Notes on Accession Dates in the Inscriptions of Coba 13

Mesoweb has recently posted a short piece I’ve written on vague hints at history in the very eroded texts of Coba, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Thanks to Joel Skidmore for his great help.

Notes on Accession Dates in the Inscriptions of Coba

STUART, DAVID
2010  Notes on Accession Dates in the Inscriptions of Coba.
Mesoweb: http://www.mesoweb.com/stuart/notes/Coba.pdf.

13 comments

  1. I note that you refer to the Coba rulers as kings. I would agree with you, however, Joyce Marcus in her book “Emblem and State in the Classic Maya Lowlands, p. 174 list at least one of the figures depicted figures (rulers?) as women on Coba St. 1, 2, 4, and 17. What think thee?

    • Others have thought, and think, the rulers shown are female — I’m not sure to be honest. Males do wear similar longish skirts in other portraits, such as Copan St. H. This style of image is so consistent at Coba that we have to conclude one of two things: (1) either males customarily wore this sort distinctive dress when portrayed, or (2) Coba had very many female rulers over the course of its history. The first option seems more likely to me.

  2. Hello Dave and Ron,

    The very first paper I ever wrote in epigraphy, in a 1996 class taught by Peter Mathews in Calgary, was on these Macanxoc stelae at Coba. In the paper I identified the figure on Stela 1 as a female, whose name I read as Lady K’awiil Ajaw. (I considered the two figures on this stela as portraying the same individual.) It wasn’t till years later I realized Tatiana Proskouriakoff had already identified these images as that of a female. When I read your mesoweb paper and considered your redating of Stela 4 I revisited my old ideas and realized that the identification was even stronger. Apart from Stela 30 all of the stelae portraying rulers in the long huipil are from the Macanxoc group, despite there being numerous other stelae at Coba showing rulers in costumes featuring the typical male loincloth.

    What is most important is that with the redating of Stela 4 the images of rulers wearing the female huipil all fit into the reign of your Ruler B. Ruler B accedes on 9.10.7.5.9 and probably dies just before the accession of Ruler C on 9.12.10.5.12. This means that Stelae 1, 2, 4 and 5 all date to this person’s reign, while Stelae 3 and 6 do not. Stelae 3 and 6 show male rulers in normal loincloths. Stelae 1, 2 and 4 all show the ruler wearing a huipil, and on Stela 4 the huipil is definitely not that of the Maize Deity. As far as I know there are no cases of males wearing a long huipil that isn’t the diamond lattice of the Maize Deity. Stela 5 has both a male and a female figure, one on each side, and this contrast of male and female costume further supports the identification of the huipil at Coba as denoting female costume.

    Given how closely these images of rulers in female huipils correlate with the reign of Ruler B I really have to favor the idea that Ruler B was actually a woman and that the male ruler on Stela 5 is her husband a la K’an Mo’ Hiix of Palenque. Interestingly, Ruler B, whoever he or she may have been, is associated with the only 2 examples of what you call the “Grand Long Count” and this must have been one of the grandest reigns in ancient Yucatan. Cheers,

    Stan

  3. Hi David,
    Thank you for this updated revision of the Coba stelae dates. You mention a study currently underway about a ballcourt panel at Coba that names an early ruler. I’m very curious to know (if possible) when and where the study will be published ?
    Regards, Lorna

    • Dear Lorna,

      Not sure as yet where or when it will be published — first I have to finish the drawing! The eventual analysis and publication will be in collaboration with my colleagues at INAH, Maria Jose Con and Guillermo Bernal.

      David

      • Dear David,

        the photos of the ballcourt panel I know are too bad to read the Long Count dates and the Lunar Series with any degree of certainty. According to Maria Jose Con one date is 9.1.10.5.8. Can you tell me the other and the values of the two Lunar Series (D,C,X, and A) if legible?

