Kaminal Juyú Stela 10
Coronation of Limhi -- The Abinadi Story
Robert A, Pate
Stela 10, a fragment of a gigantic throne, was found in three pieces at various times and places in a drain ditch in the ruins that are now called Kaminal Juyú in the suburbs of present day Guatemala City. The carvings and writings on the stela are quite unique in place and time. In addition to the flamboyant images there is a smaller text box of glyphs at the bottom center of the fragment. The objective of the present work is to translate that text box.
2.0 Nature of Maya Writing
Maya writing is quite cryptic and does not flow as does English. It requires significant effort on the part of the reader to extract the correct meaning. The writing can be phonetic-syllabic and build complicated sentences, but this does not appear to be what was typically done.
Often it appears that the glyphs (often logograms) function mnemonically. A mnemonic device is any learning technique that aids in information retention and recall. The Maya glyphs serve this recall function; but if one’s mental database is empty, the recall function is not operative.
3.0 Mormon Position
Some thirty years ago, Munro S. Edmonson discovered a calendric correlation on the Kaminal Juyú Stela 10. He found three dates from three different calendars (Kaminal Juyú, Teotihuacan, and Olmec) on the stela that correlated to the date 10 November 147 BC Julian. He uses the 584,283 –GMT (Goodman-Martinez-Thompson) correlation.
This date brought this stone to the forefront of Mormon archaeology -- citing a possible correlation with King Noah’s death by fire and his son Limhi’s accession to the throne, as described in the Book of Mormon.
With the Book of Mormon in hand, our database is not empty. Just as the archaeologists of the Middle East use the Biblical history to identify archaeological remains, the Book of Mormon can aid in assembling the Mesoamerican remains.
It is hoped that the Sectarian Academic world will be sufficiently open minded to recognize that the approach gives meaning and a credible interpretation to a few cryptic glyphs that otherwise have evaded and will continue to evade interpretation.
The author will make every effort to maintain objectivity within the above constraints, utilizing every bit of the modern epigrapher’s interpretations for the known glyphs. Every effort will be made to take advantage of their knowledge, not going contrary to anything they have found, just going beyond.
4.0 Kaminal Juyú Stela 10
There are Pre-Columbian ruins under much of Guatemala City now called Kaminal Juyú. It is described by Michael Coe as one of the greatest archaeological sites in the New World, Occupied from 1500 BC to 1200 AD, he observed that “the elite of Kaminal Juyú were fully literate at a time when other Maya were perhaps just learning that writing existed” (Coe , 2005, 74). During the “Miraflores” period, 400-100 BC, Kaminal Juyú was thought to be the greatest of the southern Maya cities and many think that it was seminal in the development of the Maya civilization (Kaplan 2002, 318-9).
Figure 1. Kaminal Juyú Stela 10.
Figure 2. Artist’s reproduction of Kaminal Juyú Stela 10
5.0 The Peoples
The Pacific coastal people were Nahua who extended from western El Salvador up along the Pacific coastal plain and piedmont into most of central Mexico (Gerhard, 1972, 6).
The Pre-Olmec flourished from about 2500 BC and continued to about 400 BC. Several engraved stones have been found in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec area written in a language that is presently being called Epi-Olmec (300 BC to 250 AD). This script does not appear to be a precursor to the Maya script. The two writing forms appear to have grown up together on slightly divergent paths. The Epi-Olmec glyphs appear to have been drawn by an engineering student and the Maya glyphs appear to have been drawn by a more artsy type. The first is more rectilinear and the second is more rounded. One is not the clear leader of the other. Both Epi-Olmec and Classic Maya script are found on Stela 10 of Kaminal Juyú.
Kaminal Juyú was located in a very important position. It was on the south western edge of the Maya world and on the south eastern edge of the Olmec and Nahuatl world. There was a mixture of the two cultures in Kaminal Juyú.
6.0 Accession Stelae
The ancient Maya kings felt the need to justify their claim to the throne or their legitimacy and chose to do this in part by accession stones. Thus, these stelae were commissioned to demonstrate the transition of power from one king (usually dead) to his heir. As such, the information contained should include names, dates, how the king died (captured), and whatever else that might help legitimize the new king’s claim to the throne.
All the trappings of Maya and Olmec royalty are there. The little circle or sphere about the size of a quarter, suspended just in front of and slightly below the nose, identifies a king. The lower personage in Figure 2 appears to have this symbol also, even though most of the head has been damaged. It appears on the king glyphs in Epi-Olmec and Maya. The tradition appears to have extended through to the end of Classic Maya. See Figure 3.
Figure 3. Examples of the king nose glyph.
7.0 Text Box from Kaminal Juyú Stela 10
This ascension stone holds many keys, as it is the oldest and only stone in the area showing connection between the Pacific Costal and Gulf Coastal Epi-Olmecs and the later Maya. The glyphs tend to be simple without all the imbedded infixes of later Mayan.
In communication with John S. Justeson (SUNY Albany), he assures the author that: “The Kaminal Juyú text is not Epi-Olmec. There are a few signs in common with, and also several are in common with Mayan. Most specialists consider it to be a Mayan text; it appears that Mayan and Epi-Olmec writers borrowed from one another” (Justeson, 2014, personal communication).
