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Several Remarks on the Maya Script

 

© Sergei V. Rjabchikov

The Sergei Rjabchikov Foundation – Research Centre for Studies of Ancient Civilisations and Cultures, Krasnodar

First posted: 31 December 2006

Abstract. A new view on the Maya religious complex is offered. The days of the 260-count sacral period are associated with different deities and with 13 skies. New readings, translations and interpretations of some records are published.

My investigation is based on Y.V. Knorozov’s (1952; 1955; 1958; 1975) decipherment of the Maya script. The readings of the hieroglyphs are for the most part correct, but a new interpretation of a variety of fragments of texts is quite possible.

The Features of Deities

The ruling deities Itzamna (the sky god), K’ax (the rain god), Tox (the thunderstorm god), Took-itz (an unclear god) are mentioned together in the Paris codex. Besides, the sky god Itzamna is shown with the head of the god of fire in a drawing below the next paragraph of the text (see Knorozov 1975: 94-95). I suppose that the name Took-itz describes the god Itzamna (cf. Maya itz ‘dew’) associated with the fire (cf. Maya took ‘fire’). So Itzamna is indeed the god of the morning, of the dawn, of the transition from the night to the midday. This religious formula connects the deities of the Underworld with the ones who are located on the earth and on the heavens.


The names K’axix and K’ax of the rain god are derived from Maya k’ax, k’aax ‘boa’, ‘to obscure the sky by clouds’ (Knorozov 1975: 231). In the Maya texts of the Madrid codex the four gods with the same name K’axix are mentioned, although they have different epithets: ‘black’, ‘yellow’, ‘red’ and ‘white’. They belong respectively to the west, south, east and north (see Knorozov 1975: 126-127).

The Structure of the Calendar in the Codices

Let us construct an imaginary plot where the first day coincides with a day of a certain year when the maize was planted. One can choose May 20, 802 or 1000 A.D. (the phase of the moon is 15, it is the full moon). One can receive the first axis where we see days from the number 1 (1-1 = 1 Imix) to the number 260 (13-20 = 13 Ahav) in the 260-count sacral period. This time describes approximately the duration from the planting to gathering of most important maize sorts. The parallel axis has marks with days of Mayan twenty-day “months”. We shall consider these 260 days only. So the day of 1 Imix corresponds to the date of 9 K’an-k’in. The main idea of this reconstruction is as follows: the days of 1 Chan (Chik-chan) = 105, 2 Chan (Chik-chan) = 145, … 13 Chan (Chik-chan) = 65 are marks of the 13 levels of the sky, cf. Maya chan ‘sky; serpent’. We receive the sequence of the numbers 5 (the 5th sky), 25 (the 12th sky), 45 (the 6th sky), 65 (the 13th sky), 85 (the 7th sky), 105 (the 1st sky), 125 (the 8th sky), 145 (the 2nd sky), 165 (the 9th sky), 185 (the 3rd sky), 205 (the 10th sky), 225 (the 4th sky), 245 (the 11th sky).

The god K’axix descends to visit the sown areas on the day of 13 Chan (Chik-chan) = the number 65. The god K’axix descends to visit clouds on the day of 7 Chan (Chik-chan) = the number 85. The god K’axix descends to the god Tox on the day of 1 Chan (Chik-chan) = the number 105. These reports are presented one after another in the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 80-81). I suppose that here the visits of the god of clouds to different skies are described.

Let us examine the following text of the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 5). It reports that a strange god called 1 (= H’un) Chan kills a human selected as a victim. This god brings destruction. A personage without the head is represented here. The groups of inscriptions have a common date in the beginning, then the numbers are depicted to count the exact dates. Thus, this record is denoted by the number 44 (5 K’an). I translate this name as ‘One – the serpent/sky’. The same manuscript contains a text about a deity (the name is preserved partially) bringing destruction (see Knorozov 1975: 5). I restore this name as K’axix. A dead woman is represented here. This record is denoted by the number 44 (= the date of 5 K’an/H’a, cf. Maya k’an/h’a ‘food’). I conclude that the god ‘One – the serpent/sky’ is an image of the god K’axix. Apparently, this deity visited the clouds from his own heaven to destroy the crops of the early maize. To stop the thunderstorm the persons were sacrificed. Interestingly, the white K’axix appears on the 43rd day according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 75). Hence the whether changed very often. Additionally, the red K’axix denotes the drought, and the yellow K’axix appearing on the 54th day is the fine weather according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 73, 75). The god K’axix with the black sign has the number 109 in the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 76). The god of the war bringing destruction has the number 108 in the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 123). They are located near the first sky (the number 105). Thus, the god ‘One – the serpent/sky’ is the symbol of heavy showers. This day corresponds to the constellation ‘The Serpent with the Proboscis’.

The name 6-yax-um-k’i is known in the Paris codex (see Knorozov 1975: 99-100). Here the number 6-1 = 101 (6 Imix) can be registered. So the god Yum K’i ‘The Master of the Change’ is presented near the 1st sky. On the other hand, this god with the epithet yax ‘blue/green/growing’ may belong to the 6th sky.

Now one can study the symbolism of the 9th sky. The god Yax-K’axix bringing a new rain has the number 161 according to the Paris codex (see Knorozov 1975: 99). This number is near the number of the 9th sky – 165. The name Yax-K’axix signifies ‘The yellow (green) K’axix’. Note that Maya yax signifies ‘first’, too. Moreover, the name of the god of the war, 1-10-p’e, can be compared with the number 1-10 = 1 Ok (the number 170). It is quite possible that the terms H’un Chan ‘One – the serpent/sky’ and Yash Chan ‘The first/green serpent/sky’ are bad stormy winds.

Now let us consider other positions of the heavens. The yellow K’axix has the number 143 according to the Dresden codex, and the term ‘water’ (the fragment is damaged) has the number 145 (see Knorozov 1975: 71). Judging from the neighbouring segments of the text, here the god K’axix is mentioned, too. Hence one can suggest that the yellow god K’axix is located on the 2nd sky. The variation of the deities is quite possible. The fire god Mox (the red colour) and the black god K’ax (the black colour) correspond to the number 157 in the Paris codex (see Knorozov 1975: 99). The god 3-K’ax-ang is registered in a damaged record of the Paris codex (see Knorozov 1975: 88). I suppose that the god K’ax-ang living on the 3rd sky is mentioned in this passage (the number 185 = 3-5 = 3 Chik-Chan). This name means ‘(The god) K’ax – the noise, crash’. It is possible that here the feature of the lightning and the thunder is registered. The god-destroyer bringing 12 parts of the fire has the number 184 in the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 140). I suppose that here the lightning and the red colour are implied. So one can believe that the red god K’axix is located on the 3rd sky. The 4th sky has too many “inhabitants”. The number 4 presented in the beginning of the deities’ names distinguishes them. So, I found the following names: 4-Moo-ngal, 4-Nich’, 4-nok, 4-vaay-Ku, 4-Ti-TI, 4-vaay-Tun, 4-tzik-ngal, 4-Chi-k’i-ngal in fragments of the Dresden, Paris and Madrid codices (see Knorozov 1975: 76, 110, 116, 36, 29, 95, 88, 26). Apparently, their real names are Moo-ngal ‘having a Parrot, i.e. belonging to the constellation of the Parrot’ (the symbolism of the sun, heat and light), Nich’ ‘The Sharp-tongued (spirit)’, nok ‘ghost, spirit’, vaay-Ku ‘the spirit of the thunderstorm’, Ti-TI ‘The Vulture’, vaay-Tun ‘the spirit-manager’, tzik-ngal ‘the count (of days)’, Chi-k’i-ngal ‘The Deer (the sky?) – the changing (deity)’ respectively. The 4th month corresponds to the number 225 or 4-5 = 4 Chik-Chan. It is the date of 8 Yax-K’ing or December 30, a day near the summer solstice. It is obvious that the colour of the sky is bright in the majority of instances, though a downpour is also possible. Interestingly, the Parrot of the Sovereign of the world has the number 217 in the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 201). I conclude that the white god K’axix is located on the 4th sky. The name of a god, 9-och-te, is also known in the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 48). This name can be read as 9 (bol)-och (= 10)-te. It is an image of the jaguar (cf. Maya bol ‘jaguar’). The character called Chak-bol ‘The big jaguar’ is a chthonic god according to a fragment of the Paris codex (see Knorozov 1975: 88). The first name may be its calendar formula because the day with the number 9-10 = 230 is near the 225th day, too. Maya te ‘forest; tree’ can bear on the World Tree. The good time of the deity called 4-vaay-Ku is determined in a record of the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 169). The text begins with the sequence of the dates, and the last date is 3 Chab (Kaban) = the number 237. It is between the 4th and 11th skies. The text describes the rain deity vaay Ku located on the 4th sky. The fiery wind bringing the death is registered in a text of the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 167). The text begins with the sequence of the dates, and the last date is 6 Chi (Manik’) = the number 227. This number is near 4th sky. In the record the intense heat is registered. A text of the Madrid codex contains an unclear phrase, 4-che-chah-ix (see Knorozov 1975: 166). I suppose that it is the description of the 4th sky with the rainbow goddess Chel (?).

