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View Diary: Ancient America: The Gods of Palenque (65 comments)

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  •  Well... Tulum and Chichen Itza were known to the (3+ / 0-)
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    Anak, Ojibwa, Bluefin

    Montejos, the father and son (and cousin - all of whom had the same confusing name of Francisco Montejo), back in the very early 1500s, so it is hard to see how Palenque was the first discovered by the Spanish.

    I guess we could quibble over how "lost" any of them were, since the Maya knew exactly where they were all along.  Even after being virtually abandoned, pilgrimages to worship at Chichen Itza took place for many years.  As at Tulum, Uxmal, etc....

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    by YucatanMan on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 01:30:00 PM PDT

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    •  Yeah. "the lost cities" (1+ / 0-)
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      YucatanMan

      is often used to refer to the Classic Period cities in the southern lowlands that suffered the great Collapse and were "forgotten." Maybe I should have put it in quotation marks to be clearer.

      You're talking about Post-Classic places in the northern lowlands.

      Lamentablemente, por ahora, los objetivos que nos planteamos no fueron logrados en la ciudad capital. - Hugo Chávez, 1992

      by Anak on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 01:58:19 PM PDT

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      •  Some were "loster" than others (1+ / 0-)
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        Ojibwa

        I think Tikal was pretty out-of-the-way, and I'm not sure if the people living near there today are closely related.  But yeah, places like Copan were never really lost -- the areas around them were pretty depopulated, but the folks living next to them (and near Palenque) speak languages that are pretty similar to the classical language.  But 1200 years is a long time, and the culture of the inscriptions is the elite culture, not the culture of most people even back then.  Once the old kings were overthrown, and it seems pretty clear that they were, much about them rapidly dissolved into legend, as has happened in many other places around the world.

        You can't govern if you can't tell the country where you are taking it. The plot of Obama's presidency has been harder to follow than "Inception." -- F. Rich

        by mbayrob on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 04:21:44 PM PDT

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        •  "people living near to Tikal" (1+ / 0-)
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          Ojibwa

          were the Itza', primarily in Flores, which was the last fully-independent Mayan kingdom to fall to the spaniards, in 1750. And even then, over a hundred years after the first bonfires, the Spaniards burned all the books, the bastards.

          I bet that if you could dig up Flores today, you'd find some amazing things.

          Anyway, the Itza' language is now extinct, but a few of the people survive. Mostly, though, nearby Mayans today are from other groups.

          Senate rules which prevent any reform of the filibuster are unconstitutional. Therefore, we can rein in the filibuster tomorrow with 51 votes.

          by homunq on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 09:52:21 PM PDT

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          •  Most likely not the people of Mutul, then (1+ / 0-)
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            Ojibwa

            Itza is a Yucatec language.  I'm not sure if the account in Wikipedia is completely correct, but it appears that the Itza arrived into that part of the Peten some 400 years after the city fell.

            While the Maya were literate, 400 years is still a long time.  They may not have known that much about the large overgrown city that was a couple of days into the thick forest.  Tayasal is not all that close.

            You can't govern if you can't tell the country where you are taking it. The plot of Obama's presidency has been harder to follow than "Inception." -- F. Rich

            by mbayrob on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 10:30:38 PM PDT

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    •  Tulum (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      catilinus, Anak

      is the focus of next Sunday's Ancient America essay.

      •  Como siempre, I look forward to your take (2+ / 0-)
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        Ojibwa, Anak

        on Tulum. Of all the more famous Mayan cities, Tulum's post-classic "inverted" architecture always gave me a disquieting feeling when compared to "classic" Mayan sites.

        Perhaps we'll never fully understand the shifts in the political/societal focus reflected in the "classic" to "post-classic" Mayan world.

        The scope & breadth of your series...encompassing so many peoples & ages...is truly breathtaking...as is the respect reflected for each of the cultures you cover.

        You continue doing unbelievable work as a teacher here. Opening our eyes to the realities of the diversity of the Americas...and the uncounted millions who lived, breathed, dreamed, built, cried, & died here long before trans atlantic invasions & diseases...and those who still survive.

        Thank you, Ojibwa.

        Meteor Blades seems to do an outstanding job of community moderation despite the abject failure to be perfect.

        by catilinus on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 07:03:53 PM PDT

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        •  Thank-you for the kind words (1+ / 0-)
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          catilinus

          I hope that the Tulum essay does not disappoint. I wound up focusing on the wall and Tulum as a trade center more than the architecture.

          The transition into the Post-Classic is an interesting one.  

          I suspect I'm going to be doing more on the Maya as there is so much there.

          •  The "chenek" in toniná (1+ / 0-)
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            Ojibwa

            strike me as a great example of a post-classic transition, in a place that was continually inhabited through the transition era but still shows a dramatic cultural shift. Chenek art, unlike classic-era (forget the name... it's some form of the Dios Mundo, the alligator god) culture which preceded it, tended to favor spartan simplicity in its sculpture, as well as a different head shape (bean rather than corn, as the name indicates). Clearly there was still an elite, but also clearly they did not have the same baroque status.

            I think Tonina is underrated in general. It also has one of the clearest 2012-related inscriptions, by the way.

            Senate rules which prevent any reform of the filibuster are unconstitutional. Therefore, we can rein in the filibuster tomorrow with 51 votes.

            by homunq on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 09:46:50 PM PDT

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        •  See my reply above on Toniná (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ojibwa

          Senate rules which prevent any reform of the filibuster are unconstitutional. Therefore, we can rein in the filibuster tomorrow with 51 votes.

          by homunq on Mon Sep 12, 2011 at 04:21:29 AM PDT

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