (in §8),
all of whom have Mexican (Nahuatl) names. There also the year is not
given. However, his confirmation of so early events in Maya history
appears to be of high value.

It is fortunate that the manuscript just in the middle of its narration
exhibits a long succession of Ahau periods without any gaps at all. We
can count through sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, thirty-one _Ahau_
periods or 620 _years_ of uninterrupted history. They represent,
according to our calculation, the epochs from the years 682–1302 A. D.,
or from the taking of Champoton to the first destruction of Mayapan by
the assistance of the foreign Uitzes. This compact period of time
touches a very remote epoch in the history of the civilized nations of
Central America. It reaches backwards to an epoch when in Europe, Pepin
D’Heristal and his family laid the foundation to their future ascendancy
on the throne of France. If we look still further backward in our table,
we notice another long period of time (sections 3 and 4) which
represents the sum of eight uninterrupted Ahaues, equal to 160 years.
The connection of these two great periods was re-established by the
interpolation of the three Ahaues, 8, 10 and 12 in section 5, a
correction for which there should be not the least question. Groping our
way, we should reach the epochs when Bacalar was founded, with a date as
early as between 462 and 482 A. D. At this point we are no longer able
to follow the conquerors on their route. The location of Bacalar is well
known to us, but that of Chacnouitan and Tulapan has escaped our
investigation. Notwithstanding, by the aid of the quoted Ahaues we are
able to fix the time for the long rest and residence in Chacnouitan, and
for their remote starting from Tulapan. It comprises the epochs
backwards from the year 462 to that of 162, and since the text reports
that eighty years were spent in the migration, we are entitled to fix
the time for the arrival in the peninsula with the year 242 A. D. It is
of significance for our purpose, that this settling on the peninsula can
be computed with the year 242 A. D. It represents, as will be seen, the
13th Ahau, a date always assumed by the Maya chronologists as one with
which they designate the commencement of a new cycle.

The following table contains a chronological translation of the Ahaues
as they correspond with the years of our Christian era. Accordingly, the
historical events would correspond to the following dates of our
Christian era:—

     THE    │
     § 1    │8, 6, 4, 2.       Passed in the migration of the conquerors
            │                    from Tulapan, = 162, 182, 202, 222.
     § 2    │(13), (11), (9),  Their stay in Chacnouitan, = 242, 262,
            │  (7), (5), (3),    282, 302, 322, 342, 362, 382, 402, 422,
            │  (1), (12),        442.
            │  (10), 8, 6.
     § 3    │(4) 2, 13.        They take Bacalar,  = 462, 482, 502.
     § 4    │11, 9, 7, 5, 3,   Settlement at Chichen-Itza and its
            │  1.                destruction, = 522, 542, 562, 582, 602,
            │                    622.
     § 5    │(12), (10), (8).  En route for Champoton, = 642, 662, 682.
     do.    │6, 4, 2, 13, 11,  In Champoton, = 702, 722, 742, 762, 782,
            │  9, 7, 5, 3, 1,    802, 822, 842, 862, 882, 902, 922, 942.
            │  12, 10, 8.
     § 6    │6, 4.             They lose Champoton twice, = 962, 982.
     § 7    │2, 13, 11, 9, 7,  Uxmal, Mayapan and Chichen-Itza in
            │  5, 3, 1, 12,      league, = 1002, 1022, 1042, 1062, 1082,
            │  10.               1102, 1122, 1142, 1162, 1182.
 §§ 8 and 9 │8.                The war between Chichen-Itza and Mayapan,
            │                    = 1182–1202.
     §10    │6, 4, 2, 13, 11.  The war continues; the Uitzes help in the
            │                    destruction of Mayapan, = 1222, 1242,
            │                    1262, 1282, 1302.
     §11    │(9), (7), (5),    Mayapan destroyed again, = 1322, 1342,
            │  (3), (1), (12),   1362, 1382, 1402, 1422, 1442, 1462.
            │  (10), 8.
     do.    │6, 4, 2.          The Spaniards make their appearance in
            │                    Yucatan, = 1482, 1502, 1522.
  §§ 12 and │13.               Beginning of the propagation of
     13     │                    Christianity, = 1542.

