But Las Casas himself, in whose possession the documents were, here comes to .. When the Abb^ Brasseur edited the Codex Troano he also attempted an. 11 févr. Rapport à Son Excellence M. le ministre de l'instruction publique. 1. ptie. Manuscrit troano, monographie et exposition du système graphique. This document was subsequently taken to S pain by the celebrated t Troano., in the Re vue de P hilolog ie ct d'E thno grap hic.,. P aris.

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He claimed to have ancient documents describing the destruction of Mu and the solution of the Atlantis mystery after studying the an Troano Codex in the . The great material advantage of this document lies in its being a very ancient that served to read the Manuscrit Troano will allow me to read the Ms. de Dresde, . called the Troano Document, it is now located in the British Museum. Estimated to be at least 3, years old, it was translated by the historian Augustus Le.

Water and earth are marked in much the same way Figs. Figure 8 Agrandir Original jpeg, 76k Madrid Codex, page Three deities grasp trees.

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After Brasseur de Bourbourg As Seler [], p. Distinctive elements of the TUN grapheme on the body of a drum that is part of an elaborate depiction of ritual Fig.

XXXI have a more complex function. Figure 9 Agrandir Original jpeg, k Dresden Codex, page Agrandir Original jpeg, k Madrid Codex, page The left scene depicts an armadillo in a deadfall.

Mural painted on the west wall of a late precolumbian temple. After Gann , pl. The particular form of the juxtaposition may add semantic information by clarifying the referents of particular graphemes. The simplest form this takes is the layout of script blocks so that they frame or are otherwise spatially associated with a particular part of the image, indicating that these graphemes refer specifically to that image element, most often a human figure Fig.

The script block in the upper left gives the date and refers to military conflict. Agrandir Original jpeg, k Palenque, Tablet of Slaves. The central figure receives a headdress whose feathers extend into the script block. Human figures may undertake even more direct relationships with script blocks.

The enthroned figure on the right extends his hand into the script block, touching part of the string of graphemes that give his name and titles. Rollout photograph. However, the intertwining of script and image can involve much more subtle and complex relationships in which the particular arrangement of graphemes in relation to elements of imagery and within the conceptual space defined by imagery convey important semantic and syntactic information.

In these cases, the script is arranged to form an image and the two dimensions of the Maya polygraphic system coalesce to form a single entity with a unified—albeit multi-level—semantics. They provide striking illustrations of the hybrid nature of Maya writing and of its position as part of a broader polygraphic system; none is more illustrative of the interplay between imagery and writing than Stela J.

Unlike them, it does not bear his portrait. Script blocks on the narrow sides of the stela follow the standard paired-column format and have no accompanying imagery. The long script segment on the eastern face of the monument Fig. The west face of the stela Fig. The first records the date on which the monument was dedicated 9. The text then refers to an important round date—9.

The third section moves forward in time to record the accession on 9. Among the Maya, some versions of this motif appeared as knots signifying ancestors or ancestral connections see Wagner, while others—such as the example found on Stela J—referenced mechanisms of legitimation beyond ancestral ties and require a broader interpretive lens. This more general significance was salient at every scale, from kingship to family head, and would have been known to all inhabitants of the region.

In the case of Stela J, the layout of the text does not resemble a knot but rather represents a mat and its more general connotations.

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The use of this element to structure the face of a royal stela directed toward the end of the formal causeway, by which people from elite residential zones—as well as the rest of the eastern valley and more distant areas—would have entered the civic center, would have facilitated reading of the monument even among those who might not have been literate in the script. The grapheme segments are arranged so that they frame a face, whose graphic elements identify it as a mountain and cave, a place of origin, where ancestors dwell, and connect it with the water-mountain metaphor for the sovereign city-state, seat of legitimate authority.

In addition to what seems to be unusual syntax, the layout, with short vertical and horizontal segments laid out to frame a stylized face, contributes uncertainty about the reading order of the segments. The subject matter is distinct from that on the east face: apart from a possible oblique reference to the dynastic founder in what is likely the first passage, the script strings deal entirely with deities and with mythic times and places.

Three passages name days that have the important ritual almanac position 1 Ajaw. Two of them are concerned with the endings of very long time periods and refer to deities and mythic places. The most straightforward section refers to the waning efficacy of deities at the time of the dedication of the stela. At least two of the same deities appear to be named on the west face of Stela J. Intended or not, one function of the unusual organization may have been to free readers from the rigid order prescribed in conventional Maya script strings.

The layout of the script in relation to the imagery on the west face Fig. The positioning of the graphemes creates the image of a face, strikingly similar to a mask composition on the west rear face of Stela B.

Maya cosmology—like belief systems elsewhere in Mesoamerica—held that all things were animate and thus could be given faces.

