by Kirk Magleby
I am indebted to Mayaphile Ryan Williams for information that led to this research.
Kaqchikel Chronicles, published by UT Austin, The Definitive Edition, with translation and exegesis by Judith M. Maxwell and Robert M. Hill II (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006) is a 771 page (Part 1 Introduction and Linguistic Commentary 80 pages, Part 2 The Chronicles 691 pages) book of mytho-historical narratives from highland Guatemala. The largest text in the collection, the Xajil Chronicle aka Anales de los Xahil, was written in Kaqchikel, a Mayan dialect, using Latin characters by Francisco Hernandez Arana Xajila in 1571, He was copying from an earlier indigenous and probably pictorial source no longer extant. Adrian Recinos published a translation called Annals of the Cakchiquels in Spanish (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1950) and English (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1953) bundled with the K'iche' Title of the Lords of Totonicapan. In 1992 native Kaqchikel linguists, U.S. Kaqchikel linguists and anthropologists from several countries collaborated at a University of Texas Maya Hieroglyphic Workshop to re-translate a portion of the text. The 2006 publication eventually resulted from their efforts.
This article will explore many ways the Kaqchikel Chronicles correspond with the Book of Mormon, aka Mormon's Codex: An Ancient American Book (John L. Sorenson's apt terminology).
1. The Kaqchikel Chronicles were originally in Kaqchikel, a post-classic Mesoamerican language, recorded in Latin characters, then translated by scholars into various European languages beginning in 1855 (part 1, page 23). The Book of Mormon was originally in an unknown pre-classic Mesoamerican language with Hebrew roots (Mormon 9:33-34). For a known Mesoamerican language with some demonstrated Hebrew roots, see the blog article "Uto-Aztecan." The Book of Mormon was recorded in reformed Egyptian characters (Mormon 9:32). For a powerful demonstration of significant Egyptian influence on the Olmec, read Stephen C. Compton's book Exodus Lost described in a previous blog aritcle. The Book of Mormon was translated with divine aid into Early Modern English (see the blog article "Early Modern English") by unlettered 24-year-old Joseph Smith Jr. and published in 1830. It has since been translated in whole or in part into 113 languages, one of which is Kaqchikel.
2. The pre-contact Kaqchikel were divided into two groups, a western polity centered on Iximche just south of modern Tecpan, Chimaltenango, Guatemala and an eastern polity centered on Mixco Viejo, Chimaltenango, about 31 kilometers NW of modern Guatemala City. Both Iximche and Mixco Viejo are in what I consider to be the greater land of Nephi in the Book of Mormon's land southward, although neither site existed in Nephite times. The principal settlement in the greater land of Nephi I believe was Kaminaljuyu, now part of urban Guatemala City. Iximche is 50 air kilometers WNW of Kaminaljuyu. Anthropologists believe Mayan or proto Mayan speakers have been in this area since at least early classic times ca. AD 300.
3. The documents that make up the chronicles are clearly lineage-centric, focused on the Kaqchikel. Information about the K'iche' and other rival groups is included only as details relate to the Kaqchikel. Heroic origin narratives include others as a way of explaining their existence, but the protagonists are ancestral Kaqchikel. The Book of Mormon is a lineage history focused on the Nephites. Heroic origin narratives mention Lamanites and others, but always from the point of view of the Nephite record-keepers who cast themselves as the good guys.
4. The documents that make up the chronicles come from several genres: origin myth, heroic narrative including military actions, continuous year-count annals, genealogies, tribute lists and court records. The Book of Mormon has all of these and more, including sermons, missionary journals, epistles, etc. Mosiah 7:22 and Mosiah 19:15 are tribute lists. The terrific book The Legal Cases in the Book of Mormon describes Nephite jurisprudential process, including formal court proceedings. Ether 10:31 is one of many elite genealogies in the text. Alma 63:7-9 is a classic year-count annal. Approximately one-eighth of Mormon's abridgement is all about war. 1 Nephi 18 is a fine example of heroic narrative. Even in the first generation, Laman and Lemuel considered their dynastic founding narrative a myth (1 Nephi 2:11 ).
5. Females are scarce in the pages of the Kaqchikel Chronicles, as they are in the Book of Mormon.
6. The Kaqchikel revered Tulan aka Tollan aka Tula as a faraway place of pre-eminent political power and cultural influence. Nobles received investiture of authority in Tulan. Lowland Maya epigraphy depicts Tulan as a place of cattails. First Teotihuacan, then Toltec Tula Hidalgo with its eastern counterpart, Chichen Itza, and finally Aztec Tenochtitlan all played the role of Tulan in their era (part 1, pages 3-4). We correlate the Book of Mormon city of Jacobugath 3 Nephi 9:9 with Teotihuacan. It was in the northern extremity of Nephite terra cognita 3 Nephi 7:12-13 far beyond Nephite or Lamanite political control. The Nephite far north was a land of lakes and rivers Alma 50:29, Helaman 3:4.
