Historical Implications of the Early Classic Hieroglyphic Text CPN 3033 on the Sculptured Step of Structure 10L 11-Sub-12 at Copan

Research Note 7

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.20376/IDIOM-23665556.17.rn007.en

Christian Prager1 & Elisabeth Wagner1

1 Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn


This paper examines the hieroglyphic text carved on an Early Classic hieroglyphic step found in Copan Structure 10L-11-Sub-12 in 1935. Some portions of the text, like names, emblem glyphs, and dedicatory verbs, have previously been deciphered (cf. Baudez and Riese 1990; Schele 1990; Schele and Grube 1991; Stuart 2004). Examination of old photographs has revealed that said inscription exhibits a dynastic sequence with the name-glyphs of Ruler 1 to Ruler 61)The discovery of this king list was first circulated by email in a preliminary version of the present paper (Wagner and Prager 2006) in June 2006 (cited in Martin & Grube 2008:196, 232, footnote 13). David Stuart independently identified the king list on CPN 3033 in 2000 or 2001 (emails by David Stuart to the authors, dated June 23, 2006 and February 18, 2008). See also David Stuart (2008).. This is a significant discovery, because little is known of the kings in Early Classic Copan, especially the period from Rulers 3 to 6 (cf. Martin and Grube 2000 and 2008:196). According to the epigraphic literature about Copan, the name-glyphs of Rulers 3, 5, and 6 have survived only in this name list and in the gallery of kings represented on Altar Q. The sequence of rulers on the hieroglyphic step from Structure 10L-11-Sub-12 also provides their respective proper names, including the name of Ruler 8, who probably commissioned and dedicated the step during construction of what was presumably his father’s tomb under Structure 11.


Un característico bien conocido de las inscripciones del Clásico Tardío de Copán son listados de gobernantes sucesivos – tanto en forma de texto como en representaciones icónicas – como la Escalinata Jeroglífica del Templo 26 y el Altar Q en frente del Templo 16. Durante los años recientes los autores del presente estudio pudieron identificar otros de tal listas en varios monumentos del Clásico Temprano. Se pone el foco en la análisis de la inscripción de la grada esculpida CPN 3033 que fue originalmente descubierto durante las investigaciones por la Institución Carnegie de Washington en el año 1935 bajo del Templo 11 en un nivel fechando al Clásico Temprano. Se presenta evidencia que el texto contiene una lista dinástica que menciona los gobernantes 1 a 6. Un aspecto importante de este hallazgo es el hecho que anteriormente los nombres de gobernantes 3, 5 y 6 solamente se conocía del Altar Q. Además, los textos de la grada del Templo 11-sub-12 y otros fragmentos de monumentos tempranos mencionan los nombres de varios gobernantes escrito en variantes anteriormente no identificados – como los de los gobernantes 2, 3, 5 y 8. Otros resultados del estudio incluyen varias hipótesis acerca de la historia temprana de la dinastía real de Copán – entre ellas el origen iconográfico y el cambio paleográfico del nombre del gobernante 2; el gobernante 5 como el probable protagonista del altar Papagayo; y además la posibilidad que el gobernante 8 comisionó y dedicó el monumento CPN 3033 como parte de la construcción de la posible tumba de su padre, gobernante 7 conocido como Bahlam Nehn.

The Monument

During the Carnegie excavations at Copan in 1935 and 1936, a series of tunnels was excavated into the north side of Structure 10L-11’s base (Strømsvik 1936). Upon penetrating the earlier construction phases of that structure, the project discovered an inscription on the riser of the uppermost step of a stairway leading up an older building, designated stratigraphically as Structure 10L-11-Sub-12 (Hohmann and Vogrin 1982:38; Abb. 129, 130, 135). The step (Figure 1) is still in situ and has been labeled as CPN 30332)For the sake of convenience, we use the designation CPN 3033 established by the Proyecto Arqueológico Copán to designate the hieroglyphic step from Str. 10L-11-sub-12 (Baudez 1994:297-298). To refer to other monuments from Copan, we retain on the more familiar original nomenclature established by Maudslay (1889-1902), Morley (1920) and still continued by later scholars (cf. Riese and Baudez 1983, Copan Notes). Hieroglyphic signs are classified on the basis of Eric Thompson’s catalog (1962), hereafter indicated with a capital T. Macri and Looper’s catalog (2003), which uses an alpha-numerical three-digit coding, e.g. AV4, will be cited for graphemes that Thompson did not include in his compilation. If not otherwise indicated, transliterations of Classic Mayan are based upon the conventions introduced by David Stuart et al. (2005:79-90). in the catalog of Copan sculptures (Baudez and Riese 1990:670ff.).

Figure 1. Drawing of the hieroglyphic inscription on CPN3033 (drawing by Christian Prager and Elisabeth Wagner)

CPN 3033 is a monolith with a length of 189 cm and a height of 28 cm (Morley 1939:285). The carving was executed in low relief and has vertical fractures in the area of glyph blocks J1-J2 that reduce its legibility. Given that no calendrical information is recorded in the inscription, the dating of the step remains uncertain. However, the monument “is placed on a construction level about 1m lower than the base of CPN 29 [Stela P] in the West Court” (Baudez and Riese 1990:670). According to Strømsvik (1941:74) Stela P, which bears the dedicatory date 2 Ajaw 13 Pop (21 March 623), was also recovered at its original location. The stela’s date may thus be regarded as a terminus ante quem for the deposition of CPN 3033 in its present position within Structure 11. Based on stylistic considerations, Sylvanus Morley speculates that CPN 3033 was carved between and (Morley 1939:286). Gary Pahl (1976:145), in turn, sees paleographic similarities to Stela 9, which dates to Archaeological documentation of CPN 3033 hitherto includes a mould and its plaster cast stored in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, a series of photographs of the step in situ and of its plaster cast, as well as line-drawings by Gary Pahl (1976:144) and David Stuart (cf. Schele 1990:17, fig. 8). This paper adds a new drawing by Christian Prager to this inventory.


The riser of the step is carved with an Early Classic style hieroglyphic inscription (cf. Mathews 1985) of 28 glyph blocks arranged in two horizontal units of 14 columns (A1-N2) (Figure 1). The text consists of one single paragraph from A1-N2 and its reading order proceeds from left to right and from top to bottom in pairs. The inscription starts with the ‘Introductory Formula’ in A1 and B1 (Baudez and Riese 1990:671ff.; Schele and Grube 1991:4). A1 displays the ‘Initial Sign’ alay “hereby, thus” (MacLeod and Polyukhovich 2005). It introduces in B1 the grapheme T1014 or the ‘God N verb’ that refers to the dedication or initial use of an artificial object like portable objects or monumental sculpture (Grube 2006) and may represent the Classic Mayan intransitive root t’ab “to ascend” referring to visual presentation of the steps on a building/structure (Stuart 1998:416).

a b

Figure 2. Examples of duck-billed wind gods. a) San Bartolo, West Wall (drawing by Elisabeth Wagner after aquarelle painting by Heather Hearst from Taube et al. 2010: color supplement); b) Tikal, Early Classic Vessel (drawing by Elisabeth Wagner after Culbert 1993, Fig. 31a).

