The Annals of the Cakchiquels
by Daniel G. Brinton
1  2  3  4  5     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Transcriber's Note:

A number of typographical errors and inconsistencies have been maintained in this version of this book. Typographical errors have been marked with a [TN-#], which refers to a description in the complete list found at the end of the text. A list of words that have been inconsistently spelled or hyphenated is found at the end of the present text.

The following codes are used for characters that are not present in the character set used for this version of the book.

ă a with breve ā a with macron [c] quatrillo, resembles a 4 with a tail ç quatrillo with comma [t] tresillo, resembles a reversed 3 [tz] resembles a tz drawn together


No. VI.







1885, Philadelphia


Both for its historical and linguistic merits, the document which is presented in this volume is one of the most important in aboriginal American Literature. Written by a native who had grown to adult years before the whites penetrated to his ancestral home, himself a member of the ruling family of one of the most civilized nations of the continent and intimately acquainted with its traditions, his work displays the language in its pure original form, and also preserves the tribal history and a part of the mythology, as they were current before they were in the least affected by European influences.

The translation I offer is directly from the original text, and I am responsible for its errors; but I wish to acknowledge my constant obligations to the manuscript version of the late Abbe Brasseur (de Bourbourg), the distinguished Americanist. Without the assistance obtained from it, I should not have attempted the task; and though I differ frequently from his renderings, this is no more than he himself would have done, as in his later years he spoke of his version as in many passages faulty.

For the grammar of the language, I have depended on the anonymous grammar which I edited for the American Philosophical Society in 1884, copies of which, reprinted separately, can be obtained by any one who wishes to study the tongue thoroughly. For the significance of the words, my usual authorities are the lexicon of Varea, an anonymous dictionary of the 17th century, and the large and excellent Spanish-Cakchiquel work of Coto, all of which are in the library of the American Philosophical Society. They are all in MS., but the vocabulary I add may be supplemented with that of Ximenes, printed by the Abbe Brasseur, at Paris, in 1862, and between them most of the radicals will be found.

As my object in all the volumes of this series is to furnish materials for study, rather than to offer finished studies themselves, I have steadily resisted the strong temptation to expand the notes and introductory matter. They have been limited to what seemed essentially necessary to defining the nature of the work, discussing its date and authorship, and introducing the people to whom it refers.




THE ANNALS OF THE CAKCHIQUELS, by a Member of the Xahila Family, 66-194




Ethnologic Position of the Cakchiquels.

The Cakchiquels, whose traditions and early history are given in the present work from the pen of one of their own authors, were a nation of somewhat advanced culture, who occupied a portion of the area of the present State of Guatemala. Their territory is a table land about six thousand feet above the sea, seamed with numerous deep ravines, and supporting lofty mountains and active volcanoes. Though but fifteen degrees from the equator, its elevation assures it a temperate climate, while its soil is usually fertile and well watered.

They were one of a group of four closely related nations, adjacent in territory and speaking dialects so nearly alike as to be mutually intelligible. The remaining three were the Quiches, the Tzutuhils and the Akahals, who dwelt respectively to the west, the south and the east of the Cakchiquels.

These dialects are well marked members of the Maya linguistic stock, and differ from that language, as it is spoken in its purity in Yucatan, more in phonetic modifications than in grammatical structure or lexical roots. Such, however, is the fixedness of this linguistic family in its peculiarities, that a most competent student of the Cakchiquel has named the period of two thousand years as the shortest required to explain the difference between this tongue and the Maya.[10-1]

About the same length of time was that assigned since the arrival of this nation in Guatemala, by the local historian, Francisco Antonio de Fuentes y Guzman, who wrote in the seventeenth century, from an examination of their most ancient traditions, written and verbal.[10-2] Indeed, none of these affined tribes claimed to be autochthonous. All pointed to some distant land as the home of their ancestors, and religiously preserved the legends, more or less mythical, of their early wanderings until they had reached their present seats. How strong the mythical element in them is, becomes evident when we find in them the story of the first four brothers as their four primitive rulers and leaders, a myth which I have elsewhere shown prevailed extensively over the American continent, and is distinctly traceable to the adoration of the four cardinal points, and the winds from them.[10-3]

These four brothers were noble youths, born of one mother, who sallied forth from Tulan, the golden city of the sun, and divided between them all the land from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to the confines of Nicaragua, in other words, all the known world.[11-1]

The occurrence of the Aztec name of the City of Light, Tulan (properly, Tonatlan), in these accounts, as they were rehearsed by the early converted natives, naturally misled historians to adopt the notion that these divine culture heroes were "Toltecs," and even in the modern writings of the Abbe Brasseur (de Bourbourg), of M. Desire Charnay, and others, this unreal people continue to be set forth as the civilizers of Central America.

No supposition could have less support. The whole alleged story of the Toltecs is merely an euhemerized myth, and they are as pure creations of the fancy as the giants and fairies of mediaeval romance. They have no business in the pages of sober history.

The same blending of their most ancient legends with those borrowed from the Aztecs, recurs in the records of the pure Mayas of Yucatan. I have shown this, and explained it at considerable length in the first volume of this series, to which I will refer the reader who would examine the question in detail.[11-2]

There is a slight admixture of Aztec words in Cakchiquel. The names of one or two of their months, of certain objects of barter, and of a few social institutions, are evidently loan-words from that tongue. There are also some proper names, both personal and geographical, which are clearly of Nahuatl derivation. But, putting all these together, they form but a very small fraction of the language, not more than we can readily understand they would necessarily have borrowed from a nation with whom, as was the case with the Aztecs, they were in constant commercial communication for centuries.[12-1] The Pipils, their immediate neighbors to the South, cultivating the hot and fertile slope which descends from the central plateau to the Pacific Ocean, were an Aztec race of pure blood, speaking a dialect of Nahuatl, very little different from that heard in the schools of classic Tezcuco.[12-2] But the grammatical structure and stem-words of the Cakchiquel remained absolutely uninfluenced by this association.

Later, when the Spanish occupation had brought with it thousands of Nahuatl speaking followers, who supplied the interpreters for the conquerers, Nahuatl names became much more abundant, and were adopted by the natives in addressing the Spaniards. Thus the four nations, whom I have mentioned as the original possessors of the land, are, in the documents of the time, generally spoken of by such foreign titles. The Cakchiquels were referred to as Tecpan Quauhtemallan, the Quiches as Tecpan Utlatlan, the Tzutuhils as Tecpan Atitlan, and the Akahals as Tecpan Tezolotlan. In these names, all of them pure Nahuatl, the word Tecpan means the royal residence or capital; Quauhtemallan (Guatemala), "the place of the wood-pile;" Utlatlan, "the place of the giant cane;" Atitlan, "the place by the water;" Tezolotlan, "the place of the narrow stone," or "narrowed by stones."[13-1]

These fanciful names, derived from some trivial local characteristic, were not at all translations of the native tribal names. For in their own dialects, Quiche, [c]iche, means "many trees;" Tuztuhil, çutuhil, "the flowery spot;" Akahal, "the honey-comb;" and Cakchiquel, a species of tree.

Culture of the Cakchiquels.

These four nations were on the same plane of culture, and this by no means a low one. They were agriculturists, cultivating for food beans, peppers, and especially maize. To the latter, indeed, they are charged with being fanatically devoted. "If one looks closely at these Indians," complains an old author, "he will find that everything they do and say has something to do with maize. A little more, and they would make a god of it. There is so much conjuring and fussing about their corn fields, that for them they will forget wives and children and any other pleasure, as if the only end and aim of life was to secure a crop of corn."[14-1]

In their days of heathenism, all the labors of the field were directed by the observance of superstitious rites. For instance, the men, who always did a large share of the field work, refrained from approaching their wives for some days before planting the seed. Before weeding the patch, incense was burned at each of the four corners of the field, to the four gods of the winds and rains; and the first fruits were consecrated to holy uses.[14-2] Their fields were large and extremely productive.[14-3] In this connection it is worth noting, in passing, that precisely Guatemala is the habitat of the Euchlaena luxurians, the wild grass from which, in the opinion of botanists, the Zea Mais is a variety developed by cultivation.

Cotton was largely cultivated, and the early writers speak with admiration of the skill with which the native women spun and wove it into graceful garments.[15-1] As in Yucatan, bees were domesticated for their wax and honey, and a large variety of dye-stuffs, resins for incense, and wild fruits, were collected from the native forests.

Like the Mayas and Aztecs, they were a race of builders, skillful masons and stone-cutters, erecting large edifices, pyramids, temples, and defensive works, with solid walls of stone laid in a firm mortar.[15-2] The sites of these cities were generally the summits of almost inaccessible crags, or on some narrow plain, protected on all sides by the steep and deep ravines—barrancas, as the Spaniards call them—which intersect the plateau in all directions, often plunging down to a depth of thousands of feet. So located and so constructed, it is no wonder that Captain Alvarado speaks of them as "thoroughly built and marvelously strong."[15-3]

In the construction of their buildings and the measurements of their land, these nations had developed quite an accurate series of lineal measures, taking as their unit certain average lengths of the human body, especially the upper extremity. In a study of this subject, published during the present year, I have set forth their various terms employed in this branch of knowledge, and compared their system with that in use among the Mayas and the Aztecs.[16-1] It would appear that the Cakchiquels did not borrow from their neighbors, but developed independently the system of mensuration in vogue among them. This bears out what is asserted in the Annals of Xahila, that their "day-breaking," or culture, was of spontaneous growth.

The art of picture writing was familiar to all these peoples. It was employed to preserve their national history, to arrange their calendar, and, doubtless, in the ordinary affairs of life.[16-2] But I am not aware that any example or description of it has been preserved, which would enable us to decide the highly important question, whether their system was derived from that of the Mexicans or that of the Mayas, between which, as the antiquary need not be informed, there existed an almost radical difference.

The word for "to write," is çibah, which means, in its primary sense, "to paint;" ahçib, is "the scribe," and was employed to designate the class of literati in the ancient dominion. Painted or written records were called çibanic.

They had a literature beyond their history and calendars. It consisted of chants or poems, called bix, set orations and dramas.[17-1] They were said or sung in connection with their ceremonial dances. These performances were of the utmost importance in their tribal life. They were associated with the solemn mysteries of their religion, and were in memory of some of the critical events in their real or mythical history. This will be obvious from the references to them in the pages of their Annals.

