Mayan calendar face

Mayan calendar face DEFAULT

by David Stuart, The University of Texas at Austin

Note: The following post, a bit off-topic from the world of Maya hieroglyphs, is excerpted from a larger work now in preparation, provisionally titled “The Face of the Cosmos: Further Interpretations of the Aztec Calendar Stone”

Figure 1. Photograph of the sculpted face of the Aztec Calendar Stone, or Piedra del Sol, Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City.

After over two centuries of intensive scholarly attention and commentary there would seem little left to say about the symbolism of the so-called Calendar Stone or Piedra del Sol of Tenochtitlan, the single most iconic image of Aztec culture and ancient Mexico (Figure 1). Much has been written and debated about its imagery and iconography, yet a few basic questions regarding its intended meaning continue to be the subject of discussion and even fervent disagreement. If nothing else its varied interpretations reveal that the full significance of this quintessential Mesoamerican object, like much of Aztec and Maya iconography, still remains beyond our reach. Or, as Villela, Robb and Miller (2010:4) point out, “for all that has been written on the Calendar Stone, we can be sure that it has not yet full revealed its secrets.”

The truth of this statement comes across as soon as one delves into the long-running debate over the identity of the face at the very center of the design (Figure 2). It seems at once integral to the larger design of the solar disc as well as to the Olin day sign that forms the Nahui Olin (“Four Movement”) name of the current sun or era.  Early in the twentieth century, Eduard Seler and Hermann Beyer were adamant that the visage at the center of the disc was that of Tonatiuh, or “an image of the sun, no more and no less,” as Seler (1904a:797) once put it. This became the standard interpretation reinforced by numerous publications over the ensuing decades. However, Navarrete and Heyden (1974) proposed that the face was rather that of the animate earth, Tlalteuctli. Around the same time Townsend (1979) made a similar interpretation in his important study of Aztec imperial art. And in a somewhat related vein Klein (1976) rejected the traditional Tonatiuh interpretation in favor of seeing it as the face of the night sun, Yohualteuctli. In this essay I would like to add some additional thoughts on this key question, based on epigraphic clues in the surrounding design, suggesting that it may also have a firm historical identity as a deified portrait of the Mexica ruler Moteuczoma II.

Calendar Stone center photo
Figure 3. S simpler example of the hieroglyph for Nahui Olin (Four Movement), showing an eye (ixtli) in the center of the standard Olin element.

The face itself is clearly embedded within the hieroglyphic forms around it. As Klein noted (1976:9), the face’s location in the center of the Olin glyph points to it being a graphic elaboration on the central eye motif that appears in nearly all other (simpler) examples of the Olin sign (Figure 3). This surely plays off of the full range of meanings of the Nahuatl noun ixtli, meaning “face, eye, surface” (Kartunen 1983:121). This is an important detail to consider, for it suggests that the central face, as a more visually developed ixtli, is more integral to the Olin sign than to the solar disc. In depicting a face at the center, the Nahuatl-speaking artist(s) thus chose to develop the Olin’s design in a way that was linguistically and conceptually logical. Interestingly, ixtli can have a more abstract notion of “identity” – the diagnostic “face” of a person or thing.  The last of these definitions of ixtli is of special note given the many varied interpretations of the central visage proposed over the last several decades. Here we see how language serves as an important conceptual baseline for interpreting the Calendar Stone’s composition and hieroglyphic design – something that seems underappreciated in some of what has been written on the monument and Aztec art in general.

Before the 1970s nearly all scholars followerd Seler and Beyer in seeing the central face as a straightforward portrait of Tonatiuh, the sun god. Differing interpretations have largely hinged on two features of the central visage — the knife-tongue of that emerges from the grimacing mouth and the clawed appendages that flank the face, each grasping a human heart.  According to Navarrete and Heyden (1974) and Townsend (1979) these were clear indications that the face is that of Tlalteuctli, the earth lord. As Navarrete and Heyden concluded:

…nos parece que el rostro esculpido en medio del Calendario Azteca or Piedra del Sol, no es de Tonatiuh sino de Tlaltecuhtli, que irrumpe hacia arriba mirando al cielo, de acuerdo con la verdadera posición del monumento, esculpido y dedicado al Quinto Sol, el Sol de movimiento de Tierra, Nahui Ollin, o 4 Movimiento (Navarrete and Heyden 1976:374).

Townsend furthermore noted, “the idea that the central mask of the Sun Stone represents the face of the earth, and not the face of Tonatiuh, ‘the sun,’ is consistent with the enclosing glyph ollin” (Townsend 1979:69). This is because of the common translation of olin as “earthquake” (its meaning is actually a bit more general, hence my preference for “movement” or “quake”), and perhaps also that the meaning of the corresponding seventeenth day in other Mesoamerican cultures includes “earth” (for example, the Maya day Caban < kab, “earth”). In his view the central visage represented “both the sacred earth and the territory of the Mexica nation” (Townsend 1979:69).  Such interpretations in favor of Tlalteuctli, the animate earth, at the center of the Calendar Stone seem compelling for two reasons: the face’s formal qualities as well as the stone’s original orientation as a flat, upward-facing surface. Spatially this all seems to make considerable sense.

The Tlalteuctli interpretation failed to win over all specialists in Aztec iconography, however. In a nuanced and influential study, Cecilia Klein (1976) also called into question the traditional Tonatiuh identification but proposed that the central face is neither a direct representation of the sun nor of the earth.  Rather she interpreted it as an image of Yohualteuctli, the “Night Lord,” who Seler had specifically identified as the nocturnal sun within the Underworld.  As Klein noted, “since Yohualtecuhtli was a god of the earth, darkness, death and the south a center of the world, his appearance in a context of the world at the center of the earth in the middle of the night is far more logical than would be that of Tonatiuh” (Klein 1976:10). Klein suggested that a specific aspect of a solar being is at the center of the Calendar Stone, just not its more obvious aspect as the warming Tonatiuh who rises in the eastern sky.

Nicholson (1993:14) offered a strong rejoinder to all of the many alternate interpretations that emerged in the 1970s, preferring to adhere to Seler and Beyer’s original and more direct interpretation: “Despite all of the recent efforts on the part of many serious students to refute or significantly modify the traditional view that this image represents Tonatiuh, the diurnal solar diety, I believe the best evidence still supports this identification.”  Nicholson noted that the knife-tongue of the central face was not necessarily a strong diagnostic feature of Tlateuctli, appearing with some frequency on images of other other deities in Aztec iconography. Nicholson was not even sure of the knife-tongue’s “debatable” significance.

To complicate the debate further, Felipe Solís more recently noted that the central face of the headdress of this Calendar Stone’s might be best interpreted as Xiuhteuctli, the “Turquoise Lord,” considered the god of “the center of the universe, whose image has hybrid characteristics of the earth and underworld” (Solís Olquín 2000:36). He based this assertion on a consideration of the headband, seeing its central jewel as a variant of the xiuhtototl bird, considered a diagnostic feature of that deity (see also Matos Moctezuma 2004:63).

Although such arguments reflect significant disagreement regarding the identity of the central face, they also could reveal the inherent ambiguity in identifying some Aztec deities as singular, discrete entities. The rigid either-or dichotomies of those earlier studies go against the more fluid senses of identity that Aztec artisans and theologians ascribed to such religious imagery.  Nicholson was surely correct in pointing out that the animate knife-tongue and clawed hands clutching hearts pertain to different supernatural beings, but I would argue that their meaning is fairly clear: rather than being diagnostic features, they characterize those powerful deities that pierce, cut, take and consume the hearts from human sacrifice. Knives used in sacrifice were, perhaps, metaphorical “tongues” of the sun and of the earth. Both the earth and the sun in their varied aspects are equally viable candidates in this respect. Moreover, I think it also very relevant that one of the hieroglyphs prominently featured in relationship to the central image of the Calendar Stone is 1 Flint (Ce Tecpatl), equally translatable as “1 Knife” (see Figure 4, below). This day-sign shows the same attached eyes and fangs replicated the animated knife-tongue of the central face. As we will see, this hieroglyph carries specific mythological meaning as a calendar name for yet another important Mexica deity.