Kaqchikel Iximche and Likely Tollan Sites
Lake Chapala in Jalisco is modern Mexico's largest at 1,100 square kilometers. Lovely Lake Catemaco in the Tuxtlas has a surface area of 74 square kilometers. The largest lake system in Mexico in Book of Mormon times was in the valley where Mexico City sits today. Lake Chalco to the southeast, Lake Xochimilco to the southwest, Lake Texcoco in the middle, Lake Xaltocan to the northeast and Lake Zumpango to the northwest had a combined surface area exceeding 1,400 square kilometers. These were shallow lakes with many islands. Tenochtitlan was on an island in Lake Texcoco. Tula Hidalgo was 33 air kilometers to the NW. The Avenue of the Dead in Teotihuacan was 8 air kilometers to the East. Iximche was about 1,000 air kilometers distant. No rivers are shown in the central Mexican portion of the map above, not because they do not exist, but because it is very tedious to plot rivers as paths in Google Earth and our efforts have been spent in the core Book of Mormon area.
7. Monarchs preserve crown jewels as symbols of legitimacy. The Kaqchikel were no different. Their kingly regalia included gem stones, precious metals, feathers and weapons of war. Nephite crown jewels, passed down dynastic lines, included records on precious metal plates, the Liahona, the sword of Laban Mosiah 1:16 and the gem stone interpreters Mosiah 8:13, Mosiah 28:13-16.
8. The Kaqchikel were organized into (part 1, pages 4-5):
Chinamit which recent research indicates was a territorial rather than kin unit. These were villages, towns, or cities. Founding lineages enjoyed elite status within their chinamit.
Amaq', which was a close alliance of contiguous chinamits. These were regional polities. One of its chinamits was dominant in each amaq'. An amaq' retained its identity and political structure even when its inhabitants migrated en masse to another location.
Winaq, which was a confederation of Amaq's. The best English translation is "people" or "nation."
Book of Mormon peoples were organized into:
Villages, towns, and cities Mosiah 27:6, Alma 23:14, Mormon 5:5. These local polities honored their founders Alma 8:7.
Lands which were allied contiguous cities. These regional polities had principal cities of the same name Mosiah 23:20, Alma 8:18. The people of Ammon in the land of Jershon migrated en masse to the land of Melek Alma 35:13. Residents of the land of Morianton attempted to move as a group to the land northward Alma 50:25-36.
The Nephites used both "nation" and "people" to describe their confederation Moroni 8:27.
9. In AD 1493 the Tuquche' amaq' left the Kaqchikel winaq. Ca. 87 BC the people of Amlici in Ammonihah rebelled and temporarily seceded from the Nephite nation Alma 2:9-11. Ca. 74 BC the Zoramites in the land of Antionum left the Nephite nation and joined the Lamanite empire Alma 31:4, Alma 35:11, Alma 43:4.
10. We have a pretty good idea of how large the Kaqchikel winaq was - about 2,900 square kilometers in the modern Guatemalan Departments of Solola, Chimaltenango, Sacatepequez and Guatemala. It had the K'iche' to the north and west, the Aqajal aka Akul aka Chajoma to the NE, Poqomam speakers to the east, Nahuat-speaking Pipil to the south and the Tz'utujil to the SW. This winaq originally had 3 amaq's: Kaqchikel, Sotz'il and Tuquche'.
Approximate Extent of Kaqchikel Winaq
An amaq' was roughly comparable to a land in Nephite and Lamanite affairs. See the blog article "Test #7 Land Areas" for our estimates of Book of Mormon land sizes which are in the ballpark of reasonableness compared with Kaqchikel geography.
11. Among the pre-contact highland Maya the office of chronicler or historian was passed from father to son. Ditto among the Nephites Jarom 1:1, Jarom 1:15.
12. In the Kaqchikel Chronicles, as in many native Mesoamerican writings, history is thoroughly suffused with religion and metaphysics. The Book of Mormon fits this pattern precisely. Nephi, Mormon, Moroni and the other Book of Mormon authors used history as a vehicle to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their own day and down through the ages 3 Nephi 5:20, Moroni 1:1-4.
