Exchanges with Mark Van Stone of late December 2008.

 

Hi Mark,

I’ll try to answer your questions from recent emails directly, yet briefly, in blue below. 

 

Dear John,

    If the coming 13.0.0.0.0 was so important to the Classic Maya, why then did they only mention it once? 

 

Yes, it’s possible that the end date in 2012 did not have as much meaning for the Classic Maya as it did for the pre-Classic culture that formulated the Long Count. One possible reason for this involves what we might call “cosmological orientation” - the preferred “cosmic center.” My thesis of three consic centers in Maya cosmology is rooted in the situation at Izapa, where the three main monument groups are referential (in terms of iconographic content as well as astronomical orientation) to three foci in the sky – polar, zenith, and “galactic” (cross of Milky Way and ecliptic in Sagittarius). The zenith center is involved in the Orion / hearthstone situation that we are familiar with from Schele’s work. The opposite crossing point, in Sagittarius, was  treated only briefly by Schele, and it lingers in the background of her work as an unformulated nexus of ideas involving the ballgame and sceptor-holding kings. The dark rift is a central feature of the “galactic” orientation, and the early portrayal of the Starry Deer  Crocodile in Izapa Stela 25 adds important iconographic clues regarding the early significance of this celestial location as a “Creation” place (See Stuart’s 2005 book on Palenque and/or our email exchange). My point here is that the Classic Maya may have identified themselves with one cosmic center to the exclusion of the other two, or at least had a hierarchical preference for one over the other two. The oldest center, the polar / Big Dipper locus, seems closely associated with the Olmec (at sites like La Venta), but no doubt had continuous use as a reference point through the Classic and post-Classic.    

 

More to the point of addressing your question, I must again ask what constitutes 2012 “being mentioned”? Please consider the following observation as it illustrates a double standard in how evidence is processed as well as a means by which we can, indeed, see references to the 2012 date (via the solstice-galaxy alignment). In my books and articles I’ve tried to make a case for the monumental message in the Izapa ballcourt providing an archaeo-astronomical statement that refers to an astronomical alignment that happens only in the years around 2012 – rare because it is caused by the precession of the equinoxes. Are there other examples of non-date-containing iconography that is recognized as referring to a specfic astronomical era?

 

Yes. Let us take as a parallel example the way that the current era-beginning (in 3114 BC) is mentioned. Instructive here are Matthew Looper’s book Lightning Warrior, his guidebook to Quirigua, and Karl Taube’s essay in Function and Meaning in Classic Maya Architecture (1998). All three of these sources acknowledge the three-hearthstone symbol-complex as being referential to the era-beginning (in 3114 BC). Therefore, they tend to see any architectural or scupltural assemblage that represents the three heartstones as a kind of shorthand that ultimately refers to 13.0.0.0.0 in 3114 BC – even if the actual date is not present.

 

Looper notes that era-3114 BC is particularly significant for the Creation Myth iconography of the Orion hearth because it was at zenith at sunset in that era – which is rare and era-specfic because, like the 2012 alignment, it is defined by the precession of equinoxes. Now, all we have to do is to apply the “okayness” that Taube, Looper, Rice and other shcolars have with recognizing this non-date-containing iconography as being referential to 3114 BC, and apply the same okayness to my work with the 2012 iconography/alignment. Of course, a fair assessment of the evidence at Izapa that I’ve been trying to get across would have to occur for the analogy to work.

 

As I wrote in my book: If the turtle or "Ak" glyph was hailed as the key to Grube's and Schele's interpretation of Maya Creation happening near Gemini-Orion, then the "to be born" frog glyph is the epigraphic and iconographic key to my reading of Creation at the Milky Way dark-rift near Sagittarius (pgs 284-285). (See fuller citation in the indented portion of this webpage: http://www.alignment2012.com/jmj1.html         

 

They made two or three such "prophetic" references to 10.0.0.0.0; that tells *me* that 830 AD was at least as important (maybe thrice as important) an "end date" to them as 2012. 

