Friday, October 19, 2007

Yet Another King Arthur Reference…

So I’ve already covered Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. This week we shall move on to T.H. White’s Once and Future King. For those of you who have not read the former please see my earlier summary. As for the latter it is a marvelous modern retelling of Arthurian legend. When I read it, oh so many years ago, I was particularly struck by one passage. A young Arthur was being instructed in the ways of the world by a truly magical Merlin (if you will see the earlier entry Twain preferred Merlin as a charlatan) by turning him into different animals with the idea being that he would gain new perspective from these roles. Well in one passage Arthur was turned into a goose, and as he was flying around with the other geese, they informed him that they simply did not understand the wars of humanity. They fought and fought over boundaries of land, yet from the lofty view of the flying V the geese could see no lines on the ground making up these boundaries.

Despite the inability of the geese to see these lines, humanity in almost all of its forms has insisted that they exist. Typically they are not physically defined, although a few historic examples to the contrary do spring to mind. Well my ever increasingly addled mind has suggested that perhaps we have a particularly old example of delineated territory in the contexts of Xtobo. The so called sacbes, or raised causeways, of which I have been muttering about for the last two weeks, may in fact not be sacbes. Oh, they certainly look a lot like sacbes, but there are consistent and regular gaps in the structures, which doesn’t particularly make for a good road. Also there is of course that other previously mentioned problem in that they don’t really go anywhere.

Before we move on, let me rehash some information from the olden days of Costayuc. Located a mere 1.5 kilometers (or just under a mile) to the north of Xtobo’s central plaza, is the central plaza of another ancient Maya site named Kintunich. Now, there are quite few structures located in the intervening space, and the actual distance between the two sites may be no more than a few hundred meters, or in other words the sites are basically within shouting distance of one another. If they were both living vibrant communities at the same time, they would have been more than neighbors. Whether they really were occupied at the same time, I cannot say, but the information I do have at least suggests there is a decent possibility they were. But as we all know, we don’t always get along with our neighbors. Sure they are always the weird ones with obnoxious habits, and it’s clearly not our fault, but it is a problem none the less.

The former sacbes of Xtobo, now better referred to as … things, would not even begin to pass for true defensive walls, but may just have served as a manner of telling those snooty Kintunich neighbors just whose territory this was. (Or perhaps it was the other way around.)

But, we still await the clearing of some grid squares at Xtobo, and there is an almost certain chance that I will recant this explanation one week from today. Nevertheless, I hope that it will at least clear the air of those ever circling vultures that have lately been mistaking my intellectual musing for a creature who has lost hope in life and will certainly fall over soon to provide them with a hearty meal.


Blogger Catherine said...

Good luck with Sacbe Mixtu'ux! And post some pictures when you get a chance. I'm dying to see what these sacbe's look like, or what your entire site looks like now that so much has been cleared.

4:21 PM  

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