To Steve Stearns: You asked about the page of dates I put in "Maya Cosmos"
and why I had 13.0.0.0.0 4 Ahaw 3 K'ank'in. I think a discussion of the
13.0.0.0.0 dates and how the calendar works in these matters would be helpful.
If of all, we associated 4 Ahaw 8 Kumk'u with 13.0.0.0.0 because
we have a large number of texts (about 15) that record
with the era event. Nikolai and I have written a "Texas Note" showing that
the glyph (the double kawak sign and the bird with the hand on its
lower jaw) is a word for a 'bundle.' That's why it shows up as the glyph for
both 400-year and 20-year cycles. The era date, therefore, corresponded to
the "ended or closure of 13 bundles," but the size of the bundle is usually
not specified. We take ithem to be bundles of 400-years.
At Quirigua we have a lc notation of 13.0.0.0.0 on Stela C and at
Coba we have two lcs that have 20 units above bak'tun all set at 13.
Furthermore, the lc dates from the TC and TFC tell us that the bak'tun count
cycled from 13 to 1 because we have lcs of 1.18.5.3.6 and 1.18.5.4.0. These
lc dates are essentially the count of days after the beginning of the era.
On the otherhand, Lady Huntan's birth is written in an lc on the TC as
12.19.13.4.0, so that we know that the lc just before the era was in the
12th cycle.
I suspect that the Maya thought of all of the other numbers in the
huge Coba dates as having had accumulated 13 completed cycles, but no dates
are written that would let us test this assumption. They cast dns that far
into the past to reach calendar round dates, but they never wrote lc
positions for the crs. Therefore, any lc further back that 13 bak'tuns
before 4 Ahaw 8 Kumk'u is a modern reconstruction-- until we find one that
the Maya themselves wrote in ancient times. Nevertheless, this data shows
the way the numbers worked. After 13.0.0.0.0 4 ahaw 8 Kumk'u, "13" changed
to "1" after the passage of 400 tuns, and dates in the last 400-year cycle
before the era date were in the 13th cycle.
If you add 13 bak'tuns to the same 4 Ahaw 8 Kumk'u, you get 4 Ahaw 3
K'ank'in. This is the famous 2012 date that everyone treats as the end of
the world. Well, Pakal wrote something in the west panel of the Temple of
Inscriptions that does not agree with this interpretation. I think you've
probably worked both of the passages out yourself. In one passage he said
explicitly that the 1st piktun will end on 10 Ahaw 13 Yaxk'in. Check it out.
If you add 8,000 tuns to 4 Ahaw 8 K'ank'in you get 10 Ahaw 13 Yaxk'in. And
notice that he recorded the ends of the nine k'atuns of his history, then
the end of the current k'atun 13, then the current bak'tun of 10, then the
current piktun of 1. He was creating a symmetry of every larger cycles.
But he went further. He added a long dn to connect his birth date
(9.8.9.13.0 8 Ahaw 13 Pop) to t the 80th cr anniversary of his accessio.
Furthermore, he said that this date will be celebrated 8 days after the end
of the 1st piktun. If the 2012 date were a new era date, the count would
have to start all over again with everything "zeroing"--that is, if it is to
work the way the ancient Maya treated their era date. According to Pakal,
it will not "zero".
But we can learn more from what he cause to be writeen. The numbers
in the dn tells us that one must add 20 units of any cycle in this creation
to click the next higher unit by one. If you apply these principles to the
Coba dates: that the lc number click from 13 to 1 in each place unit, and
that 20 units of the lower place is required to accumulate 1 in the next
higher one, then it will take 20 to the 20th power years (that's 142 with 36
zeros) to click all of the thirteens to one. I once figured it out and it
will take about 142 nonillion years [I did that from memory . . . so if you
want to check it, please do. I discovered my computer can't do it in real
integers. I had to do it by hand.].
For me, Pakal's information is unequivocal evidence that they did not view
the coming 13.0.0.0.0 4 Ahaw 3 K'ank'in as a world ending date, but rather
just another terrribly important date that would have been celebrated much
like we are going to celebrate the millennium. I'm sure there would have
been prophecies of doom just as there are now--but just as we contemplate
that time will simply continue to 2001 etc (or we would not have Startrek
and Starwars), so they contemplated that time would also continue in their
concept of the world or Pakal would not have written what he did.
The 80 cr anniversary is also a very special number and one of those things
Floyd calls fortuitous beyond the bounds of expectation. The 80 Cr number is
one critical to the Venus pages. It is an even number of tzolkins (5,840),
of haabs (4,160), of Venus cycles (2,600), of the five Venus-8 haab cycle
(2,920 *520), of the Grand Venus Round (37,960 *40) of the calendar rounds
(18,960 * 80), and of the 520 day number (520 * 2,920) that tracks the lunar
nodes. That the addition of this number to his accession hit just 8 days
after the end of the first pictun must have tickled their fancy. The dn they
wrote, however, does not tie not his accession to the later date, but his
birth. They managed to tie two bird to one dn.
> Playing with numbers like this was the primary way that the Maya
structured the symmetries of time. Floyd first figured it out in this paper
on contrived numbers. My graduate student Christopher Powell is finding out
even more. He has especially investigated the way profound geometries fall
out naturally of the process of using a cord to measure and to square space.
The Maya had a magnificent and subtle system combining numbers like these
with the geometry of coming fromthe use of cords to measure the world.
Combining these two system locked together the symmetries of timeand space
in a very special way. As other have noted, these same symmetries occur in
the Borgia and the Vendobonensis so that it is probably a Mesoamerican way
of understanding the world. Manipulating the numbers may have taken some
learning, but the use of the cord was something that every farmer did when
he measured his milpa or laid out a new house. If you have other questions,
let me know.
Linda Schele