This formula is usually followed by the term for the object on which the dedication formula is inscribed. On CPN 3033 the object appears in A2 and B2 comprising the glyphic expressions u SN9 + u AV4. Both graphemes are prefixed by the preconsonantal ergative pronoun u. The sign AV4 portrays a deer with an empty eye socket surrounded by dots; SN9 represents a supernatural creature with an aged face, a bulbous eye, a human nose, a and an elongated snout, and a strand of hair on its forehead, plus a short and bent reptilian body and tail with a row of kernel-like shapes and a disk-shaped form attached to its end, combining human and reptilian features. The face with its elongated snout resembles depictions of duck-billed wind gods (Figure 2) which had been first proposed by David Stuart as the Maya equivalent to the Aztec wind god Ehecatl (cited in Taube 2004:173) and equated with Quetzalcoatl-Ehecatl by Karl Taube (2009:42-43, Fig. 1). Taube based his identification of this wind god as a Maya version of Quetzalcoatl-Ehecatl on both deities’ association with music and dance as rain-bringing performances (Taube 2009:43-44). Remarkably, a representation of a feathered serpent-wind god – conjoined with the maize god in one of the “Pinturas Realisticas” at the Tetitla compound in Teotihuacan – is “anatomically” very similar to the SN9-creature’s body (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Teotihuacan, Tetitla compound, Corridor 12, mural, fragment of painted border: Feathered serpent conjoined with the maize god (drawing by Elisabeth Wagner after drawing by Karl Taube from 2003:289, Fig. 11.9a).

The mentioned mural is located in a former residence of ethnic Maya (Taube 2003, Helmke and Nielsen 2013). Building on Taube’s hypotheses and considering the iconography of the SN9-creature, we assume that it may represent an Early Classic Maya equivalent to Quetzalcoatl-Ehecatl, combined with its “avatar”, the feathered serpent. The feathered serpent as an impersonation of the Northeastern Tradewinds brings the first rains at the beginning of the rainy season. These mark the start of the agricultural cycle when the first sowing/planting of maize is done, a fact which also explains the overall maize symbolism closely connected with the feathered serpent (cf. Taube 2001, 2004, Boot 2012). Notably in this regard, on the step under discussion, SN9 takes infixed the sign OL/WAJ “heart, center/food”, and the second example of SN9 in block F1 has infixed the sign HA’, “water”. In other contexts, both signs, OL/WAJ and HA’, constitute a complementary thematic pair known from the rendering of the logograph TZ’AK (Stuart 2003), but also apparent in the couplet “food consumption”+”water consumption” which stands for eating and drinking as well as feasting and ritual consumption and thus for abundance in general (Houston, et al. 2006:112, Fig. 3.5. i).

The two glyphs designating the subject of the dedication clause make obviously a semantic pair. Three more examples of this “Wind-God-Deer” couplet are known so far. On CPN Stela 49 (Figure 4a) it occurs as a pair both prefixed by the preconsonantal first person plural ergative ka “our”. The surviving text begins with a specific introductory formula consisting of three glyphs ha-i […] UJ of which the block Bp1 is broken away. The introductory text on CPN St. 49 may be reconstructed as haa’ k’a[h]laj uj “it is presented imbued with life”. The dedicated object is recorded in Bp2-Bp3 comprising BOLON TZ’AK BAJ-ki ZZ9-ni, bolon tz’ak baak ZZ9-ni “many ordered bones (in the/at the) ZZ9-ni” (Wagner 2005:34)3)While ZZ9 has been identified by Marc Zender (2010) as BAJ, the graph ZZ9 is also known to have been used to spell the syllable ba as in tz’i-ba-li on the vessel Grolier 39 (cf. Coe 1973:87; MacLeod 1990:246, Fig. 7-2)..

a d
c f

Figure 4. The “wind god-deer” compound in Classic Maya inscriptions. a) Copan Stela, 49 (drawing by Christian Prager, after Schele 1990:Fig. 19a); b) Copan, Altar K (drawing by Linda Schele, from Biro 2010:22, Fig. 1); c) Altar de Sacrificios, Stela 5 (drawing by Alexander Voss); d) Palenque, Eastern Subterranean Vault 2, Palace (drawing by Linda Schele, Schele Drawing Collection, Schele SD-130 [www.ancientamericas.org]); e) Copan Stela N (drawing by Annie Hunter, from Maudslay 1889-1902:Vol. 1, Pl. 79); f) Palenque, Tablet of the Slaves (drawing by Linda Schele, Schele Drawing Collection, Schele SD-131 [www.famsi.org]).

The compound ZZ9-ni may refer to some kind of place or container in which human bones were deposited. Based on the graph icon of ZZ9 and its textual contexts in building names at Palenque Temple XIX and XXI we have found good evidence that ZZ9 may represent the logograph XAN, „guano palm, palm, thatch“, and a generic term related to objects made of palm fibre (Prager and Wagner 2016). Besides of roof-thatch, such objects further include mats and baskets, all well attested in the archaeological record, particularly in burial contexts. Mats were used both as an underlayment and cover for a corpse and grave goods; baskets served as containers for grave goods. The text continues then with the “wind god-deer” couplet in the following two blocks. As will be discussed further below this semantic pair may denote a superordinate category of object or place, probably some interior space, either a sanctuary, shrine or burial chamber. Another example is attested on Altar K of Copan (Figure 4b), and a third example of the semantic couple is recorded on Stela 5 from Altar de Sacrificios (Graham 1972:21, Fig. 14) (Figure 4c). This stela was erected in front of Structure A-I, where a great number of burials was found in and around it (Smith 1972:11). The texts deal with the dedication of Str. A-I, and the death, burial and activities of various individuals, among them a lady named hux winik? haab ixik k’uh ix winik? haab ajaw. Her death and the preparation of her funeral is one topic of Structure A-I’s inscriptions. The text on Stela 5 begins with the date 6 Kaban 5 Ch’en (Graham 1972:22). The event on that day contains the above-discussed introductory formula with the SN9 + AV4 couplet as subject. The formula employs the ‘step-verb’ t’abay? “got smoothed”, followed by the SN9 + AV4 couplet denoting an enclosure whose possessor is named in B5-C6, Lady “hux winik? haab ixik k’uh ix winik? haab ajaw.” The “Wind-God-Deer” compound obviously occurs in phrases referring to the dedication of a certain type of building, like Structure A-I at Altar de Sacrificios and Copan’s Structure 10L-11-sub-12, but the explicit linguistic expression of this couplet is still unclear.

