The Maya Essay

3910 Words 16 Pages
The cause behind the rise of the Maya has long been a controversial topic. Over the past eighty years, scholarship has been polarized around two conflicting propositions, ‘externalist’ and ‘internalist’ models. The first (externalist) view posits that the Maya lowlands experienced and “overt and disruptive” Teotihuacan presence in the late fourth century A.D., that was accompanied with “military incursion if not political domination.” The second (internalist) view interprets the evidence of interaction with foreign sites, as a means of Maya elites distancing themselves from the general population and/or legitimizing new dynastic rulership lines by associating themselves with the powerful foreign city-state of Teotihuacan (Stuart 1996). As …show more content…
In 1970 when evidence for some degree of interaction with central Mexico began to emerge at many Maya sites, Teotihuacan was the best understood Classic-period site in the Mexican highlands. “Teotihuacan was widely viewed as the pristine state of Mesoamerica: a kind of “mother state” that inspired – or even mandated – the evolution of all other state-level political systems.” (Braswell 2003, p.4). Proskouriakoff (1975), contributed greatly to the externalist models, in a study that incorporated both epigraphic and iconographic analyses. A large amount of evidence for this study derives from Tikal Stela 31, and Proskouriakoff concluded that the Maya date 11 Eb’ 15 Mak (January 16, A.D. 378) marked the “arrival of conquering strangers bearing central Mexican weapons” (Braswell 2003, p.10). Proskouriakoff then directly relates the death of the Tikal king Chak Tok Ich’aak, to this date and to the arrival of these strangers. David Stuart’s recent reanalyses of Stela 31, strongly supports this initial argument. Stuart summarizes the events relating to the 11 Eb’ 15 Mak date and resulting effects:
- A figure name Siyaj K’ahk’ arrives at Tikal on January 14, 378 A.D., with the direct or indirect sanction of “Spear-Thrower Owl” (strong ties to Teotihuacan and may have been its ruler)
- The death of Chak Tok Ich’aak occurs on the exact

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