The "Mayan Calendar" (above) is in fact an Aztec artifact. The real Mayan Calendar (seen below) does not prophesize a cataclysm on Dec. 21 2012, but just the end of a 5100-year cycle.
by Martha Lopez
Why is it that whenever someone warns about the Mayan Calendar and the end of the world, he is pointing at the Aztec "Stone of the Sun"?
Yes, that picture of the "Mayan Calendar" is not Mayan, and is not even a calendar. The "Stone of the Sun" is a graphical representation of the Aztec cosmology.
The "Piedra del Sol" ("Stone of the Sun") simply shows Aztec pictographs that form a calendar.
If they can't get the Calendar straight, how can we take the prophesy of doom seriously?
Both, Aztecs and Mayans, had not just one calendar, they had many.
They both shared cyclical calendars of different durations: 365, 260, and 18, 980 days.
Imagine having a circle with the names of centuries written in the center, years, months and days around them concentrically. Not really a calendar. Close, but you wouldn't be able to tell which day today is.
The 2012 end of the world date comes from the Mayan "long count" calendar.
The Aztecs did have the concept of eras (which are represented in the center of the stone), which each ended in cataclysms. I know you may be thinking "AHA! Cataclysm.
That's "end-of-the-world-like!" but if you consider that the last era ended when all people were turned into monkeys and dispersed into the jungles and forests, you may want to reconsider who you are trusting with your end of the world prophesies. (To read of all the crazy s&#t the Aztecs believed, see Alfonso Caso's "People of the Sun". Fascinating, scary, beautiful, brutal and poetic, all in one.)
The "Stone of the Sun" was discovered on December 1790, in the heart of Mexico City (central Mexico), under the ruins of what had been the Aztec empire's capital. (Map of the Aztec empire.)
The Mayan empire was based out of southern Mexico (Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Chiapas, etc.) and Central America (about 1000km away.)
The Mayans flourished around between 250 and 900 AD, while the Aztecs were in full bloom when the Spanish arrived (500 years later.)
Both civilizations had similarities, but were by no means the same. Equating them is like calling Canadians Americans, Norwegians Swedish, Greeks Romans, or you by your grandpa's name. Not the same.
I've been there, and admired it many times in all its glory. It's breathtaking and massive (it's almost 4m in diameter, and it weighs about 24 tons), and very, very Aztec.
IT'S THE END OF A CYCLE, NOT THE END OF THE WORLD!
This is the actual Mayan stone that talks about the end of the current, 13th, Baktun ("long count") cycle, but all it really says is the date of the end of the cycle, and the name of the god (or group of gods) that would be in charge of the 14th Baktun, Bolon Yookte K'uh. Does that mean we'll all be eaten by Jaguars?
I don't think so (unless you live in a Jaguar infested neighborhood) Remember, those cataclysms at the end of eras are Aztec, not Mayan (I searched, and couldn't find evidence of world ending events at the ends of Baktuns).
One cycle ends, another begins. After December 31st comes January 1st. Lets party, like it's 4 Ahau 3 Kankin!