FIELD MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
VOL. XVII, No. i
A CORRELATION OF THE MAYAN
AND EUROPEAN CALENDARS
J. ERIC THOMPSON
Assistant Curator of Mexican and South American Archaeology
Curator of Anthropology
C HISTORY LY
IAFO U UN DEBMRAL D
CHICAGO, U. S. A.
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
BY FIELD MUSEUM PRESS
The correlation suggested in this publication was first proposed as
long ago as 1905 by J. T. Goodman ("Maya Dates," American Anthropo-
logist, New Series, Volume VII). At that time Goodman's correlation
was unanimously rejected by his fellow students of Mayology. The
chronicle of Oxkutzcab was then unknown, and the astronomical infor-
mation contained both in the Dresden Codex and the monuments had
not been worked out. The present contribution is offered, not in the
sure conviction that the correlation is correct, but in the sincere belief
that it bears more evidence of being the true correlation than others yet
published. There is always the possibility that the Maya time machine
had broken down before the arrival of the Spaniards, in which case a
day for day correlation based entirely on astronomical evidence may
eventually be accepted.
I should like to express my gratitude to Mr. T. A. Joyce of the
British Museum, and Dr. S. G. Morley of the Carnegie Institution,
through whose writings I first became acquainted with this fascinating
A CORRELATION OF THE MAYAN AND
BY J. ERIC THOMPSON
THE GENERAL PROBLEM
A day for day correlation of the Maya and European chronologies,
providing the Maya day count continued to function unimpaired up to
the time of the arrival of the Spaniards, must be based on two distinct
and unrelated sets of evidence.
(i) The historical data supplied in the books of Chilan Balaam and
the writings of the Spanish priests and conquistadores.
(2) The astronomical evidence contained in the monuments and the
Unfortunately the historical evidence is to a large extent contradic-
tory, and the astronomical data have been translated in two different
Correlations such as those of Bowditch and Morley have been based
entirely on the historical data, and do not fit in with the astronomical
evidence, whereas the correlations of Willson and Teeple based on
astronomical evidence alone are utterly at variance with the historical
Spinden's correlation was based on historical evidence, but subse-
quently astronomical evidence has been interpreted to fit in with the
historical correlation in a manner which the writer believes is not
The present correlation is an attempt to reconcile the historical and
THE HISTORICAL EVIDENCE
The historical evidence is very fully dealt with by Morley in "The
Inscriptions at Copan," and therefore it is not presented here again in
full. The evidence although in places very conflicting indicates that a
Katun 13 Ahau ended between 1536 and 1541. The amount of evidence
actually favors 1536 as the date of the close of the katun, but the most
reliable information indicates the year 1539. This reliable document is
a page of the Chronicle of Oxkutzcab, a collection of titles, family papers,
births, etc., of the Xiu family, who prior to the Spanish conquest were
one of the ruling families of Yucatan, and in all probability the most
6 CORRELATION OF MAYAN AND EUROPEAN CALENDARS
important family in the land. Along with these family papers is a page
of historical information of the time of the conquest signed below by
Don Jhoan Xiu, and the statement that the signer had copied it from
"an ancient book, namely in characters as they are called, Anares."
Morley has pointed out that Anares is probably the same as "Analtehes,"
a word used to describe hieroglyphic manuscripts.
The following is Gates' translation of this document. Dots represent
places where the text is illegible.
Page 66 of the Chronicle of Oxkutzcab
153 . The tun on 18 Yaxkin. The town was desolated because of the
Maya dead in the year . .
S. . 5 Kan being the year-bearer on Pop i . . ahau the tun on
1535 6 Muluc the year-bearer on Pop i . . the tun on i1 Ceh.
1536 7 Ix the year-bearer on Pop i, 3 ahau on 7 Yaxkin.
1537 8 Cauac on i Pop, when there died the rainbringers at Otzmal,
namely Ahtz'un Tutul Xiu and Ahziyah Napuc Chi, and
Namay Che and Namay Tun, and the priest Evan, . . men
at Mani they were, rainbringers at Chich6n Itza then, and
there escaped Nahau Veeh, Napot Covoh. On io Zip it took
place, in 12 Ahau it was, the tun on 2 Yaxkin, that it may be
1538 9 Kan the year-bearer on Pop i, when there happened a hurricane
causing death. 8 Ahau the tun on 16 Xul.
1539 10o Muluc on Pop 1. 4 Ahau the tun on ii Xul.
1540 ii Ix on Pop i. 13 Ahau the tun on 7 Xul.
1541 12 Cauac on Pop i. 9 Ahau the tun on 2 Xul.
1542 13 Kan on Pop i when the Spaniards founded the city Ti-Hoo
[Merida] when they settled, and the tributes first began through
those of Mani, and the province was established 5 Ahau on
1543 i Muluc on Pop i when there died those of Tz'itz'omtun at the
hands of the Spaniards in a battle, their captain being Alonso
Lopez. i Ahau it happened on i i Tzec.