13. The translators of the Kaqchikel Chronicles believe the highland Maya followed the same historical recordation patterns eye-witness Bartolome de Las Casas described in his Apologetica Historia de las Indias begun in 1527. Las Casas says native writers documented the foundations of their towns and cities, the election and succession of their rulers, examples of good and bad governance, exploits of valiant military captains, memorable deeds of notable men, and how social customs changed for good or ill over time. The Book of Mormon addresses the same six themes:
City foundations Alma 50:13-14
Leadership succession Mosiah 1:9-10, Helaman 1:5
Good governance Mosiah 2:12-14
Bad governance Mosiah 11:1-19
Valiant captains Alma 48:7-17, Alma 62:35-37
Notable deeds Alma 63:5-7
Social progress Alma 50:17-23
Social decline 3 Nephi 6:10-16
14. The first Spaniards who saw native codices compared the characters and figures to Egyptian hieroglyphs. Book of Mormon written language had an explicit Egyptian component 1 Nephi 1:2.
15. Las Casas described five types of native books:
Histories tied to the secular calendar with day counts from a base date
Festivals and rituals tied to the sacred calendar
Dreams and prophecies
Rites associated with baptism and names given to infants
Rites associated with marriage
Histories with day counts, ritual calendars and divinatory manuals are known to have existed among the Kaqchikel in pre-contact times. The Book of Mormon contains histories with day counts 3 Nephi 2:4-7, references to the Law of Moses with prescribed rituals and festival days Alma 30:2-3, Mosiah 2:3-6 (Sukkot aka Feast of Booths or Tabernacles) and many prophecies 2 Nephi 26:3, Helaman 13:9. In addition, the Book of Mormon has tractates on baptism Mosiah 18:8-10, Moroni 6:1-4, Moroni 8; receiving a new name Mosiah 5:7-12, 3 Nephi 27:5-6; and marriage Jacob 2,3.
16. The Kaqchikel began using a new secular calendar base date commemorating the Tuquche' revolt on Eleven Aj 1493 (part 1, page 14). The Nephites also changed their calendar base date at important times in their 1,000 year history. For centuries they anchored to Lehi's departure from Jerusalem Jacob 1:1, then to the reign of the judges Alma 4:5, and finally to the advent of the Savior 3 Nephi 2:8.
17. The Kaqchikel consulted a divining stone on military matters (part 1, page 21). The Nephites, too, sought prophetic guidance before embarking on military missions Alma 16:5, Alma 43:23-24.
18 The northern boundaries of the Kaqchikel and Chajoma winaq's was the Motagua River. This same boundary persists today between Guatemalan Departments. Guatemala is south of the Motagua while Baja Verapaz is north of it. Chimaltenango is south while Quiche is north. Our Book of Mormon correlation recognizes the Motagua River as an important boundary between the greater land of Nephi to its south and wilderness to its north.
19. The Kaqchikel claimed to have endured long migrations from their place of origin to Iximche (part 1, page 14). The Book of Mormon tells of three long migrations to reach the promised land 1 Nephi 18:6-23, Omni 1:15, Ether 6:4-12..
20. Punctuation is almost non-existent in the original Kaqchikel manuscript of the Xajil Chronicle. The original manuscript of the Book of Mormon has virtually no punctuation.
21. The Kaqchikel Chronicles have section headings (part 1, page 25). The original Book of Mormon text has colophons - section headings.
22. The texts in the Kaqchikel Chronicles are widely different in their levels of formality. The origin myth, for example, is highly structured and elaborate. Many yearly events are in terse single sentences with almost journalistic simplicity (part 1, page 25). The Book of Mormon has highly structured, elaborate texts such as Alma 36. It also has single sentence annual event summaries that are models of brevity 3 Nephi 5:7.
23. Parallelism is intrinsic in Maya literature. Repetition abounds. Parallelism is evident at the level of morphology (word structure), syntax (sentence structure) and semantics (meaning). The Kaqchikel Chronicles exhibit many forms of literary parallelism (part 1, page 25). The Book of Mormon is so full of various types of parallelism that an entire edition has been published just to highlight its literary structures. See Donald W. Parry, The Book of Mormon Text Reformatted according to Parallelistic Patterns (Provo: FARMS, 1992, 2002).
24. Chiasmus, a particularly sophisticated parallelistic pattern, is found throughout the Kaqchikel Chronicles (part 1, pager 27-29). Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon has been well-known and widely-discussed since Jack Welch first pointed it out over 45 years ago. See John W. Welch, "Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon," BYU Studies 10:1 (1969).
25. The Kaqchikel Chronicles use the term "hills, vales" routinely to describe national territory (part 1, page 30). This phrase is attested in the Book of Mormon in a similar context 3 Nephi 9:8.
26. The Kaqchikel had an intimate relationship with their land, referring to it (our hills, vales) as if it were part of their corporeal being (part 1, page 30). Most Kaqchikel today have not strayed far from their ancestral homelands. The Book of Mormon uses the phrases "our land" and "their land" in a similar way implying a highly personal and possessive relationship almost as if the land were an extension of the people Alma 54:13, Alma 58:9, Mosiah 5:4, Alma 16:8. Both Kaqchikel Ezekiel 35:8 and Book of Mormon Genesis 47:19 variants of the phrase are attested in the KJV Old Testament.