Edmonson states that though they are strikingly similar to Mayan glyphs, he believes these are Olmec glyphs of the time. This was very close to the date of separation of the Olmec and Mayan calendars and perhaps of their writing systems as well.
Having completed the translation, the author would agree with Kaufman and Justeson when they wrote, “The Kaminal Juyú script has some signs known from both Mayan and Epi-Olmec writing, others from Mayan but not from Epi-Olmec, and still others from Epi-Olmec but not from Mayan. (Kaufman and Justeson 2001, 2.31) This is exactly what was found.
We will assume some shared glyphs, but the language and interpretation we will assume to be Maya. This could be as the Japanese and the Chinese – they can read each other’s newspapers, but they cannot speak each other’s language. A tree glyph (pictograph) means a tree regardless of the language.
Figure 4. Text box from Kaminal Juyú Stela 10. Columns A, B, C, D and rows 1-10.
8.0 Translation Approach
The approach will take place in 3 phases. 1) The date information will be extracted and the events will be identified as much as possible. 2) The people will be identified. 3) Once the dates and people are identified, we know the story. The narrative from the Book of Mormon, which is dated in their calendar system and tied to world events, will be applied to complete the interpretation.
9.0 Date Information
There are eight glyphs conveying date information. The stela starts out with 15 winal. Edmonson states that 15 winal is used here to show the temporal distance in days from the Olmec New Year to the Teotihuacan New Year (Edmonson 1988, 27).
The next calendar information in the text box is in columns C and D on row 4. There is 6 Alligator (Cipactli) and just below on row 5 is 10 Rabbit (Toxtli). These dates compute to 13 January 147 BC Julian, 126.96.36.199.1 Long Count, 6 Alligator 4 Yaxkin; and 9 June 147 BC Julian, 188.8.131.52.8, 10 Rabbit, 11 Yaxkin. The 6 Alligator and 10 Rabbit dates repeat every 260 days.
There are two more date glyphs in positions C7 and D7. This date is more obtuse. The lower half of position D7 is the day glyph Wind. No date number is apparent so it could be assumed that it is 1 Wind. That would be the date 21 October 147 BC Julian, 184.108.40.206.2 Long Count, 1Wind, 0 Sip. The upper glyph in position D7 is the knotted cloth glyph so someone is acceding to the throne.
That is a problem because this whole stela was carved to commemorate accession to the throne and now we have that happening on 1 Wind not 8 Wind as Edmonson has identified. The day, 21 October 147 BC Julian, 220.127.116.11.2, differs from Edmonson’s 10 November 147 BC Julian 18.104.22.168.2 date by one winal or 20 days. We need another twenty days, one winal.
There is one just to the left of the 1 Wind glyph in position C7. It is the symbol winal, Maya glyph T521 with nothing around that appears to be tied to it. The 1 Wind needs the twenty day winal beside it to make the 8 Wind which is the true accession date and the date on the stone that Edmonson correlated. This is not thought to be standard practice in Maya date notation.
It will be assumed that this notation was implemented to establish uniqueness of the day. It would appear that the dates in a narrative proceed in order.
Edmonson discusses their method for naming the year, the Anno as he calls it. For the Kaminal Juyú Stela 10 he suspects that the Anno is 8 Wind Teotihuacan, which correlates to 7 Wind Kaminal Juyú, and 1 Lord Olmec. There is one 8 Wind date, February 23, 147 BC Julian, and another 8 Wind date at 10 November 147 BC Julian 22.214.171.124.2.
We will make three assumptions: First, the four possible dates/events are intended to be in chronological order. Second, the most important event is the accession of the new king to the throne. And third, the most important date on the stone is Edmonson’s November 10, 147 BC. Combining the most important event with the most important date would indicate that the accession date was indeed November 10, 147 BC Julian, 126.96.36.199.2 Long Count, 8 Wind 0 Zotz.
There is no evidence of a Ja’ab’ date, so they were not using the Calendar Round. They used the Long Count vigesimal system and the Long Count nomenclature to add one winal of twenty days to the Tzolk’in date 1 Wind to represent the needed date 8 Wind, November 10, 147 BC, Long Count 188.8.131.52.2. This little quirk makes it clear that the people in Kaminal Juyú in the year 147 BC were aware of the Long Count mechanism and notation. Could this be the earliest glyphic evidence to date of the Long Count notation in Mesoamerica?
10.0 Event Information
The obvious events that are marked with dates include two deaths by fire and one accession to the throne. The glyph in position C3 is clearly fire. There are glyphs in Mayan for fire, T122, k’ak’. See Figure 5.
Figure 5. Stela 10 glyph C3 and Maya glyph T122 meaning fire, k’ak’.
Figure 6. Stela 10 glyph D3, Epi-Olmec glyph for king, and Stela 10 glyph A9.
