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A Primer of Mayan Hieroglyphics

A Primer of Mayan Hieroglyphics
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Title: A Primer of Mayan Hieroglyphics
Release Date: 2018-07-19
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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Transcriber’s Note:

The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

Publications of the University of Pennsylvania
SERIES IN
Philology Literature and Archæology
Vol. III No. 2

A PRIMER OF
MAYAN HIEROGLYPHICS

BY
DANIEL G. BRINTON, A.M., M.D., LL.D., Sc.D.
PROFESSOR OF AMERICAN ARCHÆOLOGY AND LINGUISTICS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE, ETC., ETC.
“Hieroglyphics old,
Which sages and keen-eyed astrologers,
Then living on the earth, with labouring thought,
Won from the gaze of many centuries.”
Keats
GINN & COMPANY
Agents for United States, Canada, and England
7–13 Tremont Place, Boston, U.S.A.
MAX NIEMEYER
Agent for the Continent of Europe
Halle, a S., Germany

PREFACE.

In the following pages I have endeavored with the greatestbrevity to supply the learner with the elements necessary for astudy of the native hieroglyphic writing of Central America.The material is already so ample that in many directions I havebeen obliged to refer to it, rather than to summarize it. Thiswill explain various omissions which may be noted by advancedscholars; but they will not, I believe, diminish the usefulnessof the work as an elementary treatise.

In conclusion I would express my thanks to the officers ofthe Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington, and of the PeabodyMuseum of Archæology, Cambridge, for various facilitiesthey have obligingly furnished me.

v

CONTENTS.

I. Introductory.
    PAGE
 
1. General Character of Mayan Hieroglyphics, 9
 
2. The Mayan Manuscripts or “Codices,” 11
 
3. Theories of Interpretation. “Alphabets” and “Keys,” 13
 
 
II. The Mathematical Elements.
 
1. The Codices as Time-counts, 18
 
2. The Mayan Numeral System, 19
 
3. Numerical and Allied Signs, 19
 
4. The Rhetorical and Symbolic Use of Numbers, 24
 
5. The Mayan Methods of Counting Time, 25
 
6. The Calculations in the Codices, 29
 
7. Rules for Tracing the Tonalamatl, or Ritual Calendar, 31
 
8. The Codices as Astronomical Treatises, 32
 
9. Astronomical Knowledge of the Ancient Mayas, 34
 
 
III. The Pictorial Elements.
 
1. The Religion of the Ancient Mayas, 37
 
    Itzamna—Cuculcan—Kin ich—Other Gods—The Cardinal Points—The Good Gods—The Gods of Evil—The Conflict of the Gods.  
 
2. The Cosmogony of the Mayas, 46
 
3. The Cosmical Conceptions of the Mayas, 47
 
4. Pictorial Representations of Divinities, 50
 
    Representations of Itzamna—Of Cuculcan—Of Kin ich—Of Xaman Ek, the Pole Star—Of the Planet Venus—Of Ghanan, God of Growth—Of the Serpent Goddess—of Xmucane—Of Ah puch, God of Death—Of the God of War—Of Ek-Ahau and other Black Gods.  
 
5. The Maya Priesthood, 68
 
6. Fanciful Analogies, 69
 
7. Total Number of Representations, 70
 
8. Figures of Quadrupeds, 71
 
9. Figures of Birds, 72
 
10. Figures of Reptiles, 74
 
11. Occupations and Ceremonies, 76
 
 
viIV. The Graphic Elements.
 
1. The Direction in which the Glyphs are to be Read, 78
 
2. Composition of the Glyphs, 81
 
3. The Proper Method of Studying Glyphs, 81
 
4. An Analysis of Various Graphic Elements, 82
 
    The Hand—The Eye and Similar Figures—The “Spectacles”—The Ear—Crescentic Signs—Sun and Moon Signs—Supposed Variations of the Sun Sign—The Knife Signs—The “Fish and Oyster” Sign—The Sacred Food Offerings—The Ben ik and Other Signs—The Drum Signs—The Yax and Other Feather Signs—The Cross-hatched Signs—Some Linear Signs and Dots—Linear Prefixes—The “Cloud-balls” and the “Cork-screw Curl”—Signs for Union—The “Tree of Life”—The “Machete” and Similar Signs—Supposed Bird Signs—The “Crotalean Curve”—Objects Held in the Hand—The Aspersorium, the Atlatl and the Mimosa—The “Constellation Band”—The Signs for the Cardinal Points—The Directive Signs—The “Cuceb.”  
 
5. The Hieroglyphs of the Days, 109
 
6. The Hieroglyphs of the Months, 116
 
7. The Hieroglyphs of the Deities, 121
 
 
V. Specimens of Texts.
 
1. The God of Time Brings in the Dead Year. Dresden Codex, 127
 
2. Sacrifice at the Close of a Year. Dresden Codex, 128
 
3. End of One and Beginning of Another Time Period. Cortesian Codex, 129
 
4. The God of Growth and the God of Death. Cortesian Codex, 131
 
5. Auguries from the North Star. Cortesian Codex, 131
 
6. Itzamna, the Serpent Goddess, and Kin ich. Dresden Codex, 132
 
7. The Gods of Death, of the Sun, and of War. Dresden Codex, 132
 
8. Cuculcan Makes New Fire. Codex Troano, 133
 
9. The Gods of Death, of Growth, and of the North Star. Dresden Codex, 133
 
10. The God of Growth, of the Sun, and of the East. Dresden Codex, 134
 
11. An Inscription from Kabah, 135
 
12. Linear Inscription from Yucatan, 136
 
13. The “Initial Series” from the Tablet of the Cross, Palenque, 137
 
14. Inscription on the “Tapir Tablet,” Chiapas, 138
 
15. Inscription on a Tablet from Toniná, Chiapas, 139
 
16. Inscription on an Amulet from Ococingo,
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