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parts of the earth they inhabited, and of the adjoining countries.1
The sign that most attracts the attention is Bishop Landa says must be read Yax-kin, and that of the seventh month of the Maya calendar. Literally these words mean the "vigorous sun." If, however, we interpret the symbol phonetically, it gives us "the country of the king, which is surrounded by water;" "the kingdom in the midst of water." It will also be noticed that it is placed at the top of the tree, to indicate that that "tree" is the kingdom. Next to it, on the left, is the name Mayach, which indicates that it is the "kingdom of Mayach," which will become plain by the analysis of the symbols. To begin with, is a wing or feather, insignia worn by kings and warriors. Placed here it has a double meaning. It denotes the north, as we will see later on, and also shows that the land is that of the king whose emblem it is. The character stands for ahau, the word for king, and we have already
1 The adjoining map (Plate IV.) was constructed by Professor J. W. Spencer according to his own original researches and geological studies in the island of Cuba and in Central America, aided by the deep-sea soundings made in 1878 by Commander Bartlett of the United States steamship Blake. It can be therefore accepted as perfectly accurate. During a short stay in Belize, British Honduras, Commander Bartlett honored me with a visit. Speaking of his work of triangulation and deep-sea soundings in the Caribbean Sea, he mentioned the existence of very profound valleys covered by its waters, revealed by the sound. I informed him that I had become cognizant of that fact, having found it mentioned by the author of that ancient Maya book known to-day as Troano MS. If my memory serves me right, I showed him the maps drawn by the writer of that ancient book, and made on a map in my copy of Bowditch's Navigation an approximate tracing of the submerged valleys in the Caribbean Sea, in explanation of the Maya maps, showing why they symbolized said sea by the figure of an animal resembling a deer-which may have been the reason why they called the country U-luumil ceh, the "land of the deer."
seen that this Ö, luumil, is the symbol for "land near, in, O or surrounded by water," as the Empire of Mayach (the peninsula of Yucatan and Central America are certainly surrounded by water), on the north by the Gulf of Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, on the west and south by the Pacific Ocean. The symbol then reads Luumil ahau, the "King's country," the "kingdom."
But how do you make your rendering accord with the meaning given to the character by Bishop Landa? I fancy I hear our learned Americanists asking; and I answer, In a very simple manner, knowing as I do the genius of the Maya people and their language.
The ancient armorial escutcheon of the country still exists on the western façade of the "sanctuary" at Uxmal, and in the bas-reliefs carved on the memorial monu
ment of Prince Coh at Chichen. The emblem represented on said escutcheon scarcely needs explanation. It is easily read U-luumil kin, the "Land of the Sun."
The kings of Mayach, like those
of Egypt, Chaldea, India, China, Peru,
etc., took upon themselves the title of "Children of the Sun," and, in a boasting spirit, that of "the Strong, the Vigorous Sun." Kin is the Maya word for sun. But kin is also the title of the highpriest of the sun. As in Egypt and many other civilized countries, so in Mayach, the king was, at the same time, chief of the state and of the religion, as in our times the Queen in England, the Czar in Russia, the Sultan in Turkey, etc. The title Yax-kin may therefore have been applied, among the Mayas, to the king and to the kingdom;
and my rendering of the symbol.
that of Landa.
does not conflict with
In the tableau the Maya Empire is portrayed by the beb→→ a tree with the trunk full of thorns. The trunk is the image of the chain of mountains that traverses the whole country from north to south. There dwelt the masters of the earth, the Volcanoes. They gave it life, power, and strength. This chain is, as it were, its backbone. It terminates at the Isthmus of Darien, to the south. This is why the tree is planted
in the character
for south anciently.
kan, that Landa tells us was the name At the north, the branch of the tree
extends eastward, that is, to the right of the trunk. This branch, the peninsula of Yucatan, is represented by this
trunk of the tree, by which the author has designated the whole country, calling it u Ma yach, the "land of the shoot," the "land of the vérêtrum," from the name of the peninsula that seems to have been the seat of the government of the Maya Empire.
The motive for the slight change in the drawing is easily explained. The peninsula jutting out into the sea from the mainland, as a shoot, a branch from the trunk of the tree, is indicated by the representation of a yach, a vérêthe base of which rests on the sign of land or also of a shoot, projecting beyond two
of two basins of water-that is, of the and the Caribbean Sea-that are on each side of it. The whole hieroglyph, name of the peninsula, reads therefore
1 Landa, Las Cosas de Yucatan, chap. xxxiv., p. 206.
u-Mayach, the place of the ancestor's vérêtrum, or of the shoot of the tree.
These two imix differ somewhat in shape. The imix
is meant to designate the Caribbean Sea, the eastern
part of which being opened to the waves of the ocean
is indicated by the wavy line M, emblem of water. In this instance it may also denote the mountains in the islands,
that close it, as it were, toward the rising sun. The other imix stands for the Gulf of Mexico, a mediterranean sea, completely land-locked, with a small entrance formed by the peninsula of Florida and that of Yucatan, and commanded by the island of Cuba. It is well to notice that, as has been already said, some of the signs in the horizontal legend are the same as those in the vertical legend, but placed in an inverse position with regard to one another. This is as it should naturally be. Of course, the particular names of the various localities in the country are somewhat different, and the signs indicating their position with reference to the cardinal points are not the same. The symbol imix, for instance, of the Mexican Gulf
is placed in the vertical legend to the left, that is to the west, of the imix image of the Caribbean Sea, as it should if we look at the map of Central America from the south, when it is apparent that the Gulf of Mexico lies to the westward of the Caribbean Sea On the other hand, if we enter the country from the north, the Gulf of Mexico will be to the right, and the Caribbean Sea to the left, of the traveller, just as the Maya hierogrammatist placed them in the horizontal legend,
To return to the character
in which the foot of the tree is planted. Kan not only means "south," as we have just