The number 5 presented in the beginning of the deities’ names distinguishes them. So, I found the following names, 5-vaay-ku and 5-vaay-tun, in the Dresden and Paris codices (see Knorozov 1975: 28, 68, 89). Their real names are vaay-Ku ‘the spirit of the thunderstorm’ and vaay-Tun ‘the spirit-manager’. Y. V. Knorozov (1975: 232) equated the latter personage with the deity ‘The Snail’, one of gods of the rain. According to a fragment of the Madrid codex, Yum Viil, the god of abundance, associated with the rain is located in the 5th sphere (heaven) (see Knorozov 1975: 180). Using my own classification, this level of the sky has the number 5 or 5-5 = 5 Chik-Chan, it is 13 K’an-k’in =  May 24 (for instance, in 802 or 1000 A.D.). The fiery wind bringing the death is registered in a text of the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 167). The text begins with the sequence of the dates, and the first date is 3 Ak’ (Ak’-bal) = the number 3. This number is near 5th sky. In the record the intense heat is registered. The accompanying figure represents a deity praying for the rain. It may be deduced that having planted the maize grains, the ancient Mayan Indians prayed for the rains.

According to a fragment of the Madrid codex, Itzamna, the sovereign of the world, is located in the 6th sphere (sky) (see Knorozov 1975: 180). Using my own classification, this level of the sky has the number 6-5 = 45 or 6 Chik-Chan. This personage is the god of the morning, see above. A text about the god Itzamna has the corresponding number 45 according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 147). This is the symbolism of the 6th sky. The deities 6-Ho-chi, located on the west, Vaay Yah, associated with the downpour and maize grains, and K’axix, the northern rain, are the inhabitants of this sky according to a fragment of the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 34, 41, 80). The name 6-Ho (= 5)-chi is the symbol of the 6th sky (the day with the number 6-5). Maya chi means ‘deer’. In this period different animals are threats for the maize plantings. On the other hand, there are records where the name Chi is written down instead of the name K’axix according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 121). So the Deer is the symbol of the sky/clouds. Moreover, one can suggest that it is a hint of the religious beliefs of the Paleolithic people came from the Asia. Let us study a record of the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 218). One can conclude that the god of death, Yum Tzek’, is located on the 6th sky of the change (k’i).

The 7th level of the sky is inhabited by the deities called 7-P’uh and 7-In-ngal according to records of the Paris, Dresden and Madrid codices (see Knorozov 1975: 94, 35, 137). The first personage is the god of hunting (see Knorozov 1975: 245). The real names of these gods are P’uh and In-ngal. The latter name means ‘The owner of the rain’. This sky corresponds to the number 85 = 7-5 or 7 Chik-Chan. The report about Yum Tzek’, the god of the death, corresponds to the number 82 according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 123). The gods K’axix and Yum Viil correspond to the number 83 according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 76). The solar Parrot corresponds to the number 87 according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 110). So in this part of the sky the deities of life and death are united.

On Y.V. Knorozov’s (1975: 245) opinion, the god Yum Viil is located on the 8th sky. Using my own classification, this level of the sky has the number 8-5 = 125 or 8 Chik-Chan. The god K’axix locating in the house of the sun has the number 123 according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 76). The rain deity Tit Soot has the number 118, and the god Yum Viil has the number 120 according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 198). The deities Tit Soot, 5-vaay-Ku and Yum Viil have the number 117, and the sun deity K’inbentzilaan has the number 130 according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 19). So the influence of the sun increases. The yellow god K’axix (K’an xib K’axix) associated with the south has the number 125 (8 Chik-Chan) according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 72). On the other hand, the sun deity K’inbentzilaan has the number 125 (8 Chik-Chan) according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 217).

The structure of the 9th sky is examined above.

The 10th sky corresponds to the number 205 = 10-5 or 10 Chik-Chan. This day is not far from the summer solstice. The god K’axix carrying a spear and going to the south corresponds to the number 205 according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 140). I believe that it is the yellow god K’axix. The fire god Mox corresponds to the number 200 according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 26). I translate another fragment of the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 36), U-haa-ak Mox u-mu-ka 6-yax-um-k’i, in the following manner: ‘… (The fire god) Mox is transforming into (the god) Yum K’i ‘The Owner of Change/Growth’ on the day with the number 6-1 = 201’. Perhaps, it is the description of the bad whether. Therefore one can state with assurance that the god Mox was located on the 10th level of the sky.

The 11th sky corresponds to the number 245 = 11-5 or 11 Chik-Chan. The god K’axix bringing the fire corresponds to the number 240 according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 111). The sun deity K’inbentzilaan has the number 241 according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 190). On the day with the number 241 the black god K’axix can cover the fire god Mox by clouds according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 53). This sky is also called 11 ch’ab ‘the 11th part’. It is notable that according two neighbouring records of the Madrid codex the dates (the numbers) of this sky and the god K’inbentzilaan differ by 1 (see Knorozov 1975: 217). On the other hand, the deity Ti-TI ‘The Vulture’ has the number 245 according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 82). I suppose that the Vulture is an emblem of the bright lightning. The deity Ti associated not only with the sun and fire, but also with the rain cloud is located on the 11th sky. One thing is absolutely clear: the sun god is a frequent visitor on this sky. The good season of the 11-ch’ab is determined in a record of the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 169). The text begins with the sequence of the dates, and the last date is 7 In (Imix) = the number 241. It is near the 11th sky.

The 12th sky corresponds to the number 25 = 12-5 or 12 Chik-Chan. The following fragment, itz-kit 6-aan-yax chan-k’ing-nga, of a record corresponds to the number 22 according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 170). I translate it in the following manner: ‘the god Itzamna of the 6th growing (sky), then the sky of the sun’.