 

It’s a fallacia consequentis to suggest that the baktun ending in 830 AD would be thrice as important because we happen to have 3 times as many survivals of references to it than to the 2012 date. The point, I think, is that baktun endings, or cycle endings generally, apparently can serve as “foundation dedication” reference points for building dedications.   

 

And if you count the 9.12.10.0.0. and 9.13.0.0.0 and the future anniversaries in all the other places where the inscriptions cast ahead to future dates, the Classic Mayas' regard for that 2012-era date appears minor indeed.

 

Yes, the Classic Maya’s regard for 2012 would seem to be less than for other dates. That’s apparently the fact of the matter, and one reason why it’s important to go to the origins of the Long Count, when the whole idea of a 13-baktun cycle was implemented, and an intentional forward projection to a solstice in the year we call 2012 occurred. (That the solstice placement of the cycle ending in 2012 indicates intention is a separate debatable point that I think we’ve been over. Edmonson, Bricker, MacLeod, and now Milbrath are in agreement with the likelihood.)

 

    You have argued before that the Classic Maya (particularly on the politically-propaganda-tainted Temple of the Inscriptions) were out of touch with the Inventors of the Long Count.  If you are portraying the 13.0.0.0.0 as equivalent to 0.0.0.0.0, then the TI text which casts ahead to 1.0.0.0.0.0 (20 Bak'tuns) as a major period-ending actually *supports* the idea (in a twisted way) that the Palenque Maya Scribes and Pharisees considered the end of a Great Cycle as important, even though they altered it from 13 bak'tuns to 20.

 

Yes, I’m sure that they retained the idea of cycle endings as being important. But to invoke the 20-baktun text at Palenque as a definitive means for disqualifying the relevance of a 13-baktun cycle, as Schele did in 1996, with many uncritical observers following along, is completely unwarranted. At Palenque itself the 13-baktun nexus in 3114 BC is prominently utilized, so the argument that “different sites had different ideas” doesn’t really work here. 

 

    Your entire theory is founded upon Classical and post-Classical (and even Colonial) texts. 

 

The correlation largely does (with important confirming astronomical positions from Classic Period dates), but my theory absolutely does not. My entire theory is founded on the pre-Classic site of Izapa and the Creation Mythology, later called the Popol Vuh, that also appears at that site.

 

They are as crucial to your arguments as the monuments at Izapa. 

 

I wouldn’t say they are as crucial. Mostly less crucial, rather, for the reason you mentioned above regarding dillution of the original intention. But yes, Classic Period texts (for example the ones on the three monuments on the north side of Quirigua) can illuminate and support my theory. And the Classic Period 13-Baktun Creation Monuments  reference an established paradigm regarding the length of a World Age.

 

Deny the evidence of all those Long Count 13.0.0.0.0 dates (all of these are Classical) and the 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk'u references (which are all Classical or late Post-Classical) and you have *nothing* to suggest that anyone felt 13 Bak'tuns had any importance at all.

 

I disagree. We have the iconographic program at Izapa, much misunderstood and barely glanced at by my critics.

 

Be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.  My point is that you MUST entertain some validity of Classical inscriptions on stelae, vases, etc, and the circa-1500-AD Dresden Codex to be able to say anything.

 

I do entertain the validity of those sources – and I’ve spent much time studying the source material and obscure essays and Copan Notes and articles people are writing on them. They are called upon in my book.  There’s nothing in them that disqualifies my thesis. I think it’s more important that the pre-Classic context in, as Michael Coe said, “the Izapan civilization,” is included in the analysis of the Long Count and it’s 2012 cycle ending date. It seems patently obvious that it should be a part of the analysis, that Izapa would be a primary focus, and that’s what I was encouraging in my response to your FAMSI piece.  

 

 So, how do you decide what to use and what to disregard?   How can you assert that Palenque's artists chose to alter the calendar for political purposes, and another city was more "true" to the LC's Inventors' original intentions? 

