(Small picture of a cross.) 3
When the eleventh day of June shall come, it will be the longest day. 4 When the thirteenth day of September comes, this day and night are precisely
the same <in length>. When the twelfth day of December shall come the day
FIG. 7.--Diagram showing the course of the sun in the heavens (Chumayel MS.).
This annulus in the center of the disk is white and indicates the course of the sun. Between the two rings the black spots indicate the face of the sun, which goes over the large black one and descends to the small black one. Thus its movement is uniform, and this is its course here on earth also. On the ground it is thus manifested plainly all over the earth also. The progress of the sun is truly great as it takes its course to enter into the great Oro 1 extended over the world. <This is> the record <of the motion> of the sun as it is known here on earth. /
|p. 27 C|
FIG. 8--Diagram representing an eclipse of the sun
To the people on the sides of this half-section as pictured, the sun is not eclipsed; 2 but for anyone who is in the middle it is eclipsed. It is in conjunction with the moon when it is eclipsed. It travels in its course before it is eclipsed. It arrives in its course to the north, very great. It is all the same with eclipses of the sun and moon before it arrives opposite to the sun. <This is> the explanation so that Maya people may know what happens to the sun and to the Moon.
FIG. 9--Diagram explaining the cause of solar and lunar eclipses (Chumayel MS.). / [p. 28 C]
86:3 The cross probably indicates that this is Christian teaching.
86:4 This date for the summer solstice indicates that the passage was originally written at a time when the Julian calendar was still current in Yucatan.
87:1 The translator does not know the word Oro as an astronomical term. It is the name of the gold disk which takes the place of the diamond on Spanish playing-cards and may refer to sunlight in general.
87:2 Chibil, the Maya word for an eclipse, also means eaten. Aguilar tells us that the Maya believed that certain ants called xulab ate the sun or moon at the time of an eclipse (Aguilar 1921, p. 304). This passage in the Chumayel is evidently an attempt to correct such a belief, but it does not appear to have been entirely successful, as Dr. Redfield reports that many natives still believe that the moon is eaten by certain ants during an eclipse (Redfield, Letter October 22, 1931).
There was, however, another explanation of the eclipse. Accompanied by some information taken from European almanacs, we find in the Codex Perez (p. 27) the statement that eclipses of the sun and moon are caused by their being "covered" by the planets. Now the Maya Indians of San Antonio in southern British Honduras give the name, xulab, to the deity of the Morning Star who ranks only next to the Christian God in power. The writer is inclined to connect this name with the ants called xulab which by the Maya of northern Yucatan, are believed to eat the sun or moon. The San Antonio Indians have been influenced by both the Chols and Kekchis, and the idea in the north that the xulab-ants eat the moon may well be a misunderstanding of a theory imported from the south to the effect that eclipses were caused by certain planets. Cf. J. E. Thompson 1930, p. 63.