The Apotheosis of Janaab' Pakal: Science, History, and Religion at Classic Maya Palenque
The Apotheosis of Janahb Pakal takes up anew the riddles within a number of Maya hieroglyphic inscriptions first recognized by Floyd Lounsbury. Gerardo Aldana unpacks these mathematical riddles using an approach grounded in a reading of the texts made possible by recent advances in decipherment. Using a history of science methodology, he expands upon (and sometimes questions) the foundational work of archaeoastronomers. Aldana follows three lines of investigation: a reading of the hieroglyphic inscriptions of the Classic period (A.D. 250-900), mathematical analysis to recover Classic Maya astronomical practice, and a historiography of Maya astronomy. Quoted hieroglyphs appear throughout the text for cross-examination. Aldana reveals the social and political context of Maya astronomy by explicating the science and calendrical calculations found in the tablets of the Temple of Inscriptions and the Cross Group from the city of Palenque. He offers a compelling interpretation of an 819-day count, demonstrating its utility as an astronumerological tool that Maya scribes used to simplify complex calculations. During troubled times in Palenque, Aldana contends, Kan Balam II devised a means to preserve the legitimacy of his ruling dynasty. He celebrated a re-creation of the city as a contemporary analogue of a mythical Creation on three levels: monumental construction for a public audience, artistic patronage for an elite audience, and a secret mathematical astronomical language only for rulers-elect. Discussing all of these efforts, Aldana focuses on the recovery of the secret language and its historical context.
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Only for the specialist.
Recovering Maya Astronomy
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accession Ahkal Mo Ajaw 18 ajawtahk Aldana ancient Maya archaeoastronomy architectural astronomical astronumerology Aveni B'ahlam B'alaj Chan K'awiil bak'tun birth Calendar Round Celestial Dragon ceremony Chak Chapter chol qiij chumtun Classic Maya Classic period decipherment deity depicted distance number Dresden Codex dynasty Figure Floyd Lounsbury GI's temple GIfather glyph glyphic gods GUI's Hero Twins hieroglyphic inscriptions iconography interpretation interval Jaguar Jun Junajpu K'an Joy Chitam k'atun K'inich Janaab K'ix K'ujul B'aakal Ajaw K'uk Kalak'mul Kimi Kumk'u Lakam Lounsbury Lounsbury's Maize Martin and Grube Mat's mathematical Maya astronomy Merle Greene Robertson Mesoamerican Muwaan Mat Naab numerological Nuun Ujol Chaak Ohl Mat Pakal Palenque Palenque's patronized political Popol Vuh puzzle refer ritual ruler sarcophagus Schele and Freidel Schele and Mathews scholars specific Stela sweatbaths synodic period Temple of Inscriptions throne Tikal tion Triad Group Tz'aak Ajaw Underworld Venus West Tablet white headband Zuyua