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Non-Maya peoples in the Maya area


Hashbaz

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I'm currently in Austin at the famous "Maya Meetings", and yesterday I was chatting with David Stuart (unquestionably the world's greatest living epigrapher) and we got on the topic of the non-Maya civilizations that thrived in the midst of the Maya area. These non-Maya peoples are well-attested to archaeologically, meaning we have discovered some of their ancient cities, but unfortunately they left no texts of their own. We don't really know much about them, other than the fact that they didn't follow Maya architectural or ceramic conventions and just kind of did their own thing while the Maya all around them were erecting glyphic monuments that made references to other Maya cities, traded and warred with other Maya cities and explicitly recorded such interactions. We don't know what language the non-Maya people spoke or what gods they worshiped or anything, really. We don't even really have a name for them; we just call them "non-Maya". It occurred to me that I'd never seen any glyphic or iconographic references to these non-Maya people at any Maya site, and I asked Dr. Stuart if he knew of any and he confirmed that there were none; in fact there's not even a known glyph for "stranger" or "foreigner".

In other words, there was a thriving foreign civilization living concurrently with the Maya in the Lowlands, yet there is not a single mention of these "others" in any of the thousands of known Maya texts. Non-Maya cities existed directly in between Copan and Quirigua, for example, and Copan and Quirigua had many interactions and wars and constantly mention each other in their texts, yet there's no mention of the non-Maya cities literally right in between them. I found this interesting in light of the fact that critics of the Book of Mormon scoff at the idea that the Book of Mormon never explicitly mentions "others" (or conversely that there is no mention of Nephites in the ancient texts). Surely no one would argue that these non-Maya cities didn't exist simply because the Maya never mention them. To be clear, I'm not arguing that these non-Maya peoples were Nephites (the ones that are most well attested are in the Late Classic and in the southeastern periphery, so too late and too far south to be Nephites), but I'm highlighting the fact that Mayan texts only ever talk about their Maya neighbors and completely ignore the non-Maya peoples whose cities co-existed with them in time and space. They ignore them because the Maya are only concerned about other Maya; the "others" don't even register. It just seems a little unfair that critics mock the fact that Nephites never explicitly mention "others" when the Maya never did either.

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Another of those fascinating pieces of information that most of us don't hear about. I would add that although they are non-Maya, that can only be discussed in cultural terms. Note that all of the information that Hashbaz submits refer to participation in the cultural aspects of the Maya. We currently cannot know their language or ethnicity. Still, the very difference amidst so much conformity is fascinating. The clear fact that the dominant cultural texts pay no attention to them is very interesting.

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I've often wondered about this one too. Notice the mixed races communally eating the fair skinned victim.

In all fairness, this one looks more Aztec than Mayan, but it still shows the mixed races where there should be none, according to experts.

reptilianhumansacrifice.jpg

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Book sources, please?

Here's a fairly recent (2006) Master's thesis out of Yale that's free to download that discusses some of the non-Maya peoples in the southeastern periphery. His Figure 3 has a nice map indicating where some of them lived. Most of the thesis is pretty boring phosphate analysis stuff, but a relevant discussion of Maya vs. non-Maya in the region begins on p. 78. He has a nice bibliography; that would be a good place to begin if you want to do further reading.

http://parep.research.yale.edu/Website/documents/Levan%202006.pdf

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I've often wondered about this one too. Notice the mixed races communally eating the fair skinned victim.

In all fairness, this one looks more Aztec than Mayan, but it still shows the mixed races where there should be none, according to experts.

reptilianhumansacrifice.jpg

You're right, this one is Aztec, but unlike the Maya they actually do explicitly denote foreigners. In this particular instance, however, the light skinned individuals are women, not foreigners. The Late Postclassic central Mexican codices typically depict women as being lighter complected than men.

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You're right, this one is Aztec, but unlike the Maya they actually do explicitly denote foreigners. In this particular instance, however, the light skinned individuals are women, not foreigners. The Late Postclassic central Mexican codices typically depict women as being lighter complected than men.

I seem to remember having read that the colors, especially of ritual victims, in Mezoamerican iconography (as in Hindu religious art) had certain meanings. I'm wondering if this may be an issue with the way the victim in the instant piece is depicted.

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I seem to remember having read that the colors, especially of ritual victims, in Mezoamerican iconography (as in Hindu religious art) had certain meanings. I'm wondering if this may be an issue with the way the victim in the instant piece is depicted.

The Aztec would sometimes paint their victims white.

Handbook to Life in the Aztec World By Manuel Aguilar-Moreno 2007:173

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I'm currently in Austin at the famous "Maya Meetings", and yesterday I was chatting with David Stuart (unquestionably the world's greatest living epigrapher) and we got on the topic of the non-Maya civilizations that thrived in the midst of the Maya area. These non-Maya peoples are well-attested to archaeologically, meaning we have discovered some of their ancient cities, but unfortunately they left no texts of their own. We don't really know much about them, other than the fact that they didn't follow Maya architectural or ceramic conventions and just kind of did their own thing while the Maya all around them were erecting glyphic monuments that made references to other Maya cities, traded and warred with other Maya cities and explicitly recorded such interactions. We don't know what language the non-Maya people spoke or what gods they worshiped or anything, really. We don't even really have a name for them; we just call them "non-Maya". It occurred to me that I'd never seen any glyphic or iconographic references to these non-Maya people at any Maya site, and I asked Dr. Stuart if he knew of any and he confirmed that there were none; in fact there's not even a known glyph for "stranger" or "foreigner".