Decades after the related studies by Klein, Navarrete, Heyden and Townsend, the identify of the central face of the Calendar Stone’s Olin glyph will no doubt continue to be debated. Again, I suspect that a lack of any firm consensus reflects the deliberate intention of the stone’s original designers to present a conflation of forms and spatial ideas.  The face shows a combination of features that at once suggest Tonatiuh as well as the sun’s reflection on or within earth. In other words, a number of merged identifies may play into the overall significance of the central face. Surely the original orientation of the Calendar Stone as an upward-facing monument reflects its earth-bound nature, but it was also a reflection of the sun at zenith  (Taube 2000). And as the face of the Olin sign it presents the animate visage of both terrestrial and celestial “movement.”

There is a good deal more to say about the identity of the central face. What previous writers have neglected to point out is that the designers of the Calendar Stone may have been quite explicit in marking its identification by means of hieroglyphic labels and elements. As I elaborate in the following section, certain hieroglyphic names and designation that are embedded in the design of the Calendar Stone gravitate to the central olin sign and seem to make direct reference to it, serving as labels of identity that have until now gone unrecognized or misunderstood.

Featured within the interior of the design, adjacent to the Olin glyph, are four smaller hieroglyphs grouped into two pairs. Like the four “era” glyphs infixed within the arms of the olin, these are oriented to face one another along the central vertical axis of the composition. At the base of the circle are two date glyphs, 1 Rain and 7 Monkey, the significances of which remain uncertain. Umberger (1988) pointed out that 1 Rain was the day, according to Sahagún, when sacrifices were made to rejuvenate the strength of the king. She notes (ibid.) that “Motecuhzoma, like the sun, apparently needed sacrifices to renew him.” Of the the upper pair of glyphs, the left-most hieroglyph shows a royal xuihuitzolli headband with falling hair and various adornments, opposite a calendrical reference to 1 Flint (Figure 4, in blue). The placement of these hieroglyphs above and in in direct association to the central Olin hieroglyph suggests to my mind that these may have direct bearing on the long-standing question of the identity of the central face.

Calendar Stone, central circle

The headdress or headband glyph was seen by Seler and Beyer as a symbolic reference to the spirits of deceased warriors and, by extension, to the eastern sky (Seler 1904). However, Umberger (1981:205, 1988), following an earlier suggestion by Peñafiel (1890), was surely correct to see this as a particularly elaborate version of the name hieroglyph of Moteuczoma II, of which there are many examples on other monuments (Umberger 1981, 1988) (Figure 5). Her groundbreaking insight provided a key historical context for the monument , dating it to between 1503 and 1519, an attribution that is now widely accepted.

Moteuczoma's names


The adjacent 1 Flint glyph, opposite the personal name of the ruler, has been variously interpreted. It was the name of a key year in the migration history of the Mexica, marking the departure date from Aztlan and also the year in which the Mexica defeated the Tepenecs early in the reign of Itzcoatl.  However, it is perhaps significant that the 1 Flint glyph here lacks the square xihuitl cartouche that one customarily finds with year records. Perhaps, then, it is not to be taken as an explicit year reference, but as something more oblique and metaphorical. Indeed, in another important insight Umberger (1988) suggested that it should more correctly be seen as the calendrical name of Huitzilopochtli, the patron deity of Tenochtitlan, an embodiment of the sun, and in certain respects Moteuczoma’s supernatural counterpart. This interpretation seems intrinsically attractive given 1 Flint’s visual juxtaposition with Moteuczoma II’s name glyph, as if these were two names associated with and reflective of one another. And in addition to being a probable calendar reference to Huitzilpochtli, 1 Flint may symbolically evoke the theme of heart sacrifice. Here I am reminded of the evident symbolism of the day 1 Etznab (equivalent to 1 Flint) among the Classic Maya. In the mythological text of Temple XIX at Palenque, 1 Etznab is the day of the axe sacrifice of the great alligator(s) by the local dynastic patron god GI (see Stuart 2005:68-75).

Those who accept the presence of Moteuczoma II’s name on the Calendar Stone generally consider his hieroglyph as designating the tlahtoani (ruler)who commissioned the sculpture in the early sixteenth century, not as something more functional or integral within the larger design of the monument. However, it seems reasonable to suppose that the careful and intentional positioning of both the ruler’s name and the 1 Flint glyph (also a name) within the inner circle is important to the Calendar Stone’s overall composition and meaning, all worthy of further consideration. Simply put, as we see in Figure 4, both names appear within the circular frame, directly above the face and its surrounding Nahui Olin glyph.  They are thus integral to the central design. But why are they there? This interior placement is highly significant, for it suggests that the glyphs are closely associated with the central face in some way, perhaps as labels or designations. Name glyphs do not simply “float” within compositions in painting and sculpture; they must act to identify something specific and visible. It’s no great leap to suppose, then, that they here serve to identify the face at the center of the Calendar Stone as both historical and mythical aspects of the sun. This seems natural, given how we see the interaction of name glyph and image on several other examples from mexica sculpture. Moteuczoma II’s name glyph directly accompanies his portraits on the Hackmack Box, on the Chapultepec Cliff Sculpture, and on the Teocalli of Sacred Warfare (see Figure 5, e and f). In this new interpretation the central face of the Calendar Stone is similarly labelled as Moteuczoma II as well as an embodiment of 1 Flint, the birth date of Huitzilopochtli. Here we should recall that the 1 Flint name glyph visually echoes an obvious feature of the central face, its flint-knife tongue. The xiuhuitzolli diadem that adorns the name glyph of Moteuczoma likewise bears an animated “flint face,” perhaps visually linking it as well to the central face of the monument.

If we interpret these two related name glyphs as labels for the accompanying image, we naturally must wonder how such a dual identification would fit in the long debate about the identity of the central face as either the visage of the sun or of the earth. I doubt the issue is so binary and oppositional, as explained above, and prefer to see an intention to convey multiple identifies for the central face. But the key point here is that the monument provides its own explicit indication of two identities: one historical, the emperor Moteuczoma II, and one mythological, the solar aspect of Huitzilopochtli. The face is directly labeled by these hieroglyphs as a portrait of the defied ruler who embodies and exemplifies the Mexica patron god.

As Stephanie Strauss has pointed out to me (personal communication, 2016), one intriguing detail of the inner circle could be taken as indirect support for such a historical identification. If we consider the face to be a deified portrait of the tlahtoani, it is possible see the large pointed form above the head, a feature of the Olin glyph — as a playful visual reference to the ruler’s xuihuitzolli diadem.  Indeed the shape is identical to the diadems when they are seen in frontal view (Figure 6).  And as we can see in Figure 5 above, the very same diadem (in profile view) and the strands of hair visible on other side of the face are the two consistent elements of the king’s name glyphs. In those examples the diadem stands for the word teuc(tli), “lord,” a core term embedded within the name Moteuczoma.

xiuhuitzolli diadem

It seems appropriate then that the central image of the Calendar Stone would be at once cosmological and personalized, linking the cosmic forces of the sun to the persona of the living ruler.  The solar identification of the tlahtoani was elegantly conveyed by the oration of Nezahualpilli, the king of Texcoco, at the accession ceremony of Moteuczoma II, as described in Duran’s Historia:

O most powerful of all the kings on earth! The clouds have been dispelled and the darkness in which we lived has fled. The sun has appeared and the light of the day shines upon us after the darkness that had been brought by the death of your uncle the king. The torch that illuminates this city has again been lighted and today a mirror has been placed before us, into which we are to look (Durán 1994:391)

Here the poetic parallelism is made between the inauguration of the king, the rise of the bright sun, and to the symbolism of New Fire ceremony.  The ruler is the diurnal sun as well as a mirror of the community. All of these metaphors are among the many visual messages that are encoded visually in the design of the Calendar Stone.

