Page 19 - ChilamBalam
P. 19

phrase. When the latter is supplied from another source, it is enclosed in diamond 

brackets and its source indicated in a foot-note. In some cases where a parallel passage 
radically alters the meaning of the text, the alternative reading is given in a foot-note.

In transcribing the photographic reproduction of this lost manuscript, the Berendt copy 

of the original has been used constantly for comparison. This has been especially 

helpful in deciphering badly written and faded portions of the text, and is indispensable 
where the edge of a page has crumbled away after the Berendt copy was made. Missing 

words supplied from this copy are placed in diamond brackets, and the source is 

indicated in a foot-note.

Misspelled words constitute another difficulty. Many errors are due to a habit of the 

Maya writer who often employs the letter ̧ for z and then occasionally omits the cedilla. 
Such an omission may completely change the meaning of the word. Another error 

sometimes found is when the Maya writer has omitted the bar from the p (pp) and ch. 

Often these mistakes in orthography can be corrected from a parallel passage, but 
occasionally the meaning of the context must be depended upon in the case of an 

obvious mistake or a slip of the pen. Corrections of orthography are referred to a foot- 
note in which the word is given as it stands in the manuscript.

It is needless to say that a critical text can be established with much more assurance for 
those portions of the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel for which parallel passages 

can be found in other manuscripts. Such corresponding passages are not absolutely the 

same. The phraseology differs slightly. Some contain a certain amount of material 
omitted by others, and an archaic word or phrase in one may be replaced in another by a 

more modern expression or sometimes even by a Spanish word. Nevertheless the 

language is sufficiently similar to indicate that they are drawn from a single original 

Where the Chumayel narrative is not duplicated elsewhere, we are frequently aided by 
comparison with other texts of the same general character. This is because the Books of 

Chilam Balam abound in certain stereotyped phrases often employed in similar 
contexts. When a portion of such a phrase appears to be garbled and we find the same 

phrase occurring elsewhere in much the same context, we can make the correction with 

a fair degree of certainty. In any case the garbled phrase will be found in the foot-note, 
and the reader is at liberty to draw his own conclusions.

As previously stated, all supplied material is enclosed in diamond brackets < >. Any 
words or letters believed by the writer to be intrusive are enclosed in square brackets [ ].

Certain abbreviations have been employed in the notes to the Maya text. These are to be 
explained as follows:

Ber. = Copy of the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel by Dr. Hermann Berendt. 

C = Photographic reproduction of the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel.

K = Book of Chilam Balam of Kaua. (Gates photostat.)

M = Book of Chilam of Mani. (Berendt copy.)


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