An important clue to its semantic understanding comes from pictorial representations. On the stucco relief over the passage to the Eastern Subterranean Vault 2 in the Palace of Palenque (Greene Robertson 1985:Fig. 114, 115, 116, 117) the couple appears as full figure rendering, the deer on the left and the long-snouted wind god on the right, as first noticed by Nikolai Grube in 1992 (personal communication, June 2006) (Figure 4d). Both figures arch over the doorway of the passageway down to the subterranean chambers of the Palace. A last example is rendered in the iconography of the Tablet of the Slaves in Palenque (Figure 4e). It exhibits the accession to the throne of K’inich Ahkal Mo‘ Naab‘ III in 721 by the presence and virtue of his late parents, Tiwool Chan Mat and Lady Kinuw. As ancestral agents the king’s parents are seated on iconographic versions of the SN9 and AV4 hieroglyphs and present the ‚drum major‘ crown and ‚flint and shield‘ insignia of royal power to their son. It is thus highly probable that the “Wind-God-Deer” compound is associated to ancestral places, perhaps entrances to the place of the dead. Based on this iconographic and architectural context we assume that the semantic pair works as a metaphorical expression for passages and openings to particular caverns or cave-like architectural spaces, like tombs and shrines. We suggest that the introductory clause A1-B2 on CPN 3033 refers to the dedication of a tomb, whose possessor and possible occupant may be Ruler 7 whose name follows in C1-C2.

The text continues with the nominal phrase of the 7th Copan Ruler nicknamed ‘Waterlily Jaguar’. C1 and D1 is the so-called Katun-age clause (cf. Riese 1980) reading winik? haab ajaw “(he is) a 20 year lord”. Ruler 7’s proper name appears in C2, bahlam nehn. The following clause D1-E1 reads haa’ tz’akbuul “it is he who is a successor” and refers to the afore-mentioned agent of the previous sentence, bahlam nehn (C2). F1-F2 read u SN9°T501, followed by the possessor’s proper name, WI‘? OL K’INICH TAJ WAY-bi. It closely resembles the proper name of Ruler 8 deciphered as wi‘-ohl-k’inich by Stuart (cited in Sharer 2005:190ff.; Stuart 2008:18; Looper and Polyukhovych 2015). Based on the similarity to known examples of Ruler 8’s name (CPN Altar Q, Ante Step, Stela 52 and Str. 26 Hieroglyphic Stairway), we assume that he is the individual referred to in E2-F2. The next three blocks G1-G2 record the paternal parentage of Ruler 8. G1 displays T535 or u mihiin? “he (is) the child of”. This relational expression is preceded by the son’s proper name (E2-F2). His father’s or Ruler 7’s epithets follow in H1-G2. The latter contain the so called Katun-age-clause without coefficient WINIK? HAB “twenty years”, associated with the epithet ch’ahoom “young man”, and followed by the Copan emblem glyph k’uhul ?-puh ajaw in G2: winik? haab ch’ahoom k’uhul ?-puh ajaw “he is a [one] ‘Katun’ young man, godly lord of ?-puh (Copan)”.

A new clause begins in H2 exhibiting the verbal expression och-butz’ “incense-smoke enters” (cf. Stuart 1998:384ff.). The hieroglyphic structure deviates from the common reading order and employs K’AK’.OCH:tz’i, most probably spelling the couplet och k’ahk’ buutz’ “flames-and-smoke entered”. This verb denotes the censing of a building, a ritual action in the dedication ceremony of the house named in I1 as k’uhul ?-puh naah “the godly ?-puh structure”, a shrine of Copan’s royal lineage or the building which may house the tomb of Ruler 7. According to the text sequence in I1-N2 the ?-puh-structure is a homestead or yotoot owned by K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’, the founder of Copán, and five other individuals whose name glyphs appear lined up in K1-N1. A closer inspection of the photographs reveal a series of names which are those of K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’s five successors Rulers 2 to 6.

Ruler 1

According to the text the first possessor of the ?-puh-building or ancestral shrine is K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’, the founder of Copan’s royal lineage. Another reference to this ruler, perhaps the closest to his actual life-time, may be inscribed on a step of the western stairway on the Azul-platform, the substructure of Rosalila (Figure 5). This inscription had first been attributed to the 10th ruler (Martin and Grube 2000:198-199), David Stuart (2005:188, 190-191) suggested an earlier Ruler 8 attribution as tentative, because parts of his name glyph (wi’ ohl k’inich) may be visible in the text. Jorge Ramos (Ramos Gomez 2006:68) states the possibility that the inscribed step was originally part of the previous construction phase nicknamed ‚Celeste‘ and was then reused in Rosalila. Assessing the style of the still preserved glyphs on the step of Azul platform leading to Rosalila (Agurcia Fasquelle and Fash 2005:209, Tokovinine 2013a:10, second image from top), the paleography of the inscription may point to an even earlier date of its carving. The style – particularly the almost square shape of the glyphs – is quite close to that of the Motmot marker inscription, dedicated by Ruler 2 to commemorate the Baktun ending on (Stuart 2004:240), and the Xukpi Stone probably dedicated on (Schele, Grube, et al. 1994:245). Further, the syntax of the calendrical statement – although badly eroded – resembles that on the Xukpi Stone.

Therefore, we speculate – basing our hypothesis on paleography and style – that the step may have originally been placed as the original dedicatory inscription for the tomb of K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ in the Yehnal structure commissioned by his successor, Ruler 2. A clear epigraphic indicator to Ruler 1 is the still legible [ochk’in] kaloom-title on Block H of the Azul step which is his characteristic epithet, most probably preceded by Ruler 1’s proper name K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ in Block G. Although not very well visible in the low-resolution illustration available, in the upper part of this very block the remains of a parrot’s beak representing MO’, and the Early Classic variant of the sign YAX are still visible. Apparently these elements are arranged as headdress on top of a sun god’s head, representing K’INICH. In sum, these components of Block G yield good evidence that Ruler 1’s proper name K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ is recorded on the Azul step.

Figure 5. Copan, Rosalila: Inscribed step of the western stairway on the Azul Platform, (drawing by Barbara Fash, from Agurcia Fasquelle and Fash 2005:209, Fig. 6.5).

Ruler 2

K1 displays the nominal phrase of Ruler 2, 1S9-K’INICH (cf. Stuart, et al. 1989), also known under the nicknames “Popol Hol K’inich”, “Mat Head” or “Tok’” (Martin and Grube 2000/2008:194). At Copan his name is also recorded on the Motmot Marker, the Xukpi Stone, Stelae 15, 18, 28, 46, 50, 63, Altar Q and Fragment CPN 529 (Figures 6) (see also Stuart 2008).

a b c d
e f g

Figure 6. Various spellings of Copan Ruler 2’s proper name. a) Motmot Marker (drawing by Christian Prager); b) Xukpi Stone (Drawing by Christian Prager); c) Stela 15 (drawing by Christian Prager); d) Stela 18 (drawing by Christian Prager); e) Stela 50 (from Riese and Baudez 1983:175, Fig. R-12a); f) Stela 63 (drawing by Christian Prager); g) Altar Q (drawing by Linda Schele, Schele Drawing Collection, Schele SD-7653 [www.famsi.org]).