1544 2 Ix on Pop i. 10 ahau on 6 Tzec.
1545 13 Cauac on Pop i, when began Christianity through the friars
here in the town. These were the names of the fathers, fray
Luis Villapando, fray Diego de Vehar, fray Juan de la Puerta,
fray Mechor de Benabente, fray Julio de Herrera, fray Angel
.... they founded at the city Ti-Hoo 6 Ahau the tun on i Tzec.
THE VENUS CALENDAR
Now on the 29th of May in the year 1685 I have copied this from an
ancient book, namely in characters as they are called Anares.
I, Don Jhoan Xiu.
Now changing the Christian years to correspond to the beginnings
instead of the endings of the Mayan years, and correcting the month
co-efficients and transferring them into the Old Empire style (i.e. 3, 8,
13, and 18 instead of 2, 7, I2, and 17) and making the correction of 13
Cauac to 3 Cauac, the following result is obtained:-
1532 4 Cauac was the year bearer. In this year ended the Tun 2 Ahau 3 Mol
1533 5 Kan nAhau 18 Yaxkin
1534 6 Muluc 7 Ahau 13 Yaxkin
1535 7 Ix .3 Ahau 8 Yaxidn
1536 8 Cauac 12 Ahau 3 Yaxkin
1537 9 Kan .8 Ahau 18 Xul
1538 1o Muluc .4 Ahau 13 Xul
1539 iI Ix .13 Ahau 8 Xul
1540 12 Cauac 9 Ahau 3 Xul
1541 13 Kan .5 Ahau 18 Tzec
1542 i Muluc I . Ahau 13 Tzec
1543 2 Ix io Ahau 8 Tzec
1544 3 Cauac 6 Ahau 3 Tzec
We then find that our Katun 13 Ahau which ends some time between
1536 and 1542 is the Katun 13 Ahau 8 Xul which corresponds to
11-16-o-o-0 in the long count, and this will be taken as the basis of the
correlation. If the Katun 13 Ahau did not end in 1539 then its positions
in the long count would be either 12-9-0-0-0 13 Ahau 8 Kankin or
13-2-0o-o-0 13 Ahau 3 Zotz. With these three possibilities and taking
into account that i Pop fell on July i6th [O.S.] in Landa's typical year
1553, let us take up the astronomical evidence in the codices and on the
THE VENUS CALENDAR
The fact that the Mayas reckoned the Venus years in groups of five,
making 2920 days equal to 8 years of 365 days, and that these five-year
'The one-day shift. Some time in the course of the New Empire the month
coefficient corresponding to any day sign dropped one place. That is, instead of a
round number being, for example, 1o Akbal i Pop it became io Akbal o Pop. This
change may have taken place in one of two ways either
(I) or (2)
9 Ik o Pop 9 Ik o Pop
io Akbal o Pop 11 Kan i Pop
I1 Kan i Pop
That is, either a day of the month could have been repeated twice, or a day sign
may have been dropped. The writer is inclined to favor the second method, as thereby
the long count is less seriously affected. Acceptance of the second alternative means
that Landa's typical year that commenced on 12 Kan i Pop would by old style have
been i i Akbal i Pop, and therefore o Pop fell on July 15th and not July 14th, as
would happen if the first method was followed.
8 CORRELATION OF MAYAN AND EUROPEAN CALENDARS
groups were further reckoned in groups of 65 Venus years equal to 104
years of 365 days, that is 5-5-8-0, exactly two calendar rounds, is too
generally accepted to need discussion. The question that has to be
solved is as to whether or not the Maya realizing that five Venus years
equaled 2919.6 days and not 2920, took steps to correct this error,
which at the end of a hundred Venus years would amount to eight
To Dr. John E. Teeple Mayologists owe a great debt of gratitude,
for to him is due not only the discovery of the meanings of glyphs C,
D, and E of the supplementary count, but also the method used by the
Mayas to correct the Venus calendar. He has shown how the Mayas
at the end of 61 years deducted four days, thus correcting the error,
and that once in three hundred years an eight-day correction was made.
The dates thus obtained by Dr. Teeple for the commencement of the
Venus periods are as follows:-
9-4-17-8-0 i Ahau 13 Kankin
9-9-16-7-0 i Ahau 3 Yaxkin
9-14-15-6-0 i Ahau 18 Kayab
Probably omitted i Ahau 8 Yax, to make an eight-day correction.
9-19-7-14-0 I Ahau 18 Uo
10-4-6-13-0 i Ahau 13 Mac
10-9-5-12-0 i Ahau 3 Xul
Dr. Teeple then backs up his argument with two inscriptions from
Altar K at Copan has a Venus tun sign instead of an introducing
glyph and probably another Venus sign immediately after the date in
Glyph 7. The date of this monument is 9-12-16-7-8 3 Lamat 16 Yax.
