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ough only when differences may appear in text or plates.

Dr F. Corroy, a French physician of Tabasco, lived 20 years in the
country and made several visits to Palenque, claiming to know more about
the ruins than anyone else. An inscription on one of the entrances of the


from the town in the midst of a dense forest. Since
their discovery in the middle of the eighteenth cen-
tury the ruins have been several times carefully ex-
plored both by public and private enterprise, and all
their prominent features have been clearly brought to
the knowledge of the world by means of illustrative

Palace, shown in Waldeek, pi. ix., reads 'Fran9ois Corroy de tercer viage
en estas niinas los dias 25 de Agosto. Unico historiador de hellos. Con su
Esposa y Ija.' He furnished some information from 1829 to 1832 to the
French Geographical Society, and speaks of 14 drawings and a MS. history
in his possession. Soc. Geog., Bulletin, tom. ix., No. 60, 1828, p. 198;
Antiq. Mcx., tom. i., div. ii., p. 76. Col. Juan Galindo, at one time con-
nected with the British Central American service, also Governor of Peten,
and corresponding member of the London Geographical Society, sent
much information, with maps, plans, and sketches to the French Societe
de Geographie. His letter dated April 27, 1831, describing the Palenqne
ruins, is printed in Antiq. Mex., tom. i., div. ii., pp. 67-72, also an English
translation in the Literary Gazette, No. 769, London, 1831, which Avas
reprinted in the Loncl. Geog. Soc, Jo\ir., vol. iii., pp. 60-2. Lafond, Voy-
ages, tom. i., p. 142, states that Nebel visited Palenque, and Miiller, Urre-
ligionen, p. 459-60, also implies that this traveler explored the ruins; but
this is probably erroneous.

On April 12, 1832, M. Frederic de Waldeek, the most indefatigable and
successful explorer of Palenque, arrived at the ruined city, illustrative
plates of which he had engraved ten years before for Del Rio's work. This
veteran artist — 64 years of age at that time, according to Brasseur's state-
ment, Palenque, p. vi., but 67 if we may credit the current report in the
newspapers that he celebrated his 109th birthday in Paris on Dec. 7, 1874,
being still hale and hearty — built a cabin among the ruins and spent two
whole years in their examination, — Brasseur, Palenque, p. vi., incorrectly
says tJwce years. ' Deux ans de sejour sur les lieux,' Waldeek, Voy. Pitt.,
p. 68, translated 'in a sojourn of twelve years,' Bradford's Amcr. Antiq.,
p. 86, — his expenses being paid by a subscription which was headed by
the Mexican Government. More than 200 drawings in water and oil
colors were the result of his labors, and these drawings, more fortunate
than those made the next year in Yucatan — see p. 145 of this volume
— escaped confiscation, although Stephens erroneously states the contrary,
and were brought to France. Waldeek, Voy. Pitt., p. vi. For various
reasons Waldeek was unable to publish his proposed work, and over 30
years elapsed before the result of his labors was made public, except
through communications dated Aug. 28, and Nov. 1, 1832, sent to the
Geographical Society at Paris. Lafond, Voyages, tom. i., p. 142. I
shall speak again of his work. Mr Friederichsthal visited Palenque in his
Central American travels before 1841, but neither his text nor plates, so far
as I know, have ever been published. Brasseur de Bourbourg, Palenque,
introd., p. 14. See pp. 146-7 of this vol.

Li 1840, Messrs Stephens and Catherwood, after their exploration of the
antiquities of Honduras and Guatemala, reached Palenque on May 9, re-
maining until June 4. Such are the dates given by Brasseur, — the only
antiquarian except myself who has ever had the hardihood to explore
Stephens' writings for dates, — but the actual examination of the ruins
lasted only from May 11 to June 1. The results are found in Stephens'
Yuc., vol. ii., pp. 280-365, with 31 plates and cuts from Catherwood's draw-
ings; and in Cafhcrwood's Views of A nc. Mon., N. York, 1844, 25 ctilored
lithographs, with text by Mr Stephens. A French translation of Stephens'
description of Palenque is given in Brasseur de Bourbourg, Palenque, pp.


