Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1194 PostClassic Maya batab
Subjectbatab noble warrior
Culture: Mayan
Setting: Early Post-Classic period, Yucatan/Guatemala 10-15thc
Evolution730 Late Classic Maya sahal > 1194 Early Post-Classic Maya batab

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Grandes civilizaciones: los Mayas 2007 p17
"En ésta última etapa de la gran cultura maya, se dio una desintegración económica, polItica y cultural de la sociedad entera, la cual se encontraba organizada en cacicazgos que peleaban constantemente entre ellos.  El clima bélico obligó a construir murallas alrededor de las ciudades (Mayapán, Tulum, etcétera.)
    "La ciudad de Mayapán dominó el norte de Yucatán 7 desarrolló un intenso comercio con Centroamérica a través de puertos de intercambio escalonados sobre la costa oriental.
    "Los contradicciones del sistema agravadas por las presiones militares, la presión mercantil y las luchas entre los cacicazgos, produjeron otra revuelta, y en una cruenta acción, la familia de los Cocom, que gobernaba Mayapán, fue aniquilada y la ciudad arrasada."

* Benson 1967 p133
"The intricate dieties of the Maya pantheon were transformed or simplified when they did not give way to new gods.  Erotic rites, foreign to the Classic Maya, were introduced at this time [early Postclassic], and human sacrifice was organized on a scale never previously known to the Maya.  The new religion was more idolatrous.  At the same time, the old Maya theocracy gave way to a more militaristic society; aggressive warfare was carried on both to expand political domination and to acquire prisoners for sacrifice, a pattern very familiar among the Aztec." 

* Foster 2002 p144-145
"The batab title was held by both rulers and administrators of dependent cities within a state; the title was employed at the time of the Spanish Conquest in the Yucatán.  It covered responsibilities held by officials known as sahals in Late Classic Period texts.  Sixteenth-century ethnohistories describe the batab as both a town governor and a hereditary war captain.  According to Spanish observers, they were responsible for leading the local armies into battle under the supreme authority of their ruler."

* Whitlock 1976 p67-68
"The exaction of all these [peasant] dues was the function of an immensely powerful official, the batab.  To the Mayan peasant the batab must have represented supreme Authority.  He travelled in regal state, with an army of retainers and personal attendants.  When he alighted from his litter cloaks were spread on the ground for him to tread on. ...  In addition to collecting taxes, the batab acted as a judge in all but the most important disputes that arose within his administrative area.  Occasionally he would conduct sacrifices.  And, in time of war, it was the batab who led his levy into battle."


* Foster 2002 p147
"A few Maya, perhaps war captains, wore helmets with various emblems on them; at Chichén Itzá, pillbox helmets with bird insignia were popular."


* Whitlock 1976 p84
"The original Mayan weapons were the lance, the club, the dagger and a kind of trident made by carving three sharp blades from a large seashell.  These last two were used for hand-to-hand fighting.  The Mexican invaders of the ninth century introduced the bow and arrow, and also a spear-throwing device known as the atl-atl which enabled spears to be hurled in rapid succession.  It gave them a critical advantage in the type of warfare to which the Maya were accustomed.  The standard procedure was for an exchange of missiles, both spears and sling-stones, followed by a closing in for hand-to-hand combat.  With their arrows and atl-atl the Mexicans were able to prolong the long-distance fighting until the battle was virtually won.  Probably as an answer to these new tactics, the Maya manufactured a kind of quilted armour by soaking a padded cotton tunic in salt brine. [CONTRA Hassig 1988 p88 sv Armor]  They also enlarged the size of their shields."

* Gallenkamp 1987 p121
"[I]n the Postclassic era, when warfare assumed an increasingly important role, a number of innovations entered the Maya arsenal: atlatls or spear-throwers, slings, two-handed wooden swords edged with obsidian blades, curirasses [SIC] made of quilted cotton or tapir hide, and bows and arrows -- all introduced from Mexico."

* Benson 1967 p141
"It was at Mayapán that the bow and arrow first appeared in Yucatán, replacing the spear thrower, which had been the common weapon until that time.  They are regarded as typically Indian, but were not introduced into Mexico until quite late, probably having been slowly diffused down through North America from Asia.  They bow and arrow are said to have been introduced into Mayapán by Mexican mercenary soldiers.  The Mayapán bow was made of hard wood and strung with a henequen cord and the arrows were made of reeds and tipped with flint points."


* Spotila 2004 p67
"Mayan communities on the coastal areas of the Yucatán and Belize ate sea turtles and used their shells for containers and shields."