Now this date is the end of the 37th Venus year after 9-9-16-7-0.
9- 9-16-7-0 i Ahau 3 Yaxkin
3- o-o-8 37 Venus years
9-12-16-7-8 3 Lamat 16 Yax
Again the wooden lintel in Temple C at Tikal gives the calendar
round date i IK 15 Chen, which it is generally agreed occupies the
position 9-15-12-2-2 in the long count, and to quote Dr. Teeple, "In
the immediately following glyphs is a statement that the Venus year
ended in Kayab 24 days from a new moon day. Now the ioth year of
our i Ahau 18 Kayab Venus calendar would have ended on 9-15-1 i-io-o
4 Ahau 18 Kayab, and the actual appearance of Venus might have been
a day or two before at 16 or 17 Kayab. There was a new moon about
THE VENUS CALENDAR
9-15-1 -11-3, just twenty-four days after 17 Kayab, all of which at
least is in agreement with our long count dates."
The writer now intends to bring forward further evidence which he
believes will further confirm Dr. Teeple's interpretation of the Venus
Calendar, and at the same time demonstrate that the Mayas subdivided
the Venus year into eight periods of 73 days each. Again 73 is the only
common factor of 365 and 584.
(1) Stela P at Copan opens with an Initial series date 9-9-1o-o-o.
In glyph B8 there is an Imix-Venus sign associated with a head and a
hand, which probably represents Glyph C of the Supplementary series.
The combined glyph seems to mean a Venus year began on the new moon
day. Now the new moon before 9-9-10-0-0 fell on 9-9-9-16-11. Accord-
ing to the tables, a new Venus year should have begun on 9-9-9-16-8;
that is, three days later. However, according to the correlation fol-
lowed here 9-9-9-16-11 plus the equations 584285 equals the Julian date
1948656, which was actually four days after an inferior conjunction of
Venus, the day when Venus first appeared to view.
(2) Altar R at Copan opens with the date 9-16-12-5-17 6 Caban
io Mol, in glyph 16 is a Venus sign and following it in glyphs 20 and 21
is the date 7 Ahau 3 Zip which Morley places in the long count at
9-15-9-13-o. Now 6 Caban 10 Mol occurs on many monuments, but is
nowhere else associated with the Venus sign, we can therefore presume
that the Venus sign refers to 7 Ahau 3 Zip.
9-15-9-13-0 7 Ahau 3 Zip occurs three days before 8Y8 Venus
years from 9-14-15-6-0.
(3) In the Dresden Codex the last picture of the lunar count repre-
sents Venus, and is associated with the date 9-17-17-14-6. This date is
one day after 18 2/8 Venus years from 9-14-15-6-0.
(4) Stela J at Quirigua opens with the date 9-16-5-0-0 8 ahau 8
Zotz. In glyph C i 8 ahau is repeated, and in glyph C3 occurs the Venus
glyph and in glyph C 4 there is a secondary series of one uinal and i Kin
subtracting this date 9-16-4-16-19 is reached. This is one day after
18 2/8 Venus years from 9-14-15-6-0.
(5) Stela K at Quirigua has a Venus sign in the introducing glyph.
The initial series reads 9-18-15-0-0 followed by a secondary series 10
uinals and io0 Kins, and the date 10 c 18 Kayab that is 9-18-14-7-10
followed by a 5 spot glyph which it has been suggested is associated
with Venus. This date is 48 6/8 Venus years from 9-14-15-6-0.
(6) Lintel 29 at Yaxchilan has a Venus introducing glyph followed
by the Initial Series date 9-13-17-12-10, which is 3 days before 50o
Venus years after 9-9-16-7-0.
10 CORRELATION OF MAYAN AND EUROPEAN CALENDARS
(7) Stela 24 at Naranjo has Venus glyph in introducing glyph.
The closing date of the inscription is 9-13-1o-o-o. This is one day more
than 45/g Venus years from 9-9-16-7-0.
Finally two doubtful dates might be added to this list.
(A) Altar S at Copan opens with the date 9-15-o-o-0, followed by the
statement 5 Katuns end of cycle io, then in glyph 9 is a Venus sign.
If this refers to 9-15-o-o-o and not io-o-o-o-o, it is one day after 2N Venus
years from 9-14-15-6-0.
(B) Temple i at Tikal has a Venus glyph associated with a day 6
Caban, which is usually considered to be 9-15-12-14-17 in the long
count. Possibly 6 Caban is a mistake for 12 Caban occurring one uinal
earlier. In that case the date would be one day before o10 6/8 Venus
years from 9-14-15-6-0.
As the Venus year does not constantly run to 584 days, an error of
three or four days either before or after the fixed date can probably be
shown to be due to the vagaries of the year.
