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THE Occurrence of that dreadful cataclysm caused great commotion among the inhabitants of the countries on both sides of the Atlantic. They recorded it in the annals kept in the archives of their temples, and in other places where its remembrance was most likely to be preserved for the knowledge of coming generations; and so it has lasted to our day.
The existence of this land, and its destruction by earthquakes and fire, then by submergence, is a mooted question among modern scientists. There are many who, disdaining to investigate the ancient American records, and affecting to regard as fabulous Plato's narrative and that of the Egyptian priests Psenophis and Sonchis to Solon, although these asserted that "all that, has been written down of old, and is preserved in our temples," prefer to invent hollow theories and to advance opinions having no firmer foundations than their own magistral ipse dixit, and thus dispose of the question by a denial, little dreaming that, besides Plato's narrative, the records of the catastrophe are to be found, full of details, in the writings of
four different Maya authors, in the Maya language. Each of these has written the relation in his own particular style, but all agree as to the date of the occurrence and the manner in which the destruction of the Atlantean land was effected. It may be that three of them had read each other's writings on that subject; but as to the fourth, it can be safely presumed that he knew nothing of the works of those writers, all communications between his country and theirs having ceased to exist long before his time.
One of these narratives, carved on stone in bas-relief, is preserved in the city of Chichen. The slab on which it is written forms the lintel of the door of the inner chamber at the southern end of the building called Akab-ɔib, "the awful, the tenebrous record." It is as intact to-day as when it came from the hand of the sculptor. (Plate LIII.) Not only did the Maya historians record the submergence of Mu in such a lasting manner, but the date of its occurrence became a new starting point for their chronological computations. From it they began a new era and reckoned the epochs of their history, as the Christians do from the birth of Christ, and the Mohammedans from the Hegira or flight of Mohammed from Mecca.
They also arranged all their other computations on the base of 13, in memory of the thirteenth Chuen, the day of the month in which the cataclysm occurred. So they made weeks of thirteen days; weeks of years of four times thirteen, or fiftytwo years; and their great cycle of thirteen times twenty, or two hundred and sixty years, as we are informed by Father Pedro Beltran.1
The second narrative of the cataclysm is to be found in the
1 Pedro Beltran, Arte del Idioma Maya, numeracion p. 204.