Aids to the Study of the Maya Codices


Book Details

Author  Cyrus Thomas
Publisher  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date   September 28, 2011
ISBN  1466380586
Pages  218

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The object of this paper is to present to students of American paleography a brief explanation of some discoveries, made in regard to certain Maya codices, which are not mentioned in my previous papers relating to these aboriginal manuscripts. It is apparent to every one who has carefully studied these manuscripts that any attempt to decipher them on the supposition that they contain true alphabetic characters must end in failure. Although enough has been ascertained to render it more than probable that some of the characters are phonetic symbols, yet repeated trials have shown beyond any reasonable doubt that Landa’s alphabet furnishes little or no aid in deciphering them, as it is evidently based on a misconception of the Maya graphic system. If the manuscripts are ever deciphered it must be by long and laborious comparisons and happy guesses, thus gaining point by point and proceeding slowly and cautiously step by step. Accepting this as true, it will be admitted that every real discovery in regard to the general signification or tenor of any of these codices, or of any of their symbols, characters, or figures, or even in reference to their proper order or relation to one another, will be one step gained toward the final interpretation. It is with this idea in view that the following pages have been written and are now presented to the students of American paleography. It is impracticable to present fac simile copies of all the plates and figures referred to, but it is taken for granted that those sufficiently interested in this study to examine this paper have access to the published fac similes of these aboriginal documents.

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