plates and descriptive text. Waldeck and Stephens
are the best and most complete authorities, but the
reports of Antonio del Rio, Guillaume Dupaix, Juan
Galindo, and Desire Charnay afford also much valua-
ble information, especially in connection with the two
standard authorities mentioned. After a most care-

14-27. Respecting the ability of these explorers, and the faithfulness of
their text and drawings, there can be but one opinion. Their work in Chi-
apas is excelled only by that of the same gentlemen in Yucatan. — See p.
146 of this vol. — Without aid from any government, they acconijjlished in
20 days, at the height of the rainy season, the most unfavorable for such
"work, more satisfactory results, as Stephens justly claims. Cent. Aincr.,
vol. ii. , p. 299, than any of their predecessors — except Waldeck, whose
drawings had not then been published.

An anonymous account ot the ruins appeared in 1845 in the Registro
Yucateco, tom. i., pp. 318-22. M. Morelet, of whom I have already
spoken, spent a fortnight herein 1846. Voyages, tom. i., pp. 264-84; Trav-
els, pp. 64-111, with cuts from other sources. In 1858, M. Desire Charnay,
'Charge d'une mission par le ministre d'Etat, h, I'effet d'explorer les mines
americaines,' visited Palenque; but his photographic efforts were less suc-
cessful here than elsewhere, and of the four views published in his Atlas,
only one, that of the tablet of the cross, is of great value in testing the ac-
curacy of preceding artists. His description, however, is interesting and
valuable as showing the effects of time on the ruins since Stephens' visit.
Charnay, Raines Amer., Paris, 1863, pp. 411-41, phot. 19-22; Remarks
by M. Viollet-le-Duc, pp. 72-3.

In 1860, a commission appointed by the French government examined
and reported upon Waldeck's collection, which was found to contain ninety-
one drawings relating exclusively to Palenque, and ninety-seven represent-
ing objects from other localities. The Palenque drawings were reported to
be far superior to any others in existence, a somewhat too decided ;>c«c/i«K^
aux rcstaurations being the only defect; — a defect, however, which is to a
greater or less extent observable in the works of all antiquarians, several
of Catlierwood's plates being confessedly restorations. In accordance with
the report of the commission, the whole collection was purchased, and a
sub-commission appointed to select a portion of the plates for publication.
It was decided, however, to substitute for M. Waldeck's proposed text
some introductory matter to be written by the Abbe Brasseur, a man emi-
nently qualified for the task, although at the time he had never personally
visited Palenque. He afterwards, however, passed a part of the month of
January, 1871, among the ruins. The work finally appeared in 1866, under
the general title Monuments Anciens du Mexique, in large folio, with com-
plicated sub-titles. It is made up as follows: — I. Avant Propos, pp. i.-xxiii.,
containing a brief notice of some of the writers on American Antiquities,
and a complete account of the circumstances which led to the ])ublication of
this work; II. Introduction aux Ruines de Palenque, pp. 1-27, a historical
sketch of explorations, with translations of different reports, including that
of Stephens nearly in full; III. Recherches sur les Ruines, etc., pp. 29-83,
being for the most part speculations on the origin of American civilization,
with which I have nothing to do at present; IV. Description dcs Ruines, etc.,
by M. Waldeck, pp. i.-viii; V. Fifty-six large lithographic plates, of which
Nos. i., v.-xlii., and 1., relate to Palenque, including a fine map of Yucatan
and Chiapas. I shall refer to the plates simply by the name Waldeck and the
number of the plate. By the preceding list of contents it will be seen that
this is by far the most important and complete work on the subject ever
published. The publishers probably acted wisely in rejecting Waldeck's


ful study of all that has been written on the subject,
I shall endeavor to give the reader a clear idea of
ruined structures which have given rise to more faith-
ful investigation and absurd speculation than any
others on the continent.

