Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Controversial Artifact -- The Grolier Codex

The Grolier Codex is one of the four currently known codices that survived the climate and the invaders from Spain. More controversial than the other three -- the Madrid, Dresden and Paris codices -- the Grolier Codex's authenticity has been a matter of debate.
The Grolier codex's origin is unclear. It may have been found in the southern region of Mexico-- possibly in the state of Chiapas in a cave somewhere near Tortuguero. It is possible that it was uncovered by looters.

In 1965 it ended up in a Mexico City flea market where someone bought it. The person who bought the codex, a collector, gave it to the Grolier Club so the club could use it in an art exhibition in 1971. Later, in 1973 the Maya specialist Michael D. Coe published a catalog of this exhibition. Now the Grolier Codex is part of Mexico's Biblioteca Nacional de Antropología e Historia (in Mexico City).
Whether or not this codex is real has been a matter of debate among archaeologists, partly because of the its untrustworthy origin. Two notable archaeologists in the debate include J. Eric Thompson and Michael D. Coe. Thompson disbelieved that the codex was real while Michael D. Coe was one of the Maya specialists who believed it was real (Coe was also the one who named the Grolier Codex).
It is now thought that the Grolier Codex is an authentic Maya codex. This is due to the codex dating from around 1230 -- give or take 130 years -- and the fact that the art style of the glyphs seems authentic. However not everyone's suspicions have been put to rest.
Like the other codices, the Grolier Codex contains information on astronomy. Specifically the Grolier Codex contains calculated intervals concerning Venus, which the ancient Maya regarded as a god. However it doesn't have any written explanation about these intervals. By comparison to the Dresden Codex, the Grolier Codex's information isn't as impressive.

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