These dates combined with those already brought forward by Dr.
Teeple seem to establish definitely that the Mayas did correct the
calendar, that 9-14-15-6-0 was the end of a Venus year and that on that
date Venus was either at inferior conjunction or on the point of emerging
from the Sun's rays four days later.
THE LUNAR CALENDAR
The Dresden Codex seems to indicate that a lunar count began on
the day 9-16-4-10-8 or a day earlier or later. Presumably the date of
either a new moon or less likely a full moon and possibly an eclipse date.
Dr. Teeple's elucidation of glyphs C, D, and E of the lunar series has
established the fact that this date was actually the basis from which
the lunar count was reckoned. Again there is the possibility that no
intercalation took place and that the recorded new moons did not coin-
cide with the actual appearances of the moon, but the evidence of the
lunar count in the Dresden Codex and the Supplementary Series on the
monuments definitely point to an adjustment of the calendar to fit the
actual duration of the lunar period.
APPLICATION OF EVIDENCE TO THE DIFFERENT
We have thus four checks to apply to any correlation based on the as-
sumption that the Maya calendar continued to function uninterruptedly
from its inception till its extinction on the arrival of the Spaniards:-
(i) That a Katun 13 Ahau came to an end between 1536 and 1542.
THE INAUGURATION OF THE CALENDAR
(2) That the Mayan year in 1553 began on July i6th (Julian
(3) That the date 9-9-9-16-8 was within two or three days of either
an inferior conjunction or a heliacal rising of Venus four days later.
(4) That 9-16-4-10o-8 or a day before or after was the date of a new
moon, or a full moon, and possibly too the date of an eclipse.
Applying these tests if 13-2-o-o-o equals the 13 Ahau of the conquest,
then Landa's typical year would commence on the date 13-3-1-2-4, and
the 13 Ahau Katun would end in 1532. The Mayan date 9-9-9-16-8 with
the required Ahau equation of 394485 is some forty days short of a
heliacal rising of Venus and 9-16-4-o10-8 six days off a new moon date.
Thus this correlation conflicts with the second, third, and fourth of our
If 12-9-o-o-o equals the 13 Ahau of the conquest, then Landa's
typical year would commence on the date 12-9-17-9-4, and the 13 Ahau
Katun would end in 1536. The Mayan date 9-9-9-16-8 with the re-
quired Ahau equation of 489385 would fall some three hundred and
fifty days after a helical rising of Venus, and eleven days after a new
moon date. This correlation therefore, while in agreement with the
second, conflicts with the third and fourth postulate.
If ii-16-o-o-o equals the 13 Ahau of the conquest, then Landa's
typical year would commence on the date 11-16-13-16-4, and the Katun
of the conquest would end in 1539. The Mayan date 9-9-9-16-8 with
the ahau equation 584285 falls one day after an inferior conjunction of
Venus (Julian day 1948652) and three days before the heliacal rising of
Venus. The Mayan date 9-16-4-10-8 with the ahau equation becomes
the Julian date 1997133, a new moon date falling on November 8,
A.D 755 (Julian).
Therefore this correlation and this alone fulfills the four conditions
laid down, and is therefore the basis of this present correlation.
THE INAUGURATION OF THE CALENDAR
We have seen then that the date 9-9-9-16-8 9 Lamat 6 Cumhu was
the date of either an inferior conjunction of Venus or a heliacal rising
of that planet.
If the Venus calendar is now run back four hundred and fifty Venus
years, and a correction of 4 days for every 6I Venus years, and four more
days for the Complete 300 Venus years as indicated in the Dresden
Codex is made, the date 7-13-0-0-0 io Ahau 13 Pop will be obtained.
This I believe was the date of the inauguration of the Venus calendar
just two years after the inauguration of the solar calendar, which I
12 CORRELATION OF MAYAN AND EUROPEAN CALENDARS
believe took place on the date 7-12-17-16-0 4 Ahau 8 Cumhu. Now
this date is removed exactly 3016 years of 365 days from the mythical
beginning of the world, and within less than a day of 3014 tropical years.
In other words, the Mayas recovered both the actual calendar round
date, and the same position in the tropical year by the following
7-12-17-16-0 4 Ahau 8 Cumhu Aug. i3th, 99 B.C.
-58 Calendar Rounds
13- 0- 0- 0-0 4 Ahau 8 Cumhu Aug. i3th, 3113 B.c.
Surely this is the only reasonable explanation that has yet been
offered for the choice of a day three thousand years before the inaugura-
tion of the calendar as the starting-point of Maya chronology.
Now the date 7-13-0o-o-0, which we have seen there is reason to
believe was the date of the formal inauguration of the Maya calendar,
fell on o10 Ahau 13 Pop. The actual beginning of the year was therefore
7-12-19-17-7 10 Manik o Pop. In passing it might be noted that here is
a possible explanation of the sign Manik. Manik is represented by a
hand, which usually has the meaning of zero or completion. A zero
sign would be very appropriate for the zero day of the Maya calendar.
