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p. 160

IV. Chapter 7

Chi-Izmachí 1 is the name of the site of their town, where they were afterward and where they settled. There, under the fourth generation of kings, they developed their power and constructed buildings of mortar and stone. 2

And Conaché and Beleheb-Queh, the Galel-Ahau, 3 ruled. Then king Cotuhá and Iztayul reigned, as they were called the Ahpop and the Ahpop-Camhá, who reigned there in Izmachí, which was the beautiful city which they had built. 4

Only three great houses were there in Izmachí. There were not twenty-four great houses then, only their three great houses, only a great house of the Cavec, only a great house of the Nihaib, and only one of the people of Ahau-Quiché. Only two had great houses, 5 the two branches of the family [the Quiché and the Tamub].

And there they were in Izmachí with only one thought, without disputes or difficulties, peaceful was the kingdom, they had no quarrels nor disputes, in their hearts were only peace and happiness. They were not envious nor jealous. Their grandeur was limited, they had not thought of aggrandizing themselves, nor of expanding. When they tried to do it, they fastened the shield there in Izmachí but only to give a sign of their empire, as a symbol of their power and a symbol of their greatness.

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Seeing this, the people of Ilocab began the war; they wanted to kill King Cotuhá, wishing to have a chief of their own. And as for Lord Iztayul, they wanted to punish him, that he be punished and killed by those of Ilocab. But their evil plans against King Cotuhá did not succeed, for he fell upon them before the people of Ilocab were able to kill him.

This, then, was the beginning of the revolution and the dissensions of the war. First they attacked the town, and the warriors came. And what they wanted was to ruin the Quiché race; they wanted to reign alone. But they only came to die; they were captured and fell into captivity, and few among them succeeded in escaping.

Immediately afterward the sacrifices began; the people of Ilocab were sacrificed before the god, and this was the punishment for their sins by order of King Cotuhá. Many also fell into slavery and servitude; they only went to give themselves up to be overcome because of having arranged the war against the lords and against the town. 6 The destruction and ruin of the Quiché race and their king was what they wished, but they did not succeed in accomplishing it.

In this way the sacrifice of men began before the gods, when the war of the shields broke out, which was the reason that they began the fortifications of the city of Izmachí.

There began and originated their power, because the empire of the King of the Quiché was really large. They were in every sense marvelous kings; there was no one who could dominate them, neither was there anyone who could humble them. And at the same time they were the builders of the grandeur of the kingdom which they had founded there in Izmachí.

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There the fear of god waxed, they were inspired with awe, and the tribes large and small were filled with fear, for they saw the arrival of the captives, those who were sacrificed and killed because of the power and sovereignty of King Cotuhá, the King Iztayul, and the people of Nihaib and Ahau-Quiché.

There were only three branches of the [Quiché] family there in Izmachí, as the town was called, and there they also began the feasts and orgies for their daughters when [suitors] came to ask for them 7 in marriage.

There the so-called three great houses gathered, and there

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they drank their drinks, there they also ate their food, which was the price of their sisters, the price of their daughters, and their hearts were joyful when they did it, and they ate and drank 8 in the great houses.

"In this way we show our gratitude, and thus we open the road for our posterity and our descendants, this is the demonstration of our consent to their becoming husbands and wives," they said.

There they identified themselves, 9 and there they took their names; they distributed themselves in clans in the seven principal tribes and in cantons. 10

"Let us unite, we of the Cavec, we of the Nihaib, and we of the Ahau-Quiché," said the three clans, and the three great houses. For a long time they were there in Izmachí, until they found and saw another town, and abandoned that of Izmachí.


163:1 p. 242 "in the beards." This city was situated to the south of Utatlán, the last capital of the Quiché.

163:2 X-cah qui chun qui zahcab, literally, "they ground their lime and their chalk." Ximénez and Brasseur de Bourbourg interpret this sentence as meaning they built their houses of lime and stone.

163:3 Balam-Conaché was the third king of the Quiché, according to the final chapter of the book, and according to the text, he ruled with Beleheb-Queh, king of the fourth generation of the House of Nihaib, and with Ahau-Galel, or the first of the lords of the House of Nihaib. Balam-Conaché was the son of Qocavib, conceived by the wife of his brother, Qocaib, when the latter was absent on his first journey to the East, to Chichén Itzá, according to the Título de los Señores de Totonicapán and to the document from Zapotitlán about the origin of the Quiché kings, a translation of which is included in the Appendix to this book. Qocaib recognized the son of his brother and his own wife as being of his own blood, and this was the beginning, according to the Título, of the House of those of Conaché and Iztayul, and herein the rank and office of Ahpop-Camhail, second title of the House of Iztayul, had its origin.

163:4 Iztayul was the son of Balam-Conaché.

163:5 Xaqui caib chi nim ha ri ca chob chi chinamit. In transcribing this sentence Brasseur de Bourbourg substituted the word cumatzil, which he translates "serpents," for nim ha. In the margin of the manuscript of the Popol Vuh, one reads cumatzil pro nim ha, but Ximénez translates it as "large house."

163:6 Chirih ahau, chirih civan-tinamit. "Against the Lords, against the city of the ravines." It was an ancient custom to name the Indian towns in this way, by the fact that they were built in places surrounded by ravines, in order to protect them against attacks by their enemies.

163:7 p. 243 Ta x-qui ziih uloc, literally, "when they carried their wood." This evidently refers to the native custom which obliged the suitor to carry a load of wood to his sweetheart's house when he went to ask her hand in marriage.

163:8 X-e ocha, they drank from painted gourds, like those now made in Rabinal which are called och.

163:9 Chila x-cob vi uloc, "there they distinguished themselves," that is, they were identified, one from another.

163:10 Qui chinamit quib, vuc amag quib, qui ticpan quib. These are the names of the groups into which the Quiché were divided. Chinamit is the family or clan. Vuc-Amag, literally the seven principal tribes of which the Título de los Señores de Totonicapán frequently speaks. The word ticpán comes from the Náhuatl tecpán and means suburb, or district of a large city.

Next: IV. Chapter 8