These chants and dances were accompanied by the monotonous beating of the native drum, tun, by the shrill sound of reed flutes, xul, by the tinkling of small metal bells, [c]alakan, which they attached to their feet, and by rattles of small gourds or jars containing pebbles, known as zoch. Other musical instruments mentioned, are the chanal, the whistle (pito, Dicc. Anon.), and tzuy, the marimba, or something like it.

These nations were warlike, and were well provided with offensive and defensive weapons. The Spanish writers speak of them as skilled archers, rude antagonists, but not poisoning their weapons.[17-2] Besides the bow and arrow, [c]ha, they used a lance, achcayupil,[18-1] and especially the blow-pipe, pub, a potent weapon in the hands of an expert, the knowledge of which was widely extended over tropical America. Their arrow points were of stone, especially obsidian, bone and metal. Other weapons were the wooden war club, [c]haibalche; the sling, ica[t]; the hand-axe, i[t]ah, etc.

For defense, they carried a species of buckler, pocob, and a round shield called cetecic chee, "the circular wood." Over the body they wore a heavy, quilted cotton doublet, the xakpota, which was an efficient protection.

They may all be said to have been in the "stone age," as the weapons and utensils were mostly of stone. The obsidian, which was easily obtained in that country, offered an admirable resource for the manufacture of knives, arrow heads, awls, and the like. It was called chay abah, and, as we shall see on a later page, was surrounded with sacred associations.

The most esteemed precious stones were the [c]ual, translated "diamond," and the xit, which was the impure jade or green stone, so much the favorite with the nations of Mexico and Central America. It is frequently mentioned in the Annals of Xahila, among the articles of greatest value.

Engraving both on stone and wood, was a prized art. The word to express it was [c]otoh, and engraved articles are referred to as [c]otonic.

Although stone and wood were the principal materials on which they depended for their manufactures, they were well acquainted with several metals. Gold and silver were classed under the general name puvak, and distinguished as white and yellow; iron and copper were both known as [c]hi[c]h, and distinguished also by their color. The metals formed an important element of their riches, and are constantly referred to as part of the tribute paid to the rulers. They were worked into ornaments, and employed in a variety of decorative manners.

The form of government of the four nations of whom I am speaking approached that of a limited monarchy. There was a head chief, who may as well be called a king, deriving his position and power through his birth, whose authority was checked by a council of the most influential of his subjects. The details of this general scheme were not the same at all periods, nor in all the states; but its outlines differed little.

Among the Cakchiquels, who interest us at present, the regal power was equally divided between two families, the Zotzils and the Xahils; not that there were two kings at the same time, as some have supposed, but that the throne was occupied by a member of these families alternately, the head of the other being meanwhile heir-apparent.[19-1] These chiefs were called the Ahpo-Zotzil and the Ahpo-Xahil; and their eldest sons were entitled Ahpop-[c]amahay and Galel Xahil, respectively, terms which will shortly be explained.

The ceremonial distinction established between the ruler and those nearest him in rank, was indicated by the number of canopies under which they sat. The ruler himself was shaded by three, of graded sizes, the uppermost being the largest. The heir-apparent was privileged to support two, and the third from the king but one. These canopies were elaborately worked in the beautiful feathers of the quetzal, and other brilliant birds, and bore the name of muh, literally "shade" or "shadow," but which metaphorically came to mean royal dignity or state, and also protection, guardianship.[20-1]

The seat or throne on which he sat was called tem, [c]hacat, and [t]alibal, and these words are frequently employed to designate the Supreme Power.

The ceremonies connected with the installation of a king or head chief, are described in an interesting passage of the Annals, Sec. 41: "He was bathed by the attendants in a large painted vessel; he was clad in flowing robes; a sacred girdle or fillet was tied upon him; he was painted with the holy colors, was anointed, and jewels were placed upon his person." Such considerable solemnities point to the fact that these people were on a much higher plane of social life than one where the possession of the leadership was merely an act of grasping by the strongest arm.

Of the four nations, the Quiches were the most numerous and powerful. At times they exercised a sovereignty over the others, and levied tribute from them. But at the period of Alvarado's conquest, all four were independent States, engaged in constant hostilities against each other.

There is no means of forming an accurate estimate of their number. All early accounts agree that their territory was thickly populated, with numerous towns and cities.[21-1] The contingent sent to Alvarado by the Cakchiquel king, to aid in the destruction of Quiche, was four thousand warriors in one body, according to Alvarado's own statement, though Xahila puts it at four hundred. There are various reasons for believing that the native population was denser at the Conquest than at present; and now the total aboriginal population of the State of Guatemala, of pure or nearly pure blood, is about half a million souls.

The Capital City of the Cakchiquels.

The capital city of the Cakchiquels is referred to by Xahila as "Iximche on the Ratzamut." It was situated on the lofty plateau, almost on a line connecting Gumarcaah, the capital of the Quiches, with the modern city of Guatemala, about twelve leagues from the latter and eight from the former. Its name, Iximche, is that of a kind of tree (che=tree) called by the Spanish inhabitants ramon, apparently a species of Brosimium. Ratzamut, literally "the beak of the wild pigeon," was the name given to the small and almost inaccessible plain, surrounded on all sides by deep ravines, on which Iximche was situated. Doubtless, it was derived from some fancied resemblance of the outline of the plain to the beak of this bird.

The capital was also called simply tinamit, the city (not Patinamit, as writers usually give it, as pa is not an article but a preposition, in or at); and by the Aztec allies of the conqueror Alvarado, Quauhtemallan, "place of the wood-pile," for some reason unknown to us.[22-1] The latter designation was afterwards extended to the province, and under the corrupt form Guatemala is now the accepted name of the State and its modern capital.

The famous captain, Pedro de Alvarado was the first European to visit Iximche. He entered it on April 13th, 1524 (old style). In his letter describing the occurrence, however, he says little or nothing about the size or appearance of the buildings.[22-2]

Scarcely more satisfactory are the few words devoted to it by Captain Bernal Diaz del Castillo, who spent a night there the same year. He observes that "its buildings and residences were fine and rich, as might be expected of chiefs who ruled all the neighboring provinces."[23-1]

When the revolt of the Cakchiquels took place, soon afterwards, Iximche was deserted, and was never again fully inhabited. The Spaniards ordered the natives to settle in other localities, the fortifications of their capital were demolished, and many of the stones carried away, to construct churches and houses in other localities.

The next account we have of it dates from the year 1695, when the historian and antiquary, Francisco Antonio de Fuentes y Guzman, wrote a detailed description of its ruins from personal inspection. The account of this enthusiastic author is the only one which supplies any approximate notion of what the city must have been in its flourishing period, and I therefore translate it, almost entire, from the recently published edition of his voluminous work, the Recordacion Florida.[23-2] His chapter will throw light on several otherwise obscure passages in Xahila's narrative.

"Tecpan goathemala was a city of the ancient inhabitants, populous, wonderful and impregnable, from the character of its position, situated in this valley (of Chimaltenango), on an elevated and cool site. It lies eight leagues in a straight line from New Guatemala. Around this ancient and dismantled town, now falling into utmost decay, extends a deep ravine, like a moat, plunging straight down to a depth of more than a hundred fathoms. This ravine, or moat, is three squares in width from one battlement or bank to the other, and they say that a good part of it was a work of hands, for the security and defense of the city. There is no other entrance than a very narrow causeway, which cuts the ravine at a point a little north of west. The whole area of the space where are these ancient ruins measures three miles from north to south and two from east to west, and its complete circumference is nine miles. In the heart and centre of this area was prominently erected that great city of Tecpan goathemala.

"The whole surface of the soil in this ancient city seems to have been artificially prepared, by means of a cement or mortar, laid by hand, to a depth of three-fourths of a yard. Close to the brink of the ravine there are the sumptuous ruins of a magnificent and stately edifice, in length a hundred measured paces, and in width the same, thus forming a perfect square, all of stone and mortar, the stone accurately cut with great skill, polished and nicely adjusted. In front of this building is a great square plaza, of much dignity and beauty; and on its northern side one can still recognize and admire the ruins of a palace which, even in its broken vestiges, reveals a real magnificence. This royal edifice also has in front of it some squares as large and spacious in their splendor as that which has already been mentioned. Surrounding this remarkable structure, are a vast number of foundations, which, according to tradition, and by what is obvious by examination, were the houses and dwellings of nobles and of the great number of ahaguaes, besides those who gave their constant attention to the king. In this quarter or ward of the nobility, there are several wide and capacious streets, which, as the foundations indicate, ran from east to west.

"Through the middle of the site of the city, from north to south, runs a trench a fathom and a half in depth, and its battlements of stones laid in mortar rise more than half a fathom in height. This trench divided the city into two parts, leaving the residences of the chiefs and nobles on the eastern side; those of the common people to the west. The principal street runs from the entrance of the city to the chief square of the Temple, which is near the Palace; and from this main street others run east and west, north and south, branching off from the main street, having many dwellings upon them well arranged and located, and displaying the high cultivation of the ancient rulers.

"Another broad street runs close to the main street, from the trench mentioned, toward the east, for about a quarter of a league, ending at a small hill which overlooks the town, on whose summit is a circular wall, not unlike the curb of a well, about a full fathom in height. The floor within is paved with cement, as the city streets. In the centre is placed a socle or pedestal of a glittering substance, like glass, but of what composition is not known.

"This circular structure was the tribunal or consistory of the Cakchiquel Indians, where not only was public hearing given to causes, but also the sentences were carried out. Seated around this wall, the judges heard the pleas and pronounced sentences, in both civil and criminal causes. After this public decision, however, there remained an appeal for its revocation or confirmation. Three messengers were chosen as deputies of the judges, and these went forth from the tribunal to a deep ravine, north of the Palace, to a small but neatly fitted up chapel or temple, where was located the oracle of the demon. This was a black and semi-transparent stone, of a finer grade than that called chay (obsidian). In its transparency, the demon revealed to them what should be their final decision. If it was that the sentence should be confirmed, the accused was immediately executed on the central pedestal mentioned, which also served as a place of torture. If, on the other hand, nothing could be seen in the transparency of the stone, the accused was forthwith discharged. This oracle was also consulted in all their military undertakings; and war was declared or not, as it seemed to dictate, as is stated both by Spaniards and the oldest natives. But in the early days of our occupation, when these facts came to the knowledge of the Reverend Bishop Don Francisco Marroquin, of glorious memory, he gave orders that this stone should be artistically squared, and he consecrated it and used it as an altar stone, and at this day it is so employed on the grand altar of the convent of San Francisco de Tecpan goathemala, and it is considered a jewel of unusual beauty and value. The size of the stone is a full half yard in each direction.