27. Included in the investiture bundles ancestral Kaqchikel brought from Tulan were weapons of war which were subsequently used in actual warfare (part 1, page 31). Included among the Nephite crown jewels was the sword of Laban which kings used in real battles Jacob 1:10, Words of Mormon 1:13.
28. The Kaqchikel showed filial piety toward ancestors. The phrase "our father, our grandfather" was metaphorical symbolizing honor for the departed (part 1, page 30). In the Book of Mormon respect for forebears is highly regarded. The common phrase "our fathers" expresses this reverence 1 Nephi 19:10, Jarom 1:9, Omni 1:9.
29. The Kaqchikel Chronicles evince a strong correlation between spirituality and battlefield success. This idea pervades the Book of Mormon Alma 57:35-36, Helaman 4:24-26, 3 Nephi 3:2.
30. The phrase "divining power" is used frequently in the Kaqchikel Chronicles. The Book of Mormon equivalent is "spirit of prophecy" found 19 times in the text Jacob 4:6, Alma 5:47.
31. Great warriors in Kaqchikel tradition had "divining power," a gift merited through spiritual purity (part 1, page 32). In good times the Nephites selected supreme military commanders who had the "spirit of revelation and also prophecy." 3 Nephi 3:19.
32. Divining power was a high gift, rare among the Kaqchikel. Seers, rare in the Book of Mormon, had a high gift from God Mosiah 8:13-17.
33. Great warriors in Kaqchikel tradition had "nawal power" aka "transforming power." This meant that in times of extremity they could change into their animal totems and/or acquire animal strength and attributes (part 1, page 32). This idea is attested in the Book of Mormon Mosiah 20:11, Alma 43:44.
34. The Kaqchikel recognized a deity they called Q'ukumatz, "plumed serpent" (part 1, page 33). Flying serpents are described in the Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 17:41, 2 Nephi 25:20. Among the Nephites, wings and a serpent symbolized the Savior, Jesus Christ 2 Nephi 25:13, 2 Nephi 25:20.
35. In the Kaqchikel Chronicles, when the amaq' sleeps, it loses battles and forfeits territory (part 1, page 36). In the Book of Mormon sleep is associated with military defeat or loss of dominion Mosiah 24:19, Alma 55:15-16.
36. When the Kaqchikel Amaq' arises, it wins, increases in stature among its peers, and earns respect (part 1, page 36). The Book of Mormon uses the word "arise" or the phrase "awake and arise" in a similar way referring to a group of people doing something noble or great 1 Nephi 18:5, 2 Nephi 1:14,
37. Death is associated with water among the Kaqchikel. Losers in battle "dissolve in death" (part 1, page 36-37). Death is associated with water in the Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 18:18, Helaman 8:11.Dead warriors are cast into river Sidon so their bodies will be carried out to sea Alma 2:34, Alma 3:3, Alma 44:22. See also point number 70 below.
38. When the Kaqchikel left legendary Tulan, they were one of seven amaq's (part 1, page 38). The notion of seven founding clans is common throughout Mesoamerica. See Diane E. Wirth, "Revisiting the Seven Lineages of the Book of Mormon and the Seven Tribes of Mesoamerica" in BYU Studies 52:4 (2013). The Book of Mormon lists seven founding families Jacob 1:13, 4 Nephi 1:37-38, Mormon 1:8.
39. The post-contact Kaqchikel self-identified as descendants of Israel (part 1, page 47). The Lehites self-identified as descendants of Joseph 1 Nephi 5:14, Alma 10:3, 3 Nephi 10:17. See also point number 77 below.
40. A recurring theme throughout the Kaqchikel Chronicles is that the words comprising it should be preserved for future generations. The last words in the Xpantzay Cartulary are "May these words not be lost!" (part 2, page 691). Ditto the Book of Mormon Enos 1:16, Mormon 5:12-13.
41. Great people in the Kaqchikel Chronicles remember the words of the ancients, they do not forget (part 2, pages 179, 193). Remembering is a noble virtue espoused frequently in the Book of Mormon Alma 37:13, Helaman 5:9, 3 Nephi 18:7.
42. The Kaqchikel worried about forgetting their language (part 1, page 52). Lacking written records, the Mulekites lost their mother tongue Omni 1:17.
43. Pre-contact Kaqchikel cities were surrounded by fortifying walls (part 1, page 65). Book of Mormon cities had fortification walls Mosiah 7:10, Alma 48:8.