The 13th sky corresponds to the number 65 = 13-5 or 13 Chik-Chan. The thunderstorm of the (the god) 13-Um-ch’ab is mentioned in a text of the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 171). The name 13-Mu (the Owl) is also known (see Knorozov 1975: 245). But it is in my opinion the name of the constellation. Besides, the wordplay is possible: cf. Maya mu ‘cloudy’. The following text of the Madrid codex is noteworthy: Um Tzek’ 13-ku-ab-el (see Knorozov 1975: 212). I translate it in the following manner: ‘(The god of the death) Yum Tzek’ (located at) the 13th part of the time (= the 13th level of the sky)’. The deities called 9-yax, Ch’e-bal-yax and 4-bol are known according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 207, 171, 148). They are the numbers 9-1 and 4-9, i.e. 61 and 69 indeed. In the second case, the text is accompanied by the drawing of a jaguar. On the other hand, both deities may be the god Yax Chan situated on the 9th sky and the god ‘The Jaguar’ situated on the 4th sky. If the goddess Ch’e-bal-yax is connected with the 13th sky, her epithet, lah-k’i-ngal ‘the changing (goddess)’, describes any changes in the Universe. The name 4-bol is presented in another text of the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 148). I prefer to translate this name as ‘The jaguar (located) on the 4th sky’. This text contains the number 10 before this name. I read it as the designation of the 10th sky. Really, the sequence of the numbers 10 and 4 shows the next levels: the 10th sky = 205, and the 4th sky = 225 of the 260-day “year”. A damaged text of the Madrid codex corresponds to the number 65 (see Knorozov 1975: 123). But the drawing is preserved. Here the blue god Itzamna is shown. This god holds a tree in his hand. The text corresponds to the number 65. A record tells of the red god K’ax located in the field according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 75). This text also correlates with the number 65. In both cases the symbols of the 13th sky are mentioned. I suppose that they are the World Tree and the celestial fire.

It is anticipated that personages Chak Kit ‘The Great goddess’ and Sak-Ch’up ‘The White virgin’ represent the moon goddess (Knorozov 1975: 235, 245). Let us examine a record of the Dresden codex that tells of the goddess Chak Kit (see Knorozov 1975: 58). Here the date is presented in the following format: 10.17.13.12.12. It is August 29 (= 5 Pop), 1179 A.D. The phase of the moon is 24, and the phase of the new moon is 29. So this goddess denotes the moon near the end of a lunar month when a solar eclipse is possible. It is obvious that the second deity represents the full moon. The personage denoted by the words itz ch’up is mentioned in four neighbouring fragments of the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 25-26). The numbers 7, 7, 7 and 5 refer to these passages. I conclude that here there is a story about the moon growing during the month (the numbers add up to 28). I translate the name of the moon goddess as Itz-Ch’up ‘The virgin of (the god) Itzamna’. One can suggest that the good moon called Itz-Ch’up transforms into the evil one called Chak Kit ‘The Great, Large, High deity’ when the lunar phases are near the new moon.

Let us examine some interesting dates of the Mayan 260-day “year”. The god K’axix coming to a place where the crash sounds corresponds to the number 50 according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 50). The 50th day is 17 Pax (‘The drum’, it us the symbolism of the thunderstorm).

The lightning of the god K’axix appearing on fields in the season of the rain corresponds to the number 132 according to the Paris codex (see Knorozov 1975: 99). On the other hand, the red god K’axix corresponds to the number 133 according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 70). So, the red god K’axix can be connected with the lightning during the season of the rains.

The number 1 (= 1 Imix) is taken as the day of the planting of the maize grains. One can offer the following parallels. The god Yum Tzek’ copulates with a girl according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 195). The corresponding number is 141 (= 11 Imix). One can suggest that in a broad sense Imix is the day of fertility. Besides, the same deity got a pregnant woman according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 195). The corresponding number is 161 (= 5 Imix). The sun god K’inbentzilaan bringing destruction has the corresponding number 241 (= 7 Imix) according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 190). So proportions of the sun and water were important for the ancient agriculture.

The number 175 is associated with the god Itzamna twice according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 115, 118). So this day (6 Men) is a specific feast of this deity. Perhaps, these days (1 Men, 2 Men etc.) demonstrate the transitions from one sky to another. The god K’axix visits the cloudy sky of the owl according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 82). The corresponding number is 215 (= 7 Men). Hence here such a transition is examined. The deity Ti ‘The Vulture’ as the rain corresponds to the day of 1 Men (= the number 235) according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 82). I believe that here an unexpected rain (“a transition”) is described. Interestingly, the goddess of rainbow, Chel, has the corresponding number 135 (= 5 Men) according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 70). On the other hand, the record about the flower (nik) that symbolises the wedding has the corresponding number 130 (= 13 Ok), near this date, in a text of the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 19).

The god K’axix bewitching beasts corresponds to the number 180 according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 81). This date (11 Ah-av) symbolises the supremacy (cf. Maya ah-av ‘sovereign’). The god K’axix bringing the fire corresponds to the number 240 according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 111). This date (6 Ah-av) symbolises the supremacy as well. The god K’axix moves to the 6th sky according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 80). This record has the corresponding number 220. It is the date (= 12 Ah-av, near the winter solstice) of the feast of the supreme god Itzamna located on the 6th level of the sky. The god K’axix holds the god Mox during the rain according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 52). This text has the same number. The increasing heat is described here.

The report about the rain deity Tit Soot corresponds to the number 183 according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 118). This manuscript contains several interesting passages. The report about the deity of death, Yum Tzek’, corresponds to the number 203 (see Knorozov 1975: 118). The report about the deity of fertility, Yum Viil, corresponds to the number 163 (see Knorozov 1975: 117). The accompanying picture represents this god holding a rattle (the symbol of the thunder). The irrigated rain (ni-itz-in) corresponds to the number 43 (see Knorozov 1975: 109). One can offer another interpretation of this term: cf. ni-Itz-in ‘the rain of the god Itzamna; the “good” rain’. The rain god is depicted on the picture of this plot. These dates (1 Ak’-bal, 8 Ak’-bal, 7 Ak’-bal, 4 Ak’-bal) symbolise the rain.

The god Yum Viil has the number 196 twice according to the Dresden and Madrid codices (see Knorozov 1975: 52, 115). The god Yax Chan has the same number according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 118). This date (1 Kib) symbolises the fertility. The god Yax-K’ax (the yellow K’axix) has the number 156 according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 71). This date (13 Kib) symbolises the fertility, too.

The god Itzamna has the number 208 according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 118). This god associated with the same number is presented in a text of the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 27). This plot is relevant to ‘the late new grain’. The number 208 points to the month Xul (December), the time of the gathering crops of early maize. The text about the god K’axix also has the number 208 according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 6). The accompanying design represents the god Mox. The increasing heat is registered here.

The rain deity Tit Soot, the sky deity K’axix and the sun deity K’inbentzilaan are presented together in a text which has the corresponding number 210 according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 110). The increasing heat is described here. This date (2 Ok) symbolises modest wastes of the future crops.

The god 1 Chan brings the celestial water according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 140). This record has the corresponding number 212. The name 1 Chan means ‘1 – the sky/serpent’. This date (4 Eeb) symbolises the drizzle (cf. Maya eeb ‘fog’). The god 1 Chan is seized according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 6). This record has the corresponding number 222. Hence in this passage the increasing heat is registered. This date (1 Ik’) symbolises the wind/sky/clouds (cf. Maya ik’ ‘wind’). The god 1 Chan receives a victim according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 189-190). This record has the corresponding number 232. This date (11 Eeb) symbolises the rain.