"The principal gate of this stronghold or citadel was upon the causeway mentioned; and they say it was closed with two doors set in the solid wall, the external one opening outward, the internal one inward, and both were of the stone called chay. Thus, one of these doors backed up against the other, as we sometimes see double doors in our prisons. They were always guarded with double guards, one within, the other without, and these guards were changed every seven days. In the open country, on the other side of the ravine, there were a number of mounds, about a quarter of a league apart, extending for a considerable distance. On these, lookouts were constantly stationed, to give notice of the invasions of the Quiches or of the Sotojil king."

The site of Iximche was visited in 1840 by the eminent American traveler, John L. Stephens. He states that its position, the steep and profound barranca, and the plain, "warrant the description given of it by Fuentes." A century and a half had, however, almost erased the vestiges of human life. "The ground was covered with mounds of ruins. In one place we saw the foundations of two houses, one of them about one hundred and fifty feet long by fifty feet broad."

Mr. Stephens was also fortunate enough to see and examine the mysterious divining stone, preserved in the church of Tecpan Guatemala. But a great disappointment awaited him. "This oracular slab is a piece of common slate, fourteen inches by ten, and about as thick as those used by boys at school, without characters of any kind upon it."[27-1]

A few years after Mr. Stephens' visit, the government of Guatemala appointed a commission to survey and examine these ruins. They completed their labors successfully, but I have been unable to learn that the results were published, although they were written out and placed in the governmental archives.[28-1]

Computation of Time.

I propose, in a future work, to discuss the methods of reckoning time in use in Central America; but a brief explanation of that adopted by the Cakchiquels is essential to a comprehension of their Annals.

The Cakchiquels were probably acquainted with the length of the year as 365 days; there is even some evidence that they allowed an intercalary day every four years, by beginning the reckoning of the year one day earlier.

The beginning of their year is stated, by most authorities, to have been on the day corresponding to our January 31st or February 1st, old style (February 11th or 12th, new style).

The year was not divided into lunar months, as was the case with the hunting tribes, but in a manner similar to the highly artificial and complicated system that prevailed among the Mayas and Mexicans. This allotted to the solar year twenty months of eighteen days each, leaving a remainder of five days, which the Mexicans called nemontemi, insufficient; the Mayas n yail kin, days of pain or of peril, and the Cakchiquels [tz]api [t]ih, days of evil or days at fault; and which were not included in the count of the months.[28-2]

Dates, however, were not assigned by a simple reference to days of the month, but by days of the week; these weeks being of thirteen days each, and including every day of the year. The week days were not named, but numbered only.

As will be noted in the Annals, more importance was attached to the day on which an occurrence took place than to the year. This is common with untrained minds. Every citizen of the United States knows that George Washington was born on the 22d of February; but it would puzzle a large portion of them to be asked the year of his birth.

Names of the Cakchiquel Months.

Name. Signification. 1. Tacaxepual, Corn planting 2. Nabey tumuzuz, First of winged ants. 3. Rucan tumuzuz, Second of winged ants. 4. Cibix, Smoky, or clouds. 5. Uchum, Re-planting 6. Nabey mam, First grandson. 7. Rucab mam, Second grandson. 8. Li[t]in[t]a, Soft to the hand. 9. Nabey to[t], First cacao harvest. 10. Rucab to[t], Second cacao harvest[TN-1] 11. Nabey pach, First incubation. 12. Rucab pach, Second incubation. 13. Tziquin [t]ih, Bird days. 14. Cakan, Red clouds. 15. Ibota, Mat rolling. 16. Katic, Drying up. 17. Itzcal [t]ih, Bad road days. 18. Pariche, In the woods.

To appreciate the bearing of these names, one must remember that this is a rural calendar, in which the months were designated with reference to farming and household incidents. Thus, the "winged ants" referred to, are a species that appear in March and April, shortly before the first of the rainy season; the fourth month is cloudy or misty, from the frequent rains; the first and second grandsons refer probably to the "suckers," which must be plucked from the growing corn; in the eighth month the earth is moist, and must be kept, by tillage, "soft to the hand;" the others have obvious rural allusions, down to the last, when the natives went "in the woods" to gather fuel. The names appear to be all in the Cakchiquel dialect, except the first, Tacaxepual, the resemblance of which to the name of the second Mexican month, Tlacaxipehualiztli, is too striking to be a coincidence, and perhaps the seventeenth, Itzcal, which is very like the eighteenth of the Mexican calendar, Izcalli; but if borrowed from the latter, two Cakchiquel words, of similar sound but different meaning, have been substituted for the original by the familiar linguistic principle of otosis or paronomasia.

Names of the Cakchiquel Days.

Name. Name. 1. Imox, 11. Batz, 2. I[t], 12. Ee, 3. A[t]bal, 13. Ah, 4. Kat, 14. Yiz, 5. Can, 15. Tziquin, 6. Camey, 16. Ahmac, 7. Queh, 17. Noh, 8. Kanel, 18. Tihax, 9. Toh, 19. Caok, 10. Tzii, 20. Hunahpu,[TN-2]

The calendars in use were of two different kinds, the one called [c]hol [t]ih, literally "the valuer or appraiser of days," which was employed exclusively for astrological and divining purposes, to decide on which were lucky and unlucky days; and may [t]ih, "the revolution or recurrence of days," which was for chronological purposes.[31-1]

It will be noticed that in Xahila's Annals, every year ends on a day Ah, and that each such closing day is numerically three less than the day Ah terminating the preceding year. There are also obvious inconsistencies in his identification of native dates with the Christian calendar; but these, and the numerous difficult questions they suggest, would take me too far afield to enter upon in the present introductory paragraphs. The object of this volume is rather to furnish material for study than to undertake the study itself.

The brief description of their reckoning of time, given by Sanchez y Leon, may be quoted: "They divided the year into 18 months, and each month into 20 days; but they counted only by nights, which they mentioned as dawns (alboradas); the movements of the sun in the ecliptic governed their calendar; they began their year forty days before ours; they celebrated annually three great feasts, like Easters, at which periods both sexes assembled together at night, and indulged in drunkenness and wantonness."[31-2]

I think in this extract the author should have said that they began their year 40 days later than ours, as this would bring his statement more into conformity with other writers.

Personal and Family Names.

Among the Cakchiquels, each person bore two names; the first his individual name, the second that of his family or chinamitl. This word is pure Nahuatl, and means a place enclosed by a fence,[32-1] and corresponds, therefore, to the Latin herctum, and the Saxon ton. As adopted by the Cakchiquels, it meant a household or family of one lineage and bearing one name, all of whom were really or theoretically descended from one ancestral household. To all such was applied the term aca, related or affined;[32-2] and marriage within the chinamitl was not permitted. When a man of one chinamitl married into another, every male in the latter became his brother-in-law, baluc, or son-in-law, hi.[32-3]

Each chinamitl was presided over by a recognized leader, the "head of the house," whose title was ahçalam, "the keeper of the tablets,"[32-4] probably the painted records on which the genealogy of the family and the duties of its members were inscribed.

The division of the early tribes into these numerous families was not ancient, dating, according to tradition, from about a century and a half before the Conquest.[32-5]

The family name was sometimes derived from a locality, sometimes from a peculiarity, and at others from astrological motives.[33-1]

The personal name was always that of the day of birth, this being adopted for astrological reasons. There was a fixed opinion that the temperament and fortunes of the individual were controlled by the supposed character of his birthday, and its name and number were therefore prefixed to his family name. This explains the frequent occurrence in the Cakchiquel Annals of such strange appellatives as Belehe Queh, nine deer; Cay Batz, two monkey, etc.; these being, in fact, the days of the year on which the bearers were born. They should be read, "the 9th Queh," "the 2d Batz," etc.

Tribal Subdivisions.

The chinamitl appears to have been the sub-gens. Besides it, there are other words frequently recurring in the Annals referring to divisions of the community, hay, home or household; [c]hob, sept or division; and ama[t] tribe or city.

The first of these, hay, appears to be a general term applied to a community, without necessarily implying relationship. An Indian, asked where he is from, will answer in ah-hay vae, "I am of this place," referring to his village. Yet it is evident that in early times, all of one village were considered to be related. The word hay, moroever,[TN-3] does not signify a house as an edifice. In that sense the proper term is ochoch.

The frequent references by Xahila to the seven tribes, or rather the seven cities, vuk ama[t], and the thirteen divisions or provinces, oxlahuh [c]hob, are not explained in the course of the narrative. These numbers retained sacred associations, as they were adopted later to assign the days of worship of their divinity (see Sec. 44). Brasseur is of opinion that the thirteen divisions refer to the Pokomams,[34-1] but that such a subdivision obtained among the Cakchiquels as well, is evident from many parts of their Annals. The same division also prevailed, from remote times, among the Quiches,[34-2] and hence was probably in use among all these tribes. It may have had some superstitious connection with the thirteen days of their week. The [c]hob may be regarded as the original gens of the tribe, and the similarity of this word to the radical syllable of the Nahuatl calp-ulli, may not be accidental. I have elsewhere spoken of the singular frequency with which we hear of seven ancestors, cities, caves, etc., in the most ancient legends of the American race.[34-3]

Terms of Affinity and Salutation.

In the Cakchiquel grammar which I edited, I have given a tolerably full list of the terms of consanguinity and affinity in the tongue (pp. 28, 29). But it is essential to the correct understanding of the text in this volume, to recognize the fact that many such terms in Cakchiquel are, in the majority of cases, terms of salutation only, and do not express actual relationship.

Examples of this are the words tata, father, used by women to all adult males; and tee, mother, employed by both sexes in addressing adult women. In Xahila's writings, we constantly find the words nimal, elder brother, and cha[t], younger brother, inserted merely as friendly epithets. The term mama, grandfather, almost always means simply "ancestor," or, indeed, any member of an anterior generation beyond the first degree. This word must not be confounded with mam (an error occurring repeatedly in Brasseur's writings), as the latter means "grandchild;" and according to Father Coto, it may be applied by a grandparent of either sex to a grandchild of either sex.

Titles and Social Castes.

There are a number of terms of frequent recurrence in Xahila's text, expressing the different offices in the government, rank in social life and castes of the population, which offer peculiar difficulty to the translator, because we have no corresponding expressions in European tongues; while to retain them in the version, renders it less intelligible, and even somewhat repulsive to the reader. I have thought it best, generally, to give these terms an approximate English rendering in my translation, while in the present section I submit them to a critical examination.

