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The Codex Paris (ca. 1450)

The Codex Paris originated in the Yucatec city and historical site of Mayapán. However, like the Tro-Cortesianus, it contains information dating back hundreds of years. This is because scribes would copy older materials over the centuries to preserve their contents when their materials deteriorated. The Paris and Grolier have deteriorated significantly since elaboration and discovery, lending credence to this supposition. Folios 17-18, shown here, demonstrate the diminished condition of the Paris.

The 16th century Friar Diego de Landa provided an explanation for the context of Maya codices. In his memoir Yucatan Before and After the Conquest, he noted:

The sciences which [were] taught [to the sons of priests and the second sons of chiefs] were the reckoning of the years, months and days, the festivals and ceremonies, the administration of their sacraments, the omens of the days, their methods of divination and prophecies, events, remedies for sicknesses, antiquities, and the art of reading and writing by their letters and the characters wherewith they wrote, and by pictures that illustrated the writings.

Later, Landa would order the burning of “a great number” of these documents for being “idolatrous” in nature, resulting in an immeasurable loss.

Which of the four categories of CONTINUITY apply to the Codex Paris?


Landa, Diego de. Yucatan Before and After the Conquest. Trans. William Gates. London: Global Grey, 2015, pp. 30, 129.

Love, Bruce. "Paris, Codex." The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 13 Sep. 2018.

Valero de García Lascuráin, Ana Rita. Entre Códices. México: Universidad Anáhuac México Norte, 2012, pp. 40-43.

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All scans courtesy of University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center and carried out by Jacob S. Neely.

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