To refine these concepts further, it is important to note that the person of the tlahtoani was viewed at times as the embodiment and personification of Huitzilopochtli, himself a specific aspect of the sun. In fact this equation is a basic tenet of ancient Mexica ideology. The core myth of Huitzilopochtli’s birth was a metaphor of solar birth and creation, famously replicated through spatial performance at his shrine in the huey teocalli in the main precinct of Tenochtitlan.  His main weapon, as described in Sahagún and elsewhere, was the xiuhcoatl serpent representing the shooting stars or the sun’s piercing rays, and of course these are the two dominant images at the edge of the Calendar Stone. As Umberger (1987:425) noted, “the ruler, Huitzilopochtli and the sun are closely related in Mexico thought: the ruler is the human imitator of the sun god, and the fortunes of both are compared to that of the sun.” We see this fundamental unity of ruler and patron god depicted in a very overt manner on the Stone of Tizoc, where the one labelled image of that ruler shows him as a conqueror wearing the regal hummingbird headdress of the Mexica patron deity (Hajovsky 2015:104) (Figure 7). I see a similar fusion of identities encoded by the hieroglyphic labels on the Calendar Stone, referring to the deified central face that visually presents itself as a more “generic” cosmic force and actor as the sun, the earth, or as some fusion of the two.  It is the hieroglyphs that provide the specific ideological message.

Tizic Huitzilopochtli

We know that elsewhere in Mesoamerica rulers were frequently presented as embodiments of the sun and of calendrical cycles, and in this light the Calendar Stone seems little different. Among the Classic Maya are several images of historical rulers as the hieroglyphs for Ahau, becoming the personified essence of of period endings in the Long Count calendar. On La Palma, Stela 5, for example, the local king of the Lakamtuun royal line is portrayed within a hieroglyph pronounced ajaw, “king,” in the writing of the time period 7 Ahau (Figure 8). In a similar way Maya kings were often shown on ritual occasions and upon their accessions as embodiments of katuns and of other units of time (see Stuart 1996).  I wonder if similar ideas existed among the Mexica, and if the Calendar Stone similarly equates a specific ruler not only with  the sun and with celestial power, but also with a particular calendrical and temporal identity, Nahui Olin. The notion that time itself could be embodied and personified through a living king or queen seems to have been prelevant in Mesoamerican ideology and theology.

7 Ahau ruler

In sum, my identification of the Calendar Stone’s central face as a deified portrait of Moteuczoma as Huitzilopochtli, together embodying the sun, remains a working hypothesis.  It is not a portrait in a conventional sense, but rather a mythologized image of the living ruler who embodies other beings and cosmic elements. If true, this new interpretation would add an important new historical dimension to the long-standing questions surrounding the monument and its overall meaning, and of course regarding the old debate of its identity as Tonatiuh or Tlalteuctli, etc.. To my mind either or both of these interpretations seem possible. In any case, layered with these multi-faceted identities are the labels that suggest the face is a deified image of Moteuczoma II as the Mexica patron deity Huitzilopochtli. Whatever other significances the central face may have, these two names appear to be the two specific written identities featured by the artist who designed the Calendar Stone. This iconic monument thus becomes a more overt political, even personalized, statement, featuring the reigning emperor not only in the cosmic role as the reborn sun and/or consuming earth, but also as the embodiment of time in general.

Note and Acknowledgements

Some readers may be confused by the varied spellings of the Aztec ruler’s name. I use Moteuczoma following my former Nahuatl professor, J. Richard Andrews, who long insisted that common spellings such as “Motecuhzoma” or “Moctezuma” don’t accurately reflect the underlying Nahuatl phonology nor the semantic parsing of the name, meaning “One Who Frowns Like a Lord.”

I thank Emily Umberger and Stephen Houston, who provided very useful feedback. As noted, this essay is an excerpt of a longer study of the Calendar Stone now in preparation, much of which grew out of from my UT-Austin course on Aztec art in the fall of 2015, and a graduate seminar on Mesoamerican iconography in the spring of this year.  I would also like to thank a number of students and colleagues at UT-Austin for their insights, including Tim Beach, Elliot Lopez-Finn, Edwin Román Ramirez, Sergio Romero, and, especially, Stephanie Strauss, who first pointed out the possible diadem on the Calendar Stone’s central face.


Durán, Fray Diego. 1994. The History of the Indies of New Spain. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.

Hajovsky, Patrick Thomas. 2015. On the Lips of Others: Moteuczoma’s Fame in Aztec Monuments and Rituals. University of Texas Press, Austin.

Kartunnen, Francis. 1988. An Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl. University of Texas Press, Austin.

Klein, Cecilia. 1976. The Identity of the Central Deity on the Aztec Calendar Stone. The Art Bulletin 58(1):1-12.

Navarrete, Carlos, and Doris Heyden. 1974. La cara central de la piedra del sol: una hipótesis. Estudios de Cultura Nahuatl, vol. XI, pp. 355-376.

Nicholson, Henry B. 1993. The Problem of the Identification of the Central Image of the Aztec Calendar Stone. In Current Topics in Aztec Studies: Essays in Honor of Dr. H.B. Nicholson. San Diego Museum of Man, San Diego.

Peñafiel, Antonio. 1890. Monumentos del arte mexicano antiguo. A. Asher, Berlin.

Seler, Eduard. 1904. Die Ausgrabungen am Orte des Hauptemels in Mexico. In Gesemmelte Abhandlungen zur Amerikanischen Sprach- und Alterthumskunde, vol. II, pp. 767-904. A. Asher & Co.,  Berlin.

Solis, Felipe. 2000. La Piedra del sol. Arqueología Mexicana, vol VII, no. 41: 32-39.

Stuart, David. 2005. The Inscriptions from Temple XIX at Palenque. Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco.

Taube, Karl. 2000. The Turquoise Hearth: Fire, Self Sacrifice, and the Central Mexican Cult of War. In Mesoamerica’s Classic Heritage: From Teotihuacan to the Aztecs, edited by D. Carasco, L. Jones and S. Sessions, pp. 269-340. University Press of Colorado, Boulder.

Townsend, Richard Fraser. 1979. State and Cosmos in the Art of Tenochtitlan. Studies in Pre-Columbian Art and    Archaeology, Number 20. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.

Umberger, Emily. 1981. Aztec Sculptures, Hieroglyphs and History. Ph.D. Dissertation, Graduate School of Arts and ciences, Columbia University.

_____________. 1987. Events Commemorated by Date Plaques at the Templo Mayor: Further Thoughts on the Solar Metaphor. In The Aztec Templo Mayor, edited by E. H. Boone, pp. 411-451. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.

_____________. 1988. A Reconsideration of Some Hieroglyphs on the Mexica Calendar Stone. In Smoke and Mist: Mesoamerican Studies in Memory of Thelma D. Sullivan, I:345-388. B.A.R, Oxford

Villela, Kristaan D., Matthew Robb and Mary Ellen Miller. 2010. Introduction. In The Aztec Calendar Stone, edited by Villela, Kristaan D. and Mary Ellen Miller, pp. 1-41. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.


Like this:



How to Read an Aztec Calendar

L. Cargill, Medical Laboratory Scientist, ASCP. Retired blood banker and laboratorian. Loves to write about a wide range of subjects. Enjoy!

The Great and Venerable Aztec Mechanism of the Universe

The Magnificent Aztec Calendar Sun Stone

In Nahuátl, the Aztec Sun Stone is called Teoilhuicatlapaluaztli-Ollin Tonalmachiotl. What a mouthful!

The translation is - The Great and Venerable Mechanism of the Universe.

During the invasion and conquest by the Spaniards in 1521, the huge Sun Stone was lost over one of the causeways connecting to Tenochtítlan, the center of Aztec rule. As Tenochtítlan was an island built into a shallow lake bed, the only access was by boat or over the causeways.

On December 17, 1790 the Aztec Sun Stone was found during an excavation near Mexico City's main plaza.

The great stone carving weighs an astounding twenty six tons! It was buried face down near the center of what was once Tenochtítlan. Some say its burial was deliberate and some say that it was an accident.

Where Is the Aztec Sun Stone Today?

The Museo Nacional de Antropología, or The National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, is the current home of the Aztec Calendar stone. Because of its location, size and weight, this is probably a permanent residence.

