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to indorse Prof. Cyrus Thomas's interpretation of the Maya signs for the cardinal points. In that case he would take Muluc to be the north, Cauac the south, Ix the east, and Kan the west;1 but he does not know that the signs he reproduces are not the names of the cardinal points, nor even of the genii, guardians of the same, but of certain localities situated in the direction of said points. Again, in another of his works, “Hero Myths,” the learned doctor, following Bishop Landa's assertion that in his day the Mayas assigned Kan to the south, Muluc to the east, Ix to the north, and Cauac to the west, informs his readers that such were the true respective names of the cardinal points. But he probably reasoned,
? What did Bishop Landa know of Oriental symbolism ? So he casts aside Landa's positive teachings, with the result that, today, he does not know which are really the names of said cardinal points. As for me, I positively affirm that it can be demonstrated that Bishop Landa has transmitted to us the correct name of each point, and that they agree with those given by the authors of the various Maya books and inscriptions known to us, notwithstanding the learned Dr. Brinton's opinion.s
On October 16, 1887, I wrote to him that, as I was writing a review of what had been done in the decipherment of the Maya inscriptions and books, I would be very glad, so as not to misrepresent him, if he would be kind enough to tell me which of the names he looked upon as the real one given by the Mayas to each particular cardinal point, as it was impossible to find out his opinion from his own works.
Five days later—that is, on October 21—he answered me:
". The first time I visit New York I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you and Mrs. Le Plongeon, and then I should like exceedingly to hear of your discoveries, and also to explain to you my views about the cardinal points and their representations in the Maya hieroglyphs.
“I remain, etc.,
“ D. G. Brinton."
Well, Dr. Brinton has never called upon me, nor given me his views about the cardinal points and their representations in Maya hieroglyphs, though in August, 1887, I offered him an excellent opportunity, when the “ American Association for the Advancement of Science” met at Columbia College in New York. By request of Professor Putnam I then wrote to him, as president of the archæological section, asking the privilege of reading a paper on “ Ancient Maya Civilization” before its members. I did not read such paper; neither was my request refused; but the envelope containing the granting of it reached me exactly three weeks after the association had closed its sessions. It had been sent to me, by mistake, to San Francisco, Cal., instead of to Brooklyn, N. Y.; at least, so I was informed in the apologetic letter that came in the same envelope.
Dr. Brinton's essay on the “Maya Phonetics,” from page 196 to 205, had better not have been written, much less published. Its contents are most misleading, injurious even, to students of Maya palæography, who might place reliance on the assumed knowledge of the author on this particular subject. The following statement made by him is positively inaccurate: Turning first to the Maya, I may in passing refer to the
I disappointment which resulted from the publication of Landa's alphabet by the Abbé Brasseur in 1864. Here was what seemed a complete phonetic alphabet, which should at once unlock the mysteries of the inscriptions on the temples of Yucatan and Chiapas, and enable us to interpret the script of the Dresden and other codices. Experience proved the utter fallacy of any such hope. His work is no key to the Maya
Now, I affirm that, if it be true that the characters of Landa's alphabet are not of themselves a complete clew to the decipherment of Maya books and inscriptions, they are nevertheless repeatedly found in the Maya manuscripts known to us, and with the identical value attributed to them by Landa.? I furthermore maintain that, with the names of the days and the alphabetic characters preserved by him, the Maya codices can be translated. Of course, there are modifications of the same, as there are with our mode of writing; there are also composed signs as there are composed words in the language. It is the translator's business to know what they are.
This I have demonstrated in my unpublished work, “ The Monuments of Mayach and their Historical Teachings,' which contains translations from the Troano and Cortesianus codices, whose authors have recorded many interesting his1 D. G. Brinton, Essays of an Americanist, p. 199.
exemplify my assertion, let us take, for instance, the character
that Landa tells us stands for ma, adverb of negation, No.
Is it not identical with the Egyptian adverb of negation,
Nen? But ma, radical of Mayach, also means “land,"
"country, ,” both in Egyptian and in Maya. The sign in Maya scripts is the hieroglyph for Mayach; that is, the peninsula of Yucatan, standing between the Gulf of Mex
ico and the Caribbean Sea, both represented by the sign imix, “bosom, " " bosom of the deep." The Egyptian word Nen means in Maya “mirror.” Nen-ha, the “mirror of water,” is said to have been the ancient name of the Mexican Gulf, on account of its almost circular shape.