BOOKS OF CHILAM BALAM PDF

View Larger Image The Books of Chilam Balam are handwritten, chiefly 17th and 18th-centuries Maya miscellanies, named after the small Yucatec towns where they were originally kept, and preserving important traditional knowledge in which indigenous Maya and early Spanish traditions have coalesced. Both language and content show that parts of the books date back to the time of the Spanish conquest of the Yucatec kingdoms — In some cases, where the language is particularly terse, the books appear to render hieroglyphic script, and thus to hark back to the pre-conquest period. Whereas the medical texts and chronicles are quite matter-of-fact, the riddles and prognostications make abundant use of traditional Mayan metaphors. This holds even more true of the mythological and ritualistic texts, which, cast in abstruse language, plainly belong to esoteric lore. The historical texts derive part of their importance from the fact that they have been cast in the framework of the native Maya calendar, partly adapted to the European calendrical system.

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View Larger Image The Books of Chilam Balam are handwritten, chiefly 17th and 18th-centuries Maya miscellanies, named after the small Yucatec towns where they were originally kept, and preserving important traditional knowledge in which indigenous Maya and early Spanish traditions have coalesced.

Both language and content show that parts of the books date back to the time of the Spanish conquest of the Yucatec kingdoms — In some cases, where the language is particularly terse, the books appear to render hieroglyphic script, and thus to hark back to the pre-conquest period. Whereas the medical texts and chronicles are quite matter-of-fact, the riddles and prognostications make abundant use of traditional Mayan metaphors.

This holds even more true of the mythological and ritualistic texts, which, cast in abstruse language, plainly belong to esoteric lore. The historical texts derive part of their importance from the fact that they have been cast in the framework of the native Maya calendar, partly adapted to the European calendrical system.

Reconstructing Postclassic Yucatec history from these data has proven to be an arduous task. The following is an overview of the sorts of texts—partly of Mesoamerican, and partly of Spanish derivation—found in the Chilam Balam books. History Histories, cast in the mold of the indigenous calendar: migration legends; narratives concerning certain lords of the indigenous kingdoms; and chronicles up to and including the Spanish conquest.

Prophecy, ascribed to famous early 16th-century oracular priests. Practical Calendars and Classifications Classifications according to the twenty named days correlating birds of tiding, plants and trees, human characters, and professional activities. Treatises on astrology, meteorology, and the Catholic liturgical calendar the so-called reportorios de los Tiempos. The astrology is Ptolemaic and includes the European zodiac.

Agricultural almanacs. Spanis h Traditions Roman Catholic instruction: feast days of the saints, tracts, and prayers. Scholarship Since many texts recur in various books of Chilam Balam, establishing a concordance and studying substitution patterns is fundamental to scholarship. The archaic Yucatec idiom and the allusive, metaphorical nature of many texts present a formidable challenge to translators.

As a result of these factors, the quality of existing translations varies greatly. Detailed analysis and interpretation of the main mythological and ritualistic texts with a view to their syncretic origins are given by Knowlton

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The Books of Chilam Balam

Doctor Daniel Garrison Brinton, Professor of American Archaeology and Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, died in , having a short time before presented his entire collection of books and manuscripts to the University to be kept forever in the Museum library. Brinton for the purposes of the chief work with which he was occupied in his lifetime, contains among many items -of great value and extreme rarity, one set of documents which possess a supreme interest, and which for students of ancient American history are unrivaled in importance. These are the manuscripts written in the Maya language in the earlier centuries succeeding the conquest of Mexico and Central America and gathered for preservation and in the exercise of his scholarship by Dr. Hermann Berendt, after whose death at Guatemala City they passed into the hands of Dr.

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Books of Chilam Balam

Chilam, or chilan, was his title which means that he was the mouth-piece or interpreter of the gods. Balam means jaguar, but it is also a common family name in Yucatan, so the title of the present work could well be translated as the Book of the Prophet Balam. During a large part of the colonial period, and even down into the Nineteenth Century, many of the towns and villages of northern Yucatan possessed Books of Chilam Balam, and this designation was supplemented by the name of the town to which the book belonged. Thus the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel is named for a village in the District of Tekax, a short distance northwest of the well-known town of Teabo. The prompt fulfilment of this prediction so enhanced his reputation as a seer that in later times he was considered the authority for many other prophecies which had been uttered long before his time.

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THE BOOK OF CHILAM BALAM OF CHUMAYEL

They supposedly contain the secrets of the Mayan civilization. They are a major source for contemporary knowledge of Mayan religion, history, folklore, medicine, and astronomy. Historians believe that once the books of Chilam Balam collection held many more books, although only a handful, named for the towns in which they were written, have survived. The books of Chilam Balam is named after the last and greatest Mayan prophet, Chilam, or chilan meaning the mouthpiece or interpreter of the gods. The title of the present work could be translated as the Book of the Prophet Balam, who lived during the last decades of the 15th century and foretold the arrival of strangers from the east who would establish a new religion.

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Chilam Balam

Contents[ edit ] Taken together, the Books of Chilam Balam give the fullness of 18th-century Yucatec-Maya spiritual life. Whereas the medical texts and chronicles are quite matter-of-fact, the riddles and prognostications make abundant use of traditional Mayan metaphors. This holds even more true of the mythological and ritualistic texts, which, cast in abstruse language, plainly belong to esoteric lore. The historical texts derive part of their importance from the fact that they have been cast in the framework of the native Maya calendar , partly adapted to the European calendrical system. Reconstructing Postclassic Yucatec history from these data has proven to be an arduous task. The following is an overview of the sorts of texts—partly of Mesoamerican, and partly of Spanish derivation—found in the Chilam Balam books.

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