The symbols in glyph D3 are Epi-Olmec. Kaufman and Justeson say they represent a royalty title. No connection to Maya glyphs has been identified except for possibly the right half of the first glyph in Figure 6. It may be chit, T580, “father” relationship glyph. See Figure 7. The slanted banner probably has something to do with king. The sash from the shoulder to the opposite hip and possibly around the waist has long been part of kingly attire. It appears to have been a part of all ancient cultures.
Figure 7. Maya glyph T580, chit “father” relationship glyph and yax chit “first father”.
The two date glyphs, 6 Alligator and 10 Rabbit (C4, D4, C5, and D5), written in the Nahuatl style not the Maya style, have been discussed. Following these two dates are two glyphs which translate to “death arrived.”
The glyph in position D6 is “death”. See Figure 8. Kaufman and Justeson have assigned the phonetic value of ka’j to the Epi-Olmec glyph 171b shown as the second glyph from the left in Figure 8. The three glyphs on the right are variants of the Maya glyph T736 which has a value of cham and means death. The word for death in the Zoque language is ca’n which would indicate that the Maya word cham and the Zoque word ca’n came from the same source by different paths. We needed a death glyph and this is the closest match to be found. The Stela 10 glyph and the Epi-Olmec glyph do not look very similar but they do share several geometric features. The Stela 10 glyph actually looks like an alligator with a mouthful, which might be the Egyptian “devourer of the dead.”
Figure 8. Stela 10 glyph D6, Epi-Olmec glyph 171b, 3 Maya glyphs T736 variants, cham
This Stela 10 glyph in position C6 is the back of a human hand. The Maya glyph is T220v which has a value jul and means “to arrive”. Combining the D1 glyph with the C1 glyph from Stela 10, we appropriately have that “death arrived.”
Figure 9 shows the glyphs. In Mayan each position of the hand means something different. The Epi-Olmec use the hand in their glyphs also, but one has not been found in this position or with this meaning.
Figure 9. Stela 10 glyph in position C6 and Maya glyph T220v jul meaning “to arrive.”
After the two deaths by fire, there is the accession symbol. The glyph in position D7 is a two part glyph. See Figure 10. The top half appears to be the Maya and Epi-Olmec knotted cloth glyph meaning accession to the throne. In Maya the glyph takes two forms shown in Figure 11. The first, T60, is presently given the phonetic value ta which means “torch” but it supposedly represents a cloth knot or possibly headband. The second is an un-numbered Maya glyph Tnn with phonetic value joy and the meanings: “to accede”, “to emerge”, and “to come out”, and is the general “accession” verb. The knotted cloth glyph in Stela 10 is actually configured to look like a man stepping up.
Figure 10. Stela 10 glyphs in positions C7 and D7, T521, Tnn, and T503.
Figure 11. Maya glyphs T60 taj “torch” and Tnn joy, “to accede, to emerge, to come out”.
The glyph below the accession glyph is the date 1 Wind which is modified by the winal glyph to the left to become the needed 8 Wind glyph.
11.0 People Glyphs
First Born Son: Starting with the acceding event, the glyphs in positions D8 and C8 mean “first born son.” In Maya tradition, the next king is selected by primogenitary – the first born male closest to the king that is passing on. In Maya it is called ilan pañimil or q’uel pañimil. Ilan and q’uel both mean “to see” and pañimil means the “world”. Thus, the first born is the first to see the world.
Figure 12. Stela 10 glyphs in positions C8 and D8.
The glyph on the upper right is Maya T16 with a phonetic value of yax (pronounced as yash) and meanings “green, blue, blue-green, and first.” We need only the definition “first”.
The glyph on the lower right is a mirror. The Maya glyph is T24 and has the phonetic value of il which is from the Ch’ol word ilan meaning is “to see”.
Figure 13. Stela 10 glyph in position C8 and Maya glyph Tnn.24v, nich-il.
The Stela 10 glyph C8 and the corresponding Maya glyph Tnn.24v are shown in Figure 13. The Maya glyph on the right has been given the value nich-il (note the il mirror under the head) and meanings of “flower” and “son”. Flower is nichim in Ch’ol Mayan. The definition “son” is the one needed for the present translation. Thus the translation for D6 and C6 is the first born son. His name is in the two glyphs just below in positions D9 and C9.
Limhi: The glyphs in Figure 13 are three. On the right is T188 which has a phonetic value le, but no representation or meaning has been identified. The Epi-Olmec have the same glyph (number 39).
The glyph on the left is a composite of two parts. The three circles on the left are Maya glyph T142, which has phonetic value of ma but no meaning has been identified.
The glyph on the left was apparently been damaged. We are in need of the hi phonetic sound. The Maya glyph that conveys that sound is T758. It fits the geometrical window and does have the eye features. And, there is nothing in the Maya glyph catalogues that looks any better. It has the phonetic sound hi (ji in Spanish).
None of these three glyphs has known meaning – only a phonetic value. Putting them together, reading from right to left, we have Le-ma-hi which we would call Limhi. Names can be spelled out phonetically or, for names having frequent usage, a head variant emblem glyph typically was developed by the Maya.
Figure 13. Stela 10 glyphs in positions C9 and D9
Figure 14. Maya glyphs T188 le, T142 ma, and T758b hi forming Le-ma-hi.
