Mayan astronomy Facts
New research on the Dresden Codex, one of only three that escaped the bonfires the Spanish conquistadors made of Mayan libraries, appears to show that what was at first considered astrology is in fact astronomy based on systematic observations. The Mayan astronomers were independently working toward Copernican astronomy.
We found a large number of books in these characters and, as they contained nothing in which were not to be seen as superstition and lies of the devil, we burned them all, which they regretted to an amazing degree, and which caused them much affliction.
“These characters” referred to Mayan glyphs, a written language Europeans would later claim was a hallmark of civilization that American Indians lacked. The Spanish were very efficient in burning the contents of Mayan libraries, but the glyphs lived on because there were carved inscriptions covering buildings all over Southern Mexico and Central America. Stone does not burn.
Mayans began producing codices about the same time Romans did in the Fifth Century, C.E. The Mayan paper was much more durable than the papyrus used in Europe and North Africa so we would probably have the benefit of Mayan learning today if not for Diego de Landa’s theft, a theft not only from the Mayans but also from the world.
There are only three Mayan codices remaining in the world, and part of a fourth that may or may not be authentic. The codices that escaped the Spanish book burners are known by the cities where they are kept in modern libraries: Paris, Madrid, and Dresden.
Gerardo Aldana is a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, popularly known for his debunking of the meme that the Mayans had predicted the end of the world on December 23, 2012. His latest research, published in the Journal of Astronomy in Culture, is based on study of the Dresden Codex and concludes that Mayan observations of the heavens were much more careful than previously thought.
Video of Aldana Mayan Apocalypse
The Dresden Codex contains the Venus Table, recorded observations that reinforce other Mayan sources claiming that the Maya found great significance in the movement of Venus in the night sky. Some scholars believe that a Mayan building still standing at Uxmal was constructed to observe Venus.
While Venus orbits the sun every 225 days, it appears from the earth to traverse the sky back and forth in a cycle of 584 days. Five of these cycles approximate eight solar years, a ratio that fits the repeated death and resurrection of Kukulcan, the ancient Mayan sky god who by the time of the Spanish invasion would be traveling under the name Quetzalcoatl with associated lore expanded by the Aztecs.
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The Aztec people/tribe were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in t