History : Jun-Jul 2015
1 THE ARRIVAL OF THE INVADERS The artifact from Tikal known to historians as Stela 31 narrates how on January 16, 378, Siyaj Kak (Fire is Born) arrived at Tikal, and that on that same day the Tikal king Chak Tok Ichaak I (Jaguar Paw) died. The Tikal Marker also tells of the arrival of Siyaj Kak, who it states was sent to Tikal by the sovereign of Teotihuacan, known as “Spear- thrower Owl,” who it says had ascended the throne of the mighty empire in 374. 2A NEW KING FOR TIKAL According to Stela 31, king Yax Nuun Ayiin I (Curl Nose) came to the throne in Tikal in 379 under the supervision of Siyaj Kak. It is very possible that the new king was the son of Spearthrower Owl. The stela shows Yax Nuun Ayiin I wearing the headdress and carrying the shield typical of the warriors of Teotihuacan. He is also wearing a shell necklace, a decoration often worn by that city’s princes. 3THE ARRIVAL OF SIYAJ KAK In 411 Siyaj Chan Kawiil II (previously called Stormy Sky), son of Yax Nuun Ayiin I, ascends to the Tikal throne. A few years later he erects Stela 31. It shows him holding the royal headdress decorated with the symbol of his grandfather Spearthrower Owl. However, his own headdress represents the founders of the Tikal dynasty overthrown in 378: The new king is presenting himself as the heir to the political traditions of both Teotihuacan and Tikal. TIKAL MARKER: IN THE CENTER OF THE LIMESTONE MEDALLION APPEARS THE EMBLEM OF SPEARTHROWER OWL, A.D. 416 CENSER FOUND IN TIKAL’S BURIAL 48, BELIEVED TO BE THE TOMB OF KING SIYAJ CHAN KAWIIL II KENNETHGARRETTKENNETHGARRETT 1 WRITTEN IN STONE: A FOREIGN DYNASTY ON THE TIKAL THRONE Teotihuacan was the greatest power in ancient Mesoamerica, a dominant civilization from the Valley of Mexico, centered in possibly the largest city in pre- Spanish America. The grid layout of the metropolis covered an estimated eight square miles and may have been home to over 150,000 people. Their culture was spread far and wide through diplomacy, trade, and war. In 378 they conquered Tikal, in the Maya heartland, recording their story on what is known as Stela 31.