Patron Gods and Patron Lords: The Semiotics of Classic Maya by Joanne Baron

By Joanne Baron

In the 1st finished therapy of vintage Maya purchaser deity veneration, Joanne P. Baron demonstrates the imperative significance of buyer deity cults in political relationships among either rulers and their topics and between diversified Maya kingdoms. Weaving jointly facts from inscriptions, pictures, and artifacts, Patron Gods and customer Lords offers new insights into how the vintage Maya polity was once prepared and maintained.
 
utilizing semiotic thought, Baron attracts on 3 our bodies of facts: ethnographies and manuscripts from Postclassic, Colonial, and glossy Maya communities that connect customer saints to pre-Columbian purchaser gods; hieroglyphic texts from the vintage interval that debate client deity veneration; and excavations from four buyer deity temples on the web site of los angeles Corona, Guatemala. She exhibits how the vintage Maya used client deity effigies, temples, and acts of devotion to barter staff club, social entitlements, and tasks among members and groups. She additionally explores the broader function of those techniques in politics, arguing that rituals and discourses regarding buyer deities finally formulated Maya rulership as a in the community orientated establishment, which restricted the facility of robust kingdoms to create wider spiritual communities.
 
using a brand new theoretical procedure for the archaeological learn of ideology and tool dynamics, Patron Gods and purchaser Lords unearths an missed element of the assumption system of Maya communities.
 

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Thus, ritual efficacy is not solely reliant on theatricality. Ritualization—the process of setting certain activities apart as unique from their surroundings—is an especially salient type of semiotic activity and is often employed to legitimize or strengthen social institutions alongside ideological discourses. For example, some rituals formulate models of social conduct as being timeless, making it difficult for the participant to separate them from the specific historical context in which they are performed (Agha 2007:73).

But in spite of the efficacy of these discursive strategies, they do not always yield success. As in the example of the Quiet Revolution noted earlier, if competing reflexive models arise within a society, even totalizing and naturalizing discourses can be overturned. As many archaeologists have observed, ritual is an important element of institutional legitimacy and long-term endurance. Rituals usually uphold social models and formulate norms of conduct. For example, a coronation ceremony—by virtue of its iconic similarity to previous coronation ceremonies and its indexical linkages to a particular individual—officially turns someone into a king, similar to previous kings.

In order to do this, these signs must link past events, which are given an ahistorical, transcendental quality, to events in the here and now. Religious discourses and rituals are particularly effective in this regard, presenting models of the current social world as reproductions of timeless models. For example, J. B. Stanford, a California politician, wrote against women’s suffrage that “woman is woman. She cannot unsex herself or change her sphere. Let her be content with her lot and perform those high duties intended for her by the Great Creator, and she will accomplish far more in governmental affairs than she can ever accomplish by mixing up in the dirty pool of politics.

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