        Jens-Peter

  4. Dear David and other guys,
    I’ve just finished the drawing of Panel 1 at Coba ballcourt Group D (by the way, it is numbered in several different ways) and the ISIG preceded dates are: 9.3.10.5.1 11Ha’/B’ah-9 ‘O’ohl (March 20, 505 AD), 9.7.0.14.8 9 ‘Ehk’-6 Yxsiho’om (september 21, 574 AD); the thrid date is given as 5 ‘Ajaw(-18 Sutz’) and corresponds to 9.7.0.9.0 (June 5, 574 AD).
    Comments are welcome

  5. Dear Renato,
    your readings of the Coba ballcourt Group D dates are quite different from those of Mr. Con Uribe. In “Arqueología Mexicana 70 (2004):10” he wrote: “Entre otros hechos, refiere que un gobernante local llamado Danta Humeante celebró un final de periodo de 10 tunes (laju’ntuun) en 9.1.10.0.0, 5 ajaw, 3 sek, fecha maya que equivale al 5 de junio (he means 5 julio – J.-P.W) de 465 d.C. […] La inscripción también asienta que 108 días después, el 21 de octubre de 465, fue dedicado un monumento de piedra ‘en el juego de pelota’ (ti u pitzan) de un dignatario llamado Jaguar Humeante…”
    So we have there the date 9.1.10.0.0 5 Ajaw 3 Sek (same as your 9.7.0.9.0 5 Ajaw 18 Sutz’ ?) and 5.8 later the date 9.1.10.5.8 (this is possibly the same date as your second IS-date 9.7.0.14.8, because it is, too, 5.8 days apart). But according to the photos I have (they are not really good) it is very unlikely that the second date IS-date is 9.1.10.5.8. The first IS-date is a more likely canditate, but here too I favour your reading.
    The dates of the Lunar Series could be a good proof
    1. of the IS-dates
    2. of the thesis of A. Fuls (Ancient Mesoamerica 18 (2007): 5-6) that Coba used a regular six-month count (Glyph C) and a mean length of 29.5 days per month. (This is based on the dates of Coba Stela 1) Such a Lunar Count would be quite different from other known Maya Lunar Counts used for examble in Palenque or Copan, using more complex and accurate formulas.
    To clarify this questions I hope you will publish your drawing soon.

    Jens-Peter

    • Dear Jens-Peter,
      the 9.3.10.5.1 date is linked to a lunar series that reads: 11th day of the 3rd moon of 30 days; the 9.7.0.14.8 date to: 12th day of the 1st moon of 29 days.
      By the way, the 3rd date is still unclear to me, due to the fact that the end of “k’atun” 5 Ajaw is mentioned, leading to somewhere around 9.8.0.0.0.
      Finally, I guess that glyph C10 is not PAHTLAJ but TZ’AHPAJ, and that it seems related to the accesion date of a woman (E8 and D13), furthermore related to a possible kinship to Yuhkno’om Ch’e’en I from Dzibanche, possibly at F9. Still working at the drawing.

  6. For those who have been waiting for Cobá’s Panel 9 news, these are the dates (584,285) and facts (broad transcriptions):
    Columns A-B: 9.3.10-5.1 11 IMIX 9 KUMK’UH, March 20, 505 AD; Cobá is absorbed into the Kanúl (Dzibanché) dynasty’s network of forced alliances and its first ball court (Group B) is built, according to the order of YUKNOM CH’EN [I].
    Columns C-D: 9.7.0-14.8 9 LAMAT 6 YAX, September 21, 574 AD; # K’AK’ TI’ B’ALAM (6th ruler, counted backward from Stela 1’s 9th ruler mention) acceded to the throne at the presence of YAXMAT YOPAT, ruler of Dzibanché.
    Columns E-F: After linking the latter date to the previous 5 AJAW, we find 9.6.10-12.1 2 IMIX 9 YAX, September 26, 564 AD, date of the consecration of the second ball court (Group D) by IX-CH’ENNAL.
    Now, if we take a look at Panel 1, we will see that IX-CH’ENNAL was the wife of “ K’AK’ TI’ B’ALAM and they had a son (the 7th ruler), JUN SIHYAJ KAN K’AWIL, who is responsible for stelae 3, 6, and 11, giving him an approximate regency from about 605 AD to (surely) 640 AD.
    Furthermore, Panel 5 shows that # K’AK’ TI’ B’ALAM played ball in the Group D’s ball court with YAXMAT YOPAT on the day of his accession, and Stela 30 declares that IX-CH’ENNAL was in power as queen at least since that ball court was built, and celebrated the PE on December 7, 573 AD.
    I think IX-CH’ENNAL was YAXMAT YOPAT’s daughter (she bears the KALOM-TE’ title) and we are once more in front of an alliance based on a marriage, a habit for the Kanúl dynasty.