 

As I said in a lengthy previous response, the 20-baktun cycle is clearly an anomalous latter-day innovation as it doesn’t conform to the well proven 13-baktun cycle; furthermore, as I’ve said, it was motivated by self-serving political stage craft. That’s just plain obvious. It doesn’t get granted the same ontological status as the 13-Baktun cycle just because Pakal found it expedient to use for his own purposes. And, again, to use this one occurrence of a 20-baktun cycle as a tool to sweep away New Age obsessions with 2012, as Schele attempted, doesn’t really serve clarity.  

  

What if it were the other way around?  What is your criterion?  The establishment of such criteria is crucial to any credible scholarly argument.

 

The criteria that serves as a baseline for understanding that 13 baktuns, not 20, was the accepted, conventional, and established Era length comes from the many many references to 3114, both in dates and via the three hearthstone iconography I mentioned above that Maya scholars take as non-date-containing indicators of “the Creation event” in 3114 BC. When you write: “How can you assert that Palenque's artists chose to alter the calendar for political purposes, and another city was more "true" to the LC's Inventors' original intentions?” – it seems you are either unaccepting or unaware of the many 13-baktun Creation dates and monuments from many different Maya cities. That is the established criterion in comparison to which Pakal’s 20-baktun cycle can be identified as an innovation/abberation (factoring in his self-magnifying motivations).

    

     And I agree that a survey and assessment of ALL Maya future-date citations (look for the *U-to-ma* "It will happen" verb), is long overdue. 

 

That would be interesting to investigate, let’s see what we find. I suspect, however, that Creation events occupy a special ontological location in time. They are in the past and the future and sometimes in the present. This is much like the way that some stories, in the oral tradition, are timeless. We see this in the way past-present tense changes are used by storytellers. Just food for thought here; for example, I wonder if there is a glyph comparable to our concept of “Eternal Now”. It would seem there should be room for more time “tenses” than just past, present, and future.

 

Whether the Classic Maya remembered or had forgotten or perverted the intentions of the Izapan (or whoever) inventors of the LC, they still had a stake in fixing events in a time-scale reaching forward as well as backward... This is interesting in itself and little-studied.

 

Yes, I think that’s what Houston’s blog post brings to light.

 

    You know, I have just finished reading your letter, and I promise that I came up with the "baby with the bathwater" independently. talk about synchronicity!

    As to your criticism of Steve's article, I believe he is painting you with the same brush as those silly theorists you are trying to distance yourself from. (How, by the way, do you accomplish that at, say, conferences where you're up on the same stage with them?)

 

I am fed up with trying to speak at 2012 conferences; they have gotten much worse in the last year or so, with rare exceptions. You just don’t know how shlocky it is going to be until you’re there. I have told myself that it is important to teach and I try to clarify the many errors that litter the discussion of Mesoamerican religion when I go to those events. I usually make very little money after compensation for my travel and expenses and end up feeling that I’m wasting my time. 

 

  Don't be put off by his gruffness; he's like that to everyone.  People put up with it because he is so brilliant. I agree that his use of words like "lurches" and "dread" are loaded, and betray his biases.  But, believe me, it is a waste of time to criticize these literary affectations.  Let it go.  You will never convince him; but there are plenty of others of us willing to listen.

 

I try to take the clearest and most direct approach when responding to scholars and academics. I assume things like blogs with comment sections are places for public discussion. I also do believe there is a reflex among scholars in relation to the 2012 topic – they very rarely provide any opening for entertaining the date as a valid artifact of ancient Maya eschatology, and instead are oriented toward “debunking” it, dismissing it, mitigating it. With that as their approach, intention, and modus operandi, they will surely be successful. And if 2012 is indeed a reference point for a sophisticated cosmology, then Maya Studies will suffer as I pursue my post-2012 career as a WalMart greeter.