The aboriginal name of the city represented by this
group of ruins is absolutely unknown. Palenque, the
name by which it is known, is, as we have seen, sim-
ply that of a modern village near by. The word j^a-
lenque is of Spanish origin and means a stockade or
enclosure of palisades. How it came to be applied to
the village of Santo Domingo is not explained, but
there is not the slightest reason to suppose that it has
any connection with the ruins.^ Sr Ordonez, already
mentioned, applies in his unpublished writings the
name Nachan, ' city of the Serpents,' the same as the

text as a Avhole, since his archaeological speculations are always more or
less absurd; but it would have been better to give his descriptive matter
more in full; and fault may be justly found with the confused arrangement
of the matter, the constant references to numbers not found in the plates,
and with the absence of scales of measurement; the latter, although gen-
erally useless in the illustrations of an octavo volume, are always valuable
in larger plates. In addition to the preceding standard authorities on Pa-
lenque, there are brief accounts, made up from one or more of those men-
tioned, and which I shall have little or no occasion to refer to in my
description, as follows: Baldioiii's Anc. Amer., pp. 104-11; PriesCs Amer.
Antiq., pp. 246-7; Condcr^s Mex. Guat., vol. ii., pp. 157-69; McCnlloKs
Besearches in Amer., pp. 294-303; Klemm, Cidtur-Geschichte, torn, v., pp.
160-3; Arinin, Das Heutige Mex., pp. 73, 85-91; Wappdus, Geog. v. Stat.,
p. 148; Nott and Gliddon^s Indig. Races, pp. 184-5; D'Orbigny, Voyage,
pp. 354, 356, plate, restoration from Dupaix; Fossey, Mexique, pp. 373, 564-6;
same account in Escalcra and Liana, Mej. Hist. Dcscrip., pp. 332-6; La-
fond, Voyages, tom. i., pp. 139—44; Bradford's Amer. Antiq., pp. 86-9;
Democratic Revicv), vol. i., p. 38; Brasseur de Bourboiirg, Hist. Nat. Civ.,
tom. i., pp. 82-94; Davis'' Anc. Amer., pp. 4-8; 3Talte-Brun, Precis de la
Geog., tom. vi., pp. 464-5; Frosfs Pict. Hist., pp. 71-7; Willson's Amer.
Hist., pp. 74-6; Jones' Hist. Anc. Amer., pp. 69-86, 127; Muller, Ameri-
kanische Urreligionen, pp. 462, 498; Mosaico Mex., tom. ii., p. 330, cut,
restoration from Dupaix; Miihlenpfordt, Mejico, tom. ii., p. 21; Revista
Mex., tom. i., p. 498; Buschmann, Ortsnamcn, pp. 117-20, 181; Maycr^s
Mex. Aztec, etc., vol. ii., p. 180, cut, erroneously said to be a Yucatan altar;
Littera. Taschenbuch der Deutschen, in Russland, pp. 54-5; Foreign Quar.
Revieiv, vol. xviii., pp. 250-51; Larenaudi^re, Mex. Gnat., pp. 308-20, with
plates from Stephens; Norman's Rambles in Yuc, pp. 284-92.

3 *Une enceinte de bois et de pallisades.' Brasseur de Boiirbottrg, Pa-
lenque, p. 32; see also the Spanish dictionaries. 'Tal vez es corrupcion de
la palabra (aztec) /^a^aw^Mi, cosa podrida.' Orozco y Berra, Geografia, p.
84. 'Means lists for fighting.' Davis' Anc. Amer., p. 5. I remember also
to have seen it stated somewhere that palenque is the name applied to
the poles by which boatmen propel their boats ou the waters of the tierra