This focus on animacy is one reason for the widespread use of masks in Maya culture, and it does not require a large interpretive leap to conclude that Stela J itself was conceptualized as a living thing. The placement of the pupils may be a reference to the sun god, who is sometimes depicted as cross-eyed. Curls in the area below the eyes swirl upward, suggesting nostrils. The open rectangle at the base of the face is the mouth, and the T-shaped element may indicate a filed tooth similar to the one seen on many depictions of Maya deities.

The inverted triangle of scallops in the mouth and in the cleft at the top of the head, likely variants of the TUN sign, reinforce the cave reading.

The wavy lines that enclose and depend from the TUN variants resemble depictions of liquids in Maya imagery. Dripping stones, a reference to stalactites, would be entirely appropriate in the context of a representation of a cave association.

A dripping tooth would be particularly evocative. In Mesoamerica, caves are widely conceptualized as the dwelling places of the ancestors Henderson and Hudson, , so a cave reference in the imagery would echo the emphasis on ancestors—both human and divine—in the script strings.

Caves are also closely associated with springs and are often considered to be sources of rain and water in general. The mat, a pan-Mesoamerican symbol of power and legitimate authority, faces the formal entry causeway.

It may be that a substantial fraction of the visitors arriving on the Sepulturas causeway were not culturally or linguistically Maya. Each combines script blocks with his portrait and other complex imagery. This arrangement reflects associations that appear in many facets of Maya practice: between east and youth, west and seniority.

The skirt and the shell elements at the waist suggest that Stela H was meant to convey female associations that contrast with the emphasis on distinctively male elements in the monuments of the western cluster. The sarcophagus lid bears an elegant depiction in relief of Pakal in front of the world tree that marks the vertical axis of the universe Fig. Pakal, in death, falls into its fleshless jaws and perhaps is reborn from them as well.

One aspect of texts in what they identify as a Mayan narrative tradition is division into episodes, with special devices marking the transitions between them. In the sarcophagus lid script string, each side of the lid is occupied by one episode; the beginning of each new episode is marked by reference to a time earlier than the last date previously mentioned.

The same kind of temporal flashback is one of the devices that marks episode transitions in Chol narratives. Pakal, the 7th century ruler buried in the sarcophagus, falls into the jaws of the underworld in front of the world tree that connects the heavens and the underworld.

Graphemes on the trunk and branches are indicators of supernatural qualities. A long script string recording the deaths of Pakal, his parents, and earlier rulers extends around the edge of the lid; portraits of many of them, depicted as trees emerging from the earth, appear on the sides of the sarcophagus itself.

Shifting registers, the imagery on the top of the lid, depicting the world tree, continues the sequence with the fifth direction: center or nadir-zenith. The death of Pakal is recorded on the edge that is just below the skeletal jaws at the base of the world tree: that is, in the underworld. Their busts are repeated on the opposite, north, side of the sarcophagus; this places them simultaneously above the world tree, that is, in the celestial realm, which is another appropriate location for ancestors.

Terraced platforms on the east and west evoke the path of the sun; a southern building has nine doorways, referring to the nine levels or regions of the underworld. The ruler placed a stela with script and imagery celebrating his accession and genealogy in an enclosure on the north side, the celestial realm.

These directional associations can be found in many other aspects of Maya thought and practice as well. Strings of graphemes occupy the front edge of the bench and its legs. Busts of male and female figures appear in the eyes. The figures in the eyes are very simply dressed, making it unlikely that they portray the living individuals named in the text just above. It is more probable that they are intended to represent a generic ancestral pair, and by extension, ancestors, fathermothers, in general.

This usage, in which a pair of elements refers to a class of things or beings to which they belong and whose limits they may define, is equivalent to the pattern of parallelism of elements best known in the form of couplets that is a favored mode of Mayan discourse and literature Monod Becquelin, ; Hull, ; Christenson, , but in the mimetic register.

Busts in the eyes stand for a generic ancestral pair, fathermothers. The pairing of elements to define a class of beings reflects the importance of parallel elements, especially couplets, in Mayan discourse and literature; here they appear in the mimetic register.

Concluding Remarks 46It is certainly true that not all messages and concepts are reducible to words. Complex imagery may employ the organization of space, relations between figures and background, and color to convey very detailed information in highly nuanced ways that would be difficult to reduce to script Gruzinski, , p. However, the complementarity of script and image in Maya writing is not simply a shift from textual to mimetic register.

Nor is it reiteration of content, unchanged, in another register. Something is added to the message and often it is linguistic information.