    • We agree on the dates, more or less. The first LC has some problems, though, especially with the day sign and month position. I am not sure I concur about the historical details. The first episode on the panel relates the dedication of an early phase of the ball court buy an early Coba ruler named Juunpiktook’, some eleven years after he “established” the Coba court ca. 494 — a hugely important historical detail. The second LC commemorates a second ball court dedication in 574, but the name(s) involved are very eroded. My drawing of the inscription is now finished, and we will publish it soon along with our co-authored written analysis.

  7. Dear Renato,
    your link to Panel 1 is intresting. Can your readings of Panel 9 help to clarify the date-structure of Panel 1?
    It is possible to see your drawing of Panel 9 somewhere (and also of Panel 1, if there exists a drawing that is better than the sketch of Antonio Benavides (1981)) ?

    Jens-Peter

  8. Sirs,
    I think that it has come the time to share all data about Panel 9 and the info it gives about early Cobá; so, even if I am still working on the eroded glyphs, here is a summary:

    9.3.10-5.1 20MAR505 [A1>B9] – BUILDING [A10] OF BC1 [B10] AT COBÁ [A11] (/B) ORDERED [B11] BY JUNPIKTOK’ [A12]; 9.2.19-5.1 16MAY494 [DN 11-0.0 AT B12] HAD BEEN “FOUNDED” [A13] COBÁ [B13] BY JUNPIKTOK’ [A14] … [B14]; THEN IT COMES [A15>B15] 9.7.0-14.8 21SEP574 [C1>D9] WAS/WERE PLANTED [A10] THE STONE(S) [B10] AT THE BC2 [A11] OF KALOMTE’ # K’AK’TI’BALAM [B11>B12], HE TIED UP THE WHITE BAND [A13] TO HIS HEAD [B13] ON HIS PRESENTATION [A14] AT THE PRESENCE OF [B14] KALOMTE’ YAXMAT YOPAT [A15>B15] (IT HAD BEEN) DN 0-5.8 [E1] (SINCE) THE STONE-BINDING? [F1] ON 5 AJAW (9.7.0-9.0 5JUN574) [E2] (WHEN) HE TIED UP THE WHITE BAND [F2]; DN 3.0-7.0 (LEADS TO 9.6.0-12.1 18NOV554 FROM 9.2.19-5.1) SINCE THE PUTTING IN ORDER [E4] OF COBÁ [F4] … [E5>F5] SECOND BUILDING [E6] OF SECOND BC [F6] ORDERED [E7] BY KALOMTE’ IX-CHENNAL [F7>E8] … [F8>E9] YUKNOM CH’EN? [F9] … [E10>F10]

    DOUBTFUL GLYPHS {[E5>F5]; [F8>E9] YUKNOM CH’EN? [F9] … [E10>F10]} ARE STILL UNDER SCRUTINY, SO BE PATIENT FOR THE DRAWING.

    NOW, THE PRESENCE OF YAXMAT YOPAT IS CONFIRMED BY [B4>B6] ON PANEL 5 (KALOMTE’-YAXMAT-YOPAT-NAH:TAJ.KAB’-#), AND THE [A6] TITLE/NAME REAPPEARS ON STELA 6 AT THE END OF TEXT, AS (HE IS) UMAM NAH:TAJ.KAB’; BY THE WAY, THE “MAT” PART IS A SEPARATED GLYPH ON PANEL 5 [A5].

    THE READING OF # K’AK’TI’BALAM AS THE RULER ACCEDED IN 574 IS CONFIRMED BY PANEL 1, WHERE HIS NAME IS WRITTEN # K’AK’-TI’-BALAM(JGU) AT THE VERY END OF THE TEXT, PRECEDED BY IX-CHENNAL; THIS IS A PARENTAGE STATEMENT FOR I-KAN[SIYAJ-K’AWIL]; HIS NAME IS TO BE FOUND AS THE SEVENTH GLYPH BEFORE HIS MOTHER’S.

    # K’AK’TI’BALAM’S NAME APPEARS ALSO ON PANEL 6, GLYPHS C1>D1.

    FINALLY, THE DN 13-X.X ON STELA 30, COUNTED BACKWARD FROM 9.7.5-0.0 11NOV578 (ALLEGEDLY THE STELA DATE), LEADS TO SOMEWHERE IN 565. THE DN IS FOLLOWED BY “SINCE SHE WAS SEATED”, SO I TOOK IT AS HER ACCESSION.

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