These are the words which were composed to admonish the fatherless ones, the motherless ones. 3 These words are to be treasured as a precious jewel is treasured. They are concerning the coming introduction of Christianity, <and were spoken> at Tancah Mayapan <and> at Chichen Itzá in the time of the Zuyua people, 4 in the time of the Itzá. A new wisdom shall dawn upon the world 5 universally, in the east, north, west and south. It shall come from the mouth of God the Father. Those who recorded it were the five priests, the holy priests who came into the presence of God. They recorded the charge of misfortune when the introduction of Christianity came.
Here are their names written down:
1. Chilam Balam, the great priest.
2. Napuctun, the great priest.
3. Nahau Pech, the great priest.
4. Ah Kuil Chel, the great priest.
5. Natzin Yabun Chan, the great priest.
<Like> a servant of God who bends his back over virgin soil, 6 they recorded the charge of misery in the presence of our Lord God: the introduction of Christianity occurs; blood-vomit, pestilence, drought, a year of locusts, /
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[paragraph continues] Ahau, in Katun 1 Ahau, the worst of three katuns. Just as it was written by the Evangelists and the prophet Balam, it came from the mouth of the Lord of heaven and earth. Then the priests set it down in holy writ at the time of the great drought at Lahun Chable 1 in <the time of> Christianity. Then Saul and Don Antonio Martínez 2 shall come to avenge 3 their descendants. The day has dawned. So it is written in the command of the great priest, the prophet of Chilam Balam and in the chest of manuscripts. Amen Jesus.
The Interpretation <of> the histories of Yucatan.
The priests, the prophecy <of> Napuctun. 4
It shall burn on earth; there shall be a circle in the sky. Kauil 5 shall be set up; he shall be set up in front in time to come. It shall burn on earth; 6 the <very> hoof shall burn in that katun, in the time which is to come. Fortunate is he who shall see it when the prophecy is declared, who shall weep over his misfortunes in time to come. 7
The prophecy of Ah Kuil Chel, 8 the priest.
When the end of the katun shall come, lord, ye shall not understand when it comes. Who shall believe it at the rolling up of the mat of the katun? 9 The end shall come because of misery. It comes from the north, it comes from
the west at that time when it shall be, lord. Who then shall be the priest, who then <shall be> the prophet who will declare truly the word of the book, lord, in <Katun> 9 Ahau? Ye shall not understand, <ye people> in every part of the world . . . 1 shall be cleansed of shame. Oh <there was> joy among the /
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The prophecy of Nahau Pech the great priest.
At that time when the sun shall stand high 3 <in the heavens>, lord, when the ruler has had compassion, in the fourth katun 4 it shall come to pass, the tidings of God are truly brought. They ask 5 perchance what I recommend, lord. You see your guests upon the road, oh Itzá! It is the fathers of the land 6 who will arrive. <This prophecy> comes from the mouth of Nahau Pech, the priest in the time of Katun 4 Ahau 7 at the end of the katun, 8 lord.
The food of the ant<-like> men shall be destroyed. They shall be at the end of their food <-supply> because of the boboch 9 <which takes their> food, the great hawk <which takes their> food, the ant, the cowbird, 10 the grackle, 11 the blackbird, 12 the mouse. 13
The prophecy of Natzin Yabun Chan.
There was the word of the true God in the land. You shall await the coming forth, lord, of his priests who will bring 1 it in time to come. Give your understanding to his word, to his admonition. 2 Fortunate are you who truly receive it. Forsake those things which you have held sacred, oh Itzá; forget your perishable gods, your transitory gods. Of all things he is the ruler, lord, the creator of all heaven and earth. It is to your hearts that I speak, oh Maya Itzá. You shall not desire another God <than> the true God according to your <own> words. You shall take to heart the word of my admonition. 3
The prophecy of Chilam Balam, the singer, of Cabal-c
hen, 4 Mani.
On <the day> 13 Ahau the katun will end 5 in the time of the Itzá, in the time of /
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[paragraph continues] Itzamná Kauil shall rise. 1 Our lord comes, 2 Itzá. Our elder brother comes, <oh> men of Tantun. 3 Receive your guests, the bearded men, the men of the east, the bearers of the sign of God, lord. Good indeed 4 is the word of God that comes to us. The day of our regeneration 5 comes. You do not fear the world, Lord, you are the only God who created us. It is sufficient, then, that the word of God is good, lord. <He is> the guardian 6 of our souls. He who receives him, who has truly believed, he will go to heaven with him. Nevertheless <at> the beginning were the two-day men.