The relationship of script and imagery in Maya writing is intimate and fundamental, not the occasional choice of some artists and scribes to incorporate another register. The essence of Maya writing is simultaneous, coordinated communication of meanings through script and imagery. The regular use of both registers can be understood as a dimension of a key feature of Mayan discourse and writing: the presentation of related but at least subtly different versions of the same concept in parallel structures, particularly couplets Lounsbury, ; Bassie-Sweet, , p.


Reliance on grapheme strings in script blocks constrains the message in terms of ordinary syntax, in the same linear way as in spoken language.

Coordinated use of graphemes and imagery permits the construction of very complex messages that can simultaneously take advantage of syntactic understandings and convey meanings in ways that are freed from linear constraints and can therefore allow for simultaneous alternatives, none of which must be signaled as primary.

Nothing in the hybrid composition prescribes a particular ordering of elements in the imagery in relation to those in the script strings. Imagery and graphemes placed in the spaces it creates are liberated from the linearity of grapheme strings, providing a syntactic freedom that could be quite useful. Relationships could be indicated more flexibly and without necessarily implying sequence. Conveying these alternative readings under ordinary linear constraints of syntax would be significantly more complex.

Even for readers well versed in the script, the process of reading the imagery would have required devoting a different kind of attention to the overall composition.

This additional engagement with the message may have enhanced retention of its critical elements, just as writing notes by hand increases recall in comparison with recording a spoken version. Smith was thus correct in asserting that signs are inextricably bound to those who encode and decode their meanings, though it is worth adding that they are also bound to the conventions of the sociocultural context s in which they occur.

In the case of Maya writing, the graphemes that constitute the script and the imagery with which they co-occur form a dynamic polygraphic system that is inextricably rooted in broader systems of cultural signification and thus tailored to the cultural understandings of a particular audience.

This is evocative of views of texts, broadly defined, as primary cultural constructions intimately bound to the systems of cultural codes that animate their semantics see Uspenskij et al.

First we have at the left four columns, each containing the names of the twenty days of the month. As I am inclined to believe that the author of the manuscript adopted the system which had Cauac as the first day of the cycle, the first or left-hand column commences with this day, the others, Kan, Muluc, and Ix, following in the order in which they are found in the list of days.

The first column is therefore the one to be used for all the Cauac years; the second for all the Kan years; the third for all the Muluc years, and the fourth for all the Ix years.

The reader must be careful to remember, that when. As each of the four leading days or "year-bearers," as they were called by the Mayas, can have but thirteen different numbers it is unnecessary to extend our columns of numbers further than thirteen.

Table V. By referring to the table No. II of days and mouths we observe that when we have completed the thirteenth column, or the column of the thirteenth month, the next, or fourteenth month, commences with 1; just as the first month; the fifteenth with 8, as the second; the sixteenth with 2, as the third; the seventeenth with 9, as the fourth; and the eighteenth with 3, as the fifth.

The reader must bear in mind that, although we have numbered the months as commencing with the left-hand column, which has 1 for its upper figure, yet this only holds good when the year is 1 Cauac, 1 Kan, 1 Muluc, or 1 Ix, and for none of the other years.

The first month of the year may be any one of the thirteen columns, thus: 8 Cauac, 8 Kan, 8 Muluc, and 8 Ix have the second column, which has 8 for its upper figure, as their first month; then the one commencing with 2 will be the second month column, that with 9 the third, with 3 the fourth, with 10 the fifth, with 4 the sixth, with 11 the seventh, with 5 the eighth, with 12 the ninth, with 6 the tenth, with 13 the eleventh, the last or one commencing with 7 the twelfth.

Now we go back to the first—commencing with 1—which will be the thirteenth, with 8 the fourteenth, with 2 the fifteenth, with 9 the sixteenth, with 3 the seventeenth, with 10 the eighteenth. Thus we count through and go back to the left, and so continue until we reach the number of the month desired.

Now, to illustrate the method of using the table, let us find in what months and on what days of the months in the years 11 Cauac, 11 Kan, 11 Muluc, and 11 Ix, the day 8 Ahau will fall. For the year 11 Cauac we must look to the Cauac column. We find here that Ahau is the second day of the month; running our eyes along the second transverse line, we find the figure 8 in the thirteenth column, which has 7 as the top number; going back to the column which has 11 as the upper or top number and counting the columns up to this that has 7 as the top number , we find it to be the sixth month.

We thus ascertain that 8 Ahau of the year 1 1 Cauac is the second day of the sixth month. To find where it falls in 11 Kan we must first find Ahau in the Kan column. Therefore 8 Ahau of the year 11 Kan is the 17th day of the second and also of fifteenth month.

We also find that 8 Ahau of the year 11 Ix is the seventh day of the ninth month. If I have succeeded in making this complicated system thus far intelligible to the reader, I may hope to succeed in conveying a correct idea of what is to follow.

