Once when perusing the early Palenque history recorded in the east tablet of the Temple of the Inscriptions, I noticed an fascinating pattern in the accession records of the eight rulers recorded up to and including K’inich Janab Pakal. The verb is always “seating” but the prepositional phrase that follows, specifying the office or status attained, differs among the kings and the queen who precede Pakal.
As we see here, at least four (and probably five) of the early kings attained an office or status simply written HU’N-na, for hu’n, “paper, headband.” Only when Ajen Yohl Mat came to power in the early seventh century does to the usual ajawlel, “rulership,” status appear:
Ahkal Mo’ Nahb’ I – Seated as Hu’n
K’an Joy Chitam I – Seated as ? (missing)
Ahkal Mo’ Nahb’ II – Seated as Hu’n
Kan Bahlam I – Seated as Hu’n
Ix Yohl Ik’nal – Seated as Hu’n
Ajen Yohl Mat – Seated in Ajawlel
Muwaan Mat – Seated in Ajawlel
K’inich Janab Pakal – Seated in Ajawlel
In 599 A.D. (during Ix Yohl Ik’nal’s rule) Palenque was defeated by Calakmul, and I have to wonder if the shift indicated by these “office” glyphs was directly related to the political upheaval of those times. It would appear that the new “ajaw-ship” of the later kings was connected to Palenque’s own resurgence after the Calakmul wars, when the stage was set for Pakal’s long and remarkable reign.