home Sixth Round Table: The Demotion of Chac-Zutz'

Linda Schele

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Go to page: Chac-Zutz' and the history he recorded on the Tablet of the Slaves has been the source of dispute since Peter Mathews and I presented the dynastic history of Palenque at the Primera Mesa Redonda (Mathews and Schele,1973).

Go to page: The initial dispute concerned the identities of Chac-Zutz' and Chaacal as separate individuals or as different names for the same person, a debate that was soon resolved by a more detailed study of the naming patterns at Palenque.

Go to page: However, at the Quinta Mesa Redonda, Peter Mathews (1983b) presented evidence of the capture of Kan-Xul by a king of Toniná, pointing out evidence for a major disruption of descent after this ignominious defeat of the royal lineage.

Go to page: Before this evidence came to light, I had taken the list of kings recorded on the Tablet of the 96 Glyphs as evidence that Chaacal was the son of Kan-Xul, explaining the difference in the name phrase of Kan-Xul and the person listed as father of Chaacal on the Temple 18 jambs as a substitution we did not yet understand. Mathews evaluated the same evidence in a different way, suggesting that Chaacal was in fact not Kan-Xul's son and that his father had not held the throne before him. I now believe that he was right in his interpretation of the evidence--that the accession of Chaacal represents a break in the expected father-son descent pattern at Palenque. This piece of Palenque's history seems to be even stranger because Chac-Zutz' does not appear to have been a high king at all.

Go to page: The tri-figure composition of the Tablet of the Slaves is exactly like the Palace Tablet in depicting the protagonist seated in the center flanked by his parents. The iconography is indistinguishable from that of the high kings, but the text has several features that signal its unusual nature.

Go to page: The text begins with a standard phrase recording the T700 accession of Pacal on 5 Lamat 1 Mol. This accession is then linked to those of Chan Bahlum and Kan-Xul by unusual Distance Numbers first deciphered by Lounsbury (n. d. b). [see note below] The birth of Chac-Zutz' follows, linked not to his own accession, but to that of Chaacal. This pattern is unique at Palenque, where the births are otherwise linked to the accession of this same person.

Note: Lounsbury interpreted the two notations ox te k'al u chum tun  and hun te k'al u chum tun  to be references to the three katun endings between Pacal's accession and Chan-Bahlum's (9.10, 9.11, and 9.12) and the one between Chan-Bahlum's and Kan-Xul's (9.14).

PARI editor's note: 5 Lamat 1 Mol is at A1, Pacal at B1, Chan-Bahlum at B2 and Kan-Xul at A3. 'Birth' and Chac-Zutz' are at A4; Chaacal is at B5.

(to be continued)

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