7-12-19-17-7 10 Manik o Pop falls, according to the suggested correla-
tions, on the Gregorian date Aug. 29th, 97 B.C. Now the Carnegie
Expedition to Copan this year showed that the famous line of sight at
Copan marks either the days April 12th or August 3oth in the tropical
year. Here possibly is an explanation: the line of sight was erected to
indicate the day of the year that was the anniversary of the inaugura-
tion of the Mayan calendar. There is a reasonable possibility that the
Mayas considered i Pop the New Year day. This certainly was the
custom in Yucatan at the time of the Spanish Conquest. But a more
probable explanation is that the interval from about 9-15-0-0-0 back to
7-13-0-0-0 is slightly over 800 years, and if the Mayas reckoned the
year as 365.24 days, they would in reckoning back from the beginning
of cycle nine consider August 3oth as the o Pop of the year in which
7-13-0-0-0 io Ahau 13 Pop fell, whereas by the Gregorian calendar, which
reckons every 40ooth year a leap year, the date of this first o Pop had
fallen to August 29th. A total eclipse of the sun visible all over Central
America occurred on Julian day 168588o; that is, on 5 Men 8 Pop,
five days before the official inauguration of the count, and within a day
of the inferior conjunction of Venus with the sun, or the disappearance
of Venus into the sun's rays. One can well imagine what an eclat such
an event must have given the inauguration of the calendar, based as it
was to such a large degree on the planet Venus.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE CORRELATION
The Maya year therefore at the inauguration of the calendar had as
its equivalent in Christian dates the following points of the year:-
o Pop Aug. 29th o Mol Jan. i6th o Muan June 5th
o Uo Sept. i8th o Chen Feb. 5th o Pax June 25th
o Zip Oct. 8th o Yax Feb. 25th o Kayab July 15th
o Zotz Oct. 28th o Zac Mar. 17th o Cumhu Aug. 4th
o Tzec Nov. 17th o Ceh Apr. 6th o Uayeb Aug. 24th
o Xul Dec. 7th o Mac Apr. 26th
o Yaxkin Dec. 27th o Kankin May i6th
Now the meanings of the Maya months are for the most part obscure.
Three only have straightforward translatable names that show any
connection with the calendar. These are the months Xul, Yaxkin,
and Kankin. Xul means "end," and Yaxkin means "new, strong or
green sun." Now Xul, according to the proposed correlations, ran from
December 7th to December 26th, and Yaxkin from December 27th to
January 15th. In other words Xul marked the end of the seasonal year
when the sun finished its journey southward, and Yaxkin marks the
birth of a new year when the sun had turned on its course and was
travelling northward once again. The word Kankin signifies yellow
sun. Now this month fell in May and early June at the time of inaugu-
ration of the calendar. The sun at this time of the year is strong, and
cloudy weather is uncommon, whereas in the following month Muan
the rains occur, and the sun is often obscured for long intervals. Accord-
ing to the Pio Perez dictionary, the following month was known as
Moan instead of Muan, and Moankin means a "showery or clouded
day." Now Kin means "day" or "sun," therefore Moan means
"clouded." The month Muan runs from June 6th to June 25th, and,
as has been pointed out above, is a period of rainy weather, and is
therefore very aptly named.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE CORRELATION
Dr. Morley, in his book "The Inscriptions at Copan," produces a
number of arguments against the suggested correlation after admitting,
to quote his own words, "No matter how seriously the archeological
and historical (U Kahlay Katunob) evidence contradicts the correlation
of the Long Count and Christian chronology indicated on page 66 of the
Chronicle of Oxkutzcab, the fact remains that such a correlation was
actually in use at the time of the conquest."
Dr. Morley's arguments against the correlation are as follows:-
"(i) If 11-16-o-o-o 13 Ahau 8 Xul be substituted for the Katun 13
Ahau of Napot Xiu's death, i.e. 13 Ahau 8 Kankin, it will be found that
14 CORRELATION OF MAYAN AND EUROPEAN CALENDARS
the katun of the Chichen Itza lintel, namely 10-3-o-o-0 i Ahau 3 Yaxkin,
will fall some two centuries after Chichen Itza is said to have been
abandoned, and after the Itza had moved to Chakanputun, and a
century before Chakanputun is stated to have been abandoned, and the
Itza had moved to Chichen Itza and established themselves there a
second time. In short this correlation would make the Chichen Itza
lintel date from a Katun i Ahau, in which the city is definitely stated to
have been unoccupied.