Land of Nephi: We have reached the bottom of the last paired column of glyphs. Two damaged glyphs remain. See Figure 15. The D10 glyph is almost completely obliterated. The glyph in position C10 is severely damaged, but there are three clues. First, it has a cartouche around it. That makes it a formal name in Mayan. Every king needs a land – Limhi’s was Nephi, before they fled back to the Zarahemla area with rescuer Ammon and probably settled in Ammonihah. The second possible clue is that the glyph appears to be divided into four quadrants. Nahua is the Nahuatl word meaning the number four. Nahua is Nephi in the Nahuatl language (Nephite language). Nephi was Lehi’s fourth son. Among the Quiché it is Nihai (Pate 2009, 20-30). The third clue is the fibrous look to the glyph. Two possibly relevant Maya glyphs, T116 and T1019, are shown in Figure 16. Both have the phonetic value ni, but neither has a known meaning.
Figure 15. Stela 10 glyphs in positions C10 and D10.
Figure 16. Maya glyphs T116 and T1019 both having phonetic value ni.
It would thus appear that we have the name of the land Nephi in two different languages. The destroyed glyph in position D10 probably just means “land”.
Noah: Noah’s name is found in position B4. This glyph is Maya and has the phonetic values na, nah, naj, or noj. There are several representations that include glyphs T4, 23, and 537 as shown in Figure 17. Two known meanings are “first ordinal number” and “house.” It looks like a metate (grindstone) and where the metate is, the house is also. All that is used for our present purposes is the phonetic value nah or noh for the name Noah.
Figure 17. Stela 10 glyph B4, Maya glyphs T4, 23, 48, 537.
The next glyph on Stela 10 (A4) may be relevant here. The glyph is Maya T361 having a phonetic value of och and a meaning “to enter.” See Figure 18. Pictorially it represents a human hand holding a celt (ancient stone chisel). Checking the old Hebrew lexicon the old name for Noah appears to be Noach (pronounced as no'-akh). Could Noah be Noach or Naoch? From our perspective in Maya translation, it may be more correct, but with the Maya shorthand notation it would probably not be necessary to add the och glyph. It is available but its meaning “to enter” may be more relevant.
Figure 18. Stela 10 glyph and Maya glyph T361.
Prophet: The glyph in position C2 appears also on the La Mojarra Stela 1. See Figure 19.
Figure 19. Kaminal Juyú Stela 10 C2 glyph, Epi-Olmec glyph 145, and La Mojarra Stela 1 glyph.
Kaufman and Justeson provide a sentence from their La Mojarra Stela 1 translation effort shown in Figure 20.
Figure 20 Kaufman and Justeson work sheet for sentence translation (Kaufman 2001, 2.44).
The bottom lines in Figure 20 shows their work sheet as they massaged the literal translation into a more fluent representation. Their translation is hereby challeged. Sifting through their work sheet there are two glyphs who’s information is essentially lost in their final translation.
The more correct translation should be: Now the head priest, keeper of the sacred records, the prophet he was.
The Maya have another glyph that is very important. It is ah k'uhun (T12.41:23) meaning "he of the sacred books.”
Figure 21. Maya Glyph T12.41:23 Ah-k’uhan
The glyphs 45 and 57 which Kaufman and Justeson have translated as ko Lord/ko.yumi would in Mayan be Ah-k’uhan or “he of the sacred books.” The Epi-Olmec koyumi is the Mayan k’uhan, “the keeper of the sacred books.” To the Hebrews it would be the Kohen, to the Pacific Islanders it would be the Kahuna. To the anthropologists it is just a “witch doctor” or shaman. It all comes from the Hebrew, Kohen, priestly descendants of Aaron.
Epi-Olmec glyph 145 they call the beard mask. See Figure 19. What would a “beard mask” represent? It would be a bearded old man prophet with the Urim and Thummim. The word “Prophet” would not survive the scrub in the Anthropology Department. They prefer shamen or witchdoctor, but it is all the same.
The ancients knew what these special strange glasses were. The figurines of the Copan king Yax K’uk Mo have these funny glasses and indeed a ceramic replica of the glasses was found on his body when his tomb was opened. See Figure 22.
Figure 22. Figurine of the Copan king Yax K’uk Mo with his funny glasses.
Abinadi: The name of this prophet is in the glyph to the right of the prophet glyph. The most important position to the Kaqchikel is the Ah Pop, the Keeper or Lord of the Mats. Another title is Ahpozotzil which is Keeper of the Bat Mats. The Bat being Zoram, the one who knew how to engrave (Pate 2009, 53-68).
The Cakchiquel King received the title Ahpop-Zotzil which is lord of the mats (Recinos 1953, 46). Tedlock talks about these mats being sitting mats for the tribal council (Tedlock 1985, 345). Any fool can make a mat, and a lesser fool can take care of them. May it be proposed that the mats were writing mats, as in papyrus? The pop in Ah-pop means reeds and probably came from Phoenician or Egyptian with Lehi and Zoram. The Hebrew would be ‘ebeh (pronounced ay-beh’). Making papyrus type mats and recording the sacred history is quite a different matter – it would be a more kingly task to oversee. Custodial help would provide the necessary care for the sitting mats. From our perspective, the prophets/kings who recorded and kept the sacred records were the most important people who walked Mesoamerica, other than the Savior himself.