In other words, there was a thriving foreign civilization living concurrently with the Maya in the Lowlands, yet there is not a single mention of these "others" in any of the thousands of known Maya texts. Non-Maya cities existed directly in between Copan and Quirigua, for example, and Copan and Quirigua had many interactions and wars and constantly mention each other in their texts, yet there's no mention of the non-Maya cities literally right in between them. I found this interesting in light of the fact that critics of the Book of Mormon scoff at the idea that the Book of Mormon never explicitly mentions "others" (or conversely that there is no mention of Nephites in the ancient texts). Surely no one would argue that these non-Maya cities didn't exist simply because the Maya never mention them. To be clear, I'm not arguing that these non-Maya peoples were Nephites (the ones that are most well attested are in the Late Classic and in the southeastern periphery, so too late and too far south to be Nephites), but I'm highlighting the fact that Mayan texts only ever talk about their Maya neighbors and completely ignore the non-Maya peoples whose cities co-existed with them in time and space. They ignore them because the Maya are only concerned about other Maya; the "others" don't even register. It just seems a little unfair that critics mock the fact that Nephites never explicitly mention "others" when the Maya never did either.

Great data. This is, in fact, not infrequently the norm. Many ancient cultures essentially ignored groups outside their own culture, misunderstood them, or conflated many different outsider groups into a single group--e.g. the Greek category "barbarian."

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The Romans weren't too bad at describing outsiders - I think of Plutarch's descriptions of the Cimbri. Am I incorrect, or is there some reason why they tried to describe their invaders?

Thanks for the sources. I'm still curious about those two books, though.

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Which two books?

The ones Sevenbak seemed to have scanned from. I suppose I could be wrong on the second, but the first, at the bottom of the image, it looks an awful lot like folded over pages that were scanned in.

How about this, for specificity's sake?

Sevenbak, where'd you find those images?

:P

Probably should have started with that one...

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Really good stuff.

I'm currently in Austin at the famous "Maya Meetings", and yesterday I was chatting with David Stuart (unquestionably the world's greatest living epigrapher) and we got on the topic of the non-Maya civilizations that thrived in the midst of the Maya area. These non-Maya peoples are well-attested to archaeologically, meaning we have discovered some of their ancient cities, but unfortunately they left no texts of their own. We don't really know much about them, other than the fact that they didn't follow Maya architectural or ceramic conventions and just kind of did their own thing while the Maya all around them were erecting glyphic monuments that made references to other Maya cities, traded and warred with other Maya cities and explicitly recorded such interactions. We don't know what language the non-Maya people spoke or what gods they worshiped or anything, really. We don't even really have a name for them; we just call them "non-Maya". It occurred to me that I'd never seen any glyphic or iconographic references to these non-Maya people at any Maya site, and I asked Dr. Stuart if he knew of any and he confirmed that there were none; in fact there's not even a known glyph for "stranger" or "foreigner".

In other words, there was a thriving foreign civilization living concurrently with the Maya in the Lowlands, yet there is not a single mention of these "others" in any of the thousands of known Maya texts. Non-Maya cities existed directly in between Copan and Quirigua, for example, and Copan and Quirigua had many interactions and wars and constantly mention each other in their texts, yet there's no mention of the non-Maya cities literally right in between them. I found this interesting in light of the fact that critics of the Book of Mormon scoff at the idea that the Book of Mormon never explicitly mentions "others" (or conversely that there is no mention of Nephites in the ancient texts). Surely no one would argue that these non-Maya cities didn't exist simply because the Maya never mention them. To be clear, I'm not arguing that these non-Maya peoples were Nephites (the ones that are most well attested are in the Late Classic and in the southeastern periphery, so too late and too far south to be Nephites), but I'm highlighting the fact that Mayan texts only ever talk about their Maya neighbors and completely ignore the non-Maya peoples whose cities co-existed with them in time and space. They ignore them because the Maya are only concerned about other Maya; the "others" don't even register. It just seems a little unfair that critics mock the fact that Nephites never explicitly mention "others" when the Maya never did either.

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You're right, this one is Aztec, but unlike the Maya they actually do explicitly denote foreigners. In this particular instance, however, the light skinned individuals are women, not foreigners. The Late Postclassic central Mexican codices typically depict women as being lighter complected than men.

Possibly, and the subjects may very well be painted, but because the texts of the Conquistadors also specifically mention separate white skinned natives, quite different from the others, I don't automatically discount the murals like some of you do.

But here's another one. The victim is definitely not a woman, and is of a substantially different complexion than the aggressor.

Aztec_heart_sacrifice_400.gif

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The ones Sevenbak seemed to have scanned from. I suppose I could be wrong on the second, but the first, at the bottom of the image, it looks an awful lot like folded over pages that were scanned in.

How about this, for specificity's sake?

Sevenbak, where'd you find those images?

:P

Probably should have started with that one...

The first image is from a mural at Chitzen Itza. It's the only large image I have, but it's been hijacked by some white supremacist group. If you follow photo link, it will show you where it's from. I don't need to give them any advertisement. I've seen smaller images of the same mural, but can't find them now.

The others are plentiful from Google.

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