 

     I agree with you that the fact that they referenced future dates in building-dedications and other ceremonies (as on Pakal's Temple of Inscriptions) is worth investigating, but I think, as I said two paragraphs ago, to focus on just the one example mentioning 2012 will provide us very little useful information. Here's why: There is an interesting Codex-style vase, K1371, with a list of royal inaugurations.  If it were the only surviving example of such a "Dynastic" vase, it would still have something important to say.  But there is another, longer copy of the same text, K6751, *from the same workshop* (therefore almost certainly copied from the same exemplar), and it would have garnered the same attention, had it likewise been the only surviving exemplar.  However, taken together, the two provide a fascinating look into the ancient Maya psyche: the dates *do not all match*.  These guys had lunch together; they may have been relatives.  In fact there are twelve copies of this "king-list", and they all differ from each other, clearly deliberately.  What is more, the dates they cite for the early kings are "impossible" dates (like Feb. 31), equally deliberately.   This is unexpected, completely outside our experience, and warns me, anyway, to be careful every time I start to think I understand them.  The usual interpretation of these 'wrong' dates is that they signal "time out of time" or "once upon a time."  It may inform our understanding of the intervals between the Aztec "Suns."

 

That’s fascinating and surely does indicate something intresting and unexpected going on.

 

     But my main point is: it is by comparing several examples of the same thing that we can fine-tune our understanding of these long-gone calendar-priests.  You cannot interpret TRT 6 in isolation, you must read it in context of other future-casting texts, and other building-dedications, and other accounts of wars (which take up a good deal of the main text). 

 

But I think there is enough in the Tort 6 monument that warrants an open-minded approach; it seems all the commentary on it is geared toward dismissing it as a not very significant text.

 

Then you  may be able to tease out some idea of what the heck they were trying to tell us with their reference to 2012.  Myself, I think that every city had its own agenda, and some had strayed far from the original Late Preclassic one.

 

This differing agenda idea is probably on target, but not in relation to fundamentally established traditions – for example, the 260-day calendar is univerally shared, as I suspect the idea that a 13-Baktun cycle was the World Age period. In the pre-Classic, I think there are some interesting similarities between Takalik Abaj and Izapa, for example, but the differences seem to highlight how the early Long Count evolved and how time became, as Prudence Rice said, “materialized.”

 

We are going to have a heck of a time fine-tuning our understanding of these variations; for years the most successful strategy has been to look for large patterns (e.g., the twelve Dynastic Vases mentioned above), and increasingly we are going to have to concentrate on distinguishing the patterns in the differences.

 

This pattern finding might be easier when other levels of references in the texts can be teased out – for example, latent astronomical references. “Black Hole” glyphs in Creation Texts are, I believe, probably referential to the dark rift in the Milky Way. But epigraphy is not something I am directly engaged in studying at the moment. . . .  To the next letter (below). . .

 

    Anyway, I hope to hear your ideas about the other items in my e-mail.

 

    Happy new year (today is the first day of the Muslim year 1430, I think; the closest the Christian and Muslim New Year' Days have aligned in, like, 30 years...)

 

Sincerely,

   Mark

 

____________ _____________ _______________

From: John Major Jenkins [kahib@ix.netcom.com]

Sent: Monday, December 29, 2008 7:53 AM

To: Mark Van Stone

Subject: RE: Hi John, sorry for the delay

 

Mark,

   I'll try to reiterate the point I was making which I do believe I was giving the appropriate emphasis in my official repsonse to Steve's piece (posted on his blog). First, my query regarding an unclear statement in his essay, regarding a Calendar Round ending in 2012, was a minor point of requesting clarification.

 

   Second, I noted and agreed with his observation regarding the 7th-century building dedication, but rejected his conclusion (which you are taking as a "weighty" though "perhaps not final" conclusion). And what was that conclusion? Let's look to Steve's words. His conclusion, as I quoted in my response, is:

 

"Whatever Monument 6 has to tell us pertains to the dedication of the building associated with the sculpture. It has nothing to do with prophecy or the supposed, dread events that await us in AD 2012."

 

Notice that his conclusion is addressing a superficial level of assumption in regard to what 2012 is about; his conclusion speaks to the silly New Age doomsday noise. It doesn't speak to why a baktun ending (generally, or specifically the one in 2012) would be referenced for a 7th-century building dedication. His "conclusion", which appears final, in fact fails to explore the next logical question, which I then posed as an opening for further investigation in the paragraphs that follow.

