Copán

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The 10th ruler is nicknamed Moon Jaguar by Mayanists. He was a son of B'alam Nehn, the 7th ruler. He was enthroned in May 553. His surviving monuments were found in the modern village of Copán Ruinas, which was a major complex during the Classic period. The most famous construction dating to his reign is the elaborate Rosalila phase of Temple 16, discovered entombed intact under later phases of the temple during archaeological tunneling work.[46]

K'