The Longcount

The mayan calendar contains several units, like longcount, haab and tzolkin. The longcount counts the days since a mystical zero-date, the 11th August 3114 B.C.. The smallest unit is the Kin = 1 day. The "month" of the longcount is the Uinal, a period of 20 Kin. 18 of these Uinals are a Tun, this is a period of 360 days. A period of twenty Tun is a Katun and 20 of such Katun are one Baktun. Sometimes the mayans used larger values, 20 Baktun are one Pictun, 20 Pictun are one Calabtun, 20 Calabtun are one Kinchiltun, 20 Kinchiltun one Alautun, and 20 Alautun are one Hablatun. This were a period of 1'261'627'548.82 years!
The researchers use a numeric code for the longcount. Mostly used is the version with five values, begining with the Baktun. Each value will completed with a dot. For example the 12 Baktun 18 Katun 14 Tun 3 Uinal 4 Kin is written in this manner: 12.18.14.3.4..

GlyphNameExplanationKinTun
KinKin

1 Day

1

0

UinalUinal

20 Kin

20

0

TunTun

18 Uinal

360

1

KatunKatun

20 Tun

7'200

20

BaktunBaktun

20 Katun

144'000

400

PictunPictun

20 Baktun

2'880'000

8'000

CalabtunCalabtun

20 Pictun

57'600'000

160'000

KinchiltunKinchiltun

20 Calabtun

1'152'000'000

3'200'000

AlautunAlautun

20 Kinchiltun

23'040'000'000

64'000'000

none
Picture
Hablatun

20 Alautun

460'800'000'000

1'280'000'000

The Tzolkin

The Tzolkin is a ceremonial calendar of 260 days. More Information about it's function and a theory about it's sense you'll find on my Tzolkin-Page
The Tzolkin is divided into 20 months of 13 days:

Tzolkin


The Tzolkin works like two toothed wheels. The numeric counting begins at 1 and ends at 13. Each day the name of month will changed. In this manner the fourth Ahau will followed by the fifth Imix.

Tzolkin

4Ahau4 Ahau
5Imix5 Imix
6Ik6 Ik
etc.

The Haab

The Haab is the calendar for the common life and agricultural applications. This calendar contains 18 "months" of 20 days, and five additional days, to obtain a year of 365 days. The five Uayeb was unfortune-days, the system is equal to the ancient Egyptian. The counting begins at 0 (!) and ends at 19 of the month, then the next month begins. After the date 0 Cumku follows the 1 Cumku. The last days of the haab are the Uayeb.
A table of the haab-months:

Haab

0Cumku8 Cumku
9Cumku9 Cumku
10Cumku10 Cumku

---

19Cumku19 Cumku
0Uayeb0 Uayeb

---

4Uayeb4 Uayeb
0Pop0 Pop

---

19Pop19 Pop
0Uo0 Uo

---

19Uo19 Uo
0Zip0 Zip

etc.

The Calendar-Round

The combination of Tzolkin and haab results in the calendar round (it's working like toothed wheels again). After a period of 52 Haab (or 73 Tzolkin) the day first time has the same name. There existed several system of combination between Tzolkin and Haab, mostly used is the classic system, but in the toltecian period also other systems was used. The same haab-date 0 Pop can only be combined with four of the twenty Tzolkin-Months, but in other systems the 0 Pop was correlated with another Tzolkin-day! The scientist know 3 different systems of such year-bearer. Not enough, in the Mayapan-system the year-bearers was correlated with 1 Pop (in this system the month ended with 0 Pop)!


Function of year-bearers by increasing haab:

Tikal-System

Tzolkin
1Ik
1 Ik
2Manik
2 Manik
3Eb
3 Eb
4Caban
4 Caban
5Ik
5 Ik
6Manik
6 Manik
etc.
Haab
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop

Campeche-System

Tzolkin
1Akbal
1 Akbal
2Lamat
2 Lamat
3Ben
3 Ben
4Edznab
4 Edznab
5Ik
5 Akbal
6Manik
6 Lamat
etc.
Haab
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop

Yucatan-System

Tzolkin
1Kan
1 Kan
2Muluc
2 Muluc
3Ix
3 Ix
4Cauac
4 Cauac
5Kan
5 Kan
6Muluc
6 Muluc
etc.
Haab
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop
0Pop
0 Pop

