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Nikolai Grube
University of Bonn

A commonly held view about Late Classic Maya political organization is that the Southern Lowlands were divided into a dozen or so small and roughly egalitarian states. In this scheme, no state was politically dominant over another, and no political units existed above these states (Mathews 1988; Cowgill 1988; Demarest 1992; Houston 1993; Stuart 1993).


PARI editor's note: Originally presented at the Eighth Palenque Round Table, June 6-12, 1993, this paper was published in 1996 in Eighth Palenque Round Table, 1993  edited by Martha J. Macri and Jan McHargue. Presented here in digital format for its historical interest, the online edition is illustrated with details from the original illustrations. The complete illustrations are also presented as they originally appeared:


Text Only

Figure 1 - The Hieroglyphic Stairs of House C Palenque. Drawing by Linda Schele.

Figure 2 - The name of a Calakmul king. a) Palenque, Hieroglyphic Stairs, House C (Drawing by Linda Schele); b) Caracol Stela 3 (Drawing by Nikolai Grube).

Figure 3 - A hubuy event against the toponym of Palenque. Bonampak Lintel 4 (unpublished drawing by Ian Graham).

Figure 4 - An attack by Pomona against Palenque. a) Temple of the Inscriptions, East Tablet, M6-M11 (Drawing by Linda Schele); b) The pi-a toponym as an emblem on Pomona Panel X; c) the pi-a toponym on a panel from Pomona.

Figure 5 - Piedras Negras Stela 26, Front. The captives are ahawob from sak tz'i and from Palenque (Drawing by Linda Schele with additions by Nikolai Grube).

Figure 6 - satay k'u, stay ahaw, ma u nawah ... ma y ak'wah u tutal 'lost are the gods, lost are the kings, he does not adorn ... he does not give the offering ...'. This text refers in the rhetoric of a K'atun prophecy to the dark age of Palenque after various raids. Temple of the Inscriptions, East Tablet, O6-O12 (Drawing by Linda Schele).

Figure 7 - The verb pas 'emerge'. a) The "emergence of the eclipse of the battle standard" from Palenque, Hieroglyphic Stairs, D2 (Drawing by Linda Schele); b) Logographic and syllablic spellings of the name yax pasah 'New Dawn' at Copan.

Figure 8 - Evidence for amicable ties between Calakmul and Piedras Negras. a) Inscription in a private collection, but from the Piedras Negras area, mentioning Piedras Negras Ruler 2 and a sublord of the Calakmul king (Drawing by Nikolai Grube, see Mayer 1987: Cat. No. 39); b) The inscription on the left side of Piedras Negras Stela 35 with the Calakmul emblem glyph in B8 (Drawing by Nikolai Grube after a drawing by John Montgomery).

Figure 9 - The arrival of Shield Skull of Tikal at Palenque. Temple of the Inscriptions, West Tablet, L7-M3 (Drawing by Linda Schele).

Figure 10 - Texts referring to the treatment of captives. a) Texts written on the loincloths of the captives from the west facade of House A (after Maudslay 1889-1902, Vol. IV: Plate 12); b) Inscription on the foundation in the Western Court of House C (Drawing by Linda Schele).

Figure 11 - Palenque ahawob as captives at Tonina. a) K'an Hok' Chitam as a captive on Tonina Monument 122 (Drawing by Linda Schele); b) An unknown Palenque ahaw as a captive on Tonina Monument 107 (Drawing by Peter Mathews in Becquelin and Baudez 1982: Fig. 169).

Figure 12 - A capture of an ahaw from the la place. a) Tablet of the Slaves, E2-F2 (Drawing by Linda Schele); b) Bonampak Room 2, Caption 8 (Drawing by Stephen D. Houston in Miller 1986 fig. III:14).

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