Let us exalt his sign on high, let us exalt it <that we may gaze upon it today> 7 with the raised standard. Great is the discord that arises today. 8 The First Tree of the World 9 is restored; it is displayed to the world. This is the sign of Hunab-ku on high. Worship it, Itzá. You shall worship today his sign on high. You shall worship it furthermore with true good will, 10 and you shall worship the true God today, lord. You shall be converted to the word of Hunab-ku, lord; it came from heaven. Oh it is he who speaks to you! 11 Be admonished indeed, Itzá. They will correct their ways 12 who receive him in their hearts 13 in another katun, lord.
Believe in my word itself, I am Chilam Balam, and I have interpreted the entire message of the true God <of> the world; it is heard in every part of the world, 14 lord, the word of God, the Lord of heaven and earth. Very good indeed is his word in heaven, lord.
He is ruler over us; he is the true God over our souls. /
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younger brothers 1 native to the land. Their hearts are submerged <in sin>. Their hearts are dead in their carnal sins. They are frequent backsliders, 2 the principal ones who spread <sin>, Nacxit Xuchit 3 in the carnal sin of his companions, the two-day rulers. 4 <They sit> crookedly on their thrones; crookedly in carnal sin. Two-day men they call them. For two days <endure> their seats, 5 their cups, their hats. 6 They are the unrestrained lewd 7 ones of the day, the unrestrained lewd ones of the night, 8 the rogues of the world. They twist their necks, they wink their eyes, they slaver at the mouth, 9 at the rulers of the land, lord. Behold, when they come, there is no truth in the words of the foreigners to the land. They tell very solemn and mysterious things, the sons of the men of Seven-deserted-buildings, the offspring of the women of Seven-deserted-buildings, 10 lord.
Who will be the prophet, who will be the priest who shall interpret truly the word of the book?
164:2 These are fundamentally prophecies of the return of Kukulcan, or Quetzalcoatl, the Mexican culture-hero; but after the arrival of the Spaniards they were believed to be prognostics of that event and were in some instances adapted in later times to fit the facts of the actual occurrence. Cf. Tozzer 1921, p. 192. A discussion of these prognostications, their reputed authors and their place in the prophetic literature of the Maya will be found in Appendix D.
164:3 A term applied to the Itzá in the Tizimin MS. It may well be a reference to the Itzá custom of killing off the older men to prevent their becoming sorcerers, though we do not hear of their killing the older women. Cf. Appendix C.
164:4 Probably the foreign Nahua who invaded Yucatan. Cf. page 88, note 1.
164:5 Literally, a new day shall dawn. Both the literal and figurative meanings of this expression are given in the Motul Dictionary.
164:6 Possibly a description applied by the missionaries to themselves.
165:1 Lahun Chable: possibly the same as Chablé. Cf. page 159, note 9.
165:2 Cf. page 123, note 8, and page 157, note 7.
165:3 Alternative translation: to collect the debts of their descendants, etc.
165:4 Of the five following prophecies the Maya text has been copied from the Chilam Balam of Mani in Codex Perez, pages 72-73, and from the Chilam Balam of Oxkutzcab in Codex Perez, pages 166-170. Accompanying the latter are Spanish translations of the first four. Berendt ascribes the latter version of these prophecies to the Chilam Balam of Ixil, but they are not to be found in the reproduction of the Ixil; and the Perez Codex indicates that they are a part of the copy of the Chilam Balam of Oxkutzcab which immediately precedes them. The Maya text of the prophecies of Nahau Pech, Natzin Yabun Chan and Chilam Balam are given in the Tizimin MS., pages 17, 18.
The Maya text and Spanish translations of all five have been published in Lizana 1893, pages 37-39. The Maya text and an English translation of the prophecy of Nahau Pech appear in Brinton 1882, pages 255-256; the text and English translation of the prophecy of Chilam Balam are given in Tozzer 1921, pages 122-128.
Spanish translations of all five prophecies are to be found in Cogolludo 1868, Book 2, chapter 11, and in Villagutierre Soto-Mayor 1701, pages 36-37. Tozzer (1921, pages 192-194) gives a full bibliography of the modern literature covering the subject.
165:5 Kauil is an obsolete word meaning food. Cf. kauilyah, to beg for food (Motul). It also appears to be the name of a god as in Itzamna Kauil. Kauil is also a common family name in Yucatan.
165:6 We are reminded of the portents said to have presaged the Spanish Conquest of Mexico: "there appeared in the sky a pyramidal flame of fire, which ascended from midnight till sun-rising, when it came into the south, and then vanish'd" (Herrera 1726, Dec. 2, Book 10, Chap. 1).
165:7 The Maya text is accompanied by a Spanish translation in the Chilam Balam of Oxkutzcab which reads as follows: "Habrá final culto de los Dioses vanos y el mundo sera purificado con fuego. El que esta viere sera llamado dichoso si con dolor llorare sus pecados" (Codex Perez, p. 167). The translator has difficulty in finding any close correspondence between this and the Maya text of the prophecy. The setting up of Kauil is a figure of speech which is difficult to understand.