The 260-count sacral period with the beginning on the day (night) of the full moon of May has only four days when a solar eclipse is possible. The numbers of these days are 45 (6 Chik-chan), 105 (1 Chik-chan), 165 (9 Chik-chan) and 225 (4 Chik-chan). So the 6th, 1st, 9th and 4th skies are associated with solar eclipses. Now it is clear why the 1st and 9th levels of the heavens have the similar names. The personages belonging to these spheres are relevant the border of the real and other worlds are the deities of the transition. I believe that one can identify the skies with the constellations. So, The 5th sky corresponds to the constellation ‘The Tortoise’ (Gemini). The 12th sky corresponds to the constellation ‘The Scorpion’ (Cancer). The 6th sky and the 13th sky of the Owl (Mu) correspond to the constellation ‘The Owl’ (Leo). The 7th sky and the 1st sky (the 1st serpent, cf. the name of the deity called 1 Chan) corresponds to the constellation ‘The Serpent with the Proboscis’ (Virgo). The 8th sky corresponds to the constellation ‘The Parrot’ (Libra). This sky corresponds to the 20-day “month” Vo, too (cf. Maya vo ‘frog’). The frog is a sign of the rain/water. The 2nd sky corresponds to the constellation ‘The Frog’ (Scorpius). The 9th and the 3rd skies correspond to the constellation ‘The Bat’ (Sagittarius). The 9th sky corresponds to the 20-day “month” Sotz’, too (cf. Maya sotz’ ‘bat’). A part of the Paris codex containing the list of the constellations is damaged (see Knorozov 1975: 101), so it is difficult to find the exact compliance for the 10th, 4th and 11th skies. The 10th sky corresponds to the constellation with an unknown local name (Capricornus). The 4th and 11th skies correspond to the constellation with an unknown local name (Aquarius).

The phases of the moon that are observed at different skies (dates) allow to pick up two additional classes of skies: (5, 13, 8, 11, 3 with the lunar phase 20) and (12, 7, 2, 10 with the lunar phase 10). In this case, a report of the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 217) about the 11th sky that corresponds to the number 124 (near the 8th sky) is clear. On both nights the common lunar phase 20 is observed. The neighbouring records contain interesting data. The text about the moon goddess Sak Ch’up (literally ‘The White virgin’) corresponds to the number 116 (see Knorozov 1975: 216). Hence the phase of the moon is 12. The text about the god of death, Yum Tzek’, has the number 120 (see Knorozov 1975: 216-217). The lunar phase is 16 (near the full moon). It is a possible phase of a lunar eclipse. The text about the god of abundance, Yum Viil, has the number 133 (see Knorozov 1975: 217). The lunar phase is 29. It is apparent that a solar eclipse did not occur. This god in the antipode of the god Yum Tzek’.

The text reports about a terrible star (ye-ech’) according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 165). I suppose that it is the description of Halley’s Comet. The accompanying figure depicts a hunchback. It is safe to say that the Maya priests observed this celestial body.

The Maya records about the Venus motion report that it is going to the (deities) 4-Vaay-ku, 1-tul-chan, Vaay-tz’ay and Yum Tzek’ on the east according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 30). The name 1-tul-chan means ‘Near the 1st sky’ literally. The deity Vaay-tz’ay ‘The ghost-tapir’ can be compared with the planet Mars according to the Dresden codex (1). The god of death, Yum Tzek’, denotes the disappearing of the Venus in the solar beams. A report of the Dresden codex tells of the rising of this planet; some details concerning the rain god Tox, the 10th sky, the gods Mox, Chak Koh and Yum Viil are presented, too (see Knorozov 1975: 30). The rain god can denote the Underworld, the place where this celestial body was before the appearing. Then the rising of the planet is described. The constellation ‘The Wild Boar’ (Chin) is associated with the number 7 (7-Chin) according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 37). I think that here several stars near the 7th level of the sky (Virgo) are described. It is the Corvus constellation. Let us examine passages about the Venus in the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 35). I suppose that the fire god Mox symbolises the south, and the god of death, Yum Tzek’, symbolises the west (2).  

The following segment about the Venus is known: 6 Chak-cha (Sip) 13-chah’-k’as-ngal Chak-ech’ ma-ho ‘(The date of) 6 Sip. The Big Star (Venus) is near (the god-owl) owning the 13th celestial sphere on the south’ according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 33). Note that on October 5, 805 A.D., the Venus rose near the Virgo and Leo constellations, and then the planet moved due south. The following fragment is known: the Venus was situated near (the deity of) the 10th sky (10-chah’-ang) on the east, and a javelin of this sky threatened revenge to the god-puma Chak Koh. In the accompanying picture the red god of the 10th sky is represented. Then a text is written down concerning the danger for the persons carrying spears and for the well order (see Knorozov 1975: 33). My interpretation of these passages is as follows. The 10th sky is the Capricornus constellation. The Venus was for instance near this constellation on the east on February 15, 847 A.D., or on March 1, 804 A.D. The image of the god of the red colour symbolises the sun and the heat. The god Chak Koh ‘(The deity having) big teeth’ is an enemy of enemies of young sprouts of the maize. In this sense this god is a member of the union of the deities of the rain and darkness. The persons carrying spears are the deities of the same class.

More Ancient Records

The sovereign of the world sends the food according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 111). This record has the corresponding number 247. The gods Vaay Tun and Yum Viil bringing death have the same number according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 190). This date (13 Man-ik’) is relevant to the gathering of the main maize crops. The thunderstorm is a real danger in this season. The text about a victim to the god of death, Yum Tzek’, corresponds to the number 27. This date (1 Man-ik’) is a crucial moment of the cultivation of the young sprouts. So the following days – 1 Man-ik’, 2 Man-ik’ and so on – are relevant to “bad” rains and other “bad” natural phenomena. Two personages, Tox ax yahTox reviving the greens’ and Yash bal ‘Green ropes of the downpour’, are 177 days apart according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 45). I translate the latter name as ‘the 1st – 9’, i.e. the number 1-9 = 1 Muluk = 209. It immediately follows that the first deity is connected with the number 31 (= 5 Chuen). Now one can investigate the names of H’un La and Yax Bol who are compared with the names of the twins called Hun-Apu (Hunahpu) and Xbalanque, the sons of Hun-Hunahpu and the moon. These characters played an important role in the Maya epic poem Popol Vuh (see Belyaev 1996: 88). Moreover, the name Hun-Apu (Hunahpu) means ‘1 – the sovereign’. Both heroes are presented in the record of the Maya vessel No 1892 (see Coe 1989; Belyaev 1996: 86). I read the second name of the brothers as Yax Bol ‘the 1st – 9’, i.e. the number 1-9 = 1 Muluk = 209 (it is December 14, if 1 Imix = May 20). The name 1 (= H’un) La denotes the date of 1 Ah-av = 40 indeed. This date symbolises the supremacy. There is the balance between the heat and the water; the stable growth of the maize sprouts begins. One can suppose that the dates 1 Ah-av and 1 Muluk are important days of the growth of the maize stems. The date of 1 Ah-av can be the day of the gathering of early maize crop. Besides, the date of 1 Ah-av (June 28) is near the date of 5 Chuen (June 19). Both dates are near the summer solstice. So the twins H’un La and Yax Bol are the real solar/water symbols of the summer and winter solstices respectively. According to the plot on the vessel, the god of fertility, Yum Viil, is the father of the twins. This deity is situated on the 8th sky (the number 125). Interestingly, that this number is between the numbers 40 and 210 exactly, it corresponds to the autumnal equinox. The name of the Underworld Xibalba is presented in the Popol Vuh. Here the ancient name Bal ‘The Jaguar; 9’ is recognized (the dates of 1 Toh/Muluk, 2 Toh/Muluk, etc.; the danger for the maize sprouts and stems). Some designs of the Maya vessels contain the following plot: the twins kill the spirit ‘The Snail’ in the Underworld (see Belyaev 1996: 84). I conclude that the deities H’un La (the 40th day, it is near the 6th sky), Yax Bol (the 209th day, it is near the 10th sky) and Yum Viil (the 125th day, it is on the 8th sky) resist the deities of the death and “bad” heavy showers. The god K’axix located in the cover (nok) of the celestial water is associated with the rain according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 52). This record corresponds to the number 209 (1 Muluk). I prefer to translate Maya nok as ‘ghost, spirit’.