The ordinary term for chief or ruler, in both the Cakchiquel and Maya dialects, is ahau. Probably this is a compound of ah, a common prefix in these tongues, originally signifying person, and hence, when attached to a verb, conveying the notion of one accustomed to exercise the action indicated; to a noun of place, a resident there; and to a common noun, a worker in or owner of the article; and u, a collar, especially an ornamental collar, here intended as a badge of authority. Ahau is, therefore, "the wearer of the collar;" and by this distinction equivalent to chief, ruler, captain, lord, king, or emperor, by all which words it is rendered in the lexicons. It is not a special title, but a general term.

Scarcely less frequent is the term ahpop. This is a compound of the same prefix ah, with the word pop, which means a mat. To sit upon such a mat was a privilege of nobility, and of such dignitaries as were entitled to be present at the national council; ahpop, therefore, may be considered as equivalent to the German title Rath, counsellor, and appears to have been used much in the same conventional manner. In the Cakchiquel lexicons, popoh is "to hold a council;" popol, a council; popoltzih, "to speak in council," etc. All these are derived from the word pop, mat; from the mats on which the councillors sat during their deliberations.

Personages of the highest rank, of the "blood royal," combined these titles. They were ahau ahpop, "lords of the council." Uniting the latter title to the family names of the ruling house, the chief ruler was known as Ahpo' Zotzil, and the second in rank and heir-apparent, as Ahpo' Xahil. The oldest son of the former bore the title Ahpop-[c]amahay, which is translated by the best authorities "messenger of the council," and ordinarily was applied to an official who communicated the decisions of the councils of one village to that of another.[37-1] Another title, mentioned by Xahila, is ahpop-achi, the last word means man, vir.

A third article, which distinguished the higher classes, was the seat or stool on which they sat during solemn ceremonies. This was called [t]aalibal, an instrumental noun from the verb [t]al, to be visible or prominent, persons so seated being elevated above, and thus distinguished from others, from this the verbal form, [t]alel, was derived, meaning "he who is prominent," etc., or, more freely, "illustrious," "distinguished."[37-2] The title ahpop [t]alel meant, therefore, originally "he who is entitled to a mat and a stool," that is, in the council chamber of his town.

Another official connected with the council was the orator appointed to bring before it the business of the day. His title was ah uchan, from ucheex, to speak, and it is translated by Spanish writers, the "rhetorician, orator."[37-3] A similar personage, the ah tzih vinak, "the man of words,"[37-4] was in attendance on the king, and, apparently, was the official mouth-piece of the royal will. Still a third, known as the lol-may, which apparently means "silence-breaker," was, according to the dictionaries, "an envoy dispatched by the rulers to transact business or to collect tributes."[38-1]

Very nearly or quite the same organization prevailed in the courts of Quiche and Atitlan. The chiefs of the latter province forwarded, in 1571, a petition to Philip II, in which they gave some interesting particulars of their former government. They say: "The supreme ruler was called Atziquinihai, and the chiefs who shared the authority with him, Amac Tzutuhil. These latter were sovereigns, and acknowledged no superiors.... The sovereign, or king, did not recognize any authority above himself. The persons or officers who attended at his court were called Lolmay, Atzivinac, Galel, Ah-uchan. They were factors, auditors and treasurers. Our titles correspond to yours."[38-2]

The name here applied to the ruler of the Tzutuhils, Atziquinahay, recurs in Xahila's Annals. It was his family name, and in its proper form, Ah çiquin-i-hay, means "he who is a member of the bird family;"[38-3] the bird being the totemic symbol of the ruling house.

While the nobles were distinguished by titles such as these, the mass of the people were divided into well defined classes or castes. The warriors were called ah-labal, from labal, war; and they were distinguished from the general male population, who were known as achi, men, viri. These were independent freemen, engaged in peaceful avocations, but, of course, ready to take up arms on occasion. They were broadly distinguished from the tributaries, called ah-patan; the latter word meaning tax or tribute; and still more sharply from the slaves, known as vinakitz, "mean men," or by the still more significant word mun, hungry (Guzman, Compendio). The less cultivated tribes speaking other tongues, adjoining the Cakchiquels, were promiscuously stigmatized with the name chicop, brutes or beasts.

A well developed system of tribute seems to have prevailed, and it is often referred to by Xahila. The articles delivered to the collectors were gold, silver, plain and worked, feathers, cacao, engraved stones, and what appear as singular, garlands ([c]ubul) and songs, painted apparently on skins or paper.

Religious Notions.

The deities worshiped by these nations, the meaning and origin of their titles, and the myths connected with them, have been the subject of an examination by me in an earlier work.[39-1] Here, therefore, it will be needless to repeat what I have there said, further than to add a few remarks explanatory of the Cakchiquel religion in particular.

According to the Popol Vuh, "the chief god of the Cakchiquels was Chamalcan, and his image was a bat."[40-1] Brasseur endeavored to trace this to a Nahuatl etymology,[40-2] but there is little doubt it refers, as do so many of the Cakchiquel proper names, to their calendar. Can is the fifth day of their week, and its sign was a serpent;[40-3] chamal is a slightly abbreviated form of chaomal, which the lexicons translate "beauty" and "fruitfulness," connected with chaomar, to yield abundantly. He was the serpent god of fruitfulness, and by this type suggests relations to the lightning and the showers. The bat, Zotz, was the totem of the Zotzils, the ruling family of the Cakchiquels; and from the extract quoted, they seem to have set it up as the image of Chamalcan.

The generic term for their divinities, employed by Xahila, and also frequently in the Popol Vuh, is [c]abuyl, which I have elsewhere derived from the Maya chab, to create, to form. It is closely allied to the epithets applied in both works to the Deity, çakol, the maker, especially he who makes something from earth or clay; bitol, the former, or fashioner; [c]aholom, the begetter of sons; alom, the bearer of children; these latter words intimating the bi-sexual nature of the principal divinity, as we also find in the Aztec mythology and elsewhere. The name [c]axto[c], the liar, from the verb [c]axto[c]oh, to lie, also frequently used by Xahila with reference to the chief god of his nation in its heathendom, may possibly have arisen after their conversion to Christianity; but from the coincidence that the Algonkin tribes constantly applied such seemingly opprobrious terms to their principal deity, it may have arisen from a similar cycle of myths as did theirs.[41-1]

There are references in Xahila's Annals to the Quiche deities, Exbalanquen, Cabrakan, Hunahpu, and Tohil, but they do not seem to have occupied any prominent place in Cakchiquel mythology. Several minor gods are named, as Belehe Toh, nine Toh, and Hun Tihax, one Tihax; these appellations are taken from the calendar.

Father Pantaleon de Guzman furnishes the names of various inferior deities, which serve to throw light on the Cakchiquel religion. Four of these appear to be gods of diseases, Ahal puh, Ahal te[t]ob, Ahal xic, and Ahal [t]anya; at least three of these second words are also the designations of maladies, and ahal is probably a mistake of the copyist for ahau, lord. As the gods of the abode of the dead, he names Tatan bak and Tatan holom, Father Bones and Father Skull.

Another series of appellations which Guzman gives as of Cakchiquel gods, show distinctly the influence of Nahuatl doctrines. There are Mictan ahauh, lord of Mictlan, this being the name of the abode of darkness, in Aztec mythology; Caueztan ahauh, probably Coatlan, lord of the abode of serpents; Tzitzimil, the tzitzimime of the Aztecs; and Colele, probably colotl, the scorpion, or tecolotl, the owl, which latter, under the name tucur, is also mentioned by Xahila.[42-1]

Father Coto refers to some of their deities of the woods and streams. One of these, the Man of the Woods, is famous throughout Yucatan and most of Central America. The Spaniards call him Salonge, the Mayas Che Vinic, and the Cakchiquels ru vinakil chee; both these latter meaning "the woods man." What gives this phantom especial interest in this connection is, that Father Coto identifies the woodsman with the Zaki[c]oxol, the white fire maker, encountered by the Cakchiquels in Xahila's narrative (Sec. 21).[42-2] I have narrated the curious folk-lore about the woodsman in another publication, and need not repeat it here.[42-3] His second name, the White Fire Maker, perhaps refers to the "light wood" or phosphorescence about damp and decaying trees.

To the water-sprites, the Undines of their native streams, they gave the name xulu, water-flies, or ru vinakil ya, the water people.

As their household gods, they formed little idols of the ashes from the funeral pyres of their great men, kneading them with clay. To these they gave the name vinak, men or beings (Coto).

Representations of these divinities were carved in wood and stone, and the words chee abah, "wood and stone," usually mean, when they appear together in Xahila's narrative, "idols or images in wood and stone."

The Stone God, indeed, is a prominent figure in their mythology, as it was in their daily life. This was the sacred Chay Abah, the Obsidian Stone, which was the oracle of their nation, and which revealed the will of the gods on all important civil and military questions. To this day, their relatives, the Mayas of Yucatan, attach implicit faith to the revelations of the zaztun, the divining stone kept by their sorcerers, and if it decrees the death of any one, they will despatch him with their machetes, without the slightest hesitation.[43-1] The belief was cherished by the rulers and priests, as they alone possessed the power to gaze on the polished surface of the sacred block of obsidian, and read thereupon the invisible decrees of divinity. (See above, p. 25).

As the stone came from the earth, it was said to have been derived from the under world, from Xibalbay, literally the unseen or invisible place, the populous realm in Quiche myth, visited and conquered by their culture hero, Xbalanque. Hence in Cakchiquel tale, the Chay Abah represented the principle of life, as well as the source of knowledge.[43-2]

The Cakchiquel Annals do not pretend to deal with mythology, but from various references and fragments inserted as history, it is plain that they shared the same sacred legends as the Quiches, which were, in all probability, under slightly different forms, the common property of the Maya race. They all indicate loans from the Aztec mythology. In the Cakchiquel Annals, as in the Popol Vuh and the Maya Chronicles, we hear of the city of the sun god, Tulan or Tonatlan, as the place of their origin, of the land Zuiva and of the Nonoalcos, names belonging to the oldest cycles of myths in the religion of the Aztecs. In the first volume of this series I have discussed their appearance in the legends of Central America,[44-1] and need not refer to them here more than to say that those who have founded on these names theories of the derivation of the Maya tribes or their ruling families from the Toltecs, a purely imaginary people, have perpetrated the common error of mistaking myth for history. It is this error that renders valueless much that the Abbe Brasseur, M. Charnay and others of the French school, have written on this subject.