"(2) If 11-16-o-o-0 13 Ahau 8 Xul be substituted for the Katun 13
Ahau of Napot Xiu's death, then Chichen Itza was discovered in
9-1-o-o-o- 6 Ahau 13 Kayab, a date actually prior to the earliest date at
Copan, and earlier than all the Old Empire dates, save only the very
earliest at Uaxactun and Tikal, clearly an impossible situation from the
historic point of view, since it makes Chichen Itza the contemporary of
Tikal, Copan, and the other Old Empire cities, instead of subsequent to
them as was actually the case.
"(3) If ii-16-o-o-o 13 Ahau 8 Xul be substituted for the Katun 13
Ahau of Napot Xiu's death, then the opening entry of the U Kahlay
Katunob . occurred in 8-7-o-o-0, at which time it may well be
doubted whether the Maya had yet reached their historic habitat during
the Old Empire, since the earliest date in that region, 8-14-10-13-15 on
Stela 9 at Uaxactun, is a century and a half later.
"(4) The Central capstone of the outer chamber of the east range
of the Monjas Quadrangle at Uxmal presents the following date:
5 Imix 19 Kankin falling in a tun 18 of a Katun 13 . . The only
place where this date could occur within a range of several hundred
thousand years was at 11-12-17-11-1. 5 Imix 19 Kankin or 3-2-6-19
earlier than 11-16-o-o-o 13 Ahau 8 Xul, or, according to the Oxkutzcab
correlations of the two chronologies, in 1478. But by this latter date
Uxmal had already been abandoned for more than 30 years; hence
this correlation flatly contradicts the evidence furnished by this lintel.
"(5) The ring on the east wall of the Ball court at Uxmal presents
the following date: i o Ix 17 Pop in Tun 17 ending on the day 12 Ahau.
The initial series corresponding to this date is 11-15-16-12-14. 10 Ix
17 Pop, or only 3-5-6 earlier than I -16-o-o-o 13 Ahau 8 Xul, that is
1536 in the Oxkutzcab correlation. But by this latter date Uxmal had
already been abandoned nearly a century, and the Spaniards had
already made their first unsuccessful attempt to subjugate the country;
hence this correlation flatly contradicts the evidence furnished by the
inscription on this ring.
"(6) Finally, the South Column in front of the Sanctuary of the
high priest's grave at Chichen Itza presents the following period ending
ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE CORRELATION
date 2 Ahau 18 Xul end of Tun I I. The only Tun II in a period of
18,707.70 years which ended on this date was 11-19-11-0-0 2 Ahau 3 Xul,
or 3-11-o-o later than ii-16-o-o-o 13 Ahau 8 Xul; that is, in 1609. But
by this latter date Chichen Itza had already been abandoned for more
than a century and a half, and in fact the whole country had been
under the Spanish rule for 67 years. This is reduction ad absurdum, and
compels the rejection of the Oxkutzcab correlation as the proper aline-
ment of the long count with Christian chronology."
I am inclined to follow the opinion of Dr. Solis Alcala that two dif-
ferent tribal histories are interwoven in the Books of Chilam Balaam
of Mani and Tizimin, the histories of the Xiu and the Itza, whereas the
Chilan Balaam of Chumayel outlines only the history of the Itza.
I further believe that a 13 Katun series has been interpolated, and that
fighting around Mayapan only occurred once. It seems too much to
believe that in a katun 8 Ahau Mayapan was invaded and fighting took
place, that in the following Katun I I Ahau Mayapan was again invaded
and depopulated, and that a king Ulmil should again figure in the fight-
ing, and that lastly on the following 8 Ahau Katun Mayapan should
again be depopulated (Chilam Balaam of Mani). Furthermore the
Chilan Balaam of Tizimin and Chumayel allege that the fighting at
Mayapan just prior to the arrival of the Spaniards was due to the joint
government. Now the joint government came to an end two hundred
and sixty years previously if no Katun was interpolated, whereas if an
interpolation is allowed, the fighting on the question took place at the
end of the joint government. Therefore discounting for the interpola-
tion and assigning the different movements of the Itza and Xiu to their
proper order as indicated in the Chilan Balaam, the following tables
HISTORY OF THE GENERAL HISTORY OF THE
ITZA HISTORY XIU
ii-16-o-o-o 13 Ahau 1539
I -15-0-0-0 2 Smallpox
S1-14-0-0-0 4 Pestilence
11-13-o-o-o 6 End of the war
11-12-o-o-0 8 Itza abandon Mayapan invaded
Chichen by the Itza under
11-9 -O-O-O I
I -8 -0-0-0 3
11-7 -o-o-o 5
11-6 -o-o-o 7 "
16 CORRELATION OF MAYAN AND EUROPEAN CALENDARS
HISTORY OF THE
11-5 -0-0-0 9 -
11-4 -o-o-o II "
11-3 -o-o-o 13 Ah Mex Cuc King,
landmarks taken from
11-2-0-0-0 2 Itza returns to their homes
(i.e. Chichen Itza).
Itza leave Champutun.
HISTORY OF THE
Xiu found Uxmal (?)