All references to Ruler 2 – besides of the Motmot-Marker – are seemingly retrospective. Ruler 2’s proper name appears in different forms and remains undeciphered so far. 1S9-K’INICH is likely to be the core of his proper name. The “braided designs that mark the curling headdress of his name glyph” (Martin and Grube 2000:194), classified as 1S9, has occasionally the shape of a serpent head (see Stela 18) and it may indeed depict a serpent-like feline tail, a motif related to Teotihuacan (Martin and Grube 2000:194). Moreover, most examples of his name-glyph depict a feline ear attached either to K’INICH or a snake-like grapheme. It is thus suggestive to relate Ruler 2’s name to the so called ‘Net Jaguar’ or ‘Netted Jaguar’, or rather “net feline-coyote”, the most prominent feline creature known from numerous examples in the murals of Teotihuacan (Kubler 1972:25; Taube 2003:298-303).

In the iconography of Teotihuacan the ‘Net Jaguar’-motif has been characterized “by a jaguar covered in a reticulated interlace” (Miller and Taube 1993:103), but rather represents a zoomorphic creature combining features of both a feline and a coyote. It is often rendered as a long-limbed and serpent-like creature where a coyote body intertwines or merges with that of a “netted” feline (Figure 7). The rendering of Ruler 2’s name on the Motmot Marker which includes a reptilian head or serpent-like head with a feline ear may also be related to the feline-coyote-serpent represented on the frame of the mural in the Patio Blanco of Atetelco (see below; notice the six limbs and the coyote head) (Figure 7a). This serpent combines features of the coyote and the netted feline. The serpent-like head on the Motmot Marker does also include a feathered headdress as worn by the other “net feline-coyotes” in Teotihuacan mural painting (Figure 7b).

b c

Figure 7. The ‘Net Feline-Coyote’ of Teotihuacan. a) The “netted” part of the “netted-feline-coyote-serpent”, frame of mural 2, Porticus 2, Patio Blanco, Atetelco, Teotihuacan (drawing by Elisabeth Wagner, after von Winning 1987,1:109, Fig. 8a); b) the ‘Net Feline-Coyote’ of Teotihuacan, Mural 2, Porticus 2, Atetelco, Teotihuacan (drawing by Elisabeth Wagner after photograph by Pedro Cuevas, from Guerrero Martínez 2010:93, Fig. 44); c) the ‘Net Feline-Coyote’ spewing a stream of blood, detail of Mural 5, Porticus 5, Zone 11, Teotihuacan (drawing by Elisabeth Wagner after Miller 1973:92, Fig. 152).

On CPN Stela 6 (Figure 8) the netted serpent is the Waxaklajuun U Baah Chan, the Teotihuacan war-serpent conjured by Ruler 12, who is presented in Teotihuacan warrior attire. His loincloth has another motif related to the mentioned “netted” predatory creature: a bleeding (human) heart (Von Winning 1985:23-26), surrounded by a trilobed frame. This motif is also found on the mentioned Atetelco mural at the mouth of the coyote-serpent. At the mouth of the netted feline is the trilobed-element alone or a (human) heart, both with blood dripping from them. The trilobed element has been assumed as a symbol for water, liquid (Von Winning 1987) as well as clouds (Taube 2004:290-293) or steam. The trilobed element and the blood drops may constitute a “bleeding cloud”, a symbol representing fresh and warm steaming blood. A variant of the steaming blood motif is the depiction of a stream of steaming blood spewed by the netted feline-coyote; stylized eyes on that stream indicate the dark luster of liquid blood (Figure 7c).

Figure 8. Copan, Stela 6: Teotihuacan-related iconography (drawing by Barbara Fash, cited from Baudez [1994:65]).

The top part of Ruler 2’s name on Stela 28 shows a multilobed shape with an eye in its center and its rendering may be based on the mentioned Teotihuacan iconographic convention of depicting steaming fresh blood and its dark luster. The motif on Ruler 12’s loincloth on Stela 6 may thus represent a steaming and bleeding heart. Other renderings of Ruler 2’s proper name, however, are on the first sight clearly different from the early ones and are purely Maya, not exhibiting any Teotihuacan iconographic elements. The latest example of Ruler 2’s name on Altar Q is spelled TOK K’IK’. Tok serves here as an attributive to indicate a general meaning for Ruler 2’s abbreviated name as “steamy blood”. This very short rendering of Ruler 2’s name is clearly related to the concept reflected in the Teotihuacanoid versions of that name. Another purely Maya spelling is found on Stela 15: it includes K’INICH, an unclassified feline or at least mammal head, T44 TOK and the sign PEA referring to the classification by Martha Macri and Matthew Looper (2003b).

In some depictions the symbol for blood hangs from the jaguar’s or the coyote’s tongue (cf. Atetelco, East Structure). In fact, many examples of Ruler 2’s name-glyph feature a feline ear, often attached to the grapheme K’INICH, confirming our idea that his nominal phrase includes a Maya rendering of the Teotihuacan ‘netted feline-coyote-serpent’. An example of his name-glyph with combined serpent and feline components appears in the iconography of the Motmot Marker (Fash 2001:83) (Figure 9). There the headdress of Ruler 2 on the right depicts his name phrase reading K’INICH 1S9 T118 K’IK’. The collocation K’INICH 1S9 can be identified as the core of Ruler 2’s long name, and T118 K’IK’ depicts an elongated snake head with a blood sign similar to the Teotihuacan blood symbol. Ruler 2’s above-discussed name-glyph on Altar Q, TOK K’IK’, is referring to the T118 K’IK’ collocation as it occurs on the Motmot Marker and it is seemingly a pars pro toto representation of his long name phrase.

Figure 9. Copan, Motmot Marker: Ruler 1 and his son, Ruler 2 (drawing by Barbara Fash, cited from Stuart [2004:231, Fig. 11.11]).

The name of Ruler 2 is also mentioned on the southern side of Stela P which was commissioned by Ruler 11 to commemorate the half Katun at (Figure 10) (Martin and Grube 2008:200). The text refers to the founding of the royal precinct which had been attributed both stratigraphically and epigraphically to K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ and his immediate successor whose nominal phrase appears in blocks A5 to A8. It is a so far poorly understood text portion of Ruler 2’s name phrase consisting of a chain of syllables: wa-ku-? ki-li-ku-mi ma-pa-tz’i-ni k’a-pa-lo-tz’i ma-ya-la, waku…? kilikum mapatz’in k’apalotz’i(n) mayal. As for the implications of polysyllabic spellings in Maya writing Macri and Looper (2003a:287) underline that “[t]he majority of words in Yukatekan and Ch’olan languages are composed of a CV(V/h/’)C root to which may be added inflectional and derivational suffixes […]. Seldom is a noun or verb root composed of more than two syllables”. The polysyllabic chain on Stela P apparently renders a name in non-Mayan language like e.g. Nahuatl (cf. Macri and Looper 2003a; Boot 2010; Lacadena 2010), as for example attested in the “Mexican” deity names ka-ka-tu-na-la, xi-wi-te-lu or ta-wi-si-ka-la in the Codex Dresden (Barthel 1952; Riese 1982; Whittaker 1986), a Postclassic document. Other examples of multiple syllabic renderings of foreign proper names are pa-pa-ma-li-li (Ixlu, Caracol), wa-t’u-k’a-te-le (Seibal) or the enigmatic ma-pu-no-yo-ma e-he-ke-ni-ta (Seibal Stela 13) all dating to the Terminal Classic period. On Seibal Stela 13, e-he-ke may be related to the Nahuatl name of the wind god, ehecatl (Lacadena 2010:389). From the Early Classic period the collocation ko-sa-ka-chi-THRONE is attested on Tikal Stela 31, of which ko-sa-ka-chi, koskaach, represents the Mayan (under)spelling of the Nahuatl word koskatl, „jewel“ (Houston and Nelson 2006; Boot 2010:154).