 

Instead of pursuing this path, which would implicate baktun endings as appropriate reference points for building dedications, thus helping us understand the parallels between era inaugerations and building dedications, Steve concludes that "the Maya are notably silent . . . or, truth be told, a bit boring." Why wasn't the next logical question brought up and addressed? I fear it was avoided because it would highlight 2012 as having some kind of status in the thought of the ancient Maya, and we can't have any of that. That the cycle ending in 2012 was invoked for a 7th-century building dedication tells us a great deal. It would be safe to say here that boringness is in the eye of the beholder.

 

   His comments are tantamount to throwing the baby out with the bathwater and are oriented toward shutting the door on further investigation of 2012 as a viable artifact of ancient Maya thought. This is one minor and simple point in my response to Houston, and I'll refrain from moving on to other items in your email until we can get past this one. Thanks for the invite to Austin, haven't been there for a long time - I'm not doing many speaking gigs right now. Your comments on a possible "black" glyph might be related to Looper's decipherment of the Creation monuments at Quirigua, which contain many references to a "Black Lake" and a "Black Hole." His book on Quirigua contains nice reproductions of the glyphs. Best wishes,

 

John Major Jenkins

http://Alignment2012.com

 

 

-----Original Message-----

From: Mark Van Stone [mailto:mvanstone@swccd.edu]

Sent: Sunday, December 28, 2008 8:24 PM

To: John Major Jenkins

Subject: RE: Hi John, sorry for the delay

 

John,

    Sorry I misread, but really, what's the point?  Steve was clear enough.  While I am not totally convinced his interpretation is completely right, he does make a strong argument that the Bolon Yokte's coming down had more to do with a seventh-century building dedication than to 4 Ajaw 3 K'ank'in.  Either way, TRT 6 tells us that the 13.0.0.0.0-to-come was at least numerologically important to at least one Classic town, but little else.

   Like I said, his word is not the final one, though it's pretty weighty.  I still think that broken glyph he calls an 'i- marker might be an 'Ek', ("Black").  It just doesn't make sense after an u-to-ma.  To

me.   But he is a much better epigrapher than I am, and very careful.

He is not likely to make a pronouncement that he would have to take back later.  Unfortunately, other artists carved most of the rest of the monument, and they made both 'i's and Ek's differently, so the glyph' precise identification is still up in the air.

 

    Hey, if you have time between speaking gigs, I think you would do well to attend the Texas Maya Meetings next last-week-of-February: http://www.utmaya.org/

 

    There you will have me and Lloyd Anderson to introduce you around, and you will have the chance to talk face-to-face with the likes of Allen Christenson, Justin Kerr, Barbara MacLeod, Marc Zender, Simon Martin, Bruce Love, Nikolai Grube, and David Stuart.  Not to mention two or three hundred other glyphers from every walk of life and every level from dewy-eyed beginner to seasoned archaeologist.  I don't know what kind of glyph-reading training you've had, but the introductory workshop is the best available.  I've been going since it was Linda Schele's show, and although Dave Stuart is doing his best to make it a "professional" conference, it still retains the amateurs-mix-with-scholars-on-an-equal-footing that Linda bred into it. Very refreshing compared to all the snooty "professional" scholarly events.  And it still is cheaper than anything comparable; I think tuition for the whole week would about equal the cost of one day of that last 2012 Conference in California that you spoke at.

     Let me assure you, you would have a good time, and there are always surprises in store when you begin to read glyphs!

 

    Sincerely,

    Mark

_______ _______ ______ _____ ________ _______

From: John Major Jenkins [kahib@ix.netcom.com]

Sent: Sunday, December 28, 2008 5:36 PM

To: Mark Van Stone

Subject: RE: Hi John, sorry for the delay

 

Mark,

You seem to have misread my words; my apologies. I wasn't making a distinction between a Calendar Round "position" and a Calendar Round "date" - either of those two qualifiers could have been used as both are equally precise specifiers. As my words indicated, I was expressing a question about  Steve's vague NON-use of an explicit qualifier, therefore leaving the question open as to whether he was 1) associating the baktun ending in 2012 with a presumed simultaneous Calendar Round ending (which doesn't actually occur but which his words seem to

suggest) or 2) he had simply overlooked providing an explicit qualifier, which could have been either "position" or "date."  Is that clear? That was my query.

