What Are the Names of Some Mayan Kings?

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Names of Mayan kings include K’inich Popol Hol, K’ak’ Joplaj Chan K’awiil, Kalak’mul, Tajoom Uk’ab’ K’ak’, Wamaw K’awiil, K’inich B’aaknal Chaak, K’inich Ich’aak Chapat, Muwaan Mat, K’inich Kan B’alam II and K’inich Janaab’ Pakal II. Each Mayan city-state was ruled by a king, and the royal lineages of the city-states were separately maintained.

Many of the Mayan kings’ names include their titles. Often kings who wielded their power less effectively than others seem to have appended more titles to their names in classic Mayan inscriptions. One very common title was “K’inich,” which meant “sun-faced.” Kings often also had emblem glyphs connected with their names; these incorporated the name of the king’s kingdom into his official name.

Other royal honorifics included “Kalomte’,” “Ajaw,” “Ch’ajom,” “Pitzil” and “Sajal.” “Sajal” was also an honorific used for nobility of lower rank than king, and “Ajaw” was an honorific used by various high-ranking nobles. “Pitzil” meant “ballplayer,” “Ajaw” meant “lord” and “K’ak,” another honorific, meant “fire.” Over 80 percent of Mayan kings’ names include some sort of honorific appended to them.

Other honorifics appended to royal names referred to the ruler’s age, with “K’atun” indicating how old the ruler was in terms of 20-year periods. In addition, Mayan royal titles often incorporated one of the four cardinal directions in the title.