It will be noticed that the result obtained by our computation is almost
identical with that of Señor Perez. In his conception the manuscript
comprises the epoch from 144–1536 A. D.; in ours, that from 142–1542. A
coincidence like this may be thought to justify the conclusion that
although we differed in our methods of interpretation and reckoning, the
agreement of the results appears so much the more satisfactory. We
should be pleased to view the subject in so favorable a light, but fear
we cannot. For, whilst, on the one hand, we are far from claiming any
infallibility for our _modus procedendi_, on the other hand, we cannot
help protesting against Señor Perez’s methods of obtaining his results.
Besides giving to the Ahau the not admissible duration of 24 years, he
further makes an evident mistake in the summing up of the Ahaues quoted
in the manuscript, by counting 58 of them instead of 50. He does not
seem aware that the Maya author mentions various of these Ahaues twice,
and even thrice, a fact which we took care to point out in the course of
our discussion. It is only by increasing the length of the Ahau to 24
years, and also by counting 8 Ahaues more than there actually were, that
Señor Perez is able to arrive at the date of 144 A. D. for the exodus
from Tulapan. If we should indeed incline to make allowance for his
choice of the 24–year period, because as it seems to us he was misled by
his authorities, he notwithstanding must be held accountable for the
mistake made in _counting in_ those eight ill-starred Ahaues. His
computation therefore being defective in itself, the favorable
impression gained from the fact that two interpreters arrived at an
almost identical result, will disappear. Such an agreement would have
been very valuable if either of the two interpreters could show that his
method stands the test of incontrovertible proof. Therefore, it is only
by chance that Señor Perez’s mistakes in reckoning make up very nearly
the same number of years that we have obtained; first, by means of the
interpolation of 20 more Ahaues; and second, by allowing only 20 years
for each Ahau period.

In conclusion it may be proper to make some statements as to the
position which this manuscript holds in aboriginal literature, and also
as to its value and use as a chronological document. In the first place
we are fully convinced of its genuineness. We have not been able to
examine the document itself as to the material upon which it was
written, nor as to the characters of the text, nor as to external
appearance, and we are not informed into whose hands it fell after it
left those of its author before it came into the possession of Señor
Perez. But we believe that Señor Perez had good reasons for regarding it
as a document prepared in the last half of the 16th century, at a time
near to that when Yucatan was conquered by the Spaniards. The language
and construction belong to that epoch, as we are told. But even if it
should not be an original, but a second or third copy, this would not be
enough to shake our faith in the authenticity and importance of its
contents. For setting aside the fact that its matter has a specific
national character, and presupposes a knowledge on the part of its
author which only a native could have obtained, the style of its
composition indicates its national bearing.

Let us fancy ourselves in the position of the Maya writer while at work.
Before him, on the table, stands the wheel for counting the Ahaues, and
as he bends over the sheets containing the painted annals, his eye turns
alternately from the paper to the wheel, making a careful comparison.
Then he pauses and considers in his mind what expressions he must use,
and afterwards begins to write. From time to time he cannot forbear,
however, casting an occasional glance at the letters of the Spanish
alphabet, in order to shape them correctly, for he is still a beginner
in this new art. Now, perhaps he wavers for a moment, and then begins
anew. The recollection of some ancient Maya song steals in upon his
mind, and by the aid of a few significant sentences he incorporates the
substance with his text. To interpolations of this kind we may attribute
such phrases as “the disrespectful utterances of Chacxibchac against
Hunac-eel.” Of the ancient Maya ballads, it is to be regretted, none are
known to exist. Yet there is no reason for relinquishing the hope
altogether, that some day, at least, a copy of the painted annals, which
our Maya writer evidently consulted, may be discovered, while we can
willingly dispense with the ballads.

As long as such hopes fail of realization, we must be satisfied with the
slight, but yet important, contribution offered us in the manuscript. We
may complain of its brevity, yet notwithstanding it is the most complete
document we possess of ancient American history. It is all the more
important for the reason that it relates to Yucatan, which in our
opinion, is the _very cradle_ of early American civilization. It is also
pleasant to observe that the manuscript is not at variance with what we
have learned from the fragmentary records made by Landa, Lizana and
Cogolludo. Notwithstanding its imperfections, it interprets and explains
much that had hitherto appeared uncertain and deficient. It is of
undoubted authenticity, and forms a firm foundation for the
reconstruction of the history of the past, which till now has remained
enigmatical, and which is faintly expressed by the crumbling ruins of
the peninsula.