How to read the symbols on the Aztec Calendar:

According to Tomás J. Filsinger, author of The Aztec Cosmos, ©1984 , the following information is a guide to the Sun Stone:

  1. The outer ring of the stone is carved with two Fire Serpents representing the sun and stars. There are seven Aztec star glyphs in the headdresses of the two heads meeting at the bottom of the outer ring. The seven stars may represent the Pleiades constellation.
  2. Surrounding the center face of the stone are the glyphs of the four past suns. The Aztecs studied the sun and stars and developed mythology surrounding the Ages of the Earth, or the four Epochs of destruction of the earth.
  3. The center face represents the Earth itself. It could be the present Sun or perhaps the Aztec sun god, Tonatiuh. Most scholars believe it is the face of the Earth God, Tlaltecuhtli.
  4. The four knots tied into the tail of the outer fire serpents represent a count of years. In an Aztec 52 year cycle there were four counts of thirteen years each. So the four knots equal a total sacred count of 52 years.
  5. The Aztec glyphs contained in the ring around the four past suns represent the 20 months of the year. Each month had 13 days which equaled the Aztec year of 260 days. But the Aztecs also had another calendar (different from the Sun Stone) that represented the solar year of 365 days by dividing the year into eighteen months of 20 days each.
  6. The Aztec Sun Stone was not used as a calendar per se, it was a representation of the gods of the Aztecs as they pertained to daily life. To the Aztecs it truly was the Great and Venerable Mechanism of the Universe.

The Aztec Sun Stone

The Epochs of Earth according to the Aztecs

  1. The current sun, called the fifth sun, surrounds the four inner suns or ages which surround the center face. This ring encompasses the four earlier faces. This circle also contains the calendar months - 20 named glyphs. The current sun age belief is that it will end by great earthquakes that shake the world.
  2. The first sun consisted of an age of giants. They were the early forms of mankind and they lived in caves. The first sun ended when jaguars ate all of the men (according to Aztec mythology).
  3. The second sun was an agricultural age when mankind learned to farm and work the Earth. This epoch ended when hurricanes and floods swept the Earth.
  4. The third sun was the heyday of the Aztec pyramid construction and when the temples and observatories were first put in place. The age ended with the Earth opening up and spewing fire and volcanic eruptions.
  5. The fourth sun is the age in which humans navigated the globe and crossed the oceans. This epoch supposedly ended with a world wide flood.

So what does an Aztec Calendar look like?

The Aztecs used the same calendar that the Maya use. In fact, they borrowed it for themselves. They replace the Mayan glyphs with Aztec glyph equivalents. The Mayan calendar is widespread and is used on a daily basis by farmers, traders and priests.

The Aztecs and Mayans used three calendars, one called the long count calendar; one called the Haab, or civil/daily calendar; and one called the Tzolkin, which was the religious calendar.

A typical date such as, May 8, 2012, is expressed in the long count calendar as:

  • The first number, 12 equals the baktun (144,000 day count) or 12 x 144,000 days since the beginning of the current long count (
  • The second number, 19 equals the katun (7,200 day count) and an addition of 19 x 7,200 days
  • The third number, 19 equals the tun (360 day count) and an addition of 19 x 360 days
  • The fourth number, 6 equals the uinal (20 day count) and an addition of 6 x 20 days
  • The fifth number, 13 equals the kin (one day count) and an addition of 13 x 1 days

So the date, May 8, 2012, is calculated as:

  • (12 x 144,00) + (19 x 7,200) + (19 x 360) + (6 x 20) + (13 x 1) = 1,871,823 days since the beginning of the current long count calendar.
  • The Julian calendar day of May 8, 2012 is expressed as 2,456,055.5 for comparison. This date would be 2,456,055.5 days since the beginning of the Julian calendar.

Whew! That's a lot of math. I used my computer's calculator to work this out, so if you spot an error, let me know below in the comments section.

There is no direct correlation with today's date in the Haab calendar. The Haab calendar was simply a daily calendar that repeated every year. It was used as a civil calendar to keep track of planting seasons and holidays and the like. The Haab calendar consisted of 18 months with 20 days in each month and an extra 5 days at the end of the Haab. This equaled to our solar calendar of 365 days.

The Tzolkin calendar was strictly a religious calendar for priests to use. There is also no corresponding day that can be matched to the Tzolkin calendar. The Tzolkin calendar had 20 months of 13 days each and the year equaled 260 days. The Tzolkin was used to mark religious events. The months and days were two cogs that meshed together to keep the count straight.

How the three calendars worked together

Questions & Answers

Question: How does one use an Aztec calendar?

Answer: The Aztec calendar is not in use today except by scientists, archeologists, and paleontologists. Perhaps some Aztecs and Mayans still recognize the old naming conventions of the old calendar, but the Julian calendar is used today. You can use the link in this article to find the Aztec or Mayan equivalent of today's date or any other date.

Question: How can a person read an Aztec calendar?

Answer: You will need to know what all the pictograms stand for. You will have to have all 3 calendars. You will have to have the rotations set up right. Then you will have to translate the resulting date to a date you are familiar with.

Question: Where is the article to figure dates out from the Aztec calendar?

Answer: That link moved, so I removed it. Do a Google search for " mayan calendar converter".

© 2012 Lela


Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on January 04, 2013:

Thanks, Lisa. I still have my Aztec calendar hanging in my home office. I appreciate the art of the ancient ones. So stylized and colorful.

Liz Rayen from California on January 04, 2013:


I really liked this hub. My parents had a beautiful Aztec calendar hanging on the wall in our living room while I was a teenager. I always had a fascination for it and it really intrigued me. I really didn't understand what it was until later when I was an adult. What I enjoyed about your hub was the Epochs of the Earth according to the Aztecs. Thank you for your research on this and for sharing. A big Thumbs up and definitely shared with others! Happy New Year---Lisa on November 19, 2012:

Marvelous information - thank you

James Clark from Ayr on November 14, 2012:

Great hub. I have visited Mexico and it is such a great place to visit with a great deal of history.

Rebecca Pasternak from Evanston, Illinois on November 09, 2012:

This hub is fascinating - and quite timely for any doomsdayers!

I studied world religions in college and loved it. I missed the course taught by my favorite professor on Mayan and Aztec religions and have always regretted it.

Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on October 06, 2012:

Mexico City is beautiful, but so huge! I consider it a dangerous city and would not go there without escorts. But, there is a lot to see and do. I would really like to see Tenochtitlan and the Museum you mention. Now if I were only younger...

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 06, 2012:

Being clever seemed to serve them well for many years! I would love to visit that anthropological museum in Mexico City someday to see this calendar and many other things. It is reputed to be wonderful.

Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on October 05, 2012:

I don't dare challenge my own math :-) I had to do these calculations about 20 times before I thought it might be right. If I go back over it, I'm sure I'll spot something amiss.

Those Aztecs were too darn clever.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 05, 2012:

Hi Lela,

Liked your original artwork at the end of the hub. Seemed very fitting. That stone calendar is a thing of beauty! I am another person who won't challenge your computations. Ha!

Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on September 26, 2012:

I just re-read the whole thing. I think it's a bit technical and still hard to understand, but I tried to explain things in a logical manner. Those Aztecs were a lot smarter than me, that's for sure.

s4176766 on September 26, 2012:

very cool, loved it!

Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on August 21, 2012:

I have always found that the notion of sacrificing virgins was a hoax for sure. I doubt they were virgins after the "priests" got them ready for sacrifice.

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on August 21, 2012:

Very cool info! I love all things Indian, Mayan, Aztec..whatever. And right - they HAD to sacrifice an occasional person that doesn't make them bad:) lol

UP and Excellent!

taazakhabar from New Delhi, India on August 12, 2012:

Thanks for sharing this really interesting and wonderful information.

Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on May 09, 2012:

Oh definitely, drbj. Heck, I wonder about it daily!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on May 09, 2012:

Hi, Lela, I would go so far as to call the gigantic Aztec Sun Stone one of the Wonders of the World. Would you agree?

Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on May 09, 2012:

Thanks, Stacy. I wouldn't be surprised if I made an error somewhere. I have trouble enough reading our own calendar!

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on May 09, 2012:

I am so glad that our calendars that we have today are so much easier... and lighter... than the Aztec Calendar. Interesting hub and I won't even try to recheck your calculations! :)

Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on May 09, 2012:

At 26 tons, it is automatically a great work of art! It's probably in the top 10 anyway.