Aztec Culhuacan, to Palenque, but so far as can be
known, without any authority whatever. This name
has been adopted without question by several writers,
and it is quite common to read of "the ruins of Cul-
huacan, improperly termed Palenque."* The old tra-
ditions of the primitive times when Votan's great
empire flourished, apply the name Xibalba not only
to the empire but to a great city which was its capi-
tal. Palenque, as the greatest city of ancient times
in this region which has left traces of its existence,
may have been identical with Xibalba; the difficulty
of disproving the identity is equaled only by that of
proving it.^ The natives, here as elsewhere, have
often applied to the city a name which simply indi-
cates its ruined condition, calling it Otolum, ' place of
falling stones,' a name also borne by the small stream
on which the buildings stand. Waldeck writes it
Ototiun, 'stone house,' which he derives from the na-
tive words otote and tinnich. Stephens calls the stream
Otula. If there were any good reasons for abandon-
ing the designation Palenque, and there certainly are
none, Otolum would perhaps be the most appropriate
name to take its place.® The name Xhembobel-Mo-
yos, from that of another modern village of this region,
seems sometimes to have been used by the natives in
connection with Palenque ; and in a Tzendal manu-
script the name Ghocan, 'sculptured serpent,' is said to
be used in the same connection ; while one author, draw-

* Humboldt, in Nouvelles Annates des Voy., torn, xxxv., p. 327; Fosscy,
Mexiqne, p. 373; Malte-Briiii, Precis de la Geog., torn, vi., p. 464; Juarros,
Hist. Gnat., p. 19; D'Orbigiig, Voyage, p. 354; Brasseur de Bourbourg,
Hist. Nat. Civ., torn, i., p. 69. Brasseur, however, changed his mind about
the name in later works. Palenque, t^. 32. Domenech, Deserts, \ol. 1., p.
18, calls the name Pachan, probably by a typographical error.

^ Brasseur de Bourbourg, Hist. Nat. Civ., torn, i., p. Ill; Id., Popol
Vuh, and Xinienez, Hist. Ind. Guat., passim.

6 ' Je prouve, en effet, dans mon ouvrage sur ces celebres mines, que ce
sont les debris de la ville d'Ototiun.' Waldeck, Voy. Pitt., p. 111. 'Otolum,
c'est a dire Terre des pierres qui s'ecroulent. C'est le nom de la petite rivifere
qui traverse les mines. M. Waldeck, lisant ce nom de travers, en fait Oto-
tiiin, qui ne signifie rien.' Brasseur de Bourbourg, Hist. Nat. Civ., tom. i.,
p. 69. 'I have restored to them the true name of Otolum, which is yet the
name of the stream running through the ruins.' Raffmesque, quoted in
Priest's Amcr. Antiq., p. 24G.


ino- heavily on liis imagination, speaks of the "im-
mense city of Culhuacan or HuehuetlajDallan," thus
identifying Palenque with the famous city whence the
Toltecs started in their traditional migration to And,-
huac' By the Spanish inhabitants and most of the
native population of Santo Domingo, the ruins are
commonly spoken of as the Casas de Piedra.

The structures that have attracted the attention of
and been described by all the successive explorers,
are generally the same, and in their descriptions less
exaggeration is found in the earlier reports than
might naturally be expected. In extent, however,
the city has gradually dwindled in the successive
reports from two hundred buildinsfs stretchins;- over a
space of twenty miles, to less than the area of a
modern town of humble pretensions, A few scat-
tered mounds or fragments in the surrounding coun-
try, which very probably exist, but which have
escaped the attention of modern travelers, eager to
investiofate the more wonderful central structures,
are probably the only basis of the statements by the
first explorers. The earlier visitors doubtless counted
each isolated fraofment of hewn stone, or other trace
of the antiguos' work, as representing an aboriginal
edifice.^ Doubtless the condition of Palenque has
changed materially for the worse since its discovery.
The rapidity with which structures of solid stone are
destroyed by the growth of a tropical forest, when
once the roots have gained a hold, is noted with sur-
prise by every traveler. In the work of destruction,
moreover, nature has not been unaided by man, and
few visitors have been content to depart without