The manuscript, finally, affords a guarantee that the long past not only
reached back to the remotest epoch of our era, but that more than all,
it stands in a near, perhaps in the most intimate, connection with the
history of the Nahuatl race. In reference to the homogeneous structure
of the Maya and Nahuatl calendars we have already expressed our belief
that these two nations were closely related to each other. In the
traditions of both occurs the name of Tula or Tulapan, as a fatherland
common to each of them.[47] This supposition appears to us still further
justified by the circumstance that the chronological annals of both
nations revert to the same period of time as a starting point. As
regards the Nahuatls, we refer to the circle of signs engraved on the
Calendar Stone which gave us the information that the annalists of
Anahuac in the year 1479, counted back twelve hundred and forty-eight
years to the celebration of their first festival in honor of the sun;
that is, they carried back their political or religious record to the
year 231 A. D. The Maya manuscript corresponds to this date, as we
think, since the year 242 A. D. resulted from our calculation. It was
the year in which the ancient conquerors, after wandering 80 years,
arrived on the Island of Chacnouitan where they made a permanent
settlement. This event happened in the 13th Ahau (see table), which, as
we know, is the starting point of Maya chronology, and likewise the
first date of that name which the manuscript mentions. The difference of
11 years which appears in the Nahuatl computation cannot be regarded as
of much importance.

                         OF THE CHRISTIAN ERA:—

                 Ahaues Before Christ│
                     10           118│
                      8            98│
                      6            78│
                      4            58│
                      2            38│
                     13            18│

                 Ahaues Christian Era│
                     11             2│
                      9            22│
                      7            42│
                      5            62│
                      3            82│
                      1           102│
                     12           122│
                     10           142│
                      8           162│
                      6           182│
                      4           202│
                      2           222│
                     13           242│

                     11           262│I. Ahau Katun.
                      9           282│
                      7           302│
                      5           322│
                      3           342│
                      1           362│
                     12           382│
                     10           402│
                      8           422│
                      6           442│
                      4           462│
                      2           482│
                     13           502│

                     11           522│II. Ahau Katun.
                      9           542│
                      7           562│
                      5           582│
                      3           602│
                      1           622│
                     12           642│
                     10           662│
                      8           682│
                      6           702│
                      4           722│
                      2           742│
                     13           762│

                     11           782│III. Ahau Katun.
                      9           802│
                      7           822│
                      5           842│
                      3           862│
                      1           882│
                     12           902│
                     10           922│
                      8           942│
                      6           962│
                      4           982│
                      2          1002│
                     13          1022│

                     11          1042│IV. Ahau Katun.
                      9          1062│
                      7          1082│
                      5          1102│
                      3          1122│
                      1          1142│
                     12          1162│
                     10          1182│
                      8          1202│
                      6          1222│
                      4          1242│
                      2          1262│
                     13          1282│

                     11          1302│V. Ahau Katun.
                      9          1322│
                      7          1342│
                      5          1362│
                      3          1382│
                      1          1402│
                     12          1422│
                     10          1442│
                      3          1462│
                      6          1482│
                      4          1502│
                      2          1522│
                     13          1542│

If, however, it should seem desirable to examine chronological parallels
we shall refer our readers to a second chapter on Central American
chronology which is hereafter to appear, in which we propose to
undertake the task of illustrating and explaining still further the
parallelism of Maya and Nahuatl dates. It will then be proved that in
this written and still existing Nahuatl chronology, supported by the
date 231 A. D., found on the Calendar Stone, a still earlier date
designated as _X Calli_ can be found, which represents the year 137
A. D. In this year, according to the annals, a great eclipse of the sun
took place, with the remarkable statement that it occurred exactly at
the end of a year at 12 o’clock noon. In our manuscript we find the
first date preceding the settlement of Chacnouitan designated with the
8th Ahau, the date of the setting out from Tulapan, which we have
already stated to be the years 142–162 A. D. Another agreement is that
the Nahuatl records show that 166 years before the occurrence of the
above mentioned eclipse of the sun in the year 1 _Tecpatl_, a congress
of astrologers to amend the calendar of the nation took place at a town
called Huehuetlapallan, and by reckoning back we find that this year
corresponds with the year 29 B. C. If we then follow a hint which Señor
Perez has very ingeniously furnished that the manuscript strangely
begins with an 8th Ahau instead of a 13th Ahau, and that the Maya
chronology could be dated back to such a 13th Ahau as a proper beginning
connected with some interesting event, we find by reckoning back from
the 8th to the 13th Ahau the corresponding date to be the years 18–38
B. C.