44. The Kaqchikel believed they had originally come from across the ocean (part 2, pages 2, 7). The Book of Mormon records transoceanic migrations 1 Nephi 18:8, Ether 6:4.
45. The Kaqchikel believed they had come across the ocean from the west, landing along the Pacific coast of Mesoamerica (part 2, page 7). In our correlation, the Lehites made landfall on the Pacific coast of Chiapas or Guatemala about 135 air kilometers west of Iximche.
Proposed Lehi Landing
46. East and west, associated with sunrise and sunset, are the cardinal directions mentioned most often in the Kaqchikel Chronicles. We see the same pattern in the Book of Mormon where east is the cardinal direction that appears most frequently in the text, followed by west.
47. Writings were among the sacred objects in the investiture bundles ancestral Kaqchikel brought from Tulan (part 2, page 15). The brass plates of Laban were among the sacred objects guarded by Nephite kings Omni 1:14.
48. The Kaqchiquel perceived themselves as the last of the seven amaq's to leave Tulan. They referred to themselves as the "younger brother." The Kaqchikel Chronicles have numerous references to the younger brother as the brave one, the smart one, the one the other brothers look to for leadership (part 2, pages 37,46). It goes without saying the younger brother/older brothers conflict is one of the defining themes in the Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 5:3, Mosiah 10:12-13.
49. After leaving Tulan, all seven amaq's made their way to the beach, but six of the seven had no idea how to cross the ocean. It fell to the younger brother to get the entire group across the waters (part 2, pages 38-39). Obviously, younger brother Nephi was the prime mover in the Lehite's voyage across the ocean 1 Nephi 18:22.
50. The Kaqchikel remembered two ways the ancients crossed the ocean, in boats (part 2, page 47) and on dry ground miraculously provided by God (part 2, page 39). The Book of Mormon mentions both methods as well.
Ocean-going vessels 1 Nephi 17:8, Alma 63:5-8, Helaman 3:14, Ether 6:4
Dry ground 1 Nephi 4:2, 1 Nephi 17:26, 2 Nephi 21:15-16, Helaman 8:11
51. As soon as the Kaqchikel arrived in their land from Tulan, war was rumored (part 2, page 46). Immediately after Lehi died, Nephi was threatened and warned to flee 2 Nephi 5:1-5.
52. Natural disasters the Kaqchikel remembered included avalanches (part 2, page 49), volcanism (part 2, page 83), volcanic ejecta causing darkness (part 2, page 87), thunder and earthquakes (part 2, page 136). The list of destructive forces in 3 Nephi 8 is very similar.
53. The Kaqchikel remembered encountering a people whose speech they could not understand and whose language they had to learn (part 2, pages 64-66). This recalls the Nephite experience when they first encountered the Mulekites Omni 1:17-18.
54. The Kaqchikel recognized a place name called Saqik'wa' aka Saqik'uwa' which has been identified as the confluence of the Salama with the Chixoy-Negro (part 2, page 67). Another place they called Raxch' ich' which has been identified as the archaeological site Los Encuentros, also at the confluence of the Salama with the Chixoy-Negro. This is the precise point we identify as the Book of Mormon's head of Sidon. The Kaqchikel construct k'wa' or k'uwa' means a dug water-well, pozo in Spanish. A well, of course, is a point of origin for water.
Proposed Head of Sidon Called Saqik' wa' in Kaqchikel
55. Tribute payments were an important part of Kaqchikel life. Who paid whom and how much? These issues are addressed in the Chronicles (part 2, page 96). Tribute payments are also mentioned in the Book of Mormon Mosiah 7:22, Mosiah 19:15.
56. When a lord had vassals under tribute and those vassals left, it was a sharp blow to the lord's income, power and prestige. The Kaqchikel Chronicles record such an incident (part 2, page 93) as does the Book of Mormon Mosiah 22:10-16.
57. The Kaqchikel in their writings distinguished between settled and wild lands. Their typical phrase for undomesticated lands was the couplet siwan "ravines" and juyu "hills" (part 2, page 159). The Book of Mormon equivalent is "wilderness" Mosiah 19:28.
58. Royal heirs have been deposing their fathers and usurping the throne to accelerate their inheritances throughout human history. The Kaqchikel Chronicles record an instance (part 2, page 171). The Book of Mormon records several Ether 7:4-7, Ether 8:2-3, Ether 9:7-12.
59. The Kaqchikel Chronicles report that on thirteen Iq' the town of Chi Awar was abandoned and the entire amaq' moved to a new location (part 2, page 183). In the Book of Mormon a similar exodus left the land of Morianton deserted Alma 50:29-35.
60. When they built their new capital, Iximche, the Kaqchikel first enclosed the city within a wall. They then erected a plank palisade atop the wall as an additional fortification (part 2, page 185). Captain Moroni's fortifications ca. 72 BC consisted of a high earthen embankment or wall topped with wooden palisades Alma 50:2-4.