Let us consider the record inscribed on the Maya vessel No 47 of the first part of the 9th century A.D. discovered in Guatemala (see Coe 1973). The text is devoted to a Maya queen. She died on the day of 7 Eeb. According to this report, she went down the cool stairs (itz eb) to the deity ‘The Snail’; then she reincarnated in the womb of a young virgin. The queen has an epithet, CH’UP-ch’up chum ech’, CH’UP-ch’up yax aak-tzil-been k’ing-k’ng-il ‘the woman – the charming star, the woman – the mistress of new abundant fields’. Then the dates of 7 Chik-chan and 6 Kab-an are mentioned. The second date is the day of the queen’s reincarnation. The 8th new moon gave a change to the queen (see Knorozov and Ershova 1986: 115-119). The date of 7 Eeb corresponds to the number 72. The dates of 7 Chik-chan and 6 Kab-an correspond to the numbers 85 and 97 respectively. Since the dates do not contain the full information (the format x1.x2.x3.x4.x5 and some additional parameters), one can believe that they are connected with the day of the planting of the maize. The key date is in my opinion 7 Chik-chan that represents the 7th sky. I prefer to translate Maya Chum ech’ as ‘The growing star’. Two variants of the interpretation are quite possible: this star is the planet Venus or the star Spica (Virgo). I read the hieroglyph NEW (DARK) MOON as Chak Kit ‘The moon near the end of the lunar month’ (literally ‘The great deity’). The following dates are calculated for 802 A.D.: 7 Eeb was July 30, 7 Chik-chan was August 12 and 6 Kab-an was August 24 (the first day of the year; the great festival was possible on that day). In this case, the 8th new moon corresponds to the 28th December (the number 224, near the 4th sky = 225, the great festival was possible on that and next days). This date is near the winter solstice. I translate the expression itz eb as ‘the stairs of (the god) Itzamna’.

As a parallel of this record let us investigate two passages of the Paris codex (see Knorozov 1975: 97-98). In the first segment the exact date of 12 Kum-hu is written down. The numbers of the next segment and this one differ by only 1. So the real date of the second segment is 13 Kum-hu (August). The text is devoted to the wedding flower nikte. For instance, the date of 13 Kum-hu was August 12, 802 A.D., or the date of 7 Chik-chan (= 7th sky) on the agricultural calendar. It immediately follows that the dates near 7 Chik-chan (the number 85) were relevant to Maya wedding ceremonies.

Let us consider the Maya vessel No 14 of 600 – 900 A.D. discovered in Guatemala (see Coe 1978). The three gods are represented here, and each figure has the accompanying text (see Knorozov and Ershova 1986: 142-143). One can correct readings and their interpretations. The 1st record reads: U xul in-Tox CH’UP-ch’up ah’ ch’ah-ngal itz eb pay ‘The (god) carrying a spear of the woman of the rain (god) Tox, the owner of the sky. (He is) on the stairs of (the god) Itzamna. (He is) the first (deity)’. The 2nd record reads: U xul in-Tox CH’UP-ch’up ah’ k’i-ngal itz eb ch’a-be-e ‘The (god) carrying a spear of the woman of the rain (god) Tox, the owner of the change. (He is) on the stairs of (the god) Itzamna. The sacrifice’. The 3rd record reads: U xul in-Tox CH’UP-ch’up ah’ Hix-ngal itz eb ton ‘The (god) carrying a spear of the woman of the rain (god) Tox, the owner of the Jaguar. (He is) on the stairs of (the god) Itzamna. (He is) the strong (deity)’. I suppose that the three deities are comparable with the many-coloured celestial gods K’axixes or with the rain deities Chaks. The first god is Yax-K’ax (Yax-K’axix) or even Yax Chan located on the 9th sky. The god Yum K’i ‘The master of change’ is located near the 1st sky. On the other hand, the deity Chi-k’i-ngal ‘The Deer (the sky? the west?) – the change’ is located on the 4th sky. The god of death, Yum Tzek’, receives a victim according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 189-190). This record has the corresponding number 220, it is near the 4th sky. The word ‘jaguar’ can be translated as the name of the Underworld. The rain god holding a spear is represented on a drawing of the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 53). This accompanying text tells of gods Mox, K’axix and Yum Viil. I conclude that the three deities demonstrate the growth of the maize (the connection of the 9th and 4th skies). The parallel text about the rain deities (“persons carrying spears”) is examined above.

Let us consider the Maya vessel No 11 of 600 – 900 A.D. discovered in Guatemala (see Coe 1978; Knorozov and Ershova 1986: 130-137). A segment included in the formula of the revival can be read in a new manner: Sut K’ax. Boh-aan Chak Koh ‘It is the whirlwind of (the god) K’axix’. (The god having) Big Teeth is coming’. Then I offer a new translation of the sentence: Took t’oh-ub, K’ax sut, K’ax sut, K’ax sut, K’ax sut, K’ax sut, K’ax sut, K’ax sut, K’ax sut ‘The fiery (hot) wind, (the god) K’axix – the whirlwind (8 times)’. It is felt that once the drought began after the planting of the maize grains. The accompanying figure includes in particular a deity striking by the horn of the deer on the testa of the tortoise. I suppose that here the constellation ‘The Tortoise’ (Gemini) is represented. The deer is an image of the sky. So the time of the first days after the planting of the maize is determined correctly. The passage 1 (= H’un) tzub yal Chan can be compared with the name of the rain god by the name 1 (= H’un) Chan ‘One – the serpent/sky’. The deity ‘The Snail’, the deity called 1 Ah-av (= the 40th day after the planting of the maize grains, otherwise the image of the god Hunahpu or H’un La) and the god Tox associated with the term yax (‘first; yellow/green’) are relevant to the rains in this text.

Let us consider the Maya vessel No 49 of 600 – 900 A.D. discovered in Guatemala (see Coe 1973). Here Y.V. Knorozov and G.G. Ershova (1986: 138-139) distinguish the figure of the god-jaguar holding the signs of the following brief record: tul-ap 9 chab ech’. I translate this passage as follows: ‘near the 9th sky (= the earth of stars)’. I believe that here a possible eclipse (the rain, the darkness) is described. One can compare this jaguar with the god Chak Koh. One can examine a second part of the vertical record: H’el-ing-ah Hek’ Tox ang la. Xa-ngom chah’ ang ngal la-LA. Xa-ngom chab la-LA. Xa-ngom 9-och-te. Xa-ngom 4 lu Ti. Xa-ngom haa la-LA ang te chi. Xa-ngom kit Hix ‘The sovereign (called) ‘The Black (god) Tox of the thunderstorm’ will rule. The sovereign, master of the sky of the thunder will rule. The sovereign of the earth (sky? the 1st sky?) will rule. (The god called) ‘9 (bol)-10 – the Tree’ will rule. (The deity called) ‘The Vulture’ (with the epithet lu) situated on the 4th sky will rule. The thunder of the Tree/deer (The World Tree) will rule. The god (called) ‘The Jaguar’ will rule’. Here the god called ‘9 (bol)-10 – the Tree’ is the number 9-10 = 230. This number is near the 4th sky. It is the variant of the name of the god Chak-bol ‘The big jaguar’, Chak Koh ‘(The god-puma) with big teeth’, and Hix ‘The Jaguar’. Then the 4th sky is marked. Interestingly, the deity Ti ‘The Vulture’ with the epithet lu is mentioned in the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 125). Thus, the texts on the vessel report about the 9th and 4th skies associated with the darkness (rains, solar eclipses). It is the symbolism of death and burials.

