Books of Chilam Balam , group of documents written in Yucatec Maya with Spanish characters during the 17th and 18th centuries. A principal source of knowledge of ancient Mayan custom, they contain myth , prophecy, medical lore, calendrical information, and historical chronicles. Although originally there were probably many documents, only a few remain. Books of Chilam Balam. Info Print Cite.
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Books of Chilam Balam , group of documents written in Yucatec Maya with Spanish characters during the 17th and 18th centuries. A principal source of knowledge of ancient Mayan custom, they contain myth , prophecy, medical lore, calendrical information, and historical chronicles.
Although originally there were probably many documents, only a few remain. Books of Chilam Balam. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Books of Chilam Balam Mayan literature. See Article History. Britannica Quiz. Famous Documents. Which of these documents was the last to be ratified? Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. The former consist of historical chronicles mixed with myth, divination, and prophecy, and the latter which shows definite central Mexican influences embodies the mythology and cosmology of….
The Chilam Balam books are full of predictions of a markedly direful character. The priests probably believed that the present world would come to a sudden end, but that a new world would be created so that the eternal succession of cycles should remain unbroken.
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The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel
Chilam Balam, a Maya priestly class whose members' predictions form the basis for local historiography. Several types of documents have been titled Chilam Balam. Although the term Chilam Balam implies priests who could foretell the future, only five of the books those from Chan Kan, Chumayel, Kaua, Mani, and Tizimin include prophetic texts. They are histories of the past and at the same time predictions of the future. These books are grounded in the belief that events occurring during certain periods of time will recur in particular future periods. Specifically, katuns , or cycles of 20 tuns the day Maya civil year , that end on days with the same name and coefficient will contain analogous events.
Jump to navigation. The Maya developed a complex and detailed understanding of astronomy and calendrics, including a method for predicting both solar and lunar eclipses, long before the arrival of the Spanish. This manuscript, found by Don Adumaro Molina in the early nineteenth century, when Mexico was still a Spanish colony, describes the Spanish conquest of the Yucatan Peninsula as well as the history, rituals, prophecies, astronomy, architecture, mythology, calendar, songs, and incantations of the local Maya peoples. This page in particular bears writing in both Spanish and the Yucatec Maya language that discusses eclipses of both the moon and the sun. Eclipses were thus seen as disasters with the potential to destroy the sun and moon, so predicting them served as a warning and precaution.
The Books of Chilam Balam: Part one
The Books of Chilam Balam are indigenous Maya chronicles written in northern Yucatan during the century or so following the Spanish Conquest. The surviving texts we have are copies of the originals to which religious and historical material has probably been added. There are ten or twelve, some in a fragmentary state, others apparently complete. The books, which are named after the towns in which they were found or produced, are a continuation of native tradition in European script as taught by Spanish missionaries in the 16th century. Although the Christian priests taught the Indians to write for purposes of conversion, the Maya managed to record a number of their own chronicles, rituals, and history. The native chronicles u Kahlay Katunob , which are based on the katun, or twenty-year period basic to the Maya calendar, provide us with a picture of the Spanish Conquest and the coming of Christianity from the viewpoint of the Maya themselves.