7 Brassciir de Bourhourg, Palenqu^, p. 32; Baril, Mexique, p. 27.

8 Cakleron gives a list of 206 buildings more or less in ruins. Bernas-
coni gives the city a circumference of 6 leagues and 1000 varas. Del Kio,
Descrip., p. 4, gives the ruins an extent of 7 or 8 leagues from east to west,
along the foot of a mountain range, but speaks of only 14 buildings in
Avhich traces of rooms wore yet visible. According to Galindo the city ex-
tends 20 miles on the summit of the chain. Loud. Geog. Soc, vol. iii.,
p. 60. Waldeck, p. iii., says that the area is less than one square league.
Mr Stephens, vol. ii. , p. 355, pronounces the site not larger than the Park
in New York city.


some relic broken from the walls. Del Rio, if we
may credit his own words, seems to have attempted a
wholesale destruction of the city; he says: "By
dint of perseverance I effected all that was necessary
to be done, so that ultimately there remained neither
a window nor a doorway blocked up, a partition that
was not thrown down, nor a room, corridor, court,
tower, nor subterranean passage in Avhich excavations
were not effected from two to three varas in depth."''
Palenque, — for I shall hereafter apply this name
exclusively to the ruins, — is situated about six or
seven miles^^ south-west of Santo Domingo, and some
sixty-five miles north-east of San Cristoval. The
topography of the region is not definitely marked
out on the maps, and the nomenclature of the streams
and mountains is hopelessly confused; but many par-
allel streams flow north-westward from the hills, and
unite to form a branch of the Usumacinta sometimes
called the Tulija. The Otolum on which the ruins
stand seems to be a tributary from the north of one
of the parallel streams. The location is consequently
in a small valley high in the foothills, through which
runs a mountain stream of small size during the dry
season, but becoming a torrent when swollen by the
rains. ^^

9 Dcscrip., p. 3.

10 Stephens says eight miles, vol. ii., p. 287; Dupaix, a little over two
leagues, p. 14; Morelet, Voyage, toin. i., p. 245, two and a half leagues —
Travels, p. 64, two leagues; Charnay, p. 41G, twelve kilonifetres. The
maps represent the distance as somewhat less than eight miles.

11 'Built on the slope of the hills at the entrance of the steep mountains
of the chain of Tunibala,' on the Otolum, which flows into the jNIichol,
and that into the Catasaha, or Chacamal, and that into the Usumacinta
three or four leagues from Las Playas. which was formerly the shore of the
great lake that covered the plain. 'Les rues suivaient irregulieremeut le
cours des ruisseaux (jui en descendant, fournissaient en abondance de I'eau
a toutes les habitations.' Brassear de Bourhourg, Hist. Nat. Civ., torn, i.,
pp. 82-84. 'Mide al suroeste del pueblo dos leguas largas de extension.'
Dupaix, p. 14, translated in Kingshorough, vol. vi., p. 473, 'occupied a space
of ground seven miles and a half in extent.' 'Au nord-oucst du village
indien de Santo Domingo de Palenque, dans la ci-devant province de
Tzendales.' Humboldt, in Nonvcllcs Annalcs des Voy., tom. xxxv., pp.
327-8. Galindo, Antiq. Mcx., tom. i., div. ii., p. 69, describes the location
as on the summit of the range, and reached by stairways from the valley
below. On a plain eight leagues long, which extends along the foot of the
highest mountain chain. Muhhapfordt, Mcjico, torn, ii., p. 21. Petrifac-


The j^resent extent of the ruins, their distribution,
and their relative size are shown in the accompanying
plan, taken with slight changes to be mentioned in
their proper place, from Waldeck.^^ The structures
that have been described or definitely located by any
author are numbered on the plan, the unnumbered
ones being heaps of ruins whose existence is mentioned
by all, and the exact location of which M. Waldeck
in his long stay was able to fix. It will be seen that
the buildings all face the cardinal points with a very
slight variation. So thick is the forest on the site and
over the very buildings that no one of the latter can
be seen from its neighbor or from the adjoining hills.
M. Morelet, on one occasion, lost his bearings in the
immediate vicinity, and although he did not perhaps
go a half-mile from the ruins, yet he had the greatest
difficulty in returning, and coming from a contrary
direction thouo-ht at first he had discovered new mon-
uments of antiquity. When the trees are cut down,
as they have been several times, only a few years are
necessary to restore the forest to its original density,
and each explorer has to begin anew the work of