61, At one point in their history, the K'iche' invaded the Kaqchikel, not with an army of 8,000 or 16,000 warriors, but with innumerable people (part 2, page 197). In Kaqchikel affairs, an army of 8,000 or 16,000 was a large force. Numbers greater than that were too many to count. We see a similar size pattern in the Book of Mormon during BC times.
Ca. 63 BC 2,000 reinforcement troops arrived in Manti Alma 58:8. Helaman1 complained because he considered this an inadequate number Alma 58:36. He called it a small force Alma 58:12.
Ca. 61 BC 6,000 reinforcement troops were considered a solid force, neither small nor large Alma 62:12, Alma 62:13.
Ca. 66 BC Antipus, with a troop strength of 6,000, was preparing for one last stand. Helaman1 came with 2,000 men and then 2,000 reinforcements arrived from Zarahemla. With 10,000 men the Nephites began offensive operations. Alma 56.
Ca. 63 BC Helaman1 commanded a force of somewhat less than 16,000 men. He considered this a strong army Alma 57:6, even referring to the "enormity of our numbers" Alma 57:13.
Ca. 87 BC over 19,000 dead on the first day of battle was a large loss of life, but still measurable. Alma 2:19.
Significantly more than that on the second day of battle were too many to count Alma 2:35, Alma 3:1 although the approximate number was in the tens of thousands Alma 3:26.
Ca. 76 BC tens of thousands of Lamanites were killed or scattered in the largest battle the Nephites had yet fought. The numbers were so large no precise count was taken Alma 28:2.
For more Book of Mormon demographic numbers, see the blog article "Population Sizes and Casualty Counts."
62. Military units described in the Kaqchikel Chronicles include:
much' = 80 soldiers (part 2, page 259)
wo'-much' 5 X 80 = 400 soldiers (part 2, page 259)
ju-chu'y = 8,000 soldiers (part 2, page 221)
ka-chu'y = 2 X 8,000 = 16,000 soldiers (part 2, page 221)
ju-ch'ob' = one division (part 2, page 223)
ma-ki ajil-am = innumerable, not able to be counted (part 2, page 221)
The Book of Mormon also describes hierarchical military units Alma 2:13.
63. The highland Maya fought with cotton body armor the Kaqchikel called k'ub'ul. The Nahuatl name for it was ichcayapul or achcayopilli (part 2, pages 198, 222). In the Book of Mormon it is called thick clothing Alma 43:19.
64. Conch shell trumpets sounded battle calls in Kaqchikel warfare (part 2, page 201). Trumpets sounded on Book of Mormon battlefields as well Ether 14:28.
65. K'iche' warriors who survived their disastrous invasion of Iximche were enslaved by the Kaqchikel (part 2, page 203). Slavery (probably of war captives) is well-attested in the Book of Mormon Mosiah 7:15, Alma 27:8, 3 Nephi 3:7. War captivity slavery is the sense of Mosiah 12:15.
66. The Kaqchikel Chronicles describe a group called Kawoqs who prepared for war by erecting walls and digging trenches (part 2, page 213). The Book of Mormon describes the process of digging a ditch and using the fill material to build a defensive bank or wall Alma 49:18, Alma 53:4.
67. One battle took place at a bridge. The Kaqchikel word for bridge is q'am (part 2, page 221). The Book of Mormon describes four major military actions at three crossing points over river Sidon. One was between the local land of Zarahemla and the land of Gideon Alma 2:34-35. A second was south of Manti where Zoram2 and his forces liberated Nephite captives Alma 16:6-8. A third was at the same place upstream from Manti where Moroni1 and Lehi2 routed the Lamanites under Zerahemnah Alma 43:53. The fourth action was at Manti where Helaman1 decoyed the Lamanite army out of the city and led them on a wild goose chase Alma 58. The text does not mention a river crossing at this point. We infer a river crossing based on our correlation of Manti with the site of Chama. See the blog article "Manti." We find it quite remarkable that either Mexico or Guatemala has built a modern bridge at each of our proposed river crossing points. See the blog article "Test #10 Crossing Sidon." See the blog article "Minon" for a photo of the Boca del Cerro Bridge we correlate with the site of the Alma2 Amlici battle described in Alma 2.
68. The Kaqchikel Chronicles use the expression "qi tzij" dozens of times to begin a sentence. It has the meaning true-word, in truth or truly (part 2, pages 68, 72). The Book of Mormon uses the expression "verily" dozens of times to begin a sentence 3 Nephi 20:24, 3 Nephi 23:9. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, verily means in truth.