Figure 10. Detail of Copan, Stela P: A non-Mayan spelling of Ruler 2’s proper name? (drawing by Elisabeth Wagner).

Assessing the context of the nominal phrase waku…? kilikum mapatz’in k’apalotz’i(n) mayal it must refer to Ruler 2. B8 states the relationship to the founder K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo‘ as utz’akbul, the “(first) successor of”. In A9-B12 follows the nominal phrase of K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ (hux winik?haab ch’ahoom k’inich yax k’uk’ mo’ k’uhul ? ajaw ochk’in kaloomte’). There is thus no doubt that the sequence A5-A7 is part of Ruler 2’s proper name. Our analysis yields that Ruler 2 obviously had been named after the Teotihuacano ‘netted feline-coyote’ (see above). This supernatural being appears to be rather a ‘chimera’ combining features of various species of animals as well as certain abstract symbols. This nominal phrase leaves much room to speculate about the underlying language and it may even give a clue to the then spoken language at Teotihuacan. Some authors suggest a relationship of a Nahua language to Teotihuacan imagery and writing (Cowgill 1992:51; Taube 2000). As a working hypothesis we follow this idea and suppose that the polysyllabic chain may render Nahua words in the Maya script. Interestingly, and this is of course speculative, the first unit of the name phrase waku…? might correspond to the Nahuatl huac-tli, a term designating “cierta ave canora, grande como la gallina; es también nombre de otra ave de la misma magnitude, pero no canora” (Karttunen 1983:80)4)This was suggested to the authors by Frauke Sachse in an email dated February 11, 2008.. Following another suggestion by Frauke Sachse the second non-Maya term kilikum may be tentatively analyzed: quil- “green”; cum- “snake” or “green snake” (Frauke Sachse, personal communication February 11, 2008). Kum is not attested as “snake” in Nahua and the generic term for ‘snake’ in Western Mayan is kan or chan. But in K’ichean languages kumatz represents a common term for “snake” (Kaufman and Justeson 2002:636-637). This explanation is of course pure speculation and needs more scrutiny. The next glyphs of the name phrase exhibit the non-Maya term mapatz’in. We speculate that the phonetic spelling ma-pa- might be related to the Nahua root mapach- for “raccoon”, and -tz’i-ni could possibly represent the Nahuatl reverential suffix –tzin (Karttunen 1983). After the dissemination of our research results the question of Nahua loan words in Classic Maya inscriptions has later been raised by various colleagues. Bíró and Davletshin for example revised our previous transcription k’a-pa-lo-tz’i as k’alotz’ (Bíró and Davletshin 2011) and propose the transcription tlatotz’in, which could be the reflex of tla:loc-tz’in, or the name of the well-known god Tlaloc (Bíró and Davletshin 2011:5-7).

Figure 11. Copan, Stela 18: Relations between Ruler 2 and the Central Maya Lowlands (drawing by Christian Prager).

On Stela 18 (Figure 11), another early monument, the name of Ruler 2 is followed by the Copan emblem glyph spelled as AJAW:T756°PUH. His proper name is preceded by the statement ha-i u TZ’AK-bu-? and followed by the expression EB-?-ki, already identified as a possible reference to Tikal’s founder Yax Ehb Xook by Schele (cf. 1992). As bone analyses revealed Copan Ruler 1’s origin was the Northern Peten/Tikal region (Buikstra, et al. 2004:211); we wonder, therefore, if this is a specific reference to Ruler 2’s origin and family ties to the dynasty of Tikal. However, this attribution to Tikal may contradict to K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’s origin from Huxwitza’, most probably the site of Caracol, Belize (Stuart 2007). Therefore, one may speculate if K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’, originally from Huxwitza’, may have married into the Tikal dynasty of Yax Ehb Xook before he went to Copan. Ruler 2, his son, then may have been the offspring of this union and thus a successor of Yax Ehb Xook – although via the maternal line. If this scenario was the case, Ruler 2 may have arrived together with his father at Copan. If this would the case, the local Copan woman buried in Margarita (Buikstra, et al. 2004:201) was not the mother of Ruler 2. The other possible scenario sees K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo‘ as either the son of parents originating from Tikal and Caracol, perhaps the father originating from Huxwitza’ and the mother from Yax Ehb Xook’s dynasty at Tikal – or vice versa. Thus, the son of K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ was clearly a successor in the – either paternal or maternal – line of Yax Ehb Xook. This scenario would not exclude the Margarita woman as the possible mother of Ruler 2. The ancient relation of the Copan and Quirigua dynasties to that of Caracol existed still later during the Late Classic as the reference to Balam Nehn on Caracol Stela 16 (Grube 1990; Stuart 2007), and a possible mention of K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ on a calcite vessel from Tomb 3 in Structure B20-2nd at Caracol (Chase and Chase 1987:20-21, Fig. 15; Prager and Wagner 2013), as well as the statement of a visit of an Huxwitz Ajaw on Quirigua Altar L demonstrate. The tomb at Caracol is associated with the reconstructed date *9.*7.*3.12.15, 3 Men *18 *Yaxk’in (Houston 1987:95), recorded in a wall inscription which is either the day of death or the dedication of the tomb whose original occupant was a single adult of uncertain sex (Chase and Chase 1987:20,23). Quirigua Altar L which commemorates the Katun ending is a so-called Giant Ajaw Altar, a monument type very common at Caracol (cf. Jones and Satterthwaite 1982).

Figure 12. Copan, Stela 28: Name glyph of Ruler 2 with a probable ya- prefix (drawing by Christian Prager).

On the side text of Copan Stela 28 (Figure 12) the agent of the retrospectively recorded stone-binding event celebrating the completion of the 9th Baktun is Ruler 2 (Stuart 2004:241-244). This confirms a suggestion by Martin and Grube (2000) that the founder might have been already dead by this time. Therefore an alternative explanation might be that Ruler 2 could be evoking his father in the Motmot Marker inscription and imagery. This contradicts earlier assumptions (cf. Fash, et al. 2004:171-172; Stuart 2004:240) that K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ and Ruler 2 had celebrated the completion of the 9th Baktun together. The former argument was built on the mention and depiction of both individuals on the Motmot marker commemorating the same event (Schele, Fahsen, et al. 1994). A closer look at the iconography on the Motmot Marker (Figure 9), however, yields that K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ (left) is seated on the so-called ‘9-footprint-place’-sign. This undeciphered expression is usually related to a location where the dead entered the underworld. Ruler 2 in contrast is resting upon the expression wuk ihk’ k’anal, a place related to emergence, sprouting and birth in the east, clearly associated with the living world (cf. Wagner 2000). These symbolic associations might imply that K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ may have died probably shortly before or, at least before the Motmot Marker was designed, carved and set to retrospectively commemorate the 9th Baktun ending.