Now let us test our arrangement by a historical example. In the Perez manuscript translated by Stephens and published in his "Yucatan," Vol.


The year 4 Kan commences with the column of our table which has 4 for the top figure. The third month Zip will then be the column with 5 at the top; running down this to the eighteenth transverse line we find the figure 9; we also observe that the 18th day in the Kan column of the names of days is Ymix, agreeing exactly with the date given. In the manuscript Troano there is another method of giving dates which is very common throughout the work. Thus: Fig. As neither the year nor the day of the month is given, it is evident that we may find more than one day answering to this date, but let us hunt them out and see where they fall.

The backward counting is exactly the reverse of the forward method heretofore explained; count to the left until the first column is reached, then go back to the thirteenth.

We thus ascertain that 13 Ahau of the 13th month falls on the second day of the month in the year 6 Cauac. Proceeding in the same way with the Ahau in the Kan, Muluc, and Ix columns, we obtain the seventeenth day of the month in the year 4 Kan, twelfth in 9 Muluc, and seventh in 1 Ix.

We thus ascertain that the years are 6 Cauac, 4 Kan, 9 Muluc, and 1 Ix. If we examine Table III, showing the years of the cycle, we shall find as a matter of course that these years occur but once in the entire period. In order apparently to further complicate this calendar, which was undoubtedly devised by the priests, as Landa says, "to deceive that simple people," another period called the Ahau or Katun was introduced.

This period, according to most authorities, consisted of twenty years, but according to Perez of twenty-four. It is in reference to this period that we find the chief difference between authorities, because upon the proper determination of its length, and the numbering, depends the possibility of identifying dates of the Maya calendar with corresponding ones of the Christian era. In order to settle these points it is necessary not only to determine the length of the Ahau or Katun, but also the number of Katunes contained in the great cycle, the method in which they were numbered, and the proper position of these numbers in this long period.

Up to the present time these are the rocks on which all the calculations have been wrecked. We are now prepared to discuss the question presented as to whether the numerals and day characters found so frequently in connection with each other are simply dates, somewhat as we find them in our ordinary calendars, or not.

The first point to be determined is whether these day characters are used simply to denote days, or because of the signification of the words, as Brasseur supposed. This, as will be readily perceived, also involves the important question as to whether Landa was correct in his statement, that they were the symbols or characters used to denote days. The argument must therefore be somewhat in a circle; hence the evidence adduced must be strong to support the position assumed, and must agree in the essential points with the Maya calendar so far as positively determined.

In order to decide this point we now turn to the manuscript itself. Referring to Plate X we find that the left-hand column of the middle division always reading from the top downwards is composed of the characters representing the following Maya days, in the order here given: Oc, Cib, Ik, Lamat, Ix.

If we turn to Table V, containing the list of days, and count on either of the four columns of names, from one of these names to the next, we shall find in each case an interval of just six days: from Oc to Cib six days; from Cib to Ik six days, and so on.

The other column, same plate and division, is composed of the characters for Ahau, Cimi, Eb, Ezanab, and Kan, with an interval of six days between each two.

Turning now to Plate VI, middle division, we find the days in the left-hand column to be Caban, Ik, Manik, Eb, and Caban, with an interval of just five days between each two. In the upper division of Plate XVII the interval is twelve days; and the same is true in reference to the other columns on this plate. From Kan to Oc is an interval of six days; from Oc to Cib six; from Cib to Ahau four; from Ahau to Ik two Here we may be allowed to digress for a moment from the direct line of our argument in order to show how the discovery of this fact may enable us to determine an uncertain or obliterated character.

The days of this column, in the order they stand, are as follows: Oc, Ik, Ix, , and Ezanab.

A Study of the Manuscript Troano/Chapter 2

Cimi twelve days, and from Cimi to Ezanab twelve days. We may therefore feel pretty well assured that this unusual character is a variant of Cimi [5] and not of Ahau, as Brasseur supposed. This regularity in the order of the days is sufficient to prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that they were not used on account of the signification of the words.Agrandir Original jpeg, 68k Left: Dresden Codex page As this system admits of fifty-two changes in the day on which the year begins, it would require fifty-two different calendars to cover one cycle, just as fourteen calendars are required to suit all the years of our system, seven for the ordinary years and seven for the leap-years.

If we compare these with the Muluc column of our tables, we find that after the first two numbers there is a skip of three numbers before we reach the 6 which should follow according to the plate. M sits to the immediate left of the information carefully and answer the one who faces Z.

In II. Referring to Plate X we find that the left-hand column of the middle division always reading from the top downwards is composed of the characters representing the following Maya days, in the order here given: Oc, Cib, Ik, Lamat, Ix.

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