Mayapan-System

Tzolkin
1Kan
1 Kan
2Muluc
2 Muluc
3Ix
3 Ix
4Cauac
4 Cauac
5Kan
5 Kan
6Muluc
6 Muluc
etc.
Haab
1Pop
1 Pop
1Pop
1 Pop
1Pop
1 Pop
1Pop
1 Pop
1Pop
1 Pop
1Pop
1 Pop
1Pop
1 Pop


The using of the year-bearer-systems

year-bearerbase value = 0 Popbase value = 1 PopGlyphs
Ik
Manik
Eb
Caban
Tikal
Codex Dresden
Codex Paris
System A
(not used)
IkManikEbCaban
Akbal
Lamat
Ben
Edznab
CampecheSystem B
(not used)
AkbalLamatBenEdznab
Kan
Muluc
Ix
Cauac
Yucatan
Codex Madrid
MayapankanMulucIxCauac


The function of the Calendar-Round
Calendarround

TzolkinHaabCalendar-Round
4Ahau8Kumku4 Ahau 8 Cumku
5Imix9Kumku5 Imix 9 Cumku
6Ik10Kumku6 Ik 10 Cumku

etc.

The Short-Count

The postclassic Mayans didn't keep the using of the longcount. The calendar-round was completed after a cycle of 52 Haab. Most mesoamerican cultures used only this system, but the mayan had additionally the short-count to set the calendar round into a bigger context. This short-count was used in the classic period too, but continued till the conquest of Yucatan. How did this system work? A katun ends with a Ahau-Tzolkin-Date, the explanation is easy, both periods are dividible by 20. After each Katun the Ahau-Value was decreased by 2, so 13 Ahau was followed after a Katun by 11 Ahau (then 9,7,5,3,1,12,10,8,6,4,2 Ahau). In such way after a cycle of 13 Katun (260 Tun, about 256 Haab) the Tzolkin-Value of the completed Katun was equal.
The shortcount-determinant is composed by the Katun-Glyph, the Ahau-Value and the Ahau-Glyph. The last Katun of the 13 Baktun ends with the Tzolkin-date 4 Ahau, so the actual short-count-date is:


Katun4Ahau
Katun4Ahau

The Calendar-Correlation

When Merida was founded, a Katun 13 Ahau finished, this was 1542. Using this knowledge the americanists tried to find a correlation between the longcount and our calendar. Thompson correlated this date with 11.16.0.0.0. of the longcount, Spinden with the 12.9.0.0.0.. The difference between these two dates is 260 Tun, or about 256 years. So the zero-date of Thompson is the 11th August 3114 B.C., the zero-date of Spinden the 14th October 3373 B.C.. Most americanists prefer the use of the Thompson-date, and some C-14-Analysis confirm the 11.16.-Correlation.


The Venus-Cycle

The Mayans also used the value of the synodic venus-period, a cycle of 584 days. Five Venus-Cycles are equal to eight haab. The Tzolkin, the Haab and the Venus-Calendar have the same date-value after 104 Haab (or two calendar-rounds).


The big Cycle

The big cylce is a period of 13 Baktun, 260 Katun, 5'200 Tun, 93'600 Uinal or 1'872'000 Kin. It's a value of 7200 Tzolkin, or 8 900-Tzolkin-Cycles of the Time-Gate. And naturally it's the same Tzolkin-date like 0 Baktun.



Links

The Mayan Calendar

Der Kalender der Maya (german)
The Maya Calendar
Maya Calendar by John Major Jenkins
The Classic Maya Calendar and Day Numbering System
Maya Calanders
Maya Calendar
Kalenderdaten der Mayas (german)
Maya Civilisation
The Mayan Calendar Date Calculator
Lessons In Maya Calendrics and Writing
Numerical Factors and Periods Important in Maya Calendrics
Mayan Calendrical Mathematics with Python
Mayan Calendar Tools
Robert Bast - The Mayan Calendar

Esoteric aspects of the mayan calendar

December 18, 1999 (Galactic Federation)
All about 2012
Research on the Mayan Calendar

Other Calendars

The Sphinx-Group Calendar Convergence
Calendars of various cultures
Calendar Systems