 

John Major Jenkins

 

 

-----Original Message-----

From: Mark Van Stone [mailto:mvanstone@swccd.edu]

Sent: Sunday, December 28, 2008 12:04 PM

To: John Major Jenkins

Subject: RE: Hi John, sorry for the delay

 

Dear John,

     Just read your comment to Steve.  I agree completely that our understanding of Maya beliefs about future period-endings is very hazy and needs a rigorous examination of the evidence.  However, I think you misread Steve's statement that you quoted:

 

    ' You wrote:

    ' "The future events are described as tzuhtzjoom u 13 pih 4 Ajaw 3 Uniiw utoom, all "impersonal" and "safely predictable" insofar as they are straightforward references to the conclusion of a major cycle at a particular Calendar Round."

 

    ' Do you mean at a particular Calendar Round "position" or "date"? As it reads it sounds like you are stating that the baktun ending in 2012 coordinates with a Calendar Round ending, which it doesn't. It's a bit unclear. Best wishes, .'

 

     I fail to see a difference between a Calendar Round "position" and a Calendar Round "date".  Do you use them to mean different things? Just what is a "Calendar Round ending"?  13 Ajaw 0 Pohp? (or maybe 13 Ajaw 4 Wayeb?)  Although the 365-day Haab supposedly had an end-'point' (the five days of Wayeb, which the Aztecs called *nemontemi*), and the Tzolk'in daysigns supposedly began with Imix, I cannot think of a single ancient text which esteems these dates with any sort of ceremony, or reference at all.  Obviously, to the Maya, these "endpoints" gained very little notice in the ceremonial pecking order.  The Aztec "New Fire" ceremony may have honored it, but the fact that they delayed the ceremony from 1-Rabbit (1506) to 2-Reed (1507), suggests that even to the Aztecs it was not, shall we say, set in stone.  We are still not sure whether the New Fire ceremony fell on the last day of Panquetzaliztli or another day, or even if it was celebrated on different days (or even different years) in different polities.

 

    In any case, this raises in my mind a greater question:  Why, if the 260-day Calendar and the Long Count were both invented in Izapa, do they not coincide (in the way that WE would expect)?  Why did  the calendar priests who first named the days not synchronize them with the Long Count that they also invented? 

 

According to the reconstructive theory of Munro Edmonson, the tzolkin-haab and the Long Count would have been synchronized at the inauguration of the Long Count. As you noted, variant Year Bearers and other changes effect the alignment of the two calendar systems so that within decades or a century the haab will no longer align. Thus we have 13.0.0.0.0, 4 Ahau 8 Cumku (in the Tikal system), but the original system, which Edmonson believes would have existed among “the Olmec” around 355 BC (I’d call them the Izapans) would have had the expected coefficient 1 with the haab on the summer solstice. The premise allows for a back-tracking and reconstruction of earlier calendars, and was used by Malmstrom, Bricker, and Edmonson with different results. My approach took the premise that the end date was the target (suggested by Edmonson), and thus the 4 Ahau 3 Kankin of 2012 could be easily back-shifted to 4 Ahau 1 Kankin in a possible Izapan tzolkin-haab Long Count correlation. It’s equally hypothetical as the other recontructions, and can be found in the “Izapan calendrics” section of Maya Cosmogenesis 2012. 

 

I suppose you have already pondered that question, and come up wiith the same hypothesis: that the Tzolk'in was invented long before the LC, and it was already firmly in place when they fixed the date for 13.0.0.0.0.  The Tzolk'in's wide currency (versus the quite-restricted use of the LC) also argues for its greater antiquity.  Or maybe it was just not important to them.  The only such synchronization I can see is that PE's always fall on Ajaw, the last day of the 20 daysigns, and likewise PE's also fall on the last day of the 9-day Lords of the Night cycle.  This might say something about the importance of the LAST day versus the FIRST....  But the 819-day cycle, which seems to have been entirely numerological in motivation, is also out of synch.  Of course, celestial cycles like the Moon and Venus and Precession refuse to conform to human notions of numerological precision, but why not the 819-day cycle?