Typically a Maya child’s first name would be his birth date name. As he progressed through life and accomplished milestones he would be given a different name appropriate for his accomplishments. An important learned skill name is an appropriate subsequent personal name.
What would Abinadi’s trade name be? The author is convinced that Abinadi is Amaleki’s brother and that both were sons of Abinadom, the record keeper (Omni 1:10-12, 30). The glyph thought to convey Abinadi’s name is just to the right of the prophet glyph (C2) in position D2. See Figure 23.
Figure 23. Glyph from Stela 10 and similar Epi-Olmec glyph from La Mojarra Stela 1.
Figure 24. Maya glyph T12.nn:501:314, Ah-Tz’ib, “he of the writing”
The glyphs in Figure 23 are clearly Epi-Olmec. The phonetic value as determined by Kaufman and Justeson is si and no meaning was provided. The Epi-Olmec si corresponds to the Maya, tz’i. Both have something to do with writing.
It was thought that no similar glyph existed in Thompson’s Catalogue of Maya Hieroglyphics. A closer review of the glyph in Figure 24 showed something interesting. Note the glyph inside the oval. If it were straightened out it would look like the fibers hanging from the Epi-Olmec glyph in Figure 23. Ah tz'i-b' (T12.nn:501:314), meaning "he of the writing," or "scribe" is the artist's title and designates the occupation of scribe, painter, or artist in general.
There is a type of reed in the area named sibac in Quiché used for making mats. The pith of this reed was used to make sleeping mats. Recall that it is the pith of a reed from which papyrus paper was made in ancient Egypt. Lehi would be aware of the technology. Recinos spells the reed as zibak which gives a clue (Recinos (Recinos 1953, 78). The Maya word for “letter” or “writing” is tz’ib. Reed in Quiché Maya is both ac and äj. The Spanish “j” used in Maya transliterations is pronounced as the English “h”. Thus sibac may be Tzib-ah or the reed/cane for writing. The Waters of Sebus were probably named for the Sibac reed (Alma 17:26).
Let it be proposed that the table structure glyph that appears as the prophet Abinadi’s name glyph represents a table for making sibac reeds into paper for writing. There are many rather simple ways to reduce cellulosic fibers into paper. Figure 25 shows four stones used to mash the cellulosic fibers in the paper making process (From Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, Guatemala – Zarahemla).
Figure 25. Stones used to pound cellulosic fibers in making paper.
Sibac paper is still a long ways from Abinadi. There are other words meaning reeds or canes. These include sik’ab, sin, bin, and b’e’en (Edmonson 1988 175). We even have the Hebrew papyrus reed as ‘abeh.
Now we have Abinadi’s name representation – A-bin or “he of the canes/reeds.” We could even add a Quiché ending etah meaning to measure -- A-bin-etah. That would be Abinadi, the paper maker. We could even fix up his father Abinadom with another Quiche ending, etam, for A-bin-etam as the one who knows the writings. Maya name glyph representations do not require literal translations; they only serve as phonetic mnemonics to aid in actual name recognition – A-bin is sufficient to convey name identity.
Lamanite King and/or Army: The person in position A2 does not have many features to convey information. This glyph appears to be Epi-Olmec, but the bric-a-brac is missing. All that remains is a man’s shaved head with big lips similar to the Epi-Olmec format. That is enough. The glyphs of Epi-Olmec royalty have the big lips.
Figure 26. Stela 10 glyph in position A2.
There are no Maya glyphs similar A2. Whether it is a king, man, soldier, or army is not particularly critical at this point. More important is the name glyph just to the right in position B2.
This glyph shown in Figure 27 (a) is Epi-Olmec. The similar Maya glyph appears to be T178 (la) (Figure 27 (c)). The Epi-Olmec glyphs appear to be more rectilinear while the Maya appear to have more curvature. Molding the rectilinear glyph 49 into a circle or sphere forms the Maya glyph T178 or T534.
(a) (b) (c)
Figure 27. (a) Stela 10 glyph B2, (b) Epi-Olmec glyph 49, (c) Maya glyph T178 or 534.
The Maya glyph T534 in Figure 27 (c) has the phonetic value la but no meaning has been assigned. Using the cumbersome Maya shorthand, la is the mnemonic to convey the name Laman or Lamanite. The glyphs in positions A2 and B2 would represent the Lamanite king and/or his army.
B3: Scatter. The hand glyph in this form appears in both Epi-Olmec and Maya texts. The Maya glyph T33v.710v is pronounced chok and means to scatter or to throw. From the figure it appears to be scattering or planting corn seeds. The Epi-Olmec glyph is 147 and it is also in their syallabary with a phonetic value pu. In Zoque puj means “seed” and puw means “to scatter.” Pujta means “it left.” Thus, Kaufman and Justeson also give the meaning as “scatter.”