69. The Kaqchikel Chronicles use the term "ti-()-xib'-in" dozens of times meaning frighten (part 2, page 95). The Book of Mormon uses the similar term "fear" well over a hundred times Alma 22:21, 3 Nephi 4:10.
70. An interesting Kaqchikel phrase is x-e'-ya'-ar k'a chi kam-ik, literally "water die," translated as "enter water," "become water," "dissolve unto death." Stela 31 at Tikal contains the phrase och ha' which has the same meaning. The Maya conceived of their underworld as a watery place (part 2, page 129). The Book of Mormon also has a direct connection between death and water Alma 44:22 and a concept of corpses decomposing in water Alma 3:3.
71. A passage in the Kaqchikel Chronicles describes nim-a' q achi' "great warriors," war captives allowed to remain alive to serve the victorious warlord (part 2, page 168). The Book of Mormon also describes a scenario where only chief captains among war captives were permitted to remain alive Alma 56:12.
72. How far afield did Kaqchikel military forces range? During the mytho-historical period the Chronicles describe a seashore engagement involving boats with forces from Nonowalkat and Xulpiti. Adrian Recinos identified these places on the southern coast of Veracruz, near where we place hill Ramah/Cumorah. This map shows Iximche and Coatzacoalcos 528 air kilometers distant.
Iximche to Southern Veracruz Coast
This is consistent with distances we posit for Nephite and Lamanite military actions described in the text.
73. How large was the Kaqchikel known world? We have plotted many identifiable pre-contact Kaqchikel geonyms in Google Earth. Places attested in the text ranged from Tenochtitlan on the west to the middle Motagua on the east, and from the Pacific on the south to the Gulf of Mexico on the north. This is very similar to the extent of our proposed Nephite terra cognita.
Black Pins Represent Places Attested in the Kaqchikel Text
As one would expect, the Kaqchikel world centered on their capital, Iximche.
Kaqchikel Geonyms Attested in their Chronicles
74. On the map below, black pins represent known pre-contact Kaqchikel geonyms. The white layer represents all elevations lower than 1,500 meters. The grey line is our idealized Nephi to Zarahemla route down the Motagua, over the Sierra de las Minas, down the Salama, over the Sierra de Xucaneb, down the Cahabon, past the Sierra de Chama and then down the Chixoy/Salinas/Usumacinta. Our narrow strip of wilderness is in green and Book of Mormon geonyms Nephi, Manti and head of Sidon are noted.
Kaqchikel and Proposed Book of Mormon Worlds
The known Kaqchikel world and our correlation for the highland Book of Mormon world match up well. The Kaqchikel would obviously have been very familiar with our proposed Nephi to Zarahemla trail.
75. When the Spaniards came, the tone of Kaqchikel writing changed. Gone are the vain glories and accolades. There is a sense of impending doom, inevitability and resignation. Their record becomes a pathetic history of the vanquished. In the books of Mormon and Moroni we see a similar pathos stemming from impending holocaust Mormon 4:18. The Book of Mormon is the ultimate history of the vanquished Mormon 8:3.
All Kaqchikel data to this point in the article are from pre-contact portions of the Xajil Chronicle.
76. Other documents in the Kaqchikel Chronicles document lengthy genealogies (part 2, pages 489, 495, 616 & 649). The Book of Mormon documents lengthy genealogies Ether 1.
77. The Xpantzay Cartulary has a version of Kaqchikel origins redacted post-contact. The authors claim to be descendants of a) the house of Israel, b) the people dispersed after the confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel, and c) emigrants who came to the Americas from across the ocean in seven ships representing seven founding lineages (part 2, pages 592-596). All of these ideas are expressed and fit comfortably in the Book of Mormon.
78. The Xpantzay Cartulary and the Xahil Chronicle both mention a pre-contact location associated with beards. The Kaqchikel phrase for beard is ism-a-chi' meaning "body hair mouth" (part 2, pages 158, 597). Beards were biologically and culturally endemic to Book of Mormon peoples 2 Nephi 17:20. Native American populations generally have scant if any facial hair, so the many ancient artistic portrayals of Mesoamerican individuals with full beards and moustaches are highly incongruous. In 1979 I wrote the short study "A Survey of Mesoamerican Bearded Figures" cited in John L. Sorenson, Mormon's Codex: An Ancient American Book (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book & Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2013) p. 242. Since that time, V. Garth Norman, Diane E. Wirth and David Lee have all done studies of Mesoamerican bearded figures.
79. The Xpantzay Cartulary references tun ab'aj which means stela, literally "400 day count stone" (part 2, page 598). The Book of Mormon records an instance of historical information being engraved on a stela Omni 1:20-22.