Now, the results gained in this line of investigation, can be formulated
as follows:—

1. That the conquerors and settlers of the Yucatan peninsula, as well as
those of the Anahuac lakes, were joint participants in a correction of
their national calendar about the year 29 B. C.

2. That about the year 137 A. D., when a total eclipse of the sun took
place, the ancestors of both nations set out from their common
fatherland, Tula or Tulapan.

3. That about the year 231 A. D., both nations made their appearance on
the coast of Central America, and succeeded in conquering a large
portion of the peninsula.

It is true that we have only documentary evidence to substantiate the
theory just referred to. But, if we do not possess the desirable
evidence of monumental inscriptions, it behooves us to examine and to
weigh carefully that which still remains. In this connection we should
also remember that the sculptor, in carving his records, was not guided
by his memory alone, but that he copied the symbols from the sacred
books of his race; and that on the other hand, our learned Maya writer,
when translating these latter into written phonetic language, drew his
text, as did the sculptor from similar sources.

If therefore with the help of written records we can build up hypotheses
partially satisfactory, and not altogether improbable, we have
accomplished all that could be expected for the present, at least, and
have perhaps excited an interest in a branch of history which has
hitherto been held as dead and unproductive.

In conclusion, we would express the hope that the Maya manuscript may be
submitted to a rigid critical and linguistic examination, and that the
publication of the work may be appended to a heliotype copy of the
original in order to exhibit to students a document of so great
importance, and to ensure its preservation.


Footnote 26:

  S. Salisbury, Jr., Esq.

Footnote 27:

  Col. John D. Washburn.

Footnote 28:

  The Hon. Isaac Davis.

Footnote 29:

  The Palenque Tablet, in the U. S. National Museum. By Charles Rau,

Footnote 30:

  The North Americans of Antiquity, their origin, migrations, and type
  of civilization considered. By John T. Short, 1880.

Footnote 31:

  Historia de Yucatan. By Eligio Ancona, Mérida, 1879, Vol. I., page 95,
  note 1.

Footnote 32:

  Historia de Yucatan, Eligio Ancona, Mérida, 1879, Vol. II., page 78.

Footnote 33:

  Historia de Yucatan, Eligio Ancona, Mérida, 1879, Vol. I., page 156.
  “Landa in Relacion de las cosas de Yucatan, § viii., also speaks of
  the tranquillity and good harmony which reigned among the chiefs of
  those cities, and we notice that concerning the epochs referred to,
  his report is in accordance, in many details, with that of the
  anonymous author of the ‘Maya Epochs.’”

Footnote 34:

  _Diego Lopez de Cogolludo_, Historia de Yuacathan. Madrid, 1683, Lib.
  IV., Cap. 5. “The count they kept in their books was by 20 to 20
  years, and also by _lustros_ of 4 to 4 years. When five of these
  lustros had passed, or twenty years elapsed, they called this time
  _Katun_, and set one hewn stone (_piedra labrada_) upon another, well
  cemented by lime and sand. This can be noticed in their temples and
  ecclesiastical buildings, and especially on some ancient walls of our
  convent in Mérida, upon which the cells have been built.”

