Palenque

Palenque
Palenque Collage.jpg
Collage of Palenque.
Palenque is located in Mesoamerica
Palenque
Location within Mesoamerica
Alternative nameBàak', Lakamha
LocationChiapasMexico
RegionChiapas
Coordinates17°29′03″N 92°02′47″W / 17°29′03″N 92°02′47″W / 17.48417; -92.04639
History
PeriodsLate Preclassic to Early Postclassic
CulturesMaya civilization
Site notes
Official namePre-Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque
411
Inscription1987 (11th Session)
Area1,772 ha

The city of Palengue also is home to The Temple of Inscriptions, inside lies the sarcophagus of Pacal the Great.

Palenque (Spanish pronunciation: [pa'leŋke]; Yucatec Maya: Bàakʼ /ɓàːkʼ/), also anciently known as Lakamha (literally: "Big Water"), was a Maya city state in southern Mexico that flourished in the 7th century. The Palenque ruins date from ca. 226 BC to ca. AD 799.[citation needed] After its decline, it was absorbed into the jungle of cedar, mahogany, and sapodilla trees,[1] but has since been excavated and restored. It is located near the Usumacinta River in the Mexican state of Chiapas, about 130 km (81 mi) south of Ciudad del Carmen,[citation needed] 150 meters (490 ft) above sea level. It averages a humid 26 °C (79 °F) with roughly 2,160 millimeters (85 in) of rain a year.[1]

Palenque is a medium-sized site, smaller than Tikal, Chichen Itza, or Copán, but it contains some of the finest architecture, sculpture, roof comb and bas-relief carvings that the Mayas produced. Much of the history of Palenque has been reconstructed from reading the hieroglyphic inscriptions on the many monuments; historians now have a long sequence of the ruling dynasty of Palenque in the 5th century and extensive knowledge of the city-state's rivalry with other states such as Calakmul and Toniná. The most famous ruler of Palenque was K'inich Janaab Pakal, or Pacal the Great, whose tomb has been found and excavated in the Temple of the Inscriptions.

By 2005, the discovered area covered up to 2.5 km² (1 sq mi), but it is estimated that less than 10% of the total area of the city is explored, leaving more than a thousand structures still covered by jungle. Palenque received 920,470 visitors in 2017.[2]

History

Mythological beings using a variety of emblem glyphs in their titles suggests a complex early history. For instance, K'uk' B'ahlam, the supposed founder of the Palenque dynasty, is called a Toktan Ajaw in the text of the Temple of the Foliated Cross.

The famous structures that we know today probably represent a rebuilding effort in response to the attacks by the city of Calakmul and its client states in 599 and 611.[3] One of the main figures responsible for rebuilding Palenque and for a renaissance in the city's art and architecture is also one of the best-known Maya Ajaw, K'inich Janaab' Pakal (Pacal the Great), who ruled from 615 to 683. He is known through his funerary monument, dubbed the Temple of Inscriptions, after the lengthy text preserved in the temple's superstructure. At the time Alberto Ruz Lhuillier excavated Pakal's tomb, it was the richest and best preserved of any scientifically excavated burial then known from the ancient Americas. It held this position until the discovery of the rich Moche burials at Sipan, Peru and the recent discoveries at Copan and Calakmul.

A bas-relief in the Palenque museum that depicts Upakal K'inich, the son of K'inich Ahkal Mo' Naab III.

Beside the attention that K'inich Janaab' Pakal's tomb brought to Palenque, the city is historically significant for its extensive hieroglyphic corpus composed during the reigns of Janaab' Pakal, his son K'inich Kan B'ahlam, and his grandson K'inich Akal Mo' Naab', and for being the location where Heinrich Berlin[4] and later Linda Schele and Peter Mathews outlined the first dynastic list for any Maya city.[5] The work of Tatiana Proskouriakoff as well as that of Berlin, Schele, Mathews, and others, initiated the intense historical investigations that characterized much of the scholarship on the ancient Maya from the 1960s to the present.[6] The extensive iconography and textual corpus has also allowed for study of Classic period Maya mythology[7] and ritual practice.[8]

Rulers

A list of possible and known Maya rulers[9][10] of the city, with dates of their reigns:

Mythological and legendary rulers:
  • ?-Muwaan Mat c.2325 BC
  • Uk'ix Chan c.987 BC
  • Casper c.252 BC

Palenque Dynasty:

K'inich Kan B'alam II, one of the many rulers of Palenque. Detail from the Temple XVII Tablet.

Early Classic period

The first ajaw, or king, of B'aakal that we know of was K'uk Balam (Quetzal Jaguar), who governed for four years starting in the year 431. After him, a king came to power, nicknamed Casper by archaeologists. The next two kings were probably Casper's sons. Little was known about the first of these, B'utz Aj Sak Chiik, until 1994, when a tablet was found describing a ritual for the king. The first tablet mentioned his successor Ahkal Mo' Naab I as a teenage prince, and therefore it is believed that there was a family relation between them. For unknown reasons, Akhal Mo' Naab I had great prestige, so the kings who succeeded him were proud to be his descendants.

When Ahkal Mo' Naab I died in 524, there was an interregnum of four years, before the following king was crowned at Toktán in 529. K'an Joy Chitam I governed for 36 years. His sons Ahkal Mo' Naab II and K'an B'alam I were the first kings who used the title Kinich, which means "the great sun". This word was used also by later kings. B'alam was succeeded in 583 by Yohl Ik'nal, who was supposedly his daughter. The inscriptions found in Palenque document a battle that occurred under her government in which troops from Calakmul invaded and sacked Palenque, a military feat without known precedents. These events took place in 599.