Xiu found Uxmal (?)
Xiu settle at Cham-
putun Chichen Itza de-
stroyed Xiu leave.
Mayapan Xiu settle at Chichen
founded (?) Itza.
Xiu discover Bakhalal.
Xiu set out from
Pop put in order.
Itza settle Chichen Itza.
On the acceptance of this chronology the first three arguments of
Morley's against the proposed correlation fall to the ground, and a
large number, though by no means all, of the contradictory statements
of the various Chilan Balaam are removed.
Turning now to the two dates which Morley states fall after the
abandonment of Uxmal, I feel that the second date, as explained else-
Itza seize Champutun.
Itza abandon Chichen Itza.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE CORRELATION
where, is highly doubtful. Morley's interpretation requires that a
missing day coefficient be supplied, that the broken sign following the
tun sign be restored as an ahau sign, and finally that the coefficient of
this sign be read as twelve, when it might be 12, 13, or 14.
Furthermore I am convinced that Uxmal was occupied, although no
longer the Tutul Xiu capital, up to the time of the Spanish Conquest.
Chichen Itza was certainly occupied after its abandonment by the Itza
right up into Spanish times, as shown by various extracts from the
Chilan Balaam of Chumayel.
Finally the last date, the date on the temple of the high priest's
grave at Chichen Itza, I believe, has been wrongly translated for the
(i) There is no statement that a tun ii ends on 2 Ahau 18 Xul;
the statement reads, "Tun ii ends on 2 Ahau."
(2) The fifth glyph appears to resemble the winged cauac sign with
the coefficient 8 which would mean that 2 Ahau 18 Xul fell in a
(3) If Morley's reading is correct, the old style month coefficient
was still in vogue at Chichen Itza one hundred and thirty-four
years after the new style had been introduced at Uxmal. Now
Chichen Itza, as the religious and therefore astronomical and
calendrical capital of the Mayas, was surely more likely to have
been the first to introduce the change, and not have lagged
behind. Furthermore, if the view that the change was due to
Nahua influence be correct,-a view that Morley accepts,-
surely the change would have occurred first at Chichen Itza,
far and away the greatest centre of Nahua influence in Yucatan.
I suggest therefore as the reading of this text:-
2 Ahau 18 Xul occurring in a tun 8. Tun ii ends also on 2 Ahau.
(2 Ahau 18 Xul 11-13-7-7-0, 2 Ahau 3 Kayab 11-13-11-0-0.)
Since the publication of "The Inscriptions at Copan" Morley has
translated dates at Yula and the temple of the four lintels as 11-8-19-5-8
and 1-9-13-0-0. This date is on stylistic grounds alone surely too late.
The glyphs appear to date from the period of the Initial series lintel at
Chichen Itza. I suggest the following dates in the long count in place
of Morley's readings: 10-2-12-1-8 9 Lamat I Yax followed by 10-3-13-0-0
i Ahau end of Tun 13.
This date is an instance of the first date not falling in the tun that
closes the reading,-a condition which Morley requires for his interpre-
tation of the date of the High Priest's grave.
18 CORRELATION OF MAYAN AND EUROPEAN CALENDARS
Thus we see that all the historical arguments against the correlation
can be met. There remains the question whether at the time of the con-
quest a second or third calendar was in use. There is, as has been
pointed out, considerable evidence indicating 1536 as the year in which
the Katun 13 Ahau ended, and lesser evidence pointing to 1541 as the
year in which this same Katun ended; but, as no correlation can be
found which will bring them into line with the astronomical evidence
while maintaining July i6th as the beginning of the Mayan year in
1553, we can safely reject them as being correct. There is always the
possibility, however, that more than one calendar was functioning at
the time of the Spanish Conquest, and that whereas the 13 Ahau 8 Xul
correlation was the unbroken count maintained from cycle seven times,
other counts had sprung up more recently, probably in the sixty odd
years of disorder and anarchy following the fall of Mayapan.
THE CAAN-KIN-CABAN GLYPH
It has been suggested by J. H. SPINDEN' that this glyph has the mean-
ing of an observation of the sun at the horizon. The bottom element is
the Caban sign, which is generally accepted to signify the earth; the
Kin element stands for the sun; and the third element, Spinden sug-
gests, may be the glyph for the sky.