I begin with the largest of the structures, marked
1 on the plan, and commonly known as the Palace,
althousfh of course nothino^ is known of its orisfinal

o o o

use. From a narrow level on the left bank of the
stream rises an artificial elevation of pyramidal form,
with quadrangular base measuring about two hundred
and sixty by three hundred and ten feet, and some-
thing over forty feet in height, with sloping sides

tions of marine shells from the ruins preserved in the Mexican Museum.
Goiidra, in Prescott, Hist. Conq. Mcx., toni. iii., p. G.

12 Waldeck, pi. vi. Stephens' plan, vol. ii. , p. 337, agrees in the main
Avith this but is much less com{)lete. Dupaix, p. 18, found only confused
and scattered ruins, and declared it impossible to make a correct plan.

13 ' Tons les monuments de Palenque sont orientes aux quatre points car-
dinaux, avec une variation de 12^.' Waldeck, p. iii. ' Oriente comme
toutes les mines que nous avons visitees.' Chariiay, Ridncs Anicr., p. 424.
Others, Avithout having made any accurate observations, speak of them as
facing the cardinal points. See Morelet, Voyage, torn, i., p. 276, etc., for
the experience of that traveler in getting lost near the ruins.


and traces of broad central stairways on the east
and north. ^* The sides were faced with regular
blocks of hewn stone, but this facing has been so
broken up and forced out of place by the roots of
trees that the original outline is hardly distinguisha-
ble. Dupaix, both in text and drawings, divides the
pyramid into three sections or stories by two projec-
tions of a few feet running horizontally round the
sides; he puts a similar projection, or cornice, at the
summit, and covers the whole surface of the sides
with a polished coating of cement. That this state
of things existed at the time of his exploration is pos-
sible, although not very probable; yet it is not un-
likely that the slopes were originally covered with
plaster, or even painted.

The material of which the bulk of the mound is
composed is not very definitely stated by any visitor.
I believe, however, that I have discovered a pecul-
iarity in the construction of this pyramid, which
may possibly throw some light on the origin of the
pyramidal structure so universal among the civilized
nations of the continent. I think that, perhaps with
a view to raise this palace or temple above the waters
of the stream, four thick walls, possibly more, were
built up perpendicularly from the ground to the de-
sired height; then, after the completion of the walls

'* Dimensions from Stephens, vol. ii., p. 310. It is not likely that they
are to be regarded as anything more than approximations to the original
extent; the state of the pyramid rendering strictly accurate measurements
impracticable. The authorities dift'er considerably. 273 feet long, 60 feet
high. Waldcck, p. ii. 1080 feet in circumference, 60 feet high. Dupaix, p.
14. 20 yards high. Del Rio, Descrip., p. 4. 100 x 70 metres and not over 15
feet high. Charnay, Raines Amer., p. 424. Circumference lOSU feet, height
60 feet, steps one foot high. Brasseur de Bourbourg, Hist. Nat. Civ., tom.
i., p. 85. 20 metres high, area 3840 sq. metres. Morclet, Voyage, tom. i.,
p. 267; 20 /cc< high. Id. Travels, p. 88. Over 340 metres long. Lafond,
Voyages, tom. i., pp. 143-4. Waldeck, p. iii., is the only one who found
traces of a northern stairway, and none of the general views show such
traces. Charnay, p. 425, thought the eastern stairway was double, being
divided by a perpendicular wall. Brasseur, Palenque, p. 17, in a note to
his translation of Stephens, says that author represents a stairway in his
plate but does not speak of it in his text — an error, as may be seen on the
following page of the translation or on p. 312 of the original. The trans-
lation 'qui y montent de la terasse'for 'leading up to it o« the terrace'
may account for the error.



to strengthen them, or during the progress of the
work to facilitate the raising of the stones, the in-

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