Xahila gives an interesting description of some of their ancient rites (Sec. 44). Their sacred days were the 7th and 13th of each week. White resin was burned as incense, and green branches with the bark of evergreen trees were brought to the temple, and burned before the idol, together with a small animal, which he calls a cat, "as the image of night;" but our domestic cat was unknown to them, and what animal was originally meant by the word mez, I do not know.

He mentions that the priests and nobles drew blood with the spines of the gourd tree and maguey, and elsewhere (Sec. 37) refers to the sacrifice of infants at a certain festival. The word for the sacrificial letting of blood was çohb, which, by some of the missionaries, was claimed as the root of the word [c]abuil, deity.

Human sacrifice was undoubtedly frequent, although the reverse has been asserted by various historians.[45-1] Father Varea gives some curious particulars. The victim was immolated by fire, the proper word being [c]atoh, to burn, and then cut in pieces and eaten. When it was, as usual, a male captive, the genital organs were given to one of the old women who were prophetesses, to be eaten by her, as a reward for her supplications for their future success in battle.[45-2] The cutting in pieces of Tol[c]om, in the narrative of Xahila, has reference to such a festival.

Sanchez y Leon states that the most usual sacrifice was a child. The heart was taken out, and the blood was sprinkled toward the four cardinal points as an act of adoration to the four winds, copal being burned at the same time, as an incense.[45-3]

A leading feature in their ceremonial worship was the sacred dance, or, as the Spanish writers call it, el baile. The native name for it is xahoh, and it is repeatedly referred to in the Annals. The legendary origin of some of these dances, indeed, constitute a marked feature in its narratives. They are mentioned by the missionaries as the favorite pastime of the Indians; and as it was impossible to do away with them altogether, they contented themselves with suppressing their most objectionable features, drunkenness and debauchery, and changed them, at least in name, from ceremonies in honor of some heathen god, to some saint in the Roman calendar. In some of these, vast numbers of assistants took part, as is mentioned by Xahila (Sec. 32).

Magic and divination held a very important place in Cakchiquel superstition, as the numerous words bearing upon them testify. The form of belief common to them and their neighbors, has received the name Nagualism, from the Maya root na, meaning to use the senses. I have traced its derivation and extension elsewhere,[46-1] and in this connection will only observe that the narrative of Xahila, in repeated passages, proves how deeply it was rooted in the Cakchiquel mind. The expression ru puz ru naval, should generally be rendered "his magic power, his sorcery," though it has a number of allied significations. Naval as a noun means magician, naval chee, naval abah, the spirit of the tree, of the stone, or the divinity embodied in the idols of these substances.

Another root from which a series of such words were derived, was hal, to change. The power of changing or metamorphosing themselves into tigers, serpents, birds, globes of fire, etc., was claimed by the sorcerers, and is several times mentioned in the following texts. Hence the sorcerer was called haleb, the power he possessed to effect such transformations halibal, the change effected halibeh, etc.

Their remarkable subjection to these superstitions is illustrated by the word lab, which means both to divine the future and to make war, because, says Ximenez, "they practiced divination in order to decide whether they should make war or not."[47-1]

These auguries were derived frequently from the flight and call of birds (as in the Annals, Secs. 13, 14, etc.), but also from other sources. The diviner who foretold by grains of maize, bore the title malol ixim, the anointer or consecrator of maize (Dicc. Anon[TN-4]).

The priesthood was represented by two high priests, elected for life by the ruler and council. The one who had especial custody of religious affairs wore a flowing robe, a circlet or diadem on his head ornamented with feathers, and carried in his hand a rod, or wand. On solemn occasions he publicly sacrificed blood from his ears, tongue, and genital organ.

His associate was the custodian and interpreter of the sacred books, their calendars and myths, and decided on lucky and unlucky days, omens and prognostics.

In addition to these, there were certain old men, of austere life, who dwelt in the temples, and wore their hair in plaited strands around their heads (trenzado en circulo), who were consulted on ordinary occasions as diviners.[47-2]

The funeral rites of the Cakchiquels have been related at considerable length by Fuentes, from original documents in the Pokoman[TN-5] dialect.[48-1] The body was laid in state for two days, after which it was placed in a large jar and interred, a mound being erected over the remains. On the mound a statue of the deceased was placed, and the spot was regarded as sacred. Father Coto gives somewhat the same account, adding that these mounds were constructed either of stone or of the adjacent soil, and were called cakhay or cubucak.[48-2] He positively asserts that human sacrifices accompanied the interments of chiefs, which is denied by Fuentes, except among the Quiches. These companions for the deceased chief on his journey to the land of souls, were burned on his funeral pyre. A large store of charcoal was buried with the corpse, as that was supposed to be an article of which he would have special use on his way. Sanchez y Leon mentions that the high priest was buried in his house, clothed and seated upon his chair. The funeral ceremonies, in his case, lasted fifteen days.[48-3]

The Cakchiquel Language.

The Cakchiquel tongue was reduced to writing by the Spanish missionaries, and therefore, in this work, as in all the MSS, the following letters are used with their Spanish values,—a, b, c, ch, c, e, i, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, t, y.

The following are not employed:—

d, f, g, j, s, n, z.

The following are introduced, but with sounds differing from the Spanish:—

h. This is always a decided rough breathing or forcible expiration, like the Spanish j, or the strong English h; except when it follows c or [c], when it is pronounced as in the Spanish, cha, che, etc.

k. This has never the sound of c, but is a rough palatal, the mouth being opened, and the tongue placed midway, between the upper and lower walls of the oral cavity, while the sound is forcibly expelled.

v. This letter, whether as a consonant (v) or a vowel (u), is pronounced separately, except when it is doubled, as in vuh (uuh), book or paper, when the double vowel is very closely akin to the English w.

x. In Cakchiquel and its associated dialects, this letter represents the sound of sh in the English words she, shove, etc.

Besides the above, there are five sounds occurring in the Cakchiquel, Quiche and Tzutuhil, for which five special characters were invented, or rather adopted, by the early missionary Francisco de la Parra, who died in Guatemala, in 1560. They are the following:—

ç çh [c] [t] [tz]

The origin and phonetic value of these, as given by the grammarian Torresano, are as follows:[49-1]—

[t] This is called the tresillo, from its shape, it being an old form of the figure three, reversed, thus, . It is the only true guttural in the language, being pronounced forcibly from the throat, with a trilling sound (castaneteando).

[c] From its shape this is called the cuatrillo, Parra having adopted for it an old form of the figure 4. It is a trilled palatal, between a hard c and k.

ç The name applied to this is, the cuatrillo con coma, or the 4 with a comma. It is pronounced somewhat like the c with the cedilla, c, only more quickly and with greater force—ds or dz.

[tz] This resembles the "4 with a comma," but is described as softer, the tongue being brought into contact with the teeth, exactly as tz in German.

çh A compound sound produced by combining the cuatrillo with a forcible aspirate, is represented by this sign.

Naturally, no description in words can convey a correct notion of these sounds. To learn them, one must hear them spoken by those to the manner-born.

Dr. Otto Stoll, who recently made a careful study of the Cakchiquel when in Guatemala, says of Parra's characters:—

"The four new signs added to the European alphabet, by some of the old writers on Cakchiquel (Parra, Flores), viz: [t], [c], ç, [c]h, are but phonetic modifications of four corresponding signs of the common alphabet. So we get four pairs of sounds, namely:—

c and [c]; k and [t] ch and [c]h tz and ç

forming two series of consonants, the former of which represents the common letters, and the latter their respective "cut letters," which may be described as being pronounced with a shorter and more explosive sound than the corresponding common letter, and separated by a short pause from the preceding or following vowel."[51-1]

The late Dr. Berendt illustrated the phonetic value of such "cut" letters, by the example of two English words where the same letter terminates one word and begins the next, and each is clearly but rapidly pronounced, thus, the [t] is pronounced like two gutteral[TN-6] ks in "break kettle;" the [c] like the two cs in "magic candle,"[TN-7] etc.

There would appear to have been other "cut" letters in the old dialects of Cakchiquel, as in Guzman we find the pp and thth, as in the Maya, but later writers dropped them.

I may dispense with a discussion of the literature of the Cakchiquel language, having treated that subject so lately as last year, in the introduction to the Grammar of the Cakchiquel, which I then translated and edited for the American Philosophical Society. As will be seen by reference to that work, it is quite extensive, and much of it has been preserved. I have examined seven dictionaries of the tongue, all quite comprehensive; manuscript copies of all are in the United States. None of these, however, has been published; and we must look forward to the dictionary now preparing by Dr. Stoll, of Zurich, as probably the first to see the light.

The Maya race, in nearly all its branches, showed its intellectual superiority by the eagerness with which it turned to literary pursuits, as soon as some of its members had learned the alphabet. I have brought forward some striking testimony to this in Yucatan,[52-1] and there is even more in Central America. The old historians frequently refer to the histories of their own nations, written out by members of the Quiche, Cakchiquel, Pokomam and Tzendal tribes. Vasquez, Fuentes and Juarros quote them frequently, and with respect. They were composed in the aboriginal tongues, for the benefit of their fellow townsmen, and as they were never printed, most of them became lost, much to the regret of antiquaries.

Of those preserved, the Popol Vuh or National Book of the Quiches, and the Annals of the Cakchiquels, the latter published for the first time in this volume, are the most important known.

The former, the "Sacred Book" of the Quiches, a document of the highest merits, and which will certainly increase in importance as it is studied, was printed at Paris in 1861, with a translation into French by the Abbe Brasseur (de Bourbourg). He made use only of the types of the Latin alphabet; and both in this respect and in the fidelity of his translation, he has left much to be desired in the presentation of the work.

The recent publication of the Grammar also relieves me from the necessity of saying much about the structure of the Cakchiquel language. Those who wish to acquaint themselves with it, and follow the translation given in this volume by comparing the original text, will need to procure all the information contained in the Grammar. It will be sufficient to say here that the tongue is one built up with admirable regularity on radicals of one or two syllables. The perfection and logical sequence of its verbal forms have excited the wonder and applause of some of the most eminent linguists, and are considered by them to testify to remarkable native powers of mind.[53-1]

The Annals of Xahila.

The MS. from which I print the Annals of the Cakchiquels, is a folio of 48 leaves, closely written on both sides in a very clear and regular hand, with indigo ink. It is incomplete, the last page closing in the middle of a sentence.