I would really love to see it in person, but I would also love to see the Mona Lisa too.

Christopher Antony Meade from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom on May 09, 2012:

It is good to see someone who is highlighting some of the positives about the Aztecs. They have always had a rather "bad press" because of human sacrifice etc. They really were not any worse than the Romans, who get off much more lightly from historians. The calendar stone must be one of the greatest works of art in the world.

Thanks for a very interesting hub.

Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on May 09, 2012:

The Aztecs were beautiful people. They were smart and strong and industrious. Sure, they liked to sacrifice people and maybe even eat them, a minor flaw (unless you were the one being sacrificed), but they did it for the good of the people and the Earth.

I'm glad that a part of their culture and beliefs still remain.

diogenes from UK and Mexico on May 09, 2012:

I knew it had been lost and found, but hadn't known how long ago it was dug up. If you had asked me, I would have said the last century.

That's a wonderful museum that houses it. They were marvellous people.


  1. 2019 vizio p series
  2. Ontario dental association jobs
  3. Scrollview ios

Mayan-Aztec-Calendar-Art Face Mask,Comfortable Balaclavas Reusable Bandana Adjustable Scarf For Adult (With 2 Filters)

Mayan-Aztec-Calendar-Art Face Mask,Comfortable Balaclavas Reusable Bandana Adjustable Scarf For Adult (With 2 Filters)


200 ratings Write a review

Item #:


Price Details

Excluding Shipping & Custom charges ( Shipping and custom charges will be calculated on checkout )

*All items will import from USA

This product is not Fulfilled by Ubuy and can take minimum 10 days in delivery. We might cancel the product from the order and refund you if any issue arise with the delivery of this product.

Note: Electronic products sold in US store operate on (110-120) volts, a step-down power converter is required for the smooth device function. It is mandatory to know the wattage of the device in order to choose the appropriate power converter. Recommended power converters Buy Now.

Product Details

  • 100% Polyester
  • elastic closure
  • ✔Material:100% Polyester Fiber (Polyester),Soft And Breathable.
  • ✔Interesting Design:Full-Frame Printing,Assorted Cute & Fun Designs.
  • ✔Feature Design:Adjustable Ear Straps Mean No More Ear Pain And Discomfort.
  • ✔Wide Application:Suitable For Cycling, Camping, Running,Travel,Climbing And Daily Use.
  • ✔Washing Instructions:Reusable And Washable,Please Do Not Immerse For Too Long. Do Not Bleach.
Department ‏ : ‎Unisex-adult
Manufacturer ‏ : ‎allsro
ASIN ‏ : ‎B08Z7T4BMK
What is in the boxMayan-Aztec-Calendar-Art Face Mask,Comfortable... For more details, please check description/product details


Funny Hispanic Heritage Face Mask!The Product Description:
Designed With Elastic Extra-Soft Earloop,Making It Soft And Comfortable To Your Face,Very Effortless Breathable To Wear.
Protect Your Mouth And Face From Dust,Allergies,Haze,Exhaust Emissions,Passive Smoking,Etc.
Suitable For Cycling,Camping,Running And Daily Use.
The Mask Can Be Cleaned And Reused,Long-Term Cleaning Will Not Deformation.
Washing Instructions: It Is Recommended To Wash By Hand,Do Not Bleach.

Customer Questions & Answers

  • No question and answer found

Customer Ratings

0 customers ratings

  • 5 Star 0%
  • 4 Star 0%
  • 3 Star 0%
  • 2 Star 0%
  • 1 Star 0%

Review this product

Share your thoughts with other customers

Customer Reviews

  • No customer reviews found

Write Your Own Reviews

Only registered users can write reviews. Please log in or register

The Mayan Calendar \u0026 2012

Face in the Mayan Calendar

What's more, there is a face (Tonatiuh) in the middle of the Mayancalendar. To the Aztecs, Tonatiuh is a symbol of the 5th world, a sun god, and leader of heaven - To us, a reason the calendar is also known as the Sunstone. There is a new twist on Sunstone concepts, however, suggesting the 2012 date was either miscalculated or counted from the wrong starting point. What if instead of destruction, the calendar pointed to an entirely different date, say around 1844, when Joseph Smith, (José!), createdmultiple sun-stones in the Nauvoo temple, Illinois only to see them fall in the face of persecution.

At the time Mormonism wasn't well liked by other, more established religions, and many of his celestial inspired creations were destroyed. Could the Aztec calendar and Nauvoo temple event somehow be linked together? Does the face in the center represent a messiah, literally the Son, and not the physical sun Earth orbits around? In an actual photo of the calendar, the face does look a little like renditions of Jesus over the years. There are certainly some characteristics it has in common, a sort of crown, locks of hair, facial expression, eye shape.  Maybe that's a bit of a stretch, but for some reason the calendar gives an entirely different meaning if Tonatiuh represents the messiah.


Calendar face mayan

Red face with Mayan Calendar, Art Print

10% off orders $50+
 coupon code: BAREWALLS10
15% off orders $100+
 coupon code: BAREWALLS15
20% off orders $250+
 coupon code: BAREWALLS20
Red face with Mayan Calendar, Art Print

Red face with Mayan Calendar centered around the green eye - Art Print

The Barewalls logo watermark will not appear on your artwork
 Item: bwc12981304More art by csp_semmickphoto
The Barewalls logo watermark will not appear on your artwork

Custom Size Tool - A great way to perfectly fit your frame


Barewalls Posters and Prints has been offering art prints, wall art, framed, and home decor since 1996. Buy from our collection of giclee modern art prints, pop art framed prints, music posters, movie posters, vintage posters, fine art photo prints and more. Shop for a framed print of a famous painting masterpiece or search all paintings by a famous artist. We also have a selection of motivation prints and frameable fine art photography and gallery wrap canvas.
© 2021 Barewalls, Inc. // The Wall Decor Company. All Rights Reserved
What is the Mayan Calendar

Maya calendar

Calendar used in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica

The Maya calendar is a system of calendars used in pre-ColumbianMesoamerica and in many modern communities in the Guatemalan highlands,[1]Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico.[2]

The essentials of the Maya calendar are based upon a system which had been in common use throughout the region, dating back to at least the 5th century BC. It shares many aspects with calendars employed by other earlier Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Zapotec and Olmec and contemporary or later ones such as the Mixtec and Aztec calendars.[3]

By the Maya mythological tradition, as documented in Colonial Yucatec accounts and reconstructed from Late Classic and Postclassic inscriptions, the deity Itzamna is frequently credited with bringing the knowledge of the calendrical system to the ancestral Maya, along with writing in general and other foundational aspects of Mayan culture.[4]


Further information: Maya astronomy

The Maya calendar consists of several cycles or counts of different lengths. The 260-day count is known to scholars as the Tzolkin, or Tzolkʼin.[5] The Tzolkin was combined with a 365-day vague solar year known as the Haabʼ to form a synchronized cycle lasting for 52 Haabʼ, called the Calendar Round. The Calendar Round is still in use by many groups in the Guatemalan highlands.[6]

A different calendar was used to track longer periods of time and for the inscription of calendar dates (i.e., identifying when one event occurred in relation to others). This is the Long Count. It is a count of days since a mythological starting-point.[7] According to the correlation between the Long Count and Western calendars accepted by the great majority of Maya researchers (known as the Goodman-Martinez-Thompson, or GMT, correlation), this starting-point is equivalent to August 11, 3114 BC in the proleptic Gregorian calendar or September 6, in the Julian calendar (−3113 astronomical). The GMT correlation was chosen by John Eric Sydney Thompson in 1935 on the basis of earlier correlations by Joseph Goodman in 1905 (August 11), Juan Martínez Hernández in 1926 (August 12) and Thompson himself in 1927 (August 13).[8] By its linear nature, the Long Count was capable of being extended to refer to any date far into the past or future. This calendar involved the use of a positional notation system, in which each position signified an increasing multiple of the number of days. The Maya numeral system was essentially vigesimal (i.e., base-20) and each unit of a given position represented 20 times the unit of the position which preceded it. An important exception was made for the second-order place value, which instead represented 18 × 20, or 360 days, more closely approximating the solar year than would 20 × 20 = 400 days. The cycles of the Long Count are independent of the solar year.