This glyph is found on a number of different monuments at Copan
associated with the following dates. The equivalent positions in the
Gregorian year, according to the suggested correlation, are given in
1 Stela 8 Copan 9-17-12-6-2 9 Ik 15 Zip [March 24th]
2 Altar R Copan 9-15-9-13-0 7 Ahau 3 Zip [March 21st]
Stand Copan 9-17-0-3-0 8 Ahau 13 Zip [March 26th]
4 Stela N Copan 9-16-10-0-0 i Ahau 3 Zip [March 17th]
5 Altar L Copan 9-i6-i1-0-5 2 Chicchan 3 Zip [March 17th]
6 Altar Q Copan 9-17-5-0-0 6 Ahau 13 Kayab [Dec. 29th]
7 Stela ii Copan 9-17-5-0-0 6 Ahau 13 Kayab [Dec. 29th]
8 Altar 2 Copan 9-16-18-9-19 12 Cauac 2 Zac [Sept. 22nd]
9 Altar D1 Copan 9-16-13-9-0 13 Ahau 8 Zac [Aug. 3oth]
io Altar U Copan 9-16-12-5-17 6 Caban 10 Mol [July Ist]
It will be noted at once that the first five dates cluster around the
spring equinox. Whereas the first and second are probably within a
day, the other three dates are four or five days off, but it will be noted
that the fourth 9-16-10o-o-0 was a lahuntun ending and therefore a very
1Reduction of Maya Dates. Papers of the Peabody Museum of American
Archaeology and Ethnology, Vol. VI, No. 4, 1926.
TABLE OF KATUNS
important approximation. The date 9-16-11-0-5 is three days short of
the calendrical 22nd Venus year after 9-14-15-6-0, and is probably
intended to mark both the spring equinox and the Venus year. Nos. 6
and 7 mark the hotun ending 9-17-5-o-o, a hotun approximation to the
winter equinox. No. 8 marks the autumn equinox. No. 9 commemo-
rates the introduction of the calendar. No. io is associated with the
date 6 Caban o10 Mol falling on July ist, and the connection is not at
On Stela B at Copan following the initial series 9-15-0-0-0 4 Ahau 13
Yax in A o10, i i and 12 are three glyphs which appear to be an expanded
form of the Caan-Kin-Caban glyph. The second glyph bears a strong
resemblance to the Kin variant.1
The third glyph is a sure Caban sign, and the first is in all probability
the Caan glyph. The date in the tropical year of this initial series is
August 21st. This may be an approximation to the 0 Pop August 29th
of the inauguration of the calendar falling on the important Y^ cycle
The same date occurs on altar S at Copan, and in glyph 6 we find
this same variation of the Caan-Kin-Caban glyph, this time occurring
as two glyphs, the Kin to the left with the Caan and Caban to the right.
This, I believe, exhausts the Caan-Kin-Caban glyphs associated
with decipherable dates at Copan.
TABLE OF ENDINGS WITH THE GREGORIAN EQUIVALENTS
ACCORDING TO THE PROPOSED CORRELATION
13-0-0-0-0 4 Ahau 8 Cumhu Aug. 13th 3113
7-0-0-0-0 o10 Ahau 18 Zac June 5th 353
7-12-17-16-0 4 Ahau 8 Cumhu Aug. 13th 99
7-13-0-0-0 io Ahau 13 Pop Sept. iith 97
8-o-o-o-o 9 Ahau 3 Zip Sept. 6th 41
9-o-o-o-0 8 Ahau 13 Ceh Dec. ioth 435
9-1-0-o-o 6 Ahau 13 Yaxkin Aug. 28th 455
9-2-o-0-0 4 Ahau 13 Uo May i6th 475
9-3-0o-o-0 2 Ahau 18 Muan Jan. 3oth 495
9-4-o-o-0 13 Ahau 18 Yax Oct. i7th 514
9-5-0-0-0 ii Ahau 18 Tzec July 5th 534
9-6-o-o-o 9 Ahau 3 Uayeb March 22nd 554
1See S. G. MORLEY, An Introduction to Maya Hieroglyphs, Fig. 34, c and d.
20 CORRELATION OF MAYAN AND EUROPEAN CALENDARS
CORRELATION TO PLANETARY DATES
APPLICATION OF THE
Six dates from the Dresden Codex were converted into their Julian
equivalents by the addition of the Ahau equation 584285 and submitted
to the U. S. Naval Observatory.
The dates were:
Julian Equivalent Supposed Planet
The following information was received from Captain W. S. Eichel-
berger, U. S. Navy, Director of the Nautical Almanac:-
"Calculations have been made in this office with the data provided
by you, using the tables of Dr. Paul V. Neugebauer, with the following
Julian Day Sun's Long. Planet Hel. Long. Hel. Lat.
22 CORRELATION OF MAYAN AND EUROPEAN CALENDARS
Julian Day Geoc. Long. Geoc. Lat. Right Asc. Decl.
2019952 270.3 I.6 270.3 -25.2
2010134 121.5 +1-.3 124.1 +21.2
1856729.7 262.1 0.0 261.4 -23.3
1977799 9.1 -2.7 9.4 + I.I
2019659 339-7 -2.2 342.1 -10o.o
"For the two dates given for Jupiter in your letter has been substi-
tuted a single date mid-way between the two; and this proves to have
been a date of opposition; which occurred on Julian Day, 1856729.7."