What is known of the history of this manuscript, is told us by Don Juan Gavarrete, who, for many years, was almost the only native of Guatemala interested in the early history of his country. He tells us in his introduction to his translation of it, soon to be mentioned, that in 1844 he was commissioned to arrange the archives of the Convent of San Francisco of Guatemala, by order of the Archbishop Don Francisco Garcia Pelaez. Among the MSS. of the archives he found these sheets, written entirely in Cakchiquel, except a few marginal glosses in Spanish, in a later hand, and in ordinary ink. The document was submitted to several persons acquainted with the Cakchiquel language, who gave a general statement of its contents, but not a literal and complete translation.[54-1]

When, in 1855, the Abbe Brasseur (de Bourbourg) visited Guatemala, Senor Gavarrete showed him this MS., and the Abbe borrowed it for the purpose of making a full version, doubtless availing himself of the partial translations previously furnished. His version completed, he left a copy of it with Senor Gavarrete, and brought the original with him to Europe.[54-2] It remained in his possession until his death at Nice, when, along with the rest of the Abbe's library, it passed into the hands of M. Alphonse Pinart. This eminent ethnologist learning my desire to include it in the present series of publications, was obliging enough to offer me the opportunity of studying it.

Previous to its discovery in Guatemala, in 1844, we have no record of it whatsoever, and must turn to the document itself for information.

The title given it by Brasseur, and adopted by Gavarrete, Memorial de Tecpan Atitlan, was purely factitious, and, moreover, is misleading. It was, indeed, written at the town of Tzolola or Atitlan, on the lake of that name, the chief city of the Tzutuhils; but its authors were Cakchiquels; its chief theme is the history of their tribe, and it is only by the accident of their removal to Atitlan, years after the Conquest, that its composition occurred there. I have, therefore, adopted for it, or at least that portion of it which I print, the much more appropriate name, The Annals of the Cakchiquels.

I say "for that portion of it," because I print but 48 out of the 96 pages of the original. These contain, however, all that is of general interest; all that pertains to the ancient history of the nation. The remainder is made up of an uninteresting record of village and family incidents, and of a catalogue of births, baptisms and marriages. The beginning of the text as printed in this volume, starts abruptly in the MS. after seventeen pages of such trivialities, and has no separate title or heading.

The caption of the first page of the MS. explains the purpose of this miscellaneous collection of family documents. That caption is



The word memoria is the Spanish for a record, memoir or brief, and the Cakchiquel [c]haoh, originally contention, revolt, was, after the Conquest, the technical term for a legal process or lawsuit. These papers, therefore, form part of the record in one of those interminable legal cases in which the Spanish law delighted. The plaintiffs in the case seem to have been the Xahila family, who brought the action to recover some of their ancient possessions or privileges, as one of the two ruling families of the Cakchiquel nation; and in order to establish this point, they filed in their plea the full history of their tribe and genealogy of their family, so far as was known to them by tradition or written record. It belongs to the class of legal instruments, called in Spanish law Titulos, family titles. A number of such, setting forth the descent and rights of the native princes in Central America, are in existence, as the Titulo de Totonicapan, etc.

The date of the present rescript is not accurately fixed. As it includes the years 1619-20, it must have been later than those dates. From the character of the paper and writing, I should place it somewhere between 1620 and 1650.

In his Advertencia to his translation of it, Senor Gavarrete asserts that the document is in the handwriting of one of the native authors. This is not my opinion. It is in the small, regular, perfectly legible hand of a professional scribe, a notarial clerk, no doubt, thoroughly at home in the Cakchiquel language, and trained in the phonetic characters, introduced with such success by Father Parra, as I have already mentioned. The centre lines and catch-words are in large, clear letters, so as to attract the eye of the barrister, as






The document is made up of the depositions and statements of a number of members of the Xahila family, but that around which the chief interest centres, and that which alone is printed in this volume, is the history of his nation as written out by one of them who had already reached adult years, at the epoch of the first arrival of the Spaniards, in 1524. Unfortunately, his simple-hearted modesty led him to make few personal allusions, and we can glean little information about his own history. The writer first names himself, in the year 1582, where he speaks of "me, Francisco Ernantez Arana."[57-1] The greater part of the manuscript, however, was composed many years before this. Its author says that his grandfather, the king Hun Yg, and his father, Balam, both died in 1521, and his own marriage took place in 1522. As it was the custom of his nation to marry young, he was probably, at the time, not over 15 years of age.[57-2]

That Francisco Ernantez was not the author of the first part of the document seems evident. Under the year 1560 occurs the following entry:—

"Twenty days before the Feast of the Nativity my mother died; soon after, my late father was carried off (xchaptah) while they were burying my mother; my father took medicine but once before we buried him. The pest continued to rage for seven days after Easter; my mother, my father, my brother and my sister died this year."

It could not, of course, be the son of Balam, who died in 1521, who wrote this.

Under 1563 the writer mentions:—

"At this time my second son Raphael was born, at the close of the fourth year of the fourth cycle after the revolt."

The last entry which contains the characteristic words ixnu[c]ahol, "you my children," occurs in the year 1559, and is the last given in my translation. My belief is that the document I give was written by the father of Francisco Ernantez Xahila. The latter continued it from 1560 to 1583, when it was taken up by Francisco Diaz, and later by other members of the Xahila family.

The Abbe Brasseur was of the opinion that these Annals carry the record of the nation back to the beginning of the eleventh century, at least. A close examination of the account shows that this is not the case. Gagavitz, the earliest ruler of the nation, can easily be traced as the ancestor in the eighth remove, of the author. The genealogy is as follows:—

1. Gagavitz, "he who came from Tulan."

2. His son, Cay Noh, who succeeded him.

3. Citan Qatu, son of Cay Noh, who also ruled.

4. His son, Citan Tihax Cablah, who does not seem to have enjoyed the leadership. It was regained by

5. His son, Vukubatz, by the aid of the Quiche king, Quikab.[TN-8]

6. Oxlahuh Tzii, eldest son of Vukubatz, died A. D., 1509.

7. Succeeded by his eldest son, Hun Yg, who died, together with his eldest son Balam, the father of the author, in the year 1521.

Allowing to these seven who outlived their parents an average survival of twenty years, we are carried back to about the year 1380, as that on which the migration, headed by Gagavitz, began its wanderings, little more, therefore, than the length of two lives as protracted as that of the author himself. This result is that generally obtained by a careful scrutiny of American traditions. They very rarely are so far-reaching as has usually been supposed. Anything spoken of as more than three or four generations distant, may safely be assumed as belonging to myth, and not to history.

It was the expressed intention of the Abbe Brasseur to edit the original text with his translation, but this he did not live to accomplish. He incorporated numerous extracts from it in his Histoire des Nations Civilisees du Mexique et de l'Amerique Centrale, and added a few paragraphs in the original at the end of the first volume of that work; but these did not give much idea of the document as a whole.

When, with the aid of the previous partial translations and the assistance of some intelligent natives, he had completed a version into French, of that portion composed by the first two writers he gave a copy of it to Don Juan Gavarrete. This antiquary translated it into Spanish, and published it serially, in the Boletin de la Sociedad Economica de Guatemala, beginning with No. 29, September, 1873, and continuing to No. 43. Copies of this publication are, however, so scarce that I have been unable to learn of a complete file, even in Guatemala. The dissolution of the Sociedad Economica by order of the late President Barrios, scattered the copies in its own archives.

Synopsis of the Annals of Xahila.

The work opens with a statement that the writer intends to record the ancient traditions of his tribe, as handed down from their early heroes, Gagavitz and Zactecauh. He begins with a brief genealogical table of the four sub-tribes of the Cakchiquels (Secs. 1-3), and then relates their notions of the creation of man at one of the mythical cities of Tulan, in the distant west (4, 5). Having been subjected to onerous burdens in Tulan, they determine to leave it, and are advised to go by their oracles (6-14).

They cross the sea, proceeding toward the east, and arrive at a land inhabited by the Nonoualcats, an Aztec people (15-17). Their first action is formally to choose Gagavitz and Zactecauh as their joint rulers (18-19), and under their leadership they proceed to attack the Nonoualcats. After a severe conflict the Cakchiquels are defeated, and are obliged to seek safety in further wanderings. At length they reach localities in Guatemala (20). At this point an episode is introduced of their encounter with the spirit of the forests, Zakiqoxol (21, 22).

They meet with various nations, some speaking a totally different language; others, as the Mams and Pokomams, dialects of their own. With the last mentioned they have serious conflicts (23-29). During one of their journeys, Zactecauh is killed by falling down a ravine (30). An episode here relates the traditional origin of one of their festivals, that in honor of Gagxanul, "the uncoverer of the fire" (31, 32).

Their first arrival at Lake Atitlan is noted (33), and the war that they waged with the Ikomags (34). Here an episode describes the traditional origin of the festival of Tolgom (35-37). A peaceful division of the lake with the Tzutuhils is effected, and marriages take place between the tribes (38).

The Cakchiquels, Quiches and Akahals now settle permanently in their towns, and develop their civilization (39, 40). They meet with numerous hardships, as well as internal dissensions, the chief Baqahol at one time obtaining the leadership. They succeed in establishing, however, family life and a fixed religious worship, though in almost constant war with their neighbors (41-46).

Gagavitz, "he who came from Tulan," dies, and is followed by Cay Noh and Cay Batz (47). These acknowledge the supremacy of Tepeuh, the king of the Quiches, and are sent out by him to collect tribute from the various tribes. They are seduced and robbed by the Tzutuhils, and conceal themselves in a cave, out of fear of Tepeuh. He forgives them, however, and they continue in power until their death (49-59).

After this, a period of strife follows, and the names of four successive rulers are mentioned, but none of the occurrences of their reigns (60-66).

The narrative is resumed when Qikab, king of the Quiches, orders the Cakchiquels to settle at the town of Chiavar. He appoints, as their rulers, the warriors Huntoh and Vukubatz. A revolt agains[TN-9] Qikab, headed by his two sons, results in his defeat and death (67-81). During this revolt, a contest between the Cakchiquels takes place, the close of which finds the latter established in their final stronghold, the famous fortress of "Iximche on the Ratzamut" (82-85).

At the death of Huntoh and Vukubatz, they are succeeded by Lahuh Ah and Oxlahuh Tzii, who carry on various wars, and especially defeat the Quiches in a general engagement, which is vividly described (86-93). They also conquer the Akahals, killing their king Ichal, and the Tzutuhils, with their king Caoke (94-98).

During their reign, a sanguinary insurrection occurred in Iximche, of such importance that the author adopts its date as the era from which to reckon all subsequent events (99-104). This date corresponded to the year 1496, A. D.(?)

The following years are marked by a series of unimportant wars, the outbreak of a destructive pestilence, and finally, in 1524, twenty-eight years after the Insurrection, by the arrival of the Spanish forces under Alvarado (105-144).

The later pages are taken up with an account of the struggles between the natives and the whites, until the latter had finally established their supremacy.

Remarks on the Printed Text.

In printing the MS. of Xahila, I have encountered certain difficulties which have been only partially surmounted. As the Cakchiquel, though a written, is not a printed tongue, there has no rule been established as to the separation of verbs and their pronominal subjects, of nouns and their possessive pronouns, of the elements of compound particles, of tense and mode signs, etc. In the MSS. the utmost laxity prevails in these respects, and they seem not to have been settled points in the orthography of the tongue. The frequent elisions and euphonic alterations observable in these compounds, prove that to the native mind they bore the value of a single word, as we are aware they did from a study of the structure of this class of languages. I have, therefore, felt myself free to exercise in the printed page nearly the same freedom which I find in the MS. At first, this will prove somewhat puzzling to the student of the original, but in a little while he will come to recognize the radical from its augment without difficulty.

Another trouble has been the punctuation. In the original this consists principally of dashes and commas, often quite capriciously distributed. Here also, I have been lax in reducing the text to the requirements of modern standards, and have left much latitude to the reader to arrange it for himself.

Capital letters are not often used in the original to distinguish proper names, and as the text has been set up from a close copy of the first text, some irregularities in this respect also must be anticipated.

The paragraphs numbered in the text are distinctly marked in the original, but are not numbered there. The numerals have been added for convenience of reference.


[10-1] Dr. Otto Stoll, Zur Ethnographie der Republik Guatemala, p. 157 (Zurich, 1884), on the phonetic laws which have controlled the divergence of the two tongues, Cakchiquel and Maya. See the same writer in his "Supplementary Remarks on a Grammar of the Cakchiquel Language," translated by Dr. D. G. Brinton, in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, for 1885.

[10-2] Recordacion Florida, Discurso Historial, Natural, Material, Militar y Politico del Reino de Goathemala. Lib. II, Chap. I.

[10-3] Myths of the New World, p. 181; American Hero-Myths, pp. 44, 73, 80, 162, etc.

[11-1] "Cuatro generosos mancebos, nobles hermanos," says Fuentes y Guzman, Recordacion Florida, Lib. I, Cap. II. The story of the four brothers who settled Guatemala is repeated by Torquemada, Monarchia Indiana, Lib. XI, Cap. XVII, and other writers.

[11-2] The Maya Chronicles, 109-122 (Library of Aboriginal American Literature, Vol. I). For the evidence of the wholly mythical character of the Toltecs, and of their "King," Quetzalcoatl, see my American Hero-Myths, Chapter III. (Philadelphia, 1882).

Sanchez y Leon, quoting apparently some ancient Cakchiquel refrain, gives as the former name of their royal race, ru tzutuh Tulan, the Flower of Tulan, which wondrous city he would place in Western Asia. Apuntamientos de la Historia de Guatemala, p. 2.

[12-1] Herrera observes of the natives of Guatemala, that the Nahuatl tongue was understood among them, though not in use between themselves. "Corre entre ellos la lengua Mexicana, aunque la tienen particular." Historia de las Indias Occidentales, Dec. IV, Lib. VIII, Cap. VIII.

[12-2] I have in my possession the only grammar of this dialect probably ever written: Arte de la Lengua Vulgar Mexicana de Guatemala, MS., in a handwriting of the eighteenth century, without name of author.

[13-1] The four names are given in this form in the Requete de Plusieurs Chefs Indiens d' Atitlan a Philippe II, 1571, in Ternaux-Compans, Recueil des Pieces relatives a la Conquete du Mexique, p. 419. The spelling of the last is there Tecocitlan. For their analysis, see Prof. Baschmann,[TN-10] Ueber die Aztekischen Ortsnamen, p. 719.

[14-1] "Si bien se advierte, todo cuanto hacian y decian, era en orden al maiz, que poco falto para tenerlo por Dios, y era, y es, tanto el encanto y embelezo que tienen con las milpas que por ellas olvidan hijos y muger y otro cualquiera deleite, como si fuera la milpa su ultimo fin y bienaventuranza." Chronica de la S. Provincia del Santissimo Nombre de Jesus de Guattemala, Cap. VII. MS. of the seventeenth century, generally known as the Cronica Franciscana.

[14-2] See Francisco Ximenez, Las Historias del Origen de los Indios de esta Provincia de Guatemala, p. 191. (Ed. Scherzer, London and Vienna, 1857).

[14-3] Their first conqueror, the truculent Captain Pedro de Alvarado, speaks of the muy grandes tierras de panes, the immense corn fields he saw on all sides. Relacion hecha per Pedro de Alvarado a Hernando Cortez, in the Biblioteca de Autores Espanoles, Tom. XXII, p. 459.

[15-1] "Hay mucho algodon, e son las mugeres buenas hilanderas e hacen gentiles telas dello." Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes, Historia General y Natural de las Indias, Par. III, Lib. III, Cap. IV. "De la fertilidad de la tierra e gobernacion de Guatimala."

[15-2] "Son muy dados a edificar, y en lo que hoy vemos erigido de los antiguos, reconocemos ser maquinas soberbias." Fuentes y Guzman, Recordacion Florida, Lib. II, Cap. I.

[15-3] "Esta ciudad es bien obrada y fuerte a maravilla." Relacion de Pedro de Alvarado, in Bib. de Autores Espanoles, Tom. XXII, p. 459. So Herrera wrote from his authorities: "En Utlatan (i. e., the city of Gumarcaah, capital of the Quiches), havia muchos, i mui grandes templos de sus dioses, de maravillosos edificios." Historia de las Indias Occidentales, Dec. III, Lib. IV, Cap. XIX.

[16-1] The Lineal Measures of the Semi-Civilized Nations of Mexico and Central America, by D. G. Brinton, in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, and separately.

[16-2] "En la Provincia de Utlatan, junto a Guatemala, se averiguo por las Pinturas, que los Naturales tenian de sus antiguedades, demas de ochocientos anos, etc." Herrera, Historia de las Indias Occidentales, Dec. III, Lib. IV, Cap. XVIII.

[17-1] "Son amigos de hacer colloquios y decir coplas en sus bailes." Thomas Coto, Vocabulario de la Lengua Cakchiquel. MS. sub voce, Poesia.

[17-2] "Son flecheros y no tienen hierba." Oviedo, Historia General de Indias, Par. III, Lib. III, Cap. IV.

[18-1] This word is doubtful, as I do not find it in the dictionaries, and judge of its meaning from its derivation and context. See the Vocabulary. Sanchez y Leon speaks of the "very long lances pointed with flint," used by these people. Apuntamientos de la Historia de Guatemala, p. 27.

[19-1] The statement of Gavarrete, in his notes to Sanchez y Leon, Historia de Guatemala, p. 3, that the Xahils and Zotzils were two branches of the ruling family, the one residing at Iximche, the other at Solola, rests on a misapprehension, as will be seen from the Annals published in this volume.

[20-1] It is interesting in this connection to observe how widespread was the symbolic significance of the canopy, or sun shade, as a mark of dignity. The student of Shakspeare will recall the lines in his 125th sonnet—

"Were it aught to me I bore the canopy, With my extern the outward honouring;"

while the ethnologist may consult Richard Andree's suggestive essay, Der Schirm als Wuerdezeichen, in his Ethnographische Parallelen und Vergleiche, p. 250 (Stuttgart, 1878).

[21-1] Alvarado writes "La tierra es muy poblada de pueblos muy recios." Relacion, etc., ubi supra, p. 459. The following extract is quoted from Las Casas, Historia Apologetica, MS., by Mr. Squier, in his notes to Palacio:—

"En el Reyno de Guatemala, en la parte que va por la Sierra, estaban ciudades de caba muy grandes, con maravillosos edificios de cal y canto, de los cuales yo vi muchos; y otros pueblos sin numero de aquellas sierras."

Sanchez y Leon states that there were, in all, thirty independent native states in the former confines of Guatemala. Historia de Guatemala, p. 1.

[22-1] On the derivation of Guatemala, see Buschmann, Ueber die Aztekischen Ortsnamen, p. 719. That this is probably a translation of the Cakchiquel Molomic chee, which has the same meaning, and is a place-name mentioned in the Annals, I shall show on a later page.

[22-2] See the Otra Relacion hecha por Pedro de Albarado a Hernando Cortes, printed in the Bibliotheca de Autores Espanoles, Tom. XXII, p. 460.

[23-1] Bernal Diaz, Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva Espana, Cap. CXCIII.

[23-2] Historia de Guatemala, o Recordacion Florida, Lib. XV, Cap. V. The Recordacion was first printed at Madrid, 1882-83, edited by Don Justo Zaragoza, as one of the numbers of the Biblioteca de los Americanistas.

[27-1] Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan, Vol. II, Chap. IX. I am inclined to believe that the original stone, evidently supposed to be of great value, had been stolen, and this piece of slate substituted. It was sewed up in a bag, which makes the supposition probable, as it offered facility to conceal the theft.

[28-1] They are referred to by the Archbishop Garcia Pelaez, in these words: "Los planos y vistas tomadas por el comisionado y el informe que las acompana, muestran vestijios de adoratorios, fortificaciones y trazas de edificios, calles y plazas ajustadas a dimensiones y con elecion de materias en su estructura."—Memorias para la Historia del Antiguo Reyno de Guatemala. Por Don Francisco de Paula Garcia Pelaez, Tom. I, p. 15, (Guatemala, 1851).

[28-2] The names applied to these intercalary days are analyzed differently by various authorities. For the etymology given of nemontemi, I have followed M. Remi Simeon, in his notes to Dr. Jourdanet's translation of Sahagun's Historia de Nueva Espana; the Cakchiquel [tz]api is undoubtedly from [tz]ap, fault, evil, crime.

[31-1] May is allied to the verb meho, to go somewhere and return again. Hence may came to mean a cycle of years, months or days.

[31-2] Apuntamientos de la Historia de Guatemala, p. 28.

[32-1] "Chinamitl, seto o cerca de canas," from chinantia, to build a fence, to enclose.—Molina, Vocabulario de la Lengua Mexicana.

[32-2] Torresano, in his Arte de la Lengua Cakchiquel, MS., gives this word as ca, which indicates its probable derivation from the verb cae, to join together, to unite, "those united by a common tie."

[32-3] Coto, Vocabulario de la Lengua Cakchiquel, MS., sub voce, Cunado.