Let us consider the Maya vessel No 12 discovered in Guatemala (see Coe 1973). Here G.G. Ershova (1986: 158) distinguishes the figure of a bat with the hieroglyph T122 took ‘fire’ near its jaws (3). I offer new transliterations of the accompanying inscriptions. In this part of the vase there are several hieroglyphs indeed. The text reads: T93.93.122.7 Chuh-chuh took um ‘The sovereign [Sotz’ ‘The Bat’] is burning the fire’. This animal is a symbol of the constellation of the Bat (Sotz’) and the month Sotz’ ‘The Bat’ (the end of October – November). The text describes the increasing of the heat on the fields. A column of hieroglyphs reads: T27.534.526 27.528 Um, la chab, um ku ‘The sovereign, the ruler of the earth (field), the sovereign of the rain (Yum Ku)’. The parallel text is presented in the Paris codex (see Knorozov 1975: 99). The god of fire, Mox, and the black god K’ax rule the sky; this record has the corresponding number 157 (0 Sotz’ in 802 A.D.). As a variant of the interpretation of the second record, the word la can be read [1 (= H’un)] La (= Hunahpu), i.e. it is the name of the deity of abundance.

Let us consider the picture and inscriptions presented on a monument at a stadium in the Maya town Copan (Honduras) (see Belyaev 1996: 83-84). The figure represents a young man and the god of death playing a ball. The text inside the ball is as follows: k’ing-il chab ‘the ruler of the earth’. I offer a new transliteration of the record inscribed above the ball between the personages (an unknown hieroglyph is a variant of the hieroglyph T524 Hix). The translation of the text is as follows: U ba-ka 1 (= H’un) La 6 Hix u xul. 13 u Xul mox ‘(The deity) 6 Hix carrying a spear wins a victory over (the deity) 1 (= H’un)La. (It is the date of) 13 Xul (using) the solar (calendar)’. The deity called 6 Hix is the 214th day, and the deity called 1 (= H’un) La is the 40th day of the 260-count sacral period. The date of the 214th day after the planting of the maize is repeated using the ordinary calendar: it is the 13th day of the month Xul (December). I suppose that the priests believed that the weather (a heavy shower etc.) under these conditions could be a reason of the ruin of the maize crops. The wordplay is quite possible: cf. Maya xul ‘spear; end’. The sun deity is marked by the deity 1 (= H’un) La. Besides, this deity may substitute for the fiery god Mox, too. The parallel records exist in the Madrid codex. The rain (sky) deity K’axix has the corresponding number 216 (see Knorozov 1975: 110-111). The accompanying figure represents the rain. The text describing the time of the rain has the corresponding number 215 (see Knorozov 1975: 126). The deity called 1 Chan coming into the celestial water has the corresponding number 205 (see Knorozov 1975: 140). The text about the rain deities Tit Soot and K’axix as well as about the sun deity K’inbentzilaan has the corresponding number 210 (see Knorozov 1975: 110). I think that the last record describes the struggle of the deities of the rain/death and the deity of the sun/abundance.

Quasi-Bilingual Folklore Texts

Let us investigate the Maya chant Kay Nicte (see Barrera Vázquez 1965). The free translation is as follows. The glorious moon is appearing on the 4th sky. Then the moon is at the centre of the sky. All the girls are going into the forest. They have 4 flowers: the wedding flower of nikte, the flower of chukum, the flower of the jasmine, the flower of x(…). They have 9 new knives, too. A shell is destined for an old woman. At last the girls are in the forest. There is a reservoir here. The Most Beauty Star is appearing. Then the girls are going into the water (see Ershova 1982: 111-112). Using the data obtained hereabove one can offer the interpretation of this text. The phrase chumuk k(a)n (k)aan means ‘to grow on the 4th sky’. This sky corresponds to the number 225 (4 Chik-chan). This day is in the end of December, near the winter solstice, if 1 Imix = May 20. The 4th level of the sky symbolises the presence of the deities named as Moo-ngal ‘having a Parrot, i.e. belonging to the constellation of the Parrot’ (the symbolism of the sun, heat and light), Nich’ ‘The Sharp-tongued (spirit)’, nok ‘ghost, spirit’, vaay-Ku ‘the spirit of the thunderstorm’, Ti-TI ‘The Vulture’, vaay-Tun ‘the spirit-manager’, tzik-ngal ‘the count (of days)’, Chi-k’i-ngal ‘The Deer (the sky?) – the changing (deity)’. The spirit-manager (the Snail) and the ghost of the reincarnation are presented in this list. I believe that the girls come to the reservoir before a wedding. The water is the mark of the Underworld. The name of the flower of chukum means ‘to take prisoner’ (the symbolism of the abundance and fertility), and the name of the flower of xib (?) means ‘man’ (the analogous symbol). It is known that 9 blood-lettings (victims?) are connected with the god-thunderer K’axix according to the Dresden codex (4). Therefore one can suggest that the 9 new knives denote the ideas of the water and light. On the other hand, the knives might be necessary for the sacrifices. Furthermore, the expression bolom yaax means ‘9 – new’ literally, and it can be translated as ‘the number 9-1 (4 Imix) = 61’. The expression k’ pook niikte ha is relevant to the rites of the cleansing and the reincarnation (cf. Maya pok ‘to wash; to clean’, haa ‘water; rain’). One can agree with A. Barrera Vázquez (1965: 52, 59) that Maya name Kiichpan buutz’ ek’ is the designation of the Venus, and his translation of this expression is ‘The smoky star’. I reconstruct it as (hieroglyphic) Maya K’i pa-aan butz’ ech’ ‘The change – the smoke-star appeared’ (another variant: ki < chi ‘west’). If 1 Imix = May 20, 1000 A.D., one can choose December 19, 1000 A.D., that is only a trifle less December 29, 1000 A.D. (the symbol of the 4th sky). The moon rose on the east (23:40). Its age was 23rd phase (the last quarter). On December 20, 1000 A.D., the Venus rose on the east (04:43), then it disappeared in the solar beams (the beginning of dawn: 05:10). The meaning of the term of ‘The smoke-star’ is associated with the low level of the Venus above the horizon. The old woman is the personification of the deity of death and of the Underworld. The shell is an image of the deity ‘The Snail’. The girls were collected in the early morning before the wedding. This text is the late version of the hieroglyphic text presented on the Maya vessel No 47. Moreover, I have found the parallel text in the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 169): Chum pok-ah 9 (…) Sak-Ch’up 4 k’i-ngal h’el-ben-tzil aan-yax-ah. I translate it as follows: ‘The growth – the wash – 9 blood-lettings (victims?) [ul-um]. (It is the moon goddess) Sak-Ch’up of the 4th sky of the changing (deity), (she is) the good mistress again’ (a solar eclipse did not occur). The text begins with the sequence of the dates, and the last date is 5 Ku (Kavak) = the number 239. It is between the 4th and 11th skies. The penultimate date is 12 Chi (Man-ik’) = the number 207. This date is between the 10th and 4th skies. Hence these data contain the indirect designation of the 4th sky.

Let us investigate the Maya chant Coox he ka k’am niikte (see Barrera Vázquez 1965; Ershova 1982: 114-115). My own interpretation of the text is as follows. It is devoted to the wedding of a virgin-mistress. The flowers of young virgins are connected with the 4th sky (kan kaan). Such names of deities/celestial bodies are mentioned here: Ix m[utz’] suhuy k’aak’, the moon (u) together with Ix kam le ooch, Ix ah soot and Ix suhuy ix t’oot much. They are the images of the sun, the moon, the Venus (cf. Maya k’am ‘to get’, och ‘to begin’; this is the description of the planet that is visible on the east, then it disappears, then it is visible on the west) and the goddesses of the abundance and fertility. Perhaps, a bride is comparable with the Venus and some other celestial bodies in the Maya beliefs.

Let us investigate the Maya legend “The white maize” (see Chinchilla 1965). On the strength of this story one can conclude that the wedding ritual began near the reservoir in the wood. Then the bride went to her future husband.

Let us investigate the Maya legend about Hapaykan (see Ershova 2002: 43-44). The serpent Hapaykan is associated with the water and the chthonic world. This monster eats children. The snake lives in a cave, it appears in August. The father-god is Yum Ku who rules in the end of the existence of this world. An old woman sells the water. These details merit attention. I suppose that one can read the name Hapaykan as Haa Pay Kan (Chan) ‘The Water, the Rain – the 1st Sky’. It is comparable with the names of the gods 1 (= H’un) Chan ‘1 – the sky/serpent’ or Yax Chan ‘The first/green/blue sky/serpent’. The first of these too similar deities corresponds to the 1st sky (the number 105). It is either the end of August or the beginning of September. The god Yum Ku ‘The sovereign of the rain’ corresponds to the chthonic spirit of the thunderstorm (vaay-Ku). The latter god has the number 130 according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 19). The old woman is the personification of the deity of death and of the Underworld. This image of the “old/dying” goddess is comparable in my opinion with the moon goddess Chak kit ‘The great goddess’. Besides, the water of the old woman is associated with a child. So, this personage is the integral symbol of the wedding.

Let us investigate the Maya legend “The bow of Balam-Akab” (see Chinchilla 1965). Here four rulers are mentioned: Balam-Kiche, Balam-Akab, Mahu-Kutah, Iki-Balam. In my opinion they are the cardinal points, cf. Maya (hieroglyphic) chi-k’ing-il ‘the west’, ak’ ‘the darkness’, ma-ho ‘the south’, ik’ ‘the wind’. The old man Balam-Akab is connected with the new moon. This person (cf. the role of the mythological old woman) is the personification of the deity of death and of the Underworld. This personage is the integral symbol of the wedding, too.
Let us investigate the Maya legend “The birth of the maize” (see Chinchilla 1965). Here the deities Hurakan, Kukulkan, Manahuak, Hun-Ahpu, Tepev, Kukumatz, Koholom, Ixpiakok and Ixmukane are mentioned. One can believe that this list contains several names of the deities of the sky. The name Manahuak is Ma nah u ak’ ‘The great first – the water, darkness’. Here the date of 1 Ak’ (Ak’-bal) or 1-3 (the number 183) is presented. The report about the rain deity Tit Soot corresponds to the number 183 according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 118). The god K’axix associated with the many-coloured trees corresponds to the number 180 according to the Dresden codex (see Knorozov 1975: 65). So the deity Ma Nah U Ak’ symbolises the rains. Then the mythological character H’un-Ah-pu (H’un La) comes (the date of 1 Ah-av = 1-20 = the number 40, otherwise a day near the summer solstice). The name Koh-al means ‘The biting (deity)’. It is the symbol of the Underworld. This is the variant of the name Chak Koh. The names of Ixpiakok and Ixmukane signify ‘The lady who is troubled about the brightness’ and ‘The lady who was buried’ respectively. It is description of the moon or the Venus. Certainly, these names are reconstructed with some degree of certainty.

On the Origin of the Maya Indians

The Polynesian-Maya lexical parallels are offered (see Schuhmacher, Seto, Seto and Francisco 1992; Rjabchikov 1995; 1997a; 1997b; 1997c). On the other hand, in T. Heyerdahl’s (1968: 31ff) theory about the colonization of the Polynesia the Indians of the Northwest American Coast are deemed one of the possible contact groups. It is thought that the proto-Maya Indians are originated from this territory. A part of this group migrated to the present countries of the Maya Indians, and another part (together with some other proto-Amerindians) migrated to the Polynesia.

The list of the Maya-Polynesian parallels includes such items: cf. Maya pax ‘drum’ and Rapanui pahu ‘drum’, Maya nich’ ‘sharp-tongued’ and Rapanui niho ‘tooth’, Maya la-k’ing-il ‘the east’ and Rapanui ra’a, Hawaiian la ‘the sun’, Maya ma-ho ‘the south’ and Maori ma ‘white, clean’, Maya chi-k’ing-il ‘the west’ and Rapanui kino ‘bad’, Maya Chel ‘the rainbow goddess’ and Maori kero ‘dead’, kekero ‘to die; to disappear’, Maya ech’ ‘star’ and Rapanui eke ‘to rise’, Maya tox ‘downpour’ and Rapanui tonga ‘the season of rains’, Maya ah-pul-yah ‘wizard’ and Rapanui pure ‘prayer; shell’, Maya took ‘fire’ and Rapanui taka ‘bright red’, Maya am ‘wave’ and Rapanui ama ‘balancer of a canoe’, Maya te ‘tree’ and Rapanui teitei ‘to grow’, Maya k’aak’ ‘fire’ and Rapanui ka ‘to burn’. One can compare the name of the Maya god Itzamna (< *itz) of the transition from the night to the day (see above) with Maori whiti ‘to shine’, whiti, rawhiti ‘east’, whitinga ‘rising’, Rapanui hitihanga ‘the sunrise’, hiti ‘to rise; to appear; to wake up’, and Quechua inti ‘the sun’. The name of the Maya god of abundance, Yum Viil, can be compared with Rapanui viriviri ‘round; top’. The name of the Maya god of death, Yum Tzek’, can be compared with Rapanui tekeo ‘weak’. The word ‘Tortoise’ is a symbol of the Pleiades in Tuamotuan and Easter Island belief systems (see Lee 1992: 80; Rjabchikov 1993a: 5; 1993b: 23). Interestingly, the word ‘Tortoise’ is a symbol of the Gemini constellation in the Maya belief system according a text of the Paris codex (see Knorozov 1975: 101).

The sign system of the Tlingit Indians contains several proto-Maya glyphs. Let us consider a Tlingit painted skin breast plate (1800 – 1850) (see Feest 1994: 75, figure 60). At the centre of the composition I distinguish the mask with three signs above it. This face corresponds to the Maya hieroglyph T534 la ‘face’. The row of the signs correspond to the Maya hieroglyphs T124 am ‘wave’, T45 itz ‘morning’ (this meaning is reconstructed above) and T124 am ‘wave’. Besides, one can distinguish signs that correspond to the Maya hieroglyphs T122 took ‘fire’ and the combinations of the Maya hieroglyphs T93 chuh ‘to burn’ and T122 took ‘fire’. Moreover, the combinations of the signs that correspond to the Maya hieroglyphs T7 um ‘master; sovereign’ and T1009d kit ‘ancestor’ are registered. On the other hand, the Madrid codex tells of the god Itzamna obtaining the fire using the similar hieroglyphs (see Knorozov 1975: 143; see also a supplement in the Russian translation of the book: Folsom 1974: 78). I conclude that the proto-Maya record about Itzamna is preserved in the Tlingit pictograms.

Let us examine a Tlingit blanket (1850 – 1900) (see Feest 1994: 128-129, figure 121). Here one can distinguish the signs corresponding to the Maya hieroglyphs T534 la ‘face’, T93 chuh ‘to burn’, the combination of the Maya hieroglyphs T45 itz ‘morning’, T124 am ‘wave’ and T1009d kit ‘ancestor’. Thus, the second Maya record about Itzamna is preserved in the Tlingit pictograms.

