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Chilam Balam, a Maya priestly class whose members' predictions form the basis for local historiography. Several types of documents have been titled Chilam Balam.
Although the term Chilam Balam implies priests who could foretell the future, only five of the books those from Chan Kan, Chumayel, Kaua, Mani, and Tizimin include prophetic texts. They are histories of the past and at the same time predictions of the future. These books are grounded in the belief that events occurring during certain periods of time will recur in particular future periods.
Specifically, katuns , or cycles of 20 tuns the day Maya civil year , that end on days with the same name and coefficient will contain analogous events. In the books containing the prophetic texts, close attention is given to historical and calendrical accuracy; a reliable picture of what the future held was at stake. Topics covered in the nonprophetic books include astrology, calendrics, and medicine.
The Book of Chilam Balam of Nah contains the greatest amount of medical information, including descriptions of ailments, etiology, and various means of treatment. The Chilam Balam of Chumayel , because of multiple translations, is the most widely known.
The book reveals many details of everyday life including cuisine. It also offers a glimpse of the indigenous view of the Spanish: certain passages suggest that the Maya understood the arrival of Christianity as the fulfillment of calendrical predictions. Eugene R. Craine and Reginald C. Munro S. Edmonson, trans. El libro de los libros de Chilam Balam Bolles, David. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.
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Chilam Balam Chilam Balam, a Maya priestly class whose members' predictions form the basis for local historiography. Roys, trans. The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel Literatura maya Matt Krystal. Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. More From encyclopedia. The Order o…. About this article Chilam Balam Updated About encyclopedia. Neruda, Pablo 12 July - 23 September Paz, Octavio 31 March - 19 April Indianismo, Spanish America.
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Nine Books of Chilam Balam are known,  most importantly those from Chumayel , Mani , and Tizimin ,  but more have existed. Both language and content show that parts of the books date back to the time of the Spanish conquest of the Yucatec kingdoms — In some cases, where the language is particularly terse, the books appear to render hieroglyphic script, and thus to hark back to the pre-conquest period. Taken together, the Books of Chilam Balam give the fullness of 18th-century Yucatec-Maya spiritual life. Whereas the medical texts and chronicles are quite matter-of-fact, the riddles and prognostications make abundant use of traditional Mayan metaphors.