    I can only suggest that all the cycles used by the Maya had separate origins, like our own cycles.

 

That’s probably true. But it also seems that an effort was made toward commensuration – all of the cycles fitting together under one grand super cycle or super number. That seemed to be the goal of their calendrical science, the holy grail of their cosmovision, though it’s unclear how completely the goal was achieved.

  

    I find similarly-inexplicable anomalies in our own calendars. Presumably, the Romans who named January for Janus saw it as a time for reflection as well as looking ahead, i.e., an end and a beginning, yet they officially began their new year on the spring equinox.  Were there two recognized "ends of the year" running concurrently? In different places or among different classes?  And the Christians had no qualms about moving Christ's birthday celebration from sometime in Spring to the Winter Solstice, presumably to mask their festival with Saturnalia... There was so little argument about the appropriateness of that little alteration that we still don't know Jesus' actual birthday more precisely than that it fell during lambing season (the time when

shepherds felt obliged to watch their flocks by night).   Another:  The

monk who first invented AD, in the sixth century, set its Year 1 at Christ's birth (which he miscalculated by at least four years), but fixed the beginning of the year not at His "actual" birth on Dec. 25 (by then, the solstice had drifted four days), but a week later, the date of his circumcision.  Jesus' birthday, from the very invention of the Christian calendar, was deliberately placed one week BC, and our Calendar was set to begin on the day of Our Lord's penis-sacrifice!  How cool is that?  At that time, and for a thousand years afterwards, the official beginning of the year fell on March 25th anyway, so Jesus was already three months old on the first day of 1 AD.

     Now the Christian monks who did all this were only a few centuries removed from the Event, and they still made many arbitrary decisions and erroneous calculations; and later, when better data was available, those who learned of these errors still failed to fix them.  If Pope Gregory could declare ten days in 1582 to vanish, in order to correct the discrepancy between the calendar and the celestial orb, why not return Christmas to 21 December as well? I do not know the answer.  I do know that the later Maya, Mixtecs and Aztecs were just as capricious and willing to adjust the Calendar for political ends, and I have no reason to believe that the Izapans were any more careful, precise, or honest than their heirs.  The dates they were "aiming" at were considerably more than 500 years away, whether they were fixing the dates at the beginning or the end.

 

    For that matter, when you decry my using Aztec and Classic-era data to inform my interpretation of the Calendar's inventors, be aware that the Correlation we all agree on, that puts 13.0.0.0.0 at 3114 BCE and 2012 CE, is based *totally* on records (some of them contradictory) written in the 1520's to the 1590's.  If you throw out Aztec intervals of the Creations,

 

The Aztecs implemented a very different World Age system based on Calendar Rounds, not Long Count periods. I liked Gordon Brotherston’s insightful comment that both the Popol Vuh and the Aztec Creation Myth were rooted in precession.  But calendrically it’s apples and oranges.

 

or Pakal's casting ahead to 1.0.0.0.0.0, as deliberately-falsified "political propaganda,"  how much more likely are such errors, manipulations or falsifications to have occurred during the turbulent disruptions of the early Colonial period?

 

The latter-day unbroken survival of the Long Count and tzolkin placement in Yucatan (ca. 1500s-1600s) is the only reason why those post-Conquest data are useful. These are undistorted survivals; Pakal’s 20-baktun date is a new innovation counter to the established tradition.

 

    You cannot cherry-pick your data.

 

Not cherry picking, but identifying and using the reliable data and qualifying the unreliable or distorted data with heavy caveats.

 

     Happy New Year!

     Mark

 

Thank you again Mark for your cordial engagement of difficult questions. Have you read or seen Michael Grof’s Phd dissertation? I can have him send you a copy if you are interesed. Best wishes for 2009 and beyond!

 

John Major Jenkins