Giving Back: Debt in Classic Maya Narratives

Author(s): Alexandre Tokovinine

Year: 2018


This paper considers textual and visual evidence of debt among Classic Maya nobles. It begins with an overview of lexical data and summarizes specific references to payment and accounting. The argument proceeds to some less obvious contexts such as ‘just-so’ myths, which reveal a notion of primordial transactions and gifts to be repaid in perpetuity. Finally, the paper considers the movement of inscribed objects. The argument is that giving those essentially inalienable possessions marked unredeemable obligations, which, nonetheless, could be transferred further down the social ladder along with the inscribed items.

Cite this Record

Giving Back: Debt in Classic Maya Narratives. Alexandre Tokovinine. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443641)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.197; min lat: 16.004 ; max long: -86.682; max lat: 21.984 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21956