Many Maya Long Count inscriptions contain a supplementary series, which provides information on the lunar phase, number of the current lunation in a series of six and which of the nine Lords of the Night rules.

Less-prevalent or poorly understood cycles, combinations and calendar progressions were also tracked. An 819-day Count is attested in a few inscriptions. Repeating sets of 9 days (see below "Nine lords of the night")[9] associated with different groups of deities, animals and other significant concepts are also known.


Main article: Tzolkʼin

The tzolkʼin (in modern Maya orthography; also commonly written tzolkin) is the name commonly employed by Mayanist researchers for the Maya Sacred Round or 260-day calendar. The word tzolkʼin is a neologism coined in Yucatec Maya, to mean "count of days" (Coe 1992). The various names of this calendar as used by precolumbian Maya people are still debated by scholars. The Aztec calendar equivalent was called Tōnalpōhualli, in the Nahuatl language.

The tzolkʼin calendar combines twenty day names with the thirteen day numbers to produce 260 unique days. It is used to determine the time of religious and ceremonial events and for divination. Each successive day is numbered from 1 up to 13 and then starting again at 1. Separately from this, every day is given a name in sequence from a list of 20 day names:

Some systems started the count with 1 Imix, followed by 2 Ikʼ, 3 Akʼbʼal, etc. up to 13 Bʼen. The day numbers then start again at 1 while the named-day sequence continues onwards, so the next days in the sequence are 1 Ix, 2 Men, 3 Kʼibʼ, 4 Kabʼan, 5 Etzʼnabʼ, 6 Kawak and 7 Ajaw. With all twenty named days used, these now began to repeat the cycle while the number sequence continues, so the next day after 7 Ajaw is 8 Imix. The repetition of these interlocking 13- and 20-day cycles therefore takes 260 days to complete (that is, for every possible combination of number/named day to occur once).

The earliest known inscription with a Tzolkʼin is an Olmec earspool with 2 Ahau 3 Ceh -, September 2, -678 (Julian astronomical).[11]


Main article: Haabʼ

The Haabʼ was made up of eighteen months of twenty days each plus a period of five days ("nameless days") at the end of the year known as Wayeb' (or Uayeb in 16th-century orthography). The five days of Wayebʼ were thought to be a dangerous time. Foster (2002) writes, "During Wayeb, portals between the mortal realm and the Underworld dissolved. No boundaries prevented the ill-intending deities from causing disasters." To ward off these evil spirits, the Maya had customs and rituals they practiced during Wayebʼ. For example, people avoided leaving their houses and washing or combing their hair. Bricker (1982) estimates that the Haabʼ was first used around 550 BC with a starting point of the winter solstice.[15]

The Haabʼ month names are known today by their corresponding names in colonial-era Yukatek Maya, as transcribed by 16th-century sources (in particular, Diego de Landa and books such as the Chilam Balam of Chumayel). Phonemic analyses of Haabʼ glyph names in pre-Columbian Maya inscriptions have demonstrated that the names for these twenty-day periods varied considerably from region to region and from period to period, reflecting differences in the base language(s) and usage in the Classic and Postclassic eras predating their recording by Spanish sources.[16]

Each day in the Haabʼ calendar was identified by a day number in the month followed by the name of the month. Day numbers began with a glyph translated as the "seating of" a named month, which is usually regarded as day 0 of that month, although a minority treat it as day 20 of the month preceding the named month. In the latter case, the seating of Pop is day 5 of Wayebʼ. For the majority, the first day of the year was 0 Pop (the seating of Pop). This was followed by 1 Pop, 2 Pop as far as 19 Pop then 0 Wo, 1 Wo and so on.

Because the Haabʼ had 365 days and the tropical year is 365.2422 days, the days of the Haabʼ did not coincide with the tropical year.

Calendar Round[edit]

A Calendar Round date is a date that gives both the Tzolkʼin and Haabʼ. This date will repeat after 52 Haabʼ years or 18,980 days, a Calendar Round. For example, the current creation started on 4 Ahau 8 Kumkʼu. When this date recurs it is known as a Calendar Round completion.

Arithmetically, the duration of the Calendar Round is the least common multiple of 260 and 365; 18,980 is 73 × 260 Tzolkʼin days and 52 × 365 Haabʼ days.[17]

Not every possible combination of Tzolkʼin and Haabʼ can occur. For Tzolkʼin days Imix, Kimi, Chwen and Kibʼ, the Haabʼ day can only be 4, 9, 14 or 19; for Ikʼ, Manikʼ, Ebʼ and Kabʼan, the Haabʼ day can only be 0, 5, 10 or 15; for Akbʼalʼ, Lamat, Bʼen and Etzʼnabʼ, the Haabʼ day can only be 1, 6, 11 or 16; for Kʼan, Muluk, Ix and Kawak, the Haabʼ day can only be 2, 7, 12 or 17; and for Chikchan, Ok, Men and Ajaw, the Haabʼ day can only be 3, 8, 13 or 18.[18]

Year Bearer[edit]

A "Year Bearer" is a Tzolkʼin day name that occurs on 0 Pop, the first day of the Haabʼ. Since there are 20 Tzolkʼin day names, 365 days in the Haabʼ, and the remainder of 365 divided by 20 is 5 (365 = 18×20 + 5), the Tzolkʼin day name for each successive 0 Pop will be 5 later in the cycle of Tzolk'in day names. Similarly, since there are 13 Tzolk'in day numbers, and the remainder of 365 divided by 13 is 1 (365 = 28×13 + 1), the Tzolk'in day number for each successive 0 Pop will be 1 greater than before. As such, the sequence of Tzolk'in dates corresponding to the Haab' date 0 Pop are as follows:

  • 1 Ikʼ
  • 2 Manikʼ
  • 3 Ebʼ
  • 4 Kabʼan
  • 5 Ikʼ
  • ...
  • 19 Eb'
  • 20 Kab'an
  • 1 Ik'
  • ...

Thus, the Year Bearers are the four Tzolkʼin day names that appear in this sequence: Ik', Manik', Eb', and Kab'an.

"Year Bearer" literally translates a Mayan concept.[19] Its importance resides in two facts. For one, the four years headed by the Year Bearers are named after them and share their characteristics; therefore, they also have their own prognostications and patron deities.[20] Moreover, since the Year Bearers are geographically identified with boundary markers or mountains, they help define the local community.[21]

The classic system of Year Bearers described above is found at Tikal and in the Dresden Codex. During the Late Classic period a different set of Year Bearers was in use in Campeche. In this system, the Year Bearers were the Tzolkʼin that coincided with 1 Pop. These were Akʼbʼal, Lamat, Bʼen and Edznab. During the Post-Classic period in Yucatán a third system was in use. In this system the Year Bearers were the days that coincided with 2 Pop: Kʼan, Muluc, Ix and Kawak. This system is found in the Chronicle of Oxkutzcab. In addition, just before the Spanish conquest in Mayapan the Maya began to number the days of the Haabʼ from 1 to 20. In this system the Year Bearers are the same as in the 1 Pop – Campeche system. The Classic Year Bearer system is still in use in the Guatemalan highlands[22] and in Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico.[23]

Long Count[edit]

East side of Stela C, Quirigua with the mythical creation date of 13 baktuns, 0 katuns, 0 tuns, 0 uinals, 0 kins, 4 Ahau, 8 Cumku – August 11, 3114 BC in the proleptic Gregorian calendar

Main article: Mesoamerican Long Count calendar

Since Calendar Round dates repeat every 18,980 days, approximately 52 solar years, the cycle repeats roughly once each lifetime, so a more refined method of dating was needed if history was to be recorded accurately. To specify dates over periods longer than 52 years, Mesoamericans used the Long Count calendar.

The Maya name for a day was kʼin. Twenty of these kʼins are known as a winal or uinal. Eighteen winals make one tun. Twenty tuns are known as a kʼatun. Twenty kʼatuns make a bʼakʼtun.