Figure 28. Hand glyph from Stela 10, from Epi-Olmec glyph 147, and from Maya T33v.710v.
A3: To Turn, To Return, To Repent. This glyph was a struggle. The glyph in position A3 is complicated and has a special meaning. There was nothing like it in Epi-Olmec; but there was an un-translated glyph somewhat like it in Mayan that had some geometric similarity (T645). See Figure 29.
Figure 29. Stela 10 glyphs in positions A3, B6, and D1 and Maya glyph T645.
In Biblical Hebrew, the idea of repentance is represented by two verbs one to turn back or return and the other to feel sorrow. There is an excellent Maya glyph that conveys the concept of mistakenly taking a deviation off the direct course and then turning and circling back to get back on track. It has been given the phonetic value ta and an interpretation of: in, at, with, and to. See Figure 30.
Figure 30. Maya glyph T645v ta.
The first three glyphs in Figure 29 (from Stela 10 in positions A3, B6, and D1) are clearly similar, but also there is a distinct difference. The little figurine shown in Figure 31 is present on the first and second usage, but is missing on the third. See Figure 31 and Figure 32.
Figure 31 Stela 10 glyph B6 and the infix glyph seperated.
Figure 32. Ancient Roman toy doll, B6 infix glyph, two infix glyphs on Maya codex.
May it be suggested that this unidentified figurine has significance and somehow represents not just “to repent” but actually the “call” by the prophet “to repent”. The third usage of the glyph in position D1, lacking the little figurine, may convey some different verbal form of “repent”. The author will suggest that in the Stela 10 usage, the surrounding glyphs suggest that the possible interpretation might be the past tense usage “repented” although there is no evidence that the past tense even existed in the cryptic Maya monument script. This will be better understood as the surrounding glyphs are justified.
The first usage, A3, would be when the Lamanites attacked the Nephites and the Nephites drove them back, scattering them in defeat (Mosiah 11:18-20). The Nephites boasted in their pride and this was when Abinadi first called them to repentance.
12.0 People’s Names
To this point twenty eight of the glyphs have been identified and interpreted based solely upon the Maya epigraphers and the Epi-Olmec work by Kaufman and Justeson. Eight date glyphs and three dates have been interpreted. Additionally, several of the people’s names have been identified. Partial phonetic values for the names were extracted and phonetic values for about three more glyphs could be mentioned, but beyond that, nothing more is available from the Maya or Epi-Olmec epigraphers. The Book of Mormon narrative is needed to fill in the blanks and make sense of the remaining 12 glyphs.
13.0 Book of Mormon Narrative
Reading Order: The Epi-Olmec or Post-Olmec people are dated from about 300 BC to 250 AD. The Olmecs are known to have covered the Pacific Coastal Piedmont from the middle of El Salvador northward along the coast, through Chiapas and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to the Gulf Coast of Veracruz and central Mexico. This would envelope the Cotzumalhuapa Culture.
The largest Epi-Olmec text found on La Mojarra Stela 1 is written in single columns. Starting in the center there are 12 columns read top to bottom and right to left and on the right half are an additional 9 columns read top to bottom left to right. This stone includes the long count dates 184.108.40.206.5 (May 143 AD) and 220.127.116.11.7 (July 156 AD). The Kaminal Juyú Stela 10 dated 10 November 147 BC (Edmonson 1988, 25) appears to be written in paired columns read left to right within each individual pair being read right to left. This is not the typical order epigraphers have discovered in most of the Classic Maya texts where each paired column is read left to right and top to bottom and the group of paired columns is also read left to right.
It is now time to invoke the Book of Mormon narrative to see what can be learned. Very briefly (in the briefest form possible for the Stela 10 needs ), it is as follows:
Abinadi’s Message: The Lamanite army began to attack. The Nephites were able to drive them back (scatter them) (Mosiah 11:18). The Nephites boasted. Abinadi called them to repentance. Except they repent and turn to Lord they will be in bondage to their enemies (Mosiah 11:23). They sought to kill Abinadi but he was delivered by the Lord. Two years later he returned in disguise (Mosiah 12:1) with the same message. He was taken before the king and then cast into prison while Noah and his priests counseled. He was brought before the council for questioning. One priest asked: What meaneth the words (written and taught by our fathers) how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth. He went on to quote Isaiah 52: 7-10.
Abinadi chastises them for supposedly teaching the Law of Moses but not keeping it. He expounds the Ten Commandments. Going on he taught the atonement and the coming of Christ. He again called them to repentance (Mosiah16:13). Abinadi was burned to death and later, as prophesied, wicked king Noah was also burned to death. Alma believed and had to flee for his life with his followers.
This is the message on the Stela 10 – just events, names, and dates -- not any spiritual insights.
B5 and A5: Group of Priests. Glyph A5 appears to be a human foot. The Maya use a footprint glyph T301 (b’e or b’i) as a phonetic symbol and as the words “path” or “road”.
