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Kan Bahlam I

(K'INICH) KAN[BAHLAM]-ma, "Radiant Snake Jaguar". Drawing, transcription and translation after Martin and Grube (2008).

Maya ruler of Palenque; also known as Chan-Bahlum I. Reigned 572-583.

Born: 11 Chikchan 13 Ch'en (September 18, 524).

Acceded: 10 Eb 0 Wo (April 6, 572).

Died: 11 Chikchan 3 K'ayab (February 1, 583).

Brother: Ahkal Mo' Nahb II?

Kan Bahlam I followed Ahkal Mo' Nahb II on the throne of Palenque in AD 572. Because they were born just a year apart, it is probable that they were brothers (Martin and Grube 2008:158).

This ruler is the first Palenque king known to have employed the k'inich "radiant" appellative of the Sun God as an honorific element of his own name (ibid.:159).

The foregoing is based on Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens by Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube (2008:158-159).

The accession of Kan Bahlam I marks the second time since the dynasty's founding in 431 that the succession seems to have passed from brother to brother rather than father to son; cf. B'utz'aj Sak Chiik and Ahkal Mo' Nahb I (Martin and Grube 2008:157). There would be further instances in years to come.

In the Palenque inscriptions, no ruler before K'inich Janaab Pakal has K'inich as part of his royal name, with the solitary exception of the caption to the portrait of Kan Bahlam I on the side of Pakal's sarcophagus. However, David Stuart (personal communication 2001) points out that the Palenque censer stand portrait which probably depicts K'uk' Bahlam I (Miller and Martin 2004:230, Plate 127) has a k'in sign in the headdress, suggesting that K'inich was part of the name of Palenque's Founder. Thus it might have been part of subsequent ruler names as well and simply not recorded in the inscriptions (perhaps because it was more titular than nominal).

For a further discussion of this ruler at Mesoweb see The Rulers of Palenque.