Figure 13. Copan, Stela 63: A retrospective monument? (drawing by Barbara Fash, cited from Schele [1989:11, Fig. 2]).

Stela 63 (Figure 13), that bears the date of the Baktun 8 Ajaw 14 Keh and also records Ruler 2 as the child of K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’, had been regarded as contemporary to Ruler 2, implying that he commissioned Stela 63 and Papagayo structure to commemorate the Baktun ending (Ramos Gomez 2006:64; Schele and Looper 1996:100, Traxler 2004:196-197). But there are paleographic arguments against such an early date of Stela 63, contemporary to Comparing the style of the glyphs on Stela 63 with other Early Classic Copan monuments bearing a contemporary dedication date, it differs considerably from monuments dedicated shortly after such as the Motmot marker, the Xukpi stone and the Azul step (cf. Tokovinine 2013a:10,14). The style of Stela 63’s calligraphy is much closer to that of the Temple 11 step, Stela 49 and other later monuments than to the style of the Motmot marker, the Xukpi stone and the Azul step. In this regard, the rendering of the “Mat-Head”-element of Ruler 2’s name is of particular interest. The stylistically earlier variant occurs on the Motmot Marker and the Xukpi stone while the later variant on CPN 3033 is also present on Stela 63. Based on the later stratigraphic position of Stela 63 in relation to the Motmot Marker (Fash, et al. 2004:76), the stylistic similarity to later monuments, the date on Stela 63 is thus a retrospectively recorded event – as already pointed out by David Stuart (1992:172). The date and event are not contemporary with the carving of Stela 63 which was commissioned by one of K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’s successors (Stuart 1992:172). Unfortunately, the text following this date is almost completely lost. The actual dedication of the monument is not recorded on the front but as a separate text on the sides of the stela without a date. In its inscription, the stela is referred to as ubolon baah lakamtuun of Ruler 2 who is given as the child of K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’. While Yax and Motmot structures can be assigned to K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ respectively, Papagayo structure and Stela 63 may not have been dedicated by Ruler 2, but for him by one of his successors – by the reasons just discussed.

Ruler 2’s reign of has been estimated to approximately 20 (Martin and Grube 2000:192) or 35 years (Ramos Gomez 2006:63). Bearing in mind the Xukpi-Stone (Figure 14) with a possible death and burial date of Ruler 2 on as well as the fact that Stela 28 records the Katun-ending celebrations by already the 6th ruler; a much shorter reign of Ruler 2 seems feasible. The dedication of the probable burial and memorial shrine of Ruler 2 may be recorded on the re-used step known as Xukpi Stone which records the date (Schele, Grube, et al. 1994). The Xukpi-stone has been re-used in the construction of the Margarita structure (Sedat and Sharer 1994:1-2; Stuart 2004:244) most probably housing K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’s wife and obvious “founding mother” of the Copan dynasty. The type of monument points to an original context of the Xukpi Stone as a step. The well preserved state of the Xukpi stone inscription points either to an original location inside a building (Stuart 2004:244) or only a very short time of exposure to the elements on an exterior stairway. The inscription of the Xukpi Stone gives the most explicit information on its original context. Following the dedicatory statement and the proper name of the monument itself or the structure it was built in, the latter is specified as the “burial of Ruler 2”. Based on the fact that the statement “the burial of” always refers to the deceased occupant of the tomb and not his successor who apparently commissioned the burial and the associated inscription (Eberl 1999:41-45), we can assume that the Xukpi Stone was commissioned by the deceased Ruler 2’s successor, Ruler 3.

Figure 14. Copan, Xukpi Stone: A possible date of the death and burial of Ruler 2 (drawing by Linda Schele, from Schele et al. [1994:1]).

As the inscription on the Xukpi stone reveals, this monument may have originally marked the tomb/memorial shrine of Ruler 2. Based on the fact that the Xukpi Stone was re-used, the following – though highly speculative – scenario seems plausible: The woman buried in the Margarita Tomb (cf. Buikstra, et al. 2004), the assumed wife of K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’, survived Ruler 2 whose tomb was either located somewhere else and modified including removing the Xukpi-stone – or it might even been the pre-Margarita chamber known as Bac-chamber (Sedat and López 2004:98) itself, re-modelled and then used as the burial place for the spouse of K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’s preceded by the removal of Ruler 2’s corpse. The Margarita tomb was modified over the time of its use but so far no traces of another, earlier burial have been found (Sedat and López 2004:98). As a third scenario, the secondary disposal of the Xukpi stone as a structural element in a later remodelling of the Margarita tomb and not a careful resetting as a step in a new shrine allows speculations about the termination and or disturbance of Ruler 2’s tomb and the reburial of Ruler 2’s remains at another location not yet identified. A possible candidate might be Burial 92-2 which Ellen Bell already has assumed to hold “the remains of a Copan ruler, a member of the royal family or some other elite member of the royal court” (Bell 2007:522). Bell (2007:520-522) provides a summary on Burial 92-2:

“Because of later disturbance, the circumstances surrounding the deposition of Burial 92-3 (sic!) remain unclear. The articulated bones suggest that it may have been a primary burial that was later uncovered by an intrusion which destroyed all evidence of an original burial chamber. However, given this later destruction, the possibility that it may represent a re-deposited burial cannot be ruled out. It is clear that the bones and offerings were deliberately crushed by the impacts of rocks and fill thrown into the pit at the end of a re-entry event. Bell et al. (2004:149) have suggested that the re-opening (or even redeposition) of this burial may have been part of a program of plunder and desecration that coincided with a foreign incursion at Copan around A.D. 550-600 (Sharer 2004). […] However, if the burial were plundered, a number of elaborate grave goods, including the inlaid jade and shell mosaic disk similar to that found in the Hunal Tomb, escaped notice and/or were left in place. The intentional smashing of the remains and offerings suggests that the re-entry event was designed to desecrate, rather than venerate, the buried individual.”

The possibility of Burial 92-2 being a re-deposited burial would be conform with the clearly apparent non-venerative use and deposit of the Xukpi stone, Ruler 2’s original epitaph, in the later remodeling episode at the Margarita tomb structure. Furthermore, the grave goods – particularly a shell and jade inlaid Patella mexicana shell and numerous small discoid jade and shell beads – are very similar to those found in the Hunal and Margarita Tombs (Bell 2007:521; Sharer 2004:310), the assumed burial of K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’. These similarities may assess this burial as temporarily close to that of Ruler 1. This scenario would also rule out the possibility that the Early Classic Tomb 08-01 below the Oropendola structure – dated to the second half of the 5th century AD by its position in the Copan acropolis stratigraphy, treatment of the body and the artefacts present (Fierer-Donaldson 2012:iii,3, 149, 324) – would be that of Ruler 2. Thus, as assumed by Molly Fierer-Donaldson (Fierer-Donaldson 2012:3-4, 324), his successors Rulers 3 and 4 remain as most likely occupants of Tomb 08-01, while Ruler 5 cannot be ruled out.

