|Ajen Yol Mat succeeded Ix Yol Ik'nal after the shortest known interregnum in Palenque's history. His birth date is not known, and his precise place in Palenque's royal genealogy is still a matter of some dispute. If (as I believe) he was the son of Ix Yol Ik'nal, he must have died quite young, almost certainly before his fiftieth year.|
Ajen Yol Mat's short reign was full of trouble, and the northeastern frontier of the Palenque kingdom seems to have been a major 'bone' of contention. In AD 610-611 Calakmul attacked Palenque, and according to the East Tablet of the Temple of the Inscriptions the very heart of the kingdom was sacked: "Lakamha' was axed; "Scroll Serpent", the divine Calakmul lord, did it" is the terse official statement, and it appears that the sacking may have lasted several months.
Partial motivation for Calakmul's attack is perhaps indicated by a monument from Santa Elena, a site on the Río San Pedro some 95 kilometers east of Palenque. Monument 1 of Santa Elena appears to name Ajen Yol Mat. In fact the date of the relevant passage on Monument 1 is probably AD 613, just after the death of Ajen Yol Mat; the monument appears to be a posthumous acknowledgment by the Santa Elena king of Ajen Yol Mat's overlordship in AD 608. Following this interpretation, Calakmul might have attacked Palenque in AD 610-611 to try to thwart its influence over sites in eastern Tabasco.
It is interesting that Ajen Yol Mat’s probable younger brother, Janab' Pakal "the Elder", oversaw the inauguration of various nobles into subordinate offices in AD 608 and 610. Janab’ Pakal "the Elder" never ruled at Palenque, and the usual Classic Maya pattern was for the kings to preside over the inauguration of their subordinate nobles. This may mean, then that on these two dates Ajen Yol Mat was not able to participate in these ceremonies and that his younger brother ‘stood in’ for him. Whether or not this is tied to the Calakmul attack of AD 610-611 is not clear.
Ajen Yol Mat did not rule through a k'atun-ending celebration, and so the period-ending date that he is officially recorded as celebrating is the 13-tun period-ending of AD 606. Ajen Yol Mat died in AD 612, after a reign of only seven years. No portrait of him survives.
The name Ajen Yol Mat is written somewhat variably, but The Sarcophagus Lid Edge text appears to record the first part of his name as a-je-ne, Ajen. The Santa Elena Monument 1 reference seems clearly to record a yo prefix to the OL logograph that comprises the second part of his name.
PAL: TI, East Tablet: N4-M5
Drawing by Linda Schele