The Long Count calendar identifies a date by counting the number of days from the Mayan creation date 4 Ahaw, 8 Kumkʼu (August 11, 3114 BC in the proleptic Gregorian calendar or September 6 in the Julian calendar -3113 astronomical dating). But instead of using a base-10 (decimal) scheme, the Long Count days were tallied in a modified base-20 scheme. Thus is equal to 25 and is equal to 40. As the winal unit resets after only counting to 18, the Long Count consistently uses base-20 only if the tun is considered the primary unit of measurement, not the kʼin; with the kʼin and winal units being the number of days in the tun. The Long Count represents 360 days, rather than the 400 in a purely base-20 (vigesimal) count.

There are also four rarely used higher-order cycles: piktun, kalabtun, kʼinchiltun, and alautun.

Since the Long Count dates are unambiguous, the Long Count was particularly well suited to use on monuments. The monumental inscriptions would not only include the 5 digits of the Long Count, but would also include the two tzolkʼin characters followed by the two haabʼ characters.

Misinterpretation of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar was the basis for a popular belief that a cataclysm would take place on December 21, 2012. December 21, 2012 was simply the day that the calendar went to the next bʼakʼtun, at Long Count The date of the start of the next b'ak'tun (Long Count is March 26, 2407. The date of the start of the next piktun (a complete series of 20 bʼakʼtuns), at Long Count, is October 13, 4772.

Long Count
Long Count
Solar Years
1 Kʼin 1 
1 Winal20 Kʼin20 
1 Tun18 Winal3601
1 Kʼatun20 Tun7,20020
1 Bʼakʼtun20 Kʼatun144,000394
1 Piktun20 Bʼakʼtun2,880,0007,885
1 Kalabtun20 Piktun57,600,000157,704
1 Kʼinchiltun20 Kalabtun1,152,000,0003,154,071
1 Alautun20 Kʼinchiltun23,040,000,00063,081,429

Supplementary Series[edit]

Many Classic period inscriptions include a series of glyphs known as the Supplementary Series. The operation of this series was largely worked out by John E. Teeple. The Supplementary Series most commonly consists of the following elements:

Lords of the Night[edit]

Main article: Lords of the Night

Each night was ruled by one of the nine lords of the underworld. This nine-day cycle was usually written as two glyphs: a glyph that referred to the Nine Lords as a group, followed by a glyph for the lord that would rule the next night.

Lunar Series[edit]

A lunar series generally is written as five glyphs that provide information about the current lunation, the number of the lunation in a series of six, the current ruling lunar deity and the length of the current lunation.

Moon age[edit]

The Maya counted the number of days in the current lunation. They used two systems for the zero date of the lunar cycle: either the first night they could see the thin crescent moon or the first morning when they could not see the waning moon.[24] The age of the moon was depicted by a set of glyphs that mayanists coined glyphs D and E:

  • A new moon glyph was used for day zero in the lunar cycle.
  • D glyphs were used for lunar ages for days 1 through 19, with the number of days that had passed from the new moon.
  • For lunar ages 20 to 30, an E glyph was used, with the number of days from 20.

Count of Lunations[edit]

The Maya counted the lunations. This cycle appears in the lunar series as two glyphs that modern scholars call the 'C' and 'X' glyphs. The C glyph could be prefixed with a number indicating the lunation. No prefixing number meant one, whereas the numbers two through six indicated the other lunations.[25][26] There was also a part of the C glyph that indicated where this fell in a larger cycle of 18 lunations. Accompanying the C glyph was the 'X' glyph that showed a similar pattern of 18 lunations.[27][28]

Lunation length[edit]

The present era lunar synodic period is about 29.5305877 mean solar days or about 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes and 2+7/9 seconds. As a whole number, the number of days per lunation will be either 29 or 30 days, with the 30-day intervals necessarily occurring slightly more frequently than the 29-day intervals. The Maya wrote whether the lunar month was 29 or 30 days as two glyphs: a glyph for lunation length followed by either a glyph made up of a moon glyph over a bundle with a suffix of 9 for a 29-day lunation or a moon glyph with a suffix of 10 for a 30-day lunation. Since the Maya didn't use fractions, lunations were approximated by using the formula that there were 149 lunations completed in 4400 days, which yielded a rather short mean month of exactly 4400/149 = 29+79/149 days = 29 days 12 hours 43 minutes and 29+59/149 seconds, or about 29.5302 days.[29]

819-day count[edit]

Some Mayan monuments include glyphs that record an 819-day count in their Initial Series. These can also be found in the Dresden codex.[30] This is described in Thompson.[31] More examples of this can be found in Kelley.[32] Each group of 819 days was associated with one of four colors and the cardinal direction with which it was associated – black corresponded to west, red to east, white to north and yellow to south.

The 819-day count can be described several ways: Most of these are referred to using a "Y" glyph and a number. Many also have a glyph for Kʼawill – the god with a smoking mirror in his head. Kʼawill has been suggested as having a link to Jupiter.[33] In the Dresden codex almanac 59 there are Chaacs of the four colors. The accompanying texts begin with a directional glyph and a verb for 819-day-count phrases. Anderson[34] provides a detailed description of the 819-day count.

Short count[edit]

During the late Classic period the Maya began to use an abbreviated short count instead of the Long Count. An example of this can be found on altar 14 at Tikal.[35] In the kingdoms of Postclassic Yucatán, the Short Count was used instead of the Long Count. The cyclical Short Count is a count of 13 kʼatuns (or 260 tuns), in which each kʼatun was named after its concluding day, Ahau ('Lord'). 1 Imix was selected as the recurrent 'first day' of the cycle, corresponding to 1 Cipactli in the Aztec day count. The cycle was counted from katun 11 Ahau to katun 13 Ahau. Since a katun is 20 × 360 = 7200 days long, and the remainder of 7200 divided by 13 is 11 (7200 = 553×13 + 11), the day number of the concluding day of each successive katun is 9 greater than before (wrapping around at 13, since only 13 day numbers are used). That is, starting with the katun that begins with 1 Imix, the sequence of concluding day numbers is 11, 9, 7, 5, 3, 1, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 13, 11, ..., all named Ahau. The concluding day 13 Ahau was followed by the re-entering first day 1 Imix. This is the system as found in the colonial Books of Chilam Balam. In characteristic Mesoamerican fashion, these books project the cycle onto the landscape, with 13 Ahauob 'Lordships' dividing the land of Yucatán into 13 'kingdoms'.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^Tedlock, Barbara, Time and the Highland Maya Revised edition (1992 Page 1) "Scores of indigenous Guatemalan communities, principally those speaking the Mayan languages known as Ixil, Mam, Pokomchí and Quiché, keep the 260-day cycle and (in many cases) the ancient solar cycle as well (chapter 4)."
  2. ^Miles, Susanna W, "An Analysis of the Modern Middle American Calendars: A Study in Conservation." In Acculturation in the Americas. Edited by Sol Tax, p. 273. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952.
  3. ^"Maya Calendar Origins: Monuments, Mythistory, and the Materialization of Time".
  4. ^See entry on Itzamna, in Miller and Taube (1993), pp.99–100.
  5. ^ abAcademia de las Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala (1988). Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala: Documento de referencia para la pronunciación de los nuevos alfabetos oficiales. Guatemala City: Instituto Indigenista Nacional. For details and notes on adoption among the Mayanist community, see Kettunen & Helmke (2020), p. 7.
  6. ^Tedlock (1992), p. 1
  7. ^"Mythological" in the sense that when the Long Count was first devised sometime in the Mid- to Late Preclassic, long after this date; see e.g. Miller and Taube (1993, p. 50).
  8. ^Voss (2006, p. 138)
  9. ^See separate brief Wikipedia article Lords of the Night
  10. ^Classic-era reconstructions are as per Kettunen and Helmke (2020), pp. 56–57.
  11. ^Edmonson, Munro S. (1988). The Book of the Year MIDDLE AMERICAN CALENDRICAL SYSTEMS. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. p. 20. ISBN .
  12. ^Kettunen and Helmke (2020), pp. 58–59
  13. ^These names come from de Landa's description of the calendar and they are commonly used by Mayanists, but the Classic Maya did not use these actual names for the day signs. The original names are unknown. See Coe, Michael D.; Mark L Van Stone (2005). Reading the Maya Glyphs. London: Thames & Hudson. p. 43. ISBN .
  14. ^ abcdCoe, Michael D.; Mark L Van Stone (2005). Reading the Maya Glyphs. London: Thames & Hudson. p. 43. ISBN .
  15. ^Zero Pop actually fell on the same day as the solstice on 12/27/−575, 12/27/−574, 12/27/−573 and 12/26/−572 (astronomical year numbering, Universal Time), if you don't account for the fact that the Maya region is in roughly time zone UT−6. See IMCCE seasons. Archived August 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^Boot (2002), pp. 111–114.
  17. ^For further details, see Thompson 1966: 123–124
  18. ^Kettunen, Harri; Helmke, Christophe (2014). "Introduction to Maya Hieroglyphs"(PDF). Wayeb, Comenius University in Bratislava, The Slovak Archaeological and Historical Institute. p. 51.
  19. ^Thompson 1966: 124
  20. ^For a thorough treatment of the Year Bearers, see Tedlock 1992: 89–90; 99–104 and Thompson 1966
  21. ^See Coe 1965
  22. ^Tedlock 1992: 92
  23. ^Miles, Susanna W, "An Analysis of the Modern Middle American Calendars: A Study in Conservation." In Acculturation in the Americas. Edited by Sol Tax, pp. 273–84. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952.
  24. ^Thompson, J. Eric S. Maya Hieroglyphic Writing, 1950 Page 236
  25. ^Teeple 1931:53
  26. ^Thompson Maya Hieroglyphic Writing 1950:240
  27. ^Linden 1996:343–356.
  28. ^Schele, Grube, Fahsen 1992
  29. ^Teeple 1931:67
  30. ^Grofe, Michael John 2007 The Serpent Series: Precession in the Maya Dresden Codex page 55 p. 206
  31. ^Maya Hieroglyphic Writing 1961 pp. 212–217
  32. ^Decipherment of Maya Script, David Kelley 1973 pp. 56–57
  33. ^Star Gods of the Maya Susan Milbrath 1999, University of Texas Press
  34. ^"Lloyd B. Anderson The Mayan 819-day Count and the "Y" Glyph: A Probable association with Jupiter". Traditional High Cultures Home Page. Archived from the original on May 6, 2015. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  35. ^Coe, William R. 'TIKAL a handbook of the ancient Maya Ruins' The University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa. 1967 p. 114
  36. ^Roys 1967: 132, 184–185