Figure 33. Stela 10 glyph A5 and Maya glyph T301
The glyph B5 probably provides the needed information. See Figure 34. Nothing in the Epi-Olmec or Maya glyphs has any resemblance to B5. It must be a special glyph made up for the occasion. When Abinadi was brought before the wicked king Noah for questioning, the first question was, what meaneth the words (written and taught by our fathers) how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth. He went on to quote all of Isaiah 52: 7-10. Stela 10 glyph A5 appears to make reference to the beautiful feet in the Isaiah question during Abinadi’s court hearing.
Figure 34. Stela 10 glyph B5 -- possibly King Noah’s courtroom.
A6: Earlier. This is an Epi-Olmec glyph 63 with a phonetic value ma and the meaning is “earlier” (possibly previously or anciently). See Figure 35. There are some differences, but there are several geometric similarities. No other known Epi-Olmec or Maya glyphs come close. The Kaufman and Justeson definition of “earlier” is just what was needed in the Stela 10 translation to reflect back to the Old Testament passages in Isaiah, the Law of Moses, and the Ten Commandments.
Figure 35. Stela 10 glyph in position A6 and Epi-Olmec glyph 63 ma, “earlier.”
B7: The Scriptures. The first question asked of Abinadi by one of Noah’s priests was about Isaiah. The Stela 10 glyph in position B7 would be the passages from Isaiah. See Figure 36. The included three Maya glyphs each have the phonetic value tz’i and have to do with writing. Tz’ib is the Quiché Maya word for letter or hand writing.
Figure 36. Stela 10 glyph in position B7 and Maya glyphs representing written material.
A7: To Open, Middle. The glyph in position A7 is the Epi-Olmec glyph 67. The relevant glyphs are shown in Figure 37. The Epi-Olmec glyph has been given the value kuk and meaning “middle”. It is suspected that the glyph can mean “to open” coming from the Hebrew word paw-kukh’. The most similar Maya glyph, T506, has a phonetic value ol and means “middle, center, or heart.” The two Epi-Olmec glyphs on the right (37 over 67) are from La Mojarra Stela 1 column N rows 25 and 26. They are adjacent in the La Mojarra text just as they are adjacent in the Stela 10 text. We will interpret it to mean opening the sacred book to Isaiah.
Figure 37. Stela 10 glyph position A7, Epi-Olmec glyph 67, Maya glyph T506, combination Epi-Olmec glyphs 37 and 67.
A8: Ten Commandments and Law of Moses. Abinadi elaborated on the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses. That would be the Stela 10 glyph in position A8, as shown in Figure 38.. Notice the ten barbs on the stone tablets. The closest Epi-Olmec glyph is 46 with a phonetic value mu, but no meaning is given. There are no similar Maya glyphs.
Figure 38. Stela 10 glyph in position A8 and most similar Epi-Olmec glyph 46.
B8: Jesus the Anointed. In The Annals of the Cakchiquels it states, “Seek then, they said, the idol of wood and stone called Belehé Toh and the other idol of stone called Hun Tihax. Worship each one of them, they told us.” (Recinos 1953, 52) Their idols were images or representations of their Gods and were an important part of Maya culture. Tihax means flint, or more specifically the very sharp flint knife used in sacrifice. Some calendars use the name Etz’nab for the same date. It is known among the epigraphers that nab means anointed.
The Quranic name for Jesus is Isa or Eesa or Esa. The transliteration from Yeshua in Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English Jesus is not arbitrary, but follows common contemporary standards of transliteration. Any transliteration chain from Yeshua to Isa or Esa or Eesa is not known and is a point of contention.
It would appear that Etz’nab could mean literally Jesus the Anointed. Etz’nab, Tihax, and Chinax are used in the calendar naming as equivalents and may refer to “he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;” (Hebrews 4:12), or the Word “which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword,” (Revelation 2:12). And “the Word was God” (John 1:1).
There also may be Hebrew roots for the name Etz’nab where ‘etsen means sharp, strong, spear; and nacak (pronounced naw-sak’) meaning to be anointed (sak meaning clean or pure).
Another piece to the puzzle may be found in Maya glyph T673 having a phonetic value yo (as in YHVH) and used as the third person pronoun or possessive pronoun he, she, it, his, hers, its, but used only with words beginning with “o”.
Figure 39. Maya glyph T673 having phonetic value yo
Every time the T673 glyph is seen it brings one thing to mind. “Yet will I not forget thee (O House of Israel). Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands;” (Isaiah 49:15 – 16).
There is an interesting quote in Alma 39:9 to his wayward son Corianton: “Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Oh, remember, and take it upon you, and cross yourself in these things.”
That crossing oneself sounds like a very Catholic thing to do, but the roots of this tradition may be much older. Observe the pictures below:
Figure 40. Examples of crossing arms from Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, Guatemala.
These stone carvings were extracted from the many ruins in the Cotzumalguapa area. Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa is in the piedmont area just 55 miles south west of Kaminal Juyú. These stones show people in a reverential pose. Would this pose be for a despotic vainglorious king, would it be for a grotesque ceramic god figurine, or would it be for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
Figure 41. Glyph from Stela 10 position B8 thought to represent Jesus the Anointed.
Figure 42. Representations of the Maya glyph T527 Etz’nab. Represents the surface pattern of a pressure-flaked flint blade within a cartouche.