80. The Xpantzay Cartulary associates r-aqan "leg/foot" with a unit of length or distance (part 2, page 605). In the Book of Mormon, the standard Nephite unit of distance measure is a day's journey. See the blog articles "Land Southward Travel Times" and "Test #6 Relative Distances."
81. Kaqchikel society, like Mesoamerican cultures generally, was aristocratic. Favored lineages were entitled to special prerogatives and the right to rule (part 1, page 5). Mormon took a dim view of ambitious aristocrats whom he called "those of high birth" Alma 51:8 "distinguished by ranks" 3 Nephi 6:12.
82. Elites within a Kaqchikel chinamit were called ajaw "lords." The leader of a chinamit was also called an ajaw. The leader of multiple chinamits confederated into an amaq' was called an ajpop aka ajpo (part 1, pages 5. 7). Since there were multiple Kaqchikel amaq's there were multiple ajpops. Book of Mormon equivalents were lower judges Alma 46:4 and chief judges over lands Alma 14:4, Alma 62:47.
83. In Kaqchikel affairs, multiple amaq's allied to form the winaq' or nation. After 1493, two amaq's constituted the winaq'. The ajpops of the two amaq's governed the winaq' as co-regents (part 1, pages 5, 7). The Book of Mormon records two cases where the chief judge and chief captain governed the Nephite nation in a form of co-regency Alma 62:11, 3 Nephi 6:6.
84. High-ranking Kaqchikel leaders were surrounded by personal cadres of elite warriors (part 1, page 5). Helaman1 with his 2,000 "sons" Alma 56:10 and Teancum's select force guarding Bountiful Alma 51:31 come to mind.
85. Ajpop succession among the Kaqchikel was generally from father to son (part 1, page 8). We see this same patrilineal pattern among Nephite chief judges Alma 50:39, Helaman 1:2, 3 Nephi 6:19.
86. The Kaqchiquel term "ajpop" literally means "he of the mat" (part 1, page 5). The Nephite term was "judgment-seat" Alma 4:17, Helaman 8:27.
87. The Kaqchikel Chronicles use the injunctive wa'e' "here" in a visual context because the original documents were pictorial in nature (part 1, page 14). The equivalent Book of Mormon phrase is "behold, here" Jacob 5:16, Mosiah 20:13, Alma 44:8.
88. Modern Kaqchikel associate the color red with Satan (part 1, page 44). In the Book of Mormon, the color red is associated with a curse Alma 3:13-18.
89. Modern Kaqchikel refer to Satan as ri itz' "the evil one" (part 1, page 44). The Book of Mormon uses the same term 2 Nephi 9:28, Alma 46:8, Helaman 12:4.
90. The Kaqchikel Chronicles describe a god who is at once creator and perfecter (part 2, page 11). God in the Book of Mormon is both creator 1 Nephi 17:36, Mosiah 3:8, 3 Nephi 9:15 and perfecter Alma 11:43-44, 3 Nephi 12:48, Moroni 10:32.
91. Some among the Kaqchikel practiced bigamy (part 2, page 12). Jacob chastised the Nephites for taking multiple wives and paramours Jacob 2:23-28.
92. The Kaqchikel associated a throne with power and dominion (part 2, page 20). In the Book of Mormon, rulers, both human and divine, sit on thrones 1 Nephi 1:8, Mosiah 11:9, Alma 60:21.
93. In its mytho-heroic origin narrative, the Xajil Chronicle recounts this conversation as the seven founding families of highland Guatemala were at the seashore wondering how to cross the ocean to their promised land: "We are two of the children, we are the top, we are the head, we are the first warriors, the seven amaq's. And you are my younger brother." The younger brother urges his elders to cross the ocean and seize their destinies rather than collapse and sleep (suffer defeat) at the water's edge (part 1, pages 36, 37). Correspondences with the Book of Mormon origin narrative are striking.
Laman and Lemuel were two of the children, the eldest 1 Nephi 2:12.
Lamanites and Lemuelites were two of the seven founding Lehite lineages Jacob 1:13.
Laman and Lemuel believed their seniority entitled them to the right to rule. They rejected their younger brother's leadership 1 Nephi 16:37-38, 1 Nephi 18:10, 2 Nephi 5:3, Mosiah 10:15.
Laman and Lemuel mocked their younger brother's plan to build a ship and cross the ocean Nephi 17:17.
Laman and Lemuel wanted to return to Jerusalem rather than journey to the promised land 1 Nephi 7:7, 1 Nephi 16:36,
Nephi admonished his elder brothers to be diligent and obtain the land of promise 1 Nephi 7:13.
The Kaqchikel perceived themselves the younger brother in their version of this story.
The Book of Mormon peoples and the Kaqchikel shared a common geography. Separated in time by about 1,000 years, they shared many similar cultural and literary traits.
Posted by Captain Kirk at 8:51 PM
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