|We know of Janab' Pakal the Elder probably only because he was the namesake (and possibly the maternal grandfather) of Palenque's greatest king, K'inich Janab' Pakal I. He was likely he was the younger brother of Ajen Yol Mat, and thus an heir to the throne of Palenque. The problem was that Janab' Pakal "the Elder" died a few months before Ajen Yol Mat, and so never acceded to royal power. Nevertheless, Janab' Pakal "the Elder" apparently had considerable power, because on a stone incensario from Group IV he is named as overseeing the taking of office of lesser nobles in AD 608 and 610. This was a period of tribulation for Palenque, which suffered major military defeats in AD 603 and 610-611. It is possible that Janab' Pakal "the Elder" was overseeing the office-takings while his king was out of the city on military campaigns. It is also likely that both men's deaths were caused—directly or indirectly—by the wars, in view of the fact that both died within months of each other in AD 612.|
Janab' Pakal "the Elder" is portrayed on the West Side of the Sarcophagus in the tomb below the Temple of the Inscriptions. A "Janab' Pakal" is also named and portrayed on Pier E of House C and Pier F of House D of the Palace. It is most likely that these references are to K'inich Janab' Pakal I, but the surviving references are not definitive on the point.
PAL: Temple of the Inscriptions,
Sarcophagus, West Side, Figure 1
Drawing by Merle Greene Robertson
(Greene Robertson 1983: