Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: June 2012

16 - The measure of time in Mesoamerica: From Teotihuacan to the Maya

Summary

Thus it was recorded [by] the first sage, Melchise [dek], the first prophet, Napuc Tun, the priest, the first priest. This is a song of how the uinal [20-day period] came to be created before the creation of the world. Then he began to march by his own effort alone. Then said his maternal grandmother, then said his maternal aunt, then said his paternal grandmother, then said his sister-in-law: “What shall we say when we see man on the road?” These were their words as they marched along, when there was no man [as yet]. Then they arrived there in the east and began to speak. “Who has passed here? Here are footprints. Measure it off with your foot.” So spoke the mistress of the world. Then he measured the footstep of our Lord, God, the Father. This was the reason it was called counting off the whole earth, lahca (12)Oc. This was the count, after it had been created by [the day] 13 Oc, after his feet were joined evenly, after they had departed there in the east. Then he spoke its name when the day had no name, after he had marched along with his maternal grandmother, his maternal aunt, his paternal grandmother and his sister-in-law. The uinal was created, the day, as it was called, was created, heaven and earth were created, the stairway of water, the earth, rocks and trees; the things of the sea and the things of the land were created.

(Roys 1967, 116–117, author's brackets)

Related content

Powered by UNSILO
References
Aveni, A. 1987 Some parallels in the development of Maya and Roman calendars. Interciencia 12, 108–115.
Aveni, A. 1989 Empires of Time: Calendars, Clocks and Cultures. New York, Basic.
Aveni, A. 1997 Stairways to the Stars. New York, Wiley.
Aveni, A. 2000 Out of Teotihuacan, origins of the celestial canon in Mesoamerica. In Mesoamerica's Classic Heritage, from Teotihuacan to Aztecs, ed. Carrasco, D., Jones, L., Sessions, S.. Boulder, CO, University Press of Colorado, 253–268.
Aveni, A. 2001 Skywatchers: A Revised and Updated Version of Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico. Austin, University of Texas Press.
Aveni, A. 2004 Intervallic structure and cognate almanacs in the Madrid and Dresden Codices. In The Madrid Codex: New Approaches to Understanding an Ancient Maya Manuscript, ed. Vail, G. and Aveni, A.. Boulder, University Press of Colorado, 147–170.
Aveni, A. 2005 Observations on the pecked cross designs and other figures carved on the south platform of the Pyramid of the Sun. Journal for the History of Astronomy 36, 31–47.
Aveni, A. 2006 Uncommon Sense: Understanding Nature's Truths across Time and Culture. Boulder, University Press of Colorado.
Aveni, A., Calnek, E., and Hartung, H. 1988 Myth, environment, and the orientation of the Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan. American Antiquity 53, 287–309.
Aveni, A., Dowd, A., and Vining, B. 2003 Maya calendar reform? Evidence from orientations of specialized architectural assemblages. Latin American Antiquity 14(2), 159–178.
Aveni, A. and Hartung, H. 1989 Uaxactun, Guatemala, Group E and similar assemblages: An archaeoastronomical reconsideration. In World Archaeoastronomy, ed. Aveni, A.. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 441–460.
Aveni, A., Hartung, H., and Kelley, J. C. 1982 Alta Vista Chalchihuites: Astronomical implications of a Mesoamerican ceremonial outpost at the Tropic of Cancer. American Antiquity 47, 316–335.
Aveni, A., Morandi, S., and Peterson, P. 1995 The Maya number of time, Part I. Archaeoastronomy no. 20 (Supplement to Journal for the History of Astronomy 26), S1–28.
Aveni, A., Morandi, S., and Peterson, P. 1996 The Maya number of time, Part II. Archaeoastronomy no. 21 (Supplement to Journal for the History of Astronomy 27), S1–32.
Bricker, H., Aveni, A., and Bricker, V. 2001 Ancient Maya documents concerning the movement of Mars. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 98, 2107–2110.
Bricker, H. and Bricker, V. 1996 Astronomical references in the throne inscription of the Palace of the Governor at Uxmal. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 6(2), 191–229.
Bricker, H. and Bricker, V. 2006 Astronomical references in the water tables on pages 69–74 of the Dresden Codex. In Painted Books and Indigenous Knowledge in Mesoamerica: Manuscript Studies in Honor ofMary Elizabeth Smith, ed. Boone, E.. New Orleans, Middle American Research Institute Pub. 69, 213–229.
Bodley, Codex. Bodleian Library, Oxford, Mex. d.l. (HMAI Census no. 31).
Drake, S. 1967 Galileo: Dialog Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press.
Edmonson, M. 1982 The Ancient Future of the Itza: The Book of Chilan Balam of Tizimin. Austin, University of Texas Press.
LaFarge, O. and Byers, D. 1931 The year bearers people. Middle American Research Series Publ. No. 3.
Leach, E. R. 1950 Primitive calendars. Oceania 20, 245–262.
Lounsbury, F. 1978 Maya numeration, computation and calendrical astronomy. In Dictionary of Scientific Biography 15, suppl 1, ed. Gillispie, C. C.. New York, Scribners, 759–818.
Maudslay, A. P. 1889–1902 Archaeology, Biologia Centrali-Americana, 6 vols. London, Porter.
Millon, R. 1992 Teotihuacan studies: From 1950 to 1990 and beyond. In Art, Ideology and the City of Teotihuacan, ed. Berlo, J.. Washington, DC, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 339–429.
Neugebauer, O. 1983 Astronomy and History, Selected Essays. New York, Springer-Verlag.
Roys, R. 1967 The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel, 2nd ed. Norman, University of Oklahoma Press.
Schele, L. and Grube, N. 1997 Notebook for the XXIst Maya Hieroglyphic Workshop, March 8–9, 1997. Austin, University of Texas Department of Art and Art History, College of Fine Arts and Institute of Latin American Studies.
Schultze-Jena, L. 1950 Wahrsagerei, Himmelskunde und kalender der alten Azteken: Quellewerke zur Alten Geschichte Americas 4. Stuttgart, W. Kohlammer.
Thompson, J. E. S. 1950 Maya Hieroglyphic Writing: An Introduction. Washington, DC, Carnegie Institution of Washington Pub. 589.
Thompson, J. E. S. 1972 A Commentary on the Dresden Codex, a Maya Hieroglyphic Book. Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, Memoirs, No. 93.
Tozzer, A. 1941 Landa's Relación de las cosas de Yucatán (1566). Peabody Museum Papers, Harvard University 18, Cambridge, MA, Peabody Museum, Harvard.
Urton, G. 1986 Calendrical cycles and their projections in Pacariqtambo, Peru. Journal of Latin American Lore 12: 45–64.
Vail, G. 2004 A reinterpretation of Tzolkin in almanacs in the Madrid Codex. In The Madrid Codex: New Approaches to Understanding an Ancient Maya Manuscript, ed. Vail, G. and Aveni, A.. Boulder, University Press of Colorado, 215–252.
Villacorta, J. and Villacorta, C. 1977 Codices Mayas. Guatemala City: Reproducidos y Desarrolados, Tipografia.
Zuidema, R. T. 1982 The role of the Pleiades and of the Southern Cross and Alpha and Beta Centauri in the calendar of the Incas. In Ethnoastronomy and Archaeoastronomy in the American Tropics, ed. Aveni, A. and Urton, G.. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences385, 203–229.