This lecture explores the Classic Maya royal court and its members, through a focus on three carved stone monuments that depict various aspects of the court and its members. The royal court developed as a full-fledged institution within the context of the at-times tumultuous years of the Late Classic period (ca. AD 600-900), and research on its members and their roles reveal a strategically dynamic institution that was a productive locus of influence and power. The iconographic and hieroglyphic data explored in this talk shed light on the court as a political community, highlight the ways that this institution was variable and adaptable, and aid in identifying cultural metaphors that framed Maya understandings of the court.
Sarah Jackson is a professor and department chair in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Cincinnati. She received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Harvard. Her dissertation topic was Deciphering Classic Maya Political Hierarchy: Epigraphic, Archaeological, and Ethnohistoric Perspectives on the Courtly Elite. She is the author of “Envisioning Artifacts: A Classic Maya View of the Archaeological Record,” Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 24(2) and “Governing Polities: Royal Courts and the Written Landscape of Late Classic Maya Politics,” in Maya Polities of the Southern Lowlands: Integration, Interaction, Dissolution in D. Marken and J. Fitzsimmons, eds. She has excavated in Belize.
Short bibliography on lecture topic:
Jackson, Sarah E., Politics of the Maya Court: Hierarchy and Change in the Late Classic Period (University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2013).