A second victory by Calakmul occurred some twelve years later, in 611, under the government of Aj Ne' Yohl Mat, son of Yohl Iknal. In this occasion, the king of Calakmul entered Palenque in person, consolidating a significant military disaster, which was followed by an epoch of political disorder. Aj Ne' Yohl Mat was to die in 612.

Late Classic period

The two inner columns from the Temple of the Inscriptions

B'aakal began the Late Classic period in the throes of the disorder created by the defeats before Calakmul. The glyphic panels at the Temple of Inscriptions, which records the events at this time, relates that some fundamental annual religious ceremonies were not performed in 613, and at this point states: "Lost is the divine lady, lost is the king."[11] Mentions of the government at the time have not been found.

It is believed that after the death of Aj Ne' Yohl Mat, Janaab Pakal, also called Pakal I, took power thanks to a political agreement. Janaab Pakal assumed the functions of the ajaw (king) but never was crowned. He was succeeded in 612 by his daughter, the queen Sak K'uk', who governed for only three years until her son was old enough to rule. It is considered that the dynasty was reestablished from then on, so B'aakal retook the path of glory and splendor.

The Palace Observation Tower

The grandson of Janaab Pakal is the most famous of the Mayan kings, K'inich Janaab' Pakal, also known as Pakal the Great. He began rule at the age of 12 years after his mother Sak Kuk resigned as queen after three years, thus passing power on to him. Pakal the Great reigned in Palenque from 615 to 683, and his mother remained an important force for the first 25 years of his rule. She may have ruled jointly with him. Known as the favorite of the gods, he carried Palenque to new levels of splendor, in spite of having come to power when the city was at a low point. Pakal married the princess of Oktán, Lady Tzakbu Ajaw (also known as Ahpo-Hel) in 624 and had at least three children.

The Palace as seen from the courtyard.

Most of the palaces and temples of Palenque were constructed during his government; the city flourished as never before, eclipsing Tikal. The central complex, known as The Palace, was enlarged and remodeled on various occasions, notably in the years 654, 661, and 668. In this structure, is a text describing how in that epoch Palenque was newly allied with Tikal, and also with Yaxchilan, and that they were able to capture the six enemy kings of the alliance. Not much more had been translated from the text.

In the Palace

After the death of Pakal in 683, his older son K'inich Kan B'alam assumed the kingship of B'aakal, who in turn was succeeded in 702 by his brother K'inich K'an Joy Chitam II. The first continued the architectural and sculptural works that were begun by his father, as well as finishing the construction of the famous tomb of Pakal. Pakal's sarcophagus, built for a very tall man, held the richest collection of jade seen in a Mayan tomb. A jade mosaic mask was placed over his face, and a suit made of jade adorned his body, with each piece hand-carved and held together by gold wire.[1]

Furthermore, K'inich Kan B'alam I began ambitious projects, including the Group of the Crosses. Thanks to numerous works begun during his government, now we have portraits of this king, found in various sculptures. His brother succeeded him continuing with the same enthusiasm of construction and art, reconstructing and enlarging the north side of the Palace. Thanks to the reign of these three kings, B'aakal had a century of growing and splendor.

Mask of the Red Queen from the tomb found in Temple XIII.

In 711, Palenque was sacked by the realm of Toniná, and the old king K'inich K'an Joy Chitam II was taken prisoner. It is not known what the final fate of the king was, and it is presumed that he was executed in Toniná. For 10 years there was no king. Finally, K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nab' III was crowned in 722. Although the new king belonged to the royalty, there is no evidence that he was the direct inheritor direct of K'inich K'an Joy Chitam II. It is believed, therefore, that this coronation was a break in the dynastic line, and probably K'inich Ahkal Nab' arrived to power after years of maneuvering and forging political alliances. This king, his son, and grandson governed until the end of the 8th century. Little is known about this period, except that, among other events, the war with Toniná continued, where there are hieroglyphics that record a new defeat of Palenque.

Occasionally city-state lords were women. Lady Sak Kuk ruled at Palenque for at least three years starting in 612 CE, before she passed her title to her son. However, these female rulers were accorded male attributes. Thus, these women became more masculine as they assumed roles that were typically male roles.[12]

Abandonment

During the 8th century, B'aakal came under increasing stress, in concert with most other Classic Mayan city-states, and there was no new elite construction in the ceremonial center sometime after 800. An agricultural population continued to live here for a few generations, then the site was abandoned and was slowly grown over by the forest. The district was very sparsely populated when the Spanish first arrived in the 1520s.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Palenque
العربية: بالينكي
беларуская: Паленке
български: Паленке
བོད་ཡིག: ཕ་ལོན་ཁེ།
brezhoneg: Palenque
català: Palenque
čeština: Palenque
Cymraeg: Palenque
dansk: Palenque
Deutsch: Palenque
Esperanto: Palenque
euskara: Palenque
فارسی: پالنکه
français: Palenque
한국어: 팔렝케
հայերեն: Պալենկե
हिन्दी: पलेंक
hrvatski: Palenque
Bahasa Indonesia: Palenque
italiano: Palenque
עברית: פלנקה
ქართული: პალენკე
қазақша: Паленке
magyar: Palenque
македонски: Паленке
მარგალური: პალენკე
日本語: パレンケ
norsk: Palenque
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਪਾਲੇਂਕੇ
português: Palenque
română: Palenque
русский: Паленке
Scots: Palenque
Simple English: Palenque
slovenčina: Palenque
slovenščina: Palenque
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Palenque
suomi: Palenque
svenska: Palenque
Tagalog: Palenque
Türkçe: Palenque
українська: Паленке
اردو: پالینکے
Tiếng Việt: Palenque
Winaray: Palenque
中文: 帕伦克