Ruler 3

Our identification of the name glyphs following the proper names of Ruler 1 and Ruler 2 is based on the assumption that CPN 3033 contains a list of early Copan kings. Given that, first, the name phrase of the founding father and that of his son and successor in office are mentioned consecutively in I2-K1, and, secondly, K1 displays the name glyph of k’altuun hix, the fourth official ruler of Copan (Stuart 2004:231), it seems highly plausible that the remaining text presents a dynastic list of Early Classic rulers at Copan as of the time of Ruler 8 who commissioned CPN 3033 in commemoration of his late father, Ruler 7. Accordingly, the name of the third individual in block L1 should represent the proper name of Ruler 3. The prefix of his name has been attested only on the broken part of Altar Q (Figure 15), and has been proposed as ya (Martin and Grube 2000:196).

Figure 15. Copan, Altar Q, detail: Ruler 3 and his name glyph (drawing by Linda Schele, Schele Drawing Collection, Schele SD-7653 [www.famsi.org]).

However, according to the new evidence from CPN 3033 the prefix is most likely T122 K’AK’ as suggested by Martin and Grube (2008:196). A third example of Ruler 3’s name is found on the fragmentary Stela 46. It furnishes a parentage statement linking Ruler 2 with his child, an individual whose remaining name glyph displays portions of a portrait sign with teeth. We suppose that this glyph block also shows the proper name of the second successor to the founding father of the Copan’s royal lineage. This indeed would contradict an earlier assumption – based on relatively short life-spans and periods of rule – by David Stuart (Stuart 1992:174) that Rulers 2 and 3 might have been brothers. CPN 3033 contains a more complete spelling of Ruler 3’s name that has been only known from his fragmentary listing on Altar Q so far (Martin and Grube 2000:196; Riese 1992:134; Stuart 2008). Martin and Grube (2008:192) have added his name glyph in their list of rulers and transliterate it K’AK’?-?-AJAW?.

Ruler 4

The fourth proper name in K1 name can be without doubt identified as the name-glyph of Ruler 4, or k’altuun hix as deciphered by Stuart (cf. Martin and Grube 2000:196; Stuart 2004:231; Stuart 2008). His nominal phrase on CPN 3033 reads k’altuun hix. Besides of being recorded in the king list of Altar Q and in K1 on CPN 3033, the name of Ruler 4 is also known from three earlier monuments, Fragment V’, Stela 34 (Grube and Schele 1988) and the Papagayo step. On the latter Ruler 4’s nominal phrase contains two epithets, the probably mythical toponym 6-OK-NAL, followed by 3-HAB-TE’, hux haab te’. These are of particular interest, since they further provide evidence of Copan’s dynastic ties to the northeastern Peten (cf. Biro 2011:39-40). 6-OK-NAL is a toponym associated with a specific aspect of the Maize god related to hux haab te’ (Tokovinine 2013:120-121, Fig. 66a-c). Hux haab te’ is a politonym that first has been attributed to the sphere of Rio Azul (Beliaev 2000:66) and later to a wider region in the northeastern Peten including Rio Azul, Los Alacranes, La Honradez and Xultun (cf. Krempel and Matteo 2012:164; Tokovinine 2008:95-96; 2013b:17-18; Gronemeyer 2016:106, note 25), and it formed part of an even larger spatial order, 13-tzuk, including Tikal and the northeastern Peten (cf. Beliaev 2000:65-67).

A mention of the Rio Azul emblem glyph on Stela 20, dating 5 Ajaw 3 Tzek (July 6, 465 AD) (Morley 1920:72, Schele 1990:4; Schele and Looper 1996:105), records a nominal phrase that ends with the emblem title of Rio Azul and can thus be identified as a ruler or at least a noble from that site. We are not sure if this part of Stela 20’s inscription records a parentage statement in which the father of the child (whose name is not preserved) is mentioned first and followed by the statement ya-AL-la, yal, “child of mother”, and the name of the mother (now lost). If indeed a parentage statement is recorded here, the child might have been Ruler 4 who carries the epithet hux haab te’, that would then point to his ancestry.

Ruler 5

L2, although in poor condition, contains the proper name of another Copan sovereign, most probably that of Ruler 5 (Figure 16a). This lord is only known from his listing and depiction in the dynastic gallery on Altar Q so far (Figure 16b). There his name glyph is rendered yu-UH-ku-a (Martin and Grube 2000:196), a term most probably spelled yuhkua’ or yuhka’. In the course of the present study a further record of Ruler 5’s name has been identified on CPN 3033. Unfortunately, his presumed name-glyph in L2 is greatly eroded. It consists of several graphemes that are not completely readable. It starts with the superfixed grapheme yu, followed by a portrait glyph representing a human skull with a smoke prefix. The remaining portions of the name phrase, however, are too eroded to determine its original components.

a b

Figure 16. Spellings of Ruler 5’s proper name. a) CPN 3033 (drawing by Christian Prager); b) Altar Q (drawing by Linda Schele, Schele Drawing Collection, Schele SD-7653 [www.famsi.org]).

Another mention of Ruler 5 might be found on the Papagayo step (Figure 17) in G2, although difficult to assess due to the partly illegible condition of the inscription. So far Ruler 4 has been assumed to have remodelled the Papagayo Structure that covered Motmot by extending a new stucco floor and placing a hieroglyphic step known as the Papagayo step inside the building (Fash 2001:85; Fash, et al. 2004:76; Martin and Grube 2000:196; Stuart 2004:231) because his name appears in the text on the riser of the Papagayo step. While the carving on the upper tread of the Papagayo step is clearly designed to constitute a central inscription framed on each side by a so called introductory sign, and the composition is clearly intended as a whole to be easily viewed from the top and read from left to right in columns, the awkward position of the inscription on the riser of the Papagayo-step contradicts to the design and arrangement of the inscription on other inscribed steps elsewhere at Copan. This may indicate that the text was originally intended to be read in a vertical arrangement from top to bottom, pointing clearly to a stela. We wonder therefore, if the Papagayo-step may have originally been a stela commissioned by Ruler 4, later re-carved and reset by one of his successors.

Figure 17. Copan, Papagayo Step: A re-carved and re-used stela? (drawing by Linda Schele, inked by Mark van Stone, Schele Drawing Collection, Schele SD-1045 [http://ancientamericas.org]).

A closer inspection of the original monument is necessary to check if the remnants of Block G2b may indeed show the syllable yu as it appears in the published drawings (e.g. Stuart 2004:230). If this is the case, the name of the probable protagonist of the text might point to Ruler 5. The preserved part of the text is an invocation of the Paddler Gods in direct speech, thus attributing the text to a half-Katun ending date (perhaps followed by the statement ya-AL yu-[…] in G2 which introduces the speaker of the preceding text (as later Ruler 13 on the step of Str. 10L-22). The syllable yu may indeed allude to Ruler 5, yuhkua’ or yuhka’ as the speaker and protagonist of the inscription (see also Stuart 2008).

