Link to enlarge Masculine head from Palenque Chiapas after Michel Zabé WHO'S WHO IN THE CLASSIC MAYA WORLD
Peter Mathews

Classic Maya Names: Family Names

In some sites, components of names are shared widely enough that it is possible that they are in fact family names. An example of this is at El Cayo, a secondary center within the kingdom of Piedras Negras. El Cayo was ruled by a family whose members had the subordinate rank of sajal. There are several known rulers of El Cayo, and all of them have k'u-ti-ma or k'u-ti, k'utim, as the final component in their name. This may be a title, but if so it is unknown from other Maya sites. It is possible, therefore, that K'utim was a kind of family name of the ruling lineage of El Cayo.

At other sites there are some similar possibilities: for example, Ak, 'turtle', is a part of the name of almost all the Piedras Negras kings, and 'Jaguar' and 'Skull' names are common at Yaxchilan. Many of the Tikal and Copan rulers have K'awil in their names. From the above examples it is apparent that animal and deity names are common in these patterns of possible family names.

A lot more work needs to be done on this aspect of Classic Maya naming patterns. Are these repeated names nothing more than popular names, perhaps accentuated by a ruler's desire to share his name with an illustrious ancestor, or are they something more formal, similar in some way to the later Yukatek Maya patronymic naming patterns? (It should be noted, however, that Classic Maya naming patterns are not directly structured the same way as later Yukatek names, which incorporate the names of both the mother and father.)

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