In the light of these findings one can offer the following Tlingit-Maya-Polynesian parallels: Tlingit ra ‘sun’, ra kenaen ‘morning’ – Maya la-k’ing-il ‘east’ – Rapanui ra’a, ra’ai ‘the sun’, Hawaiian la ‘the sun’; Tlingit re ‘face’ – Maya la ‘face’ – Rapanui korai ‘face’; Tlingit kutan ‘summer’, kye anahih ‘sunrise’ – Maya chuh ‘to burn’ – Rapanui kukokope ‘to burn, to prepare’, kume ‘to appear (about the solar rays)’, kutoto ‘to melt’; Tlingit toutle ‘fire drill’ < *to- te ‘the fire stick’?– Maya took ‘fire’ – Rapanui taka ‘bright red’; Tlingit guts ‘cloud’ – Maya ku ‘rain’ < *ku- ‘lightning’? – Rapanui kukuo ‘snail’, ku ‘absence’; Tlingit ankau ‘chief; rich’ – Maya ngal ‘owner, master’ Rapanui kaua ‘ancestor’; Tlingit kyeu ‘fish line’ – Maya kay ‘fish’ – Rapanui kahi ‘tuna’, ika ‘fish’; Tlingit tli wus ‘strong’ – Maya Yum Viil ‘the god of abundance’ – Rapanui viriviri ‘top’, vie ‘woman’; Tlingit t’ote ‘black’ < *t’o te ‘the black tree = the World Tree’? – Maya tox ‘rain’ – Rapanui tonga ‘the rain season’; Tlingit tsek ‘smoke’ – Maya Yum Tzek’ ‘the god of death’ – Rapanui tekeo ‘weak’; Tlingit kan ‘fire’ – Maya k’aak’ ‘fire’ – Rapanui ka ‘to burn’; Tlingit hin ‘water’ – Maya in ‘rain’ – Rapanui Hina ‘the moon goddess’. Interestingly, Tlingit niqte ‘frog’ (the area of the chnhonic animals) is comparable with Maya nikte ‘the (wedding) flower’, cf. also Rapanui niniko ‘garland, wreath’.

Let us study some Haida-Maya-Polynesian parallels: Haida lraera ‘master’ – Maya la ‘sovereign’ – Rapanui rangi ‘guide’; Haida kin ‘summer’ – Maya k’ing ‘the sun’ – Rapanui kume ‘to appear (about the solar rays)’, kukokope ‘to burn, to prepare’, kutoto ‘to melt’.

Let us study some Tsimshian-Maya-Polynesian parallels: Tsimshian ts’amte ‘lightning’ < *its am te  (the connection with the World Tree is marked) – Maya Itzam(na) < *Itz am ‘The (rising) sun (connected with) the water’ – Rapanui hiti ‘to dawn; to appear’; Tsimshian gua ‘to burn’ – Maya chuh ‘to burn’ – Rapanui kukokope ‘to burn, to prepare’, kutoto ‘to melt’, kume ‘to appear (about the solar rays)’; Tsimshian tkien ‘fire drill’ – Maya took ‘fire’ – Rapanui taka ‘bright red’; Tsimshian neguat ‘father’ – Maya kit ‘ancestor’ – Rapanui Hatukuti (one of the names of the god-creator known as Tiki and Hatu, too) (5); Tsimshian ts’ak ‘to die; to kill’ – Maya Yum Tzek’ ‘the god of death’ – Rapanui tekeo ‘weak’; Tsimshian wi ‘great’ – Maya Yum Viil ‘the god of abundance’ – Rapanui viriviri ‘top’, vie ‘woman’; Tsimshian balaq ‘ghost’ – Maya bal ‘jaguar’ (the symbolism of the Underworld) – Rapanui pera ‘grave’; Tsimshian nak ‘to lie down’ – Maya nok ‘covered’ – Rapanui noho ‘dwelling; to live’; Tsimshian aks ‘water’ – Maya ak’ ‘rain’ – Rapanui Akoa ‘the girl associated with drops of rain’ (6); Tsimshian maks ‘white’ – Maya ma-ho ‘the south’ – Maori ma ‘white, clean’; Tsimshian teqtl ‘hammer; stone’ – Maya t’ak ‘axe’ – Rapanui toki ‘adz’. Furthermore, the Tsimshian-Polynesian parallels exist, cf., e.g., Tsimshian mesk ‘red’ and Rapanui mea ‘red’, Tsimshian laqa ‘above; heaven’ and Rapanui rangi ‘heaven’, Tsimshian kalapleep ‘thunderbird’ and Rapanui ka ‘to burn; dawn’, kaka ‘a dry leaf of a banana tree’, rapa ‘ceremonial paddle’ (cf. Tsimshian kalaple em laqa ‘thunder’, literally ‘thunderbird in heaven’).

The myths about shells that were spread at vast areas can have a common origin. On a totem pole that was the World Tree of the Indians of the Northwest American Coast there is an image of a Gigantic Shell (see Segal 1972: 354). The wooden rattle in the shape of a shell is known in the Northwest-Coast art (see Feest 1994: 175, figure 167). One can suppose that it is the last copy of the early amulet of the deity of the rain. The deity ‘The Snail’ was the initial master of food in compliance with Maya beliefs (see Ershova 1986: 170). In the Maya text there is a report about the Shell and the Snail according to the Madrid codex (see Knorozov 1975: 134). The Tahitian myths tell of the god Tangaroa originated from the initial condition of the Universe known as the shell Rumia (see Buck 1938: 69ff). Besides, according to a Tahitian myth (see Luomala 1955), a gigantic mollusc ate almost the all descendants of the king Tumu, and the small Rata became a new king. In my opinion, here Rata is the designation of the sun (ra), Tumu ‘The Base; the World Tree’ is the image of the world of deities, and the shell is the image of the initial darkness. In the Maori beliefs Tama-nui-te-ra is a name of the sun (see Best 1955: 51). Interestingly, the Aztec name of the legendary homeland located somewhere on the north is Tamoanchan (see Knorozov 1975: 240). Since the name Tangaroa can be read as Tamaroa because of the alternations of the sounds n/ng/m, I conclude that Tama (Tanga, Tana) is an archaic name of the proto-Amerindian religious idea. The lexical parallels are possible: cf. Tlingit tan ‘gens’, Haida tein ‘grandfather’, Tahitian tane ‘man’, Maori Tane ‘the sun god’ (7), Maya ton ‘manly; strong’, Aztec Tonatiu ‘the sun god’.

Let us consider the two Maya hieroglyphs T503 and T506 now. The first sign denotes the day of Ik’ ‘The wind’, and the second sing denotes the day of K’an (H’a) ‘The food’. I distinguish in the first sign a T-shaped symbol. The symbols of the sun and of a boat are inserted in the second sign. Interestingly, it can be interpreted as ‘Yellow’, too. The T-shaped symbol represents the sky as well as a totem pole of the Indians of the Northwest American Coast. The symbol of the boat resembles the analogous symbols which were spread in the America (see Feest 1994: 95, figure 82; Gelb 1963: figure 6). One can suppose that the fishery was the main business of the proto-Maya tribes.

 


NOTES

1. Cf. Knorozov 1975: 77-78.
2. I have used the RedShift 2 computer program to observe the sky.
3. I use the classification of the Maya hieroglyphs by J.E.S. Thompson (1962).
4. Cf. Knorozov 1975: 73, 74.
5. See Rjabchikov 1997b.
6. See Métraux 1940: 364.
7. See Best 1955: 16.

 


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