Sunday, 15 January 2012

various theories on b'ak'tun (Mesoamerican Long Count Calender)

an inscription in Mayan characters set into yellow stone
A date inscription for the Mayan Long Count


 There is a strong tradition of "world ages" in Mayan literature, but the record has been distorted, leaving several possibilities open to interpretation. According to the Popol Vuh(the oldest surviving manuscript ),  we are living in the fourth world. The Popol Vuh describes the gods first creating three failed worlds, followed by a successful fourth world in which humanity was placed. In the Maya Long Count, the previous world ended after 13 b'ak'tuns, or roughly 5,125 years.The Long Count's "zero date"was set at a point in the past marking the end of the third world and the beginning of the current one, which corresponds to 11 August 3114 BC in the proleptic Gregorian calendar. This means that the fourth world will also have reached the end of its 13th b'ak'tun, or Mayan date  on December 21, 2012. In 1957, Mayanist and astronomer Maud Worcester Makemson wrote that "the completion of a Great Period of 13 b'ak'tuns would have been of the utmost significance to the Maya". In 1966, Michael D. Coe wrote in The Maya that "there is a suggestion ... that Armageddon would overtake the degenerate peoples of the world and all creation on the final day of the 13th (b'ak'tun). Thus ... our present universe (would) be annihilated (in December 2012) when the Great Cycle of the Long Count reaches completion."
.It is not certain what significance the classic Maya give to the 13th b'ak'tun. Most classic Maya inscriptions are strictly historical and do not make any prophetic declarations. One item in the Mayan classical corpus, however, there is a mention of the end of the 13th b'ak'tun: Tortuguero Monument 6 , which lies in southernmost Tabasco, Mexico, dates from the 7th century AD and consists of a series of inscriptions mostly in honor of the contemporary ruler Bahlam Ajaw. One inscription, known as Tortuguero Monument 6, is the only inscription known to refer to b'ak'tun 13.
However Scholars from various disciplines have dismissed the idea of  cataclysmic events occurring in 2012 so have the o astronomers and other scientis . According to researchers   the end of the 13th b'ak'tun would perhaps be a cause for celebration, it did not mark the end of the calendar."There is nothing in the Maya or Aztec or ancient Mesoamerican prophecy to suggest that they prophesied a sudden or major change of any sort in 2012," according to Mayanist scholar Mark Van Stone. "The notion of a "Great Cycle" coming to an end is completely a modern invention." In 1990, Mayanist scholars Linda Schele and David Freidel argued that the Maya "did not conceive this to be the end of creation, as many have suggested." Susan Milbrath, curator of Latin American Art and Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, stated that "We have no record or knowledge that (the Maya) would think the world would come to an end" in 2012.

photo credit wikipedia