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The Ritual Practice of Time of the 260-day Calendar and the 365-day Calendar of the Postclassic Yucatec Civilisation

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Chapter Summary

The 260-day calendar and the 365-day calendar constitute the major time computation systems Mesoamerican civilisations have in common. The 260-day calendar is today in use in particular among the Mixe whereas in the highlands of Guatemala this calendar is practiced by the K'iche' but is also known by the Ixil, Akateko, Q'anjob'al, Mam, Popti and Chuj. The 260-day calendar and the 365-day calendar were first recognised in the writing system of the Zapotecs in Oaxaca, Mexico. But it is the postclassic Yucatec Maya culture from the Yucatán peninsula in southern Mexico that provides the unrivalled information of the ritual practice of time of the 260-day calendar and of the 365-day calendar. The Yucatec Maya spoke in the postclassic period, and still speak today. The sources, however, document a fundamental difference between the nobility and the commoners, and also a quite large amount of religious specialists in Yucatán at that time.

Keywords: 260-day calendar; 365-day calendar; postclassic Yucatec Maya culture; Yucatec civilisation



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