  • Aveni, Anthony F. (2001). Skywatchers (originally published as: Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico [1980], revised and updated ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN . OCLC 45195586.
  • Boot, Erik (2002). A Preliminary Classic Maya-English/English-Classic Maya Vocabulary of Hieroglyphic Readings(PDF). Mesoweb. Retrieved 2006-11-10.
  • Bricker, Victoria R. (February 1982). "The Origin of the Maya Solar Calendar". Current Anthropology. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, sponsored by Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. 23 (1): 101–103. doi:10.1086/202782. ISSN 0011-3204. OCLC 62217742.
  • Chambers, David Wade (1965). "Did the Maya Know the Metonic Cycle". Isis. 56 (3): 348–351.
  • Coe, Michael D. (1965). "A Model of Ancient Maya Community Structure in the Maya Lowlands". Southwestern Journal of Anthropology. 21.
  • Coe, Michael D. (1987). The Maya (4th revised ed.). London and New York: Thames & Hudson. ISBN . OCLC 15895415.
  • Coe, Michael D. (1992). Breaking the Maya Code. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN . OCLC 26605966.
  • Foster, Lynn V. (2002). Handbook to Life in the Ancient Maya World. with Foreword by Peter Mathews. New York: Facts on File. ISBN . OCLC 50676955.
  • Ivanoff, Pierre (1971). Mayan Enigma: The Search for a Lost Civilization. Elaine P. Halperin (trans.) (translation of Découvertes chez les Mayas, English ed.). New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN . OCLC 150172.
  • Jones, Christopher (1984). Deciphering Maya Hieroglyphs. Carl P. Beetz (illus.) (prepared for Weekend Workshop April 7 and 8, 1984, 2nd ed.). Philadelphia: University Museum, University of Pennsylvania. OCLC 11641566.
  • Kettunen, Harri; Christophe Helmke (2020). Introduction to Maya Hieroglyphs: 17th edition(PDF). Couvin, Belgium: Wayeb. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  • Linden, John H. (1996). The Deity Head Variants of the C Glyph. The Eight Palenque Round Table, 1993. pp. 343–356.
  • MacDonald, G. Jeffrey (27 March 2007). "Does Maya calendar predict 2012 apocalypse?". USA Today. McLean, VA: Gannett Company. ISSN 0734-7456. Archived from the original on 2008-03-16. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
  • Milbrath, Susan (1999). Star Gods of the Maya: Astronomy in Art, Folklore, and Calendars. The Linda Schele series in Maya and pre-Columbian studies. Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN . OCLC 40848420.
  • Miller, Mary; Karl Taube (1993). The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya: An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion. London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN . OCLC 27667317.
  • Rice, Prudence M., Maya Calendar Origins: Monuments, Mythistory, and the Materialization of Time (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2007) .
  • Robinson, Andrew (2000). The Story of Writing: Alphabets, Hieroglyphs and Pictograms. London and New York: Thames & Hudson. ISBN . OCLC 59432784.
  • Roys, Ralph L. (1967). The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
  • Schele, Linda; David Freidel (1992). A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya (originally published New York: Morrow, 1990, pbk reprint ed.). New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN . OCLC 145324300.
  • Schele, Linda; Nickolai Grube; Federico Fahsen (October 1992). "The Lunar Series in Classic Maya Inscriptions: New Observation and Interpretations". Texas Notes on Precolumbian Art, Writing, and Culture (29).
  • Tedlock, Barbara (1992). Time and the Highland Maya (rev. ed.). Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN . OCLC 7653289.
  • Teeple, John E. (November 1931). "Maya Astronomy"(PDF). Contributions to American Archaeology. Volume I (Pub. 403 ed.). Washington D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington. pp. 29–116.
  • Tedlock, Dennis, ed. (1985). Popol Vuh: The Definitive Edition of the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life and the Glories of Gods and Kings. Translated by Tedlock, Dennis. with commentary based on the ancient knowledge of the modern Quiché Maya. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN . OCLC 11467786.
  • Thomas, Cyrus (1897). "Day Symbols of the Maya Year". In J. W. Powell (ed.). Sixteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1894–1895 (EBook online reproduction). Washington DC: Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution; U.S. Government Printing Office. pp. 199–266. OCLC 14963920. Archived from the original on January 22, 2007 – via Project Gutenberg.
  • Thompson, J. Eric S. (1971). Maya Hieroglyphic Writing: An Introduction, 3rd Edition. Civilization of the American Indian Series, No. 56 (3rd ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN . OCLC 275252.
  • Tozzer, Alfred M., ed. (1941). Landa's Relación de las cosas de Yucatán: a translation. Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University vol. 18. Translated by Tozzer, Alfred M. Charles P. Bowditch and Ralph L. Roys (additional trans.) (translation of Diego de Landa's Relación de las cosas de Yucatán [original c. 1566], with notes, commentary, and appendices incorporating translated excerpts of works by Gaspar Antonio Chi, Tomás López Medel, Francisco Cervantes de Salazar, and Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas. English ed.). Cambridge, MA: Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. OCLC 625693.
  • Voss, Alexander (2006). "Astronomy and Mathematics". In Nikolai Grube (ed.). Maya: Divine Kings of the Rain Forest. Eva Eggebrecht and Matthias Seidel (assistant eds.). Cologne, Germany: Könemann. pp. 130–143. ISBN . OCLC 71165439.

External links[edit]


Similar news:

I demanded. After waiting for Vitya to count to a hundred, I put an unfolded diaper under his ass and let go of Vitya's buttocks. As I expected, the boy immediately began to get rid of the soapy water in his bottom.

590 591 592 593 594