With all the 2012 hooey certain to kick into ever-higher gear over the coming months, it’s worth taking a look back at how we learned of the Mayans’ paranoia in the first place. That means checking in with one of the great heroes of hieroglyphics decipherment, Tatiana Proskouriakoff, who first figured out that Mayan stelae were historical chronicles, rather than imagistic prophecy. The Tubes now contain a copy of her milestone 1961 article on the topic, which is a must-read for any and all linguistics junkies:
If the “upended frog” date is a birth date, the fact that it was celebrated for only a limited period suggests that that period was the person’s lifetime, and effectively refutes my original notion that the “toothache glyph” expresses the human sacrifice shown on the “niche” stelae. More likely, thee stelae portray the accession of a new ruler, the “seating on high of the Lord,” as the Maya books put it. Subsequent stelae, too, are probably portraits of the lord.
For the record, we are so dubious on the 2012 stuff that we’re willing to make y’all a wager: if the world is, indeed, incinerated two years hence, we will give each and every one of your a free Microkhan mesh hat. It’s the perfect headgear for the apocalypse.