Ruler 6

The listing of the kings continues in M1. ‘Muyal Jol’ is a presumed spelling of Ruler 6’s name whose nominal phrase was only known from his name-glyph MUYAL JOL on Altar Q (Martin and Grube 2000:196; Riese 1992:134). In the course of the present study the authors found at least two or eventually three more examples of this proper name: on Stela 28, back (Figure 18), CPN 3033 and probably Stela 53. On CPN 3033 his proper name thus consists of two parts recorded in M1 and N1. M2 displays a complete human skull with an ear spool, a dotted circle on its cheek and an infixed chuwen-sign over its eye. These diagnostic elements suggest that this grapheme represents a variant of the sign UH (cf. Stuart and Houston 1994:45).

b c

Figure 18. Ruler 6’s name glyph. a) Copan Altar Q (drawing by Linda Schele, Schele Drawing Collection, Schele SD-7653 [www.famsi.org]); b) CPN 3033 (drawing by Christian Prager); c) Copan Stela 28, back (drawing by Elisabeth Wagner).

A comparison with Ruler 6’s name glyph on Altar Q and Stela 28 yields that the skull signs on the these monuments are differently rendered. On Altar Q it is the sign JOL, a jawless skull exhaling the cloud symbol MUYAL and on Stela 28, Ruler 6’s proper name consists of a jawless skull with earspool and MUYAL on its head in block Bp4. The cloud symbol is obviously missing on CPN 3033, although we suppose that it was originally represented in the eroded portion of the skull’s headdress. The second part of Ruler 6’s nominal phrase in N1 comprises ahk chan “turtle-like heaven”.

On the back of Stela 28, block Ap4 preceding Bp4 may show the AK CHAN compound as recorded also on CPN 3033. According to the photographs T561:23 CHAN-na is clearly visible on the original monument. The date associated with this stela is, also recorded on the upper part of the fragmentary stela as u-TZUTZ-wa 3-WINIK?-HAB u tzutzuw hux winik? haab. His title phrase contains K’UH(UL) ITZ’AT in Ap5 followed by the Copan emblem glyph. Stela 53 may contain another reference to Ruler 6. Although badly eroded, one can clearly recognise a jawless skull in pBp1, the syllable ku in pAp1 and the Copan emblem glyph in pAp2.

Final Clause

The final phrase of CPN 3033 (M2-N2) displays the sequence yajaw k’in ochk’in kaloomte’. This very clause is also recorded on CPN Stela 15 and consists of a pair of titles: yajaw k’in “sun’s vassal” and ochk’in kaloomte’ “west-kaloomte'“. The latter is a common royal epithet strongly linked with the dynastic founding father, K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ (Stuart 2004:238). When prefixed by ochk’in “west”, as it is the case here, the kaloomte’-title very probably expresses a royal authority whose legitimacy derives from Teotihuacan (Martin and Grube 2000:17). The first part of the title sequence is yajaw k’in “sun’s vassal” (cf. Zender 2004:196-198), a title elsewhere occurring on Copan Stela 15. There the epithets yajaw k’in ochk’in kaloomte’ are associated with the name-glyph of K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’, followed by the name phrase of his successor, Ruler 2, and seemingly other names that are unfortunately broken away. The text of Stela 15, which was commissioned by Ruler 7, Balam Nehn (Martin and Grube 2000:197), states that the protagonist is the seventh in the line of yajaw k’in ochk’in kaloomte’, followed by the proper names of K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ and his successor(s?). On CPN 3033 the title phrase yajaw k’in ochk’in kaloomte’ thus may allude to the aforementioned Rulers 2 to 6 and identify them as members of the dynasty founded by K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’, the occupant of the royal title yajaw k’in ochk’in kaloomte’.

Figure 19. Copan, Stela 15: Another Early Classic king list (drawing by Barbara Fash, cited from Schele 1990:13, Fig. 4).

We speculate that ajaw k’in seems to be an epithet referring to the solar aspect of ancestral kings (Taube 2004:286-290) used here as a collective term for the ancestral kings mentioned on Stela 15 (Figure 19) and on CPN 3033. While on Stela 15 the expression yajaw k’in ochk’in kaloomte’ precedes the list of the ancestral kings, on CPN 3033, however, it closes the list meaning that Rulers 1 to 6 are the yajaw k’in of the ochk’in kaloomte’. An alternative reconstruction of the partly eroded glyph in M2 might also be ya-AJAW [TE’] as suggested by Nikolai Grube (June 23, 2006). This frequent title is often paraphrased “Tree-Lord” and may refer to the concept of lineage as this has been elsewhere suggested. Using this interpretation one could understand this text passage as “Ruler 1, Ruler 2, Ruler 3, Ruler 4, Ruler 5, and Ruler 6 belong to the ochk’in kaloomte’-lineage or dynasty”.


We would like to thank our colleagues for providing us with helpful comments, suggestions, and comprehensive research materials. Our grateful thanks go to Ellen Bell, Albert Davletshin, Barbara Fash, Marcello Canuto, Sven Gronemeyer, Nikolai Grube, Elmo León, Simon Martin, Jesper Nielsen, Berthold Riese, Frauke Sachse, Robert Sharer, David Stuart, Stefanie Teufel, Alexandre Tokovinine, Loa Traxler, and Gordon Whittaker. We expand our thanks to Mallory Matsumoto who gave valuable suggestions and made corrections of the manuscript. We are grateful for all their comments on earlier versions of the manuscript, although any errors are our own.


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1 The discovery of this king list was first circulated by email in a preliminary version of the present paper (Wagner and Prager 2006) in June 2006 (cited in Martin & Grube 2008:196, 232, footnote 13). David Stuart independently identified the king list on CPN 3033 in 2000 or 2001 (emails by David Stuart to the authors, dated June 23, 2006 and February 18, 2008). See also David Stuart (2008).
2 For the sake of convenience, we use the designation CPN 3033 established by the Proyecto Arqueológico Copán to designate the hieroglyphic step from Str. 10L-11-sub-12 (Baudez 1994:297-298). To refer to other monuments from Copan, we retain on the more familiar original nomenclature established by Maudslay (1889-1902), Morley (1920) and still continued by later scholars (cf. Riese and Baudez 1983, Copan Notes). Hieroglyphic signs are classified on the basis of Eric Thompson’s catalog (1962), hereafter indicated with a capital T. Macri and Looper’s catalog (2003), which uses an alpha-numerical three-digit coding, e.g. AV4, will be cited for graphemes that Thompson did not include in his compilation. If not otherwise indicated, transliterations of Classic Mayan are based upon the conventions introduced by David Stuart et al. (2005:79-90).
3 While ZZ9 has been identified by Marc Zender (2010) as BAJ, the graph ZZ9 is also known to have been used to spell the syllable ba as in tz’i-ba-li on the vessel Grolier 39 (cf. Coe 1973:87; MacLeod 1990:246, Fig. 7-2).
4 This was suggested to the authors by Frauke Sachse in an email dated February 11, 2008.