It is proposed, based on the above clues and the significance of Jesus Christ in the Abinadi message, that the glyph in position B8 represents Jesus the Anointed.
Abinadi’s message has been completed. The young Alma was the only believer and he tried to defend Abinadi. Noah was about to relent, but because he had surrounded himself with wicked associates, they drug him back down. Alma had to flee for his life.
B9, A9, B10, and A10: The head shaped glyph in position B9 was thought to be Prophet Abinadi because of the proximity to the Abinadi name glyph B10. But it was not sufficiently proximate, there was a nobility glyph in between (A9). Comparing the prophet glyph C2 with the figure in B9 it becomes obvious that they are not the same. Stela 10 was vadalized and intentionally broken into three pieces. Vandelizing glyph C2 with a stone or hammer would remove material and would not create the image shown in position B9. That means there was another royal person in the story. That would be young Alma who believed Abinadi and had to flee for his life. He was the only other person mentioned.
As for the Epi-Olmec royalty glyph (A9), this could apply to Alma, a descendant of Nephi; but not until he was instated by King Mosiah as the head of the church and the chief high priest back in Zarahemla (Mosiah 17:2, 26:8). This was information not available to Limhi until he and his people fled to the Zarahemla area with Ammon. This supports the concept that this commemerative accession stone was commissioned in Ammonihah after Limhi and his people escaped captivity in Nephi-2.
Figure 43. Stela 10 glyphs A8, A10, B9, and B10.
The proposed translation of these glyphs is Alma, chief high priest of the church, believed Abinadi. The last glyph (A10), which is almost completely missing, we will assume means “believed” and the only justification for this is the Abinadi story in the Book of Mormon and the fact that the next two glyphs in the reading C1 and D1 mean “people repent”.
C1, D1: People Repent. The Stela 10 glyph in position C1 has been damaged. The Epi-Olmec glyph that most closely approximates it is number 165 which has a phonetic value of ja or ha and one of its definitions is “people”. See Figure 44. The two glyphs do not seem very similar, but there is nothing else in Epi-Olmec or Mayan that is even remotely similar. Damage tends to cause more cracks where material is removed. See Figure 44. Examine each geometric feature in glyph 165 and it can be found in Stela 10 glyph C1.
Figure 44: Stela 10 glyph C1 and Epi-Olmec glyph 165 ja meaning “people”.
This is the message on the Stela 10 – just events, not any spiritual insights.
B2, A2: Lamanite king and/or army attacked the Nephites
B3: and were driven back – scattered.
A3: The Nephites boasted and Abinadi called them to repent.
B4, A4: Noah.
B5: He (Abinadi) was called before Noah’s council of priests.
A5: Abinadi was asked what means, “how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet …..”
B6: Abinadi calls them to repent.
A6: Earlier written and taught by our fathers
B7: writings of Isaiah in the Holy Scriptures.
A7: The Scriptures were opened and Abinadi taught them about
B8: Jesus Christ, Jesus the Anointed, Etz’nab
A8: the Ten Commandments, the Law of Moses.
A9: (royal title for Alma possibly) Head of Church and Chief High Priest
A10: (missing, possibly) he (Alma) believed.
C1: His people (Alma’s people)
D3: and my father the king Noah
C3: were burned to death.
C4, D4: For Abinadi, on the day Six Alligator (January 13, 147 BC Julian, 18.104.22.168.1 Maya Long Count)
D5, C5: and for Noah, on the day Ten Rabbit (June 9, 147 BC Julian, 22.214.171.124.8 Maya Long Count)
D6, C6: death came.
D7-bottom and C7: On the day 1 Wind (October 21, 147 BC Julian, 126.96.36.199.2 Maya Long Count) plus one winal makes 8 Wind (November 10, 147 BC Julian), 188.8.131.52.2 Maya Long Count,
D7-top: came out, emerged, acceded to the throne
D8, C8: the first born son
D9, C9: named Limhi (Le-ma-hi)
D10: (glyph is missing but should be) king of the land of
C10: Nephi (in both Mayan and Nahuatl).
The translation has been completed. All glyphs have been accounted for and the resulting narrative is not an insult to one’s intelligence. So many of the translations proposed for Mesoamerican stones are absolute nonsense. This would have been also, were it not for the known data from the Book of Mormon and the Abinadi narrative.
Look at what was carved in stone. There are about thirty nouns, two royal titles, possibly eight verb representations, a date shift for calendar adjustment, and three explicit dates. There is no narrative. It does not flow as verbal speech. It does not tell the story. One must know the story and the glyphs serve only as mnemonics to aid in information retention and recall.
The mother or the elementary school teacher who takes the children to the park must know the story. Then, with the stone, she can recite the account perfectly.
No amount of justification would satisfy the academic world and on such scant evidence, no attempt will be made. The translated glyphs are straight from the epigraphers. The interpretation of the undocumented glyphs is based solely on the Book of Mormon story alone. Note the glyphic evidence is mnemonic and jogs the memory to trigger recall from the data base. Without the database, the mnemonics to recall are worthless.
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