[32-4] Coto, u. s., s. v. Alguacil. The word çalam is now applied to the canvas or tablets on which are painted the saints in the churches. It also means a box or chest.—Dicc. Cakchiquel Anon.

[32-5] See Brasseur, Hist. du Mexique et l' Am. Cent., Tom. II, pp. 489-90.

[33-1] "Tienen tambien renombres de sus chinamitales o parcialidades que tambien son de signos vel nombres senalados, como Xahila, etc."—Coto, Vocabulario, MS., s. v. Renombre.

[34-1] Hist. du Mexique, Tom. II, p. 84.

[34-2] Their names are given in the Titulos de la Casa de Ixcuin Nehaib, p. 3. They are called "pueblos principales, cabezas de calpules." The Nahuatl word, calpulli, here used, meant the kinsfolk actual and adopted, settled together. They were the gentes of the tribe. See Ad. F. Bandelier, On the Social Organization and Mode of Government of the Ancient Mexicans, for a full explanation of their nature and powers.

[34-3] The Lenape and their Legends, p. 139.

[37-1] Father Coto, in his MS., Vocabulario Cakchiquel, gives the rendering "mandadero," and states that one was elected each year by the principals of each chinamitl, to convey messages. He adds: "Usan mucho de este nombre en el Pueblo Atitlan."

[37-2] Compare my edition of the Cakchiquel Grammar, p. 58. Brasseur translates this title erroneously, "decorated with a bracelet."—Hist. des Nations Civilisees, etc., Tome. II, p. 515.

[37-3] "El retorico, platico." Pantaleon de Guzman gives the fuller form, naol ah uchan, which means "he who knows, the master of speech."—Compendio de Nombres en Lengua Cakchiquel, MS.

[37-4] Usually written by ellipsis, atzih vinak. Brasseur translates it "distributor of presents," but it appears to be from tzih, word, speech. The vocabularies are, as usual, very unsatisfactory. "Atzijh vinak, Principal deste nombre."—Dicc. Cakchiquel Anon.

[38-1] Dicc. Cakchiquel Anon,[TN-11] MS., sub voce.

[38-2] Requete de Plusieurs Chefs Indiens d'Atitlan a Philippe II, in Ternaux-Compans, Recueil de Pieces relatives a la Conquete du Mexique, p. 418.

[38-3] Not "of the bird's nest," "ceux du nid de l'oiseau," as Brasseur translates it (Hist. du Mexique, Tome. II, p. 89), nor "casa de la aguila," house of the eagle, as it is rendered by Fuentes y Guzman, Recordacion Florida, Tom. I, p. 21. çiquin is the generic term for bird.

[39-1] The Names of the Gods in the Kiche Myths of Central America, in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 1881.

[40-1] "Chamalcan u bi qui gabauil Cakchequeleb, xa Zotz u vachibal."—Popol Vuh, p. 224.

[40-2] Hist. des Nations Civ. du Mexique, Tom. II, p. 173.

[40-3] "El quinto Cam, esto es; amarillo, pero su significado es culebra."—Ximenez, Las Historias del Origen de los Indios de Guatemala, p. 215. There are two errors in this extract. The name is not Cam, but Can, and it does not mean yellow, which is [t]an.

[41-1] I have suggested an explanation of this strange term to apply to the highest and most beneficent of their divinities, in a short article in the American Antiquarian, 1885, "The Chief God of the Algonkins in his Character as a Cheat and a Liar."

[42-1] Pantaleon de Guzman, Compendio de Nombres en Lengua Cakchiquel, MS. On the role of the Tzitzimime in Aztec mythology see my American Hero-Myths, p. 78.

[42-2] "Al duende que anda en los montes llaman ru vinakil chee vel caki[c]oxol."—Coto, Vocabulario, MS., s. v. Monte. Zak, white; [c]ox, to make fire. Brasseur's translation, "Le blanc abime de feu," is indefensible.

[42-3] See a paper entitled "The Folk Lore of Yucatan," contributed by me to the Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. I, 1883.

[43-1] For an interesting note on the zaztun, see Apolinar Garcia y Garcia, Historia de la Guerra de Castas en Yucatan, p. XXIV (folio, Merida, 1865).

[43-2] For the derivation of Xibalbay, and for the myths referred to in the text, see my article, before referred to, The Names of the Gods in the Kiche Myths, pp. 27, 28.

[44-1] The Maya Chronicles, pp. 110, 111. Vol. I of the Library of Aboriginal American Literature.

[45-1] Brasseur, Juarros, Fuentes y Guzman, etc.

[45-2] Thomas Coto, Vocabulario de la Lengua Cakchiquel, MS., 1651. Sub voce, Sacrificar hombres, quoting Varea.

[45-3] "Sacandole el corazon y asperjando, con la sangre de la victima a los cuatro vientos cardinales."—Apuntamientos de la Historia de Guatemala, p. 26.

[46-1] The Names of the Gods in the Kiche Myths, pp. 21, 22.

[47-1] "Labah, agorar y guerrear, porque agoraban si la hacian o no."—Ximenez, Vocabulario de las Tres Lenguas, sub voce.

[47-2] These particulars are from the work of Jose Sanchez y Leon, Apuntamientos de la Historia de Guatemala, pp. 26, 27.

[48-1] Recordacion Florida, Lib. IX, Cap. VII.

[48-2] Vocabulario de la Lengua Cakchiquel, MS. (1651).

[48-3] Apuntamientos de la Historia de Guatemala, p. 27.

[49-1] Fr. Estevan Torresano, Arte de la Lengua Cakchiquel, MS., in my possession.

[51-1] Supplementary Remarks to the Grammar of the Cakchiquel Language, edited by D. G. Brinton.—Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 1885.

[52-1] See The Maya Chronicles, p. 67, and note.

[53-1] "Die bewundernswuerdige Feinheit und consequente Logik in der Ausbildung des Maya Zeitwortes setzt eine Kultur voraus, die sicherlich weit ueber die Zeitraeume hinaus zurueckreicht, welche man bis jetzt geneight war, der Amerikanischen Civilization zuzuschreiben."—Otto Stoll, Zur Ethnographie der Republik Guatemala, s. 148 (Zurich, 1884). Compare the remarks of Wilhelm von Humboldt on the Maya conjugation, in his essay on the American verb, as published in my Philosophic Grammar of the American Languages, as set forth by Wilhelm von Humboldt, pp. 35-39 (Philada., 1885).

[54-1] Gavarrete's words are, "Paso por manos de muchos personas versadas en los idiomas indigenos sin que pudiese obtenerse una traduccion integra y exacta de su testo, habiendo sido bastante, sin embargo, lo que de su sentido pudo percibirse, para venir en conocimiento de su grande importancia historica."—Boletin de la Sociedad Economica.

[54-2] The Abbe says that Gavarrete gave him the original (Bibliotheque Mexico-Guatemalienne, p. 14). But that gentleman does not take to himself credit for such liberality. He writes "El testo original quedo sin embargo en su poder," etc. Ubi supra.

[57-1] As the slight aspirate, the Spanish h, does not exist in the Cakchiquel alphabet, nor yet the letter d,the[TN-12] baptismal name "Hernandez," takes the form "Ernantez."

[57-2] "Se casan muy ninos," says Sanchez y Leon, speaking of the natives.—Apuntamientos de la Historia de Guatemala, p. 24.








Ka tata ka mama, heri xeboco vinak oher mahaniok ti la[t]abex vae huyu ta[t]ah; [c]a ruyon ok umul çiquin [c]oh, que cha, ha ok ki xquila[t]abeh huyu ta[t]ah he [c]a ka tata ka mama, yx nu[c]ahol, pa Tulan.


1. Here I am going to write a few of the sayings of our earliest fathers and ancestors, those who begot men of old, before the hills and plains here were inhabited; then only rabbits and birds were here, they say, when they took possession of the hills and plains, they, our fathers and ancestors from Tulan, oh my children.

2. Xtinuçibah [c]a quitzih ri ki he nabey ka tata ka mama [t]a[t]avitz rubi, Cactecauh ru bi hunchic, he [c]oh quitzih que cha [c]a [c]haka palouh xoh pevi, pa Tulan ru bi huyu, xoh alax xoh [c]aholax vi pe ruma ka tee, ka tata, yxka[c]ahol, quecha ri oher tata mama, [t]a[t]avitz, Cactecauh qui bi, ri ki xepe pa Tulan he cay chi achij heri xoh boco, oh Xahila.

2. And I shall write the sayings of our earliest fathers and ancestors, Gagavitz the name of one, Zactecauh the name of the other; and these are the sayings they spake as we came from the other side of the sea, from the land of Tulan, where we were brought forth and begotten by our mothers and our fathers, oh my children, as said of old the fathers, the ancestors, Gagavitz and Zactecauh by name, the two heroes who came from Tulan and begot us, the Xahila.

3. Va[c]a quibi ru hay ru chinamitee [t]eka[c]uch, Ba[c]ahola, Cibakihay. 1. [c]atun [c]hutiah qui bi xeboco Ba[c]ahola. 1. Tzanat [t]u[t]uchom quibi xeboco [t]eka[c]uchij; Daqui ahauh [c]hahom ahauh xeboco Cibakihayi, xaoh cahi chi chinamit ok xohpe pa Tulan, ri oh Cakchiquel vinak, yxka[c]ahol, quecha.—[c]a x[c]amar [c]a vave ri Caveki Totomay Xurcah qui bi xeboco.—Xavi [c]a x[c]amar vave ri Ahquehayi, Loch, Xet, quibi, xeboco;—xavi [c]a x[c]am ri ahPak, Telom, [c]oxahil, [c]obakil quibi xeboco; quere navipe ri Ikoma[t]i, xavi [c]a x[c]amar; he[c]a cah [c]hob ri [c]a xe[c]amar vave he ama[t].

3. These are the names of the houses and clans of Gekaquch, Bagahola and Cibakihay. 1. Qatun and Qhutiah by name, begat Bagahola. 2. Tzanat and Guguchom by name, begat those of Gekaquch. 3. The chief Daqui and the chief Ghahom begat those of Cibakihay. Thus we were four clans when we came from Tulan, we, the Cakchiquel people, as we are told, oh my children. Those of Cavek, Totomay and Xurcah by name, also married and begat; also those of Quehay, Loch and Xet by name, married and begat; those of Pak, Telom, Qoxahil and Qobakil by name, also married and begat; and also those of Ykomag married; and these four divisions which thus married are the tribes so-called.

1  2  3  4  5     Next Part
Home - Random Browse