The Politics and Social Ritual Practice of Time

I will in this section investigate how the ritual practice of the time intervals of the Long Count calendar was related to government, power and status— e.g. the politics of the classic Maya. Closely related to the issue of temporal authority, I will examine the various social groups in order to establish the ceremonial status and role of the individuals who either performed or only witnessed the ritual practice of time of the Long Count calendar. It is important to emphasise a fundamental difference between the active role as executer and the passive observer of the ritual. Moreover, the sociological analysis of the ritual practice of time aim to explore the meaning and function these practices had in classic Maya society. I will accordingly explicate the political and social implication and significance of the ritual practice of time in the following subsections:

  • 1. The politics of the ritual practice of time.
  • 2. The sociology of the ritual practice of time.

The identity, status and role of the ritual performer convey whether the ritual practice of time of the Long Count calendar was a communal or an elite event and thereby contribute to an understanding of its political and sociological character. It is basically a question of whether the Long Count calendar was employed by all socio-political groups of classic Maya society or if it only was applicable to the ruling lord and/or the (dynastic) aristocracy. Another important related issue constitute the supposed existence of a (independent) hierarchy of religious specialists and of gender ritual status and role.

 
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