  The expression Katun, mentioned in this passage, and to which we have
  assigned a place in our title, requires a few words of explanation. As
  far as we know, it occurs only three times in our Central American
  authors; in Cogolludo, Landa, and in our manuscript. The first gives
  Katun the meaning of a period of twenty years. The second (§ XLI.),
  uses the following phraseology: “Contando XIII. veyntes con una de las
  XX. letras de los meses que llaman Ahau, sin orden, sino
  retruecandolos como pareceran en las siguiente raya redonda, llaman
  les a estos en su lengua Katunes.” This phraseology is somewhat
  obscure, nevertheless it will be admitted that his intention was to
  state that each of the images of the thirteen Ahaues, depicted on the
  surface of the wheel, represented twenty years, this being a period
  which they also called Katunes. We arrive at this definite conclusion
  by the consideration that if Landa says that the period of twenty
  years was called _Ahau_, and another one, that of 260 years, _Katun_,
  he would have stated the latter fact in expressive words; the occasion
  for doing so being too urgent to let it pass. The third author uses
  the word _Katun_ in his introductory lines, without giving it any
  numerical value. But it will be noticed that in the text which
  follows, the expression _Katun_ is used interchangeably with that of
  Ahau for a period of 20 years. This concordance of the three authors
  allows us to conclude that whenever the word _Katun_ is employed, the
  short period of 20 years was meant. In this connection a question
  arises: How is it that no author has made mention of the long period
  of 260 years, with which we become acquainted in Señor Perez’s
  chronological essay. It is probable he found it mentioned in some Maya
  manuscripts in which this long period appeared under the name of _Ahau
  Katun_. Though this fact of itself may be considered of no importance,
  still, as it would bring to light another of the many numerical
  combinations (13×20=260) in which those people indulged, with the
  fundamental figures of their calendar system, we must feel a great
  interest in the asserted fact, hoping it will turn out to be a correct
  statement. Our researches have been directed for a long time towards
  the discovery of the symbols which the Maya annalists or sculptors
  would have employed for their chronological periods. It was in
  connection with these studies that we discovered the Nahuatl symbols
  for the same, of which we gave account in our discussion on the
  Calendar Stone. Yet while this discovery only corroborates the
  suspicion long entertained that a certain set of Maya symbols
  represented the lustra of 5, and another the period of 20 years, we
  have not yet been able to recognize a Maya symbol for the period of
  260 years.

  The word Katun is a compound of _Kat_, to ask, to consult, and _tun_,
  stone; hence the stone, which when asked, gives account. Thus it was
  also understood by Cogolludo, who, when mentioning the word _Katun_
  (see above), was referring to the square stones incrusted into walls,
  upon which the convent was built. What traditions he followed in this
  is still better illustrated by the words in continuation of this
  passage: “In a place called Tixualahtun, which means a spot where one
  hewn stone is set upon another one, the Archives of the Indians are
  said to have existed, to which they resorted for all questions of
  historical interest (recurso de todos los acaecimientos), as we should
  do to Simancas, in Spain.” The stone columns found on the spot named,
  can be seen pictured in J. L. Stephens’ Incidents of travel in
  Yucatan, Vol. II., page 318.

Footnote 35:

  Señor Orozco y Berra, the learned and laborious author of the “Carta
  ethnografica de México, México, 1864,” has made this matter a subject
  of special investigation in “Anales del Museo Nacional de México,”
  1879, Tom. I., Entrega 7, page 305.

Footnote 36:

  Las cosas de Yucatan. Diego de Landa. Edition B. de Bourbourg. Paris,
  1864. Page 315, § XL.

Footnote 37:

  A specimen of such an instrument with a surface inscribed as the cut
  shows would hardly have been preserved. We think that the box enclosed
  a round disk turning on a pivot; this contrivance, evidently served as
  an aid to the memory in enumerating the alternating Ahaues. To-day, we
  should obtain the same result by writing the Ahaues in a horizontal or
  vertical line, but the Nahuatls and Mayas, having solely a symbolical
  or pictorial manner of representation, made use of this ingenious
  arrangement by painting the series of the Ahaues on the circumference
  of a circle. Thus the idea of an uninterrupted sequence of time and
  the connection of the 2d Ahau with the 13th were brought to notice.

Footnote 38:

  Ahau translated means: sovereign, king, august, principal. See page 3
  of Juan Pio Perez’s “Diccionario de la lengua Maya,” published in
  Mérida in 1877, by the friends and faithful executors of the last will
  of the defunct scholar. This valuable work comprises the whole of the
  linguistical stock of the Maya language, the words collected exceeding
  the number of 20,000, on 437 pages, quarto. It may be purchased from
  Dr. George E. Shiels, 896 Broadway, New York.

Footnote 39:

  Proceedings of Am. Antiq. Society, April 24, 1878, page 16, in an
  article on the Mexican Calendar Stone, by Ph. J. J. Valentini, in
  which mention was made of this singular kind of notation from the
  right to the left hand. A. v. Humboldt, in “Vue des Cordilléres,” page
  186, remarks: “Le cercle intérieur offre les vingt signes du jour: en
  se souvenant que Cipactli est le premier et Xochitl le dernier, on
  voit qu’gu’ici, _comme partout ailleurs_, les Mexicains ont rangé les
  hiéroglyphes de droite à gauche.” The great scholar has clothed in the
  form of a proven statement that which at the beginning of this century
  was an opinion generally prevalent among Americanists, and which does
  not bear the test, when the numerous copies existing of the Mexican
  calendar days are examined. They all show the arrangement of the days
  from the left to the right. The sculptured calendar is the only

Footnote 40:

  Historia de Yucatan; by Eligio Ancona, Mérida, 1879, Vol. I., page

Footnote 41:

  Remarks on the Centres of Ancient Civilization in Central America.
  Address read before the Amer. Geogr. Society, New York, July 10, 1876,
  by Dr. C. Hermann Berendt.

Footnote 42:

  Herrera, Decade IV., Lib. X., Chapt. 2, 3 and 4. These three chapters
  are a compilation of data concerning the ancient history of Yucatan,
  and the adventurous career of the Itza race, which appear to be drawn
  from sources unknown at this day, and which are independent of what we
  can learn from Landa, from the author of the Maya Manuscript, and from

Footnote 43:

  Traces of such a migration and succeeding halting places can be
  discovered in the Quiché annals, edited by Brasseur de Bourbourg, with
  the title of _Popol Vuh_. “Popol Vuh, le livre sacré et les mythes de
  l’antiquité centro-Américaine,” Paris, 1861, on pages 83, 235, 241,
  and pages 215, 217, 236, in which names are quoted and regions
  described which give evidence of a course of migration from northern
  to southern Mexico.

Footnote 44:

  _E. Ancona, Historia de Yucatan, Vol. I., page 34._ Mérida, 1879.—“The
  word Chacnovitan or Chacnouitan first appeared in the Maya MSS. or
  series of Maya epochs. Upon examining this document, and observing
  that the tribe wandered from Tulapan to Chacnouitan and later to
  Bakhalal and from there to Chichen-Itza, etc., it will be understood
  that the name in question was given to no other portion of our
  peninsula than to that which lies at the south. Brasseur de Bourbourg
  supposes, and we think not without reason, that Chacnouitan lay
  between Bakhalal and Acallan, s. e. of the Laguna de los Terminos.—See
  Brasseur de Bourbourg, Archives de la comission scientifica, Tomo. I,
  page 422, note 2.”

Footnote 45:

  Señor Perez in his commentary makes his calculation that 1496 was the
  year of the death of Chief Ajpulà, and succeeds in giving it a
  plausible appearance of correctness. But we observe that in order to
  reach this date he was not aware of having altered the words of the
  Maya text, and those of his own translation. This translation said
  correctly: “There were still six years wanting before the completion
  of the 13th Ahau.” In the text of the commentary, however, we find him
  starting his count on the supposition that the original text was the
  sixth year of the 13th Ahau. Though this change is by no means
  allowable, he succeeds, ingeniously enough, in arriving at the year
  above quoted, and in stating also the dates of the day and month,
  precisely as the annalist had set them down.

Footnote 46:

  Eligio Ancona, Historia de Yucatan, Mérida, 1879, Vol. I., page 333.

Footnote 47:

  With reference to the Mayas, consult the Quiché traditions in Brasseur
  de Bourbourg’s Popol Vuh, pages 215, 217 and 236, and Brasseur de
  Bourbourg’s Memorial of Tecpan Atitlan, page 170, note 3. For the
  Nahuatl race, Brasseur de Bourbourg’s Histoire des Nations civilisées
  du Mexique, Vol. I., Appendix, page 428, in extracts made from the
  Codex Chimalpopoca.


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. P. 53, changed “Ahcuitok” to “Ajcuitok”.
 2. P. 81, changed “Ajmekut” to “Ajmekat”.
 3. P. 94, changed “Mayapanes” to “Mayalpanes”.
 4. Footnote 9, changed “de la grau” to “de la gran”.
 5. Footnote 39, changed “interieur” to “intérieur” and “hiéroglyphs” to
 6. Footnote 43, changed “centro-Americaine” to “centro-Américaine”.
 7. Silently corrected typographical errors.
 8. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
 9. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mexican Copper Tools: the Use of Copper by the Mexicans Before the Conquest; And The Katunes of Maya History, a Chapter in the Early History of Central America, With Special Reference to the Pio Perez Manuscript." ***

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