165:8 Called Kauil C
hel in the Oxkutzcab, Ah Kauil Chel in the Tizimin (p. 13) and Mani (Codex Perez, p. 72), and Ah Kukil Chel by Cogolludo (Book 2, chap 11).
165:9 Cf. page 135, note 3.
166:1 Part of the text is obliterated here, and this portion of the prophecy does not occur in any of the other versions; the translation is therefore a little uncertain.
166:2 We find the following purported translation in the Book of Chilam Balam of Oxkutzcab: "La interpretacion. En el fin de la edad presente los que ignorais futuras que <e>dad pensais que sucederá: sabed pues que vendran de todas partes tales cosas por nuestros malos. Historia. Que los podreis tener por presentes y os digo que en la edad novena ningun sacerdote ni profeta os declarara las escrituras que generalmente ignorais." The fulfilment of this very vague prophecy was evidently the Christianization of Yucatan in Katun 9 Ahau.
166:3 This version of the prophecy of Nahau Pech is the only one which corresponds here to the time-honored translation by the early Spanish missionaries. The other versions read: "At that time the news shall be understood."
166:4 This statement, "in the fourth katun," can be taken two ways. It could be either the fourth katun after the fall of Mayapan, Katun 13 Ahau, when the Spaniards made their first and unsuccessful attempt to conquer Yucatan, or Katun 9 Ahau, the fourth katun after the time of Nahau Pech who lived in Katun 4 Ahau. Katun 9 Ahau was really the period when the general conversion of the Mayas was effected.
166:5 A space has been left in the Chumayel text here which has been supplied from the Tizimin version. The Mani version reads: "You ask what I recommend." The Spanish translation renders this sentence: "With great concern I recommend," etc.
166:6 A term equally applicable to the priests of Quetzalcoatl and the Christian missionaries.
166:7 Katun 4 Ahau ended either in 1497 or 1500 according to which correlation is accepted.
166:8 The rest of the prophecy does not appear in any of the other versions.
166:9 Pio Perez defines boboch as a fabulous animal. The name may be derived from bob, another mysterious animal, and och, an opossum.
166:10 Maya ¢iu, Tangavius æneus involucratus Lesson. Cf. Roys 1931, page 344.
166:11 Maya kau, Megaquiscalus major macrourus Swainson. Cf. ibid., page 334.
166:12 Maya pich, Dives dives Lichtenstein. Ibid., page 338.
166:13 The Spanish translation given for this prophecy in the Chilam Balam of Oxkutzcab is as follows: "En el dia que mas alumbrare el sol por la misericordia del omnipotente, vendra de aquí a cuatro edades los que han de traer la nueva de ese Dios con grande afecto, os encomiendo, esperais oh itzalanos nuestros huespedes que son los padres de la tierra cuando vengan. Profetizó Nahau Pech sacerdote en los dias de la cuarta edad acerca de su principio."
167:1 Here the Maya puchcob has been translated as though it were pulicob.
167:2 Tzacil is translated as though it were tzecil, for which it may be an antiquated form. The word tzac has survived only in compounds and means an incantation.
167:3 The Spanish translation of this prophecy in the Oxkutzcab manuscript reads: "Hecha fue la palabra de Dios sobre la tierra, la cual esperad que ella vendrá que sus sacerdotes os la traerán; aprended sus palabras y predicacion. Bien aventurados los que aprendieron; o Ytzalanos, aborreced ya vuestros dioses, olvidad los que ya son fundibles; adorad todos el Dios de la verdad que está poderoso en todas partes y que es criador de todas las cosas."
167:4 The Chumayel text reads Cauichen, but the Tizimin version calls it Cabal-chen, which is still the name of the cenote at Mani. it is in a cave and approached by a path, but there is also an opening like a well in the roof of the cave directly above the pool.
Tozzer has made a valuable study of this prophecy in which he has compared the Tizimin, Chumayel and Lizana versions of the text with the reading by Martinez, and his own translation with those of Lizana and Martinez.
167:5 The Tizimin, Oxkutzcab and Lizana versions of the text read: "the katun shall be established." In either case the meaning is approximately the same. This is the day when Katun 13 Ahau ends and when the new Katun 11 Ahau is established.
167:6 "Hunabku: the only living and true god, and he was the greatest of the gods of the people of Yucatan. He had no form because they said that he could not be represented as he was incorporeal." (Motul.)
167:7 Maya, uaom che, literally a raised wooden standard. The Ticul Dictionary defines the term as "picota, horca, ó rollo," indicating a raised pole on which the heads of malefactors were exposed. The missionaries applied the term to the cross, but originally it probably meant a ceremonial pole or standard, perhaps a mythological tree.
167:8 Maya, hun auat, the distance that a cry can be heard.
167:9 Defined as a bird of the Cracidæ family (Maler 1908, p. 132). Mut can also mean news, but in this context the bird seems to be intended. Martinez has noted that a quetzal appears on the cross at Palenque (Tozzer 1921, p. 123, note 7). Also what appears to be a conventionalized bird surmounts the cross on the katun-wheel in the Chilam Balam of Kaua.
168:1 Alternative translation: shall awaken. Both this phrase and the statement "Kauil shall be set up" in the prophecy of Napuctun (p. 165) are translated by the missionaries: "the worship of the vain gods shall cease." Possibly Itzamna Kauil, at one time the supreme Maya god, is here identified with the Christian God.
168:2 Alternative translation: our father comes.
168:3 On page 66 Tantun is associated with the Island of Cozumel which was a holy place visited by many pilgrims. Lizana puts it in the plural and translates the expression; "o Tantunites," i.e. oh ye men of Tantun. Apparently it is an exhortation to them to receive Christianity.
168:4 Maya, ka: "appended to certain expressions it embellishes, as: Bax u ka Dias? What is God? Bax u ka lo? What is that?" (Motul).
168:5 Literally, our life.
168:6 Cf. page 69, note 2.
168:7 Supplied from the Tizimin, Mani, Oxkutzcab and Lizana versions.
168:8 Here the text varies somewhat in the different versions.
168:9 Cf. page 102, note 2. Here this mythological tree is said to be restored, apparently as the Christian cross.
168:10 Written colah in the Chumayel text, which is obscure. Here the Mani version, a uolah has been followed; but the Oxkutzcab version, ocolal, which means faith, is equally acceptable.
168:11 Alternative translations: he who commands you, or he who has power over you.
168:12 Literally: a day will dawn for them or the world will awaken for them. The figurative meaning given above is not unusual and is authorized by the Motul Dictionary.
168:13 Maya, ol. Primarily it means the will, but figuratively it is "the true heart, not the physical one" (Motul). The organ is called puczikal.
168:14 The remainder of the prophecy as given here does not occur in any of the other versions or translations.
168:15 Written "your strength" in the text.
169:1 In the various prophecies believed to foretell the coming of the Spaniards, the Indians are called "the younger brothers," and the new-comers, "the elder brothers." That these terms originally signified the first inhabitants of Yucatan and the Itzá invaders is indicated by the following passage in the Tizimin MS.: "This was when the time of the white men, the bearded, men was known, just as the priest Chilam declared the time of the arrival of their elder brothers, just as the hosts of Itzá had already arrived among them" (Tizimin, p. 36).
169:2 Maya, ah uaua tulupoob: literally, those who often turn back.
169:3 Nacxit Xuchit, cf. page 83, note 5.
169:4 Cf. page 83, note 6.
169:5 Maya, xec, defined as a straight chair without arms. Apparently it indicated authority.
169:6 The early Spanish writers make no mention of hats. The Maya word, ppooc, was applied to a hat, hood or cap, as well as to a crown of flowers (Motul). Elaborate head-dresses are found on Maya monuments of almost every period, and in the Temple of the Warriors at Chichen Itzá are carved head-dresses which are plainly hats in the modern sense of the word (Morris, Charlot and Morris, 1931, p. 278 and Pls. 50 and 52).
169:7 Maya, co, defined as "Mad, unrestrained, insolent, deceitful and lewd" (Motul). In many of its compounds it means lewd.
169:8 Maya, u co akab, could also be translated as the mad one of the night. Ah-coo-akab is the name of the Yucatan screech-owl, probably on account of its cry. Cf. Roys 1931, page 329.
169:9 Cf. page 151, note 8. Alternative translation: they pout their lips. Here it appears to refer to certain foreigners who introduced these wild orgies. The reference to Nacxit Xuchit indicates a people of Nahua traditions and some Nahua elements. Nacxit Xuchit is expressly associated with the Itzá on pages 83 and 84 of the present work.
169:10 Maya, Uuc-tocoy-naob. This allusion to deserted ruined buildings suggests that the Itzá came from a land where there were already deserted and ruined cities in ancient times. Could this refer to the cities of the Old Empire in the south? We are reminded of the mixture of Maya and Mexican features occurring in the drawings incised on the latest stucco covering of the inner walls of the temples at Tikal. Here are spear-throwers (atlatls) of the Mexican type and a row of the little flags which were a Mexican numerical symbol, both of which are practically unknown to the old Maya sculptures. Cf. Maler 1911, pages 56-63. Compare the standards, or "way-signs," incised on one of the Tikal temples (Maler 1911, fig. 14), with those painted on the Temple of the Warriors at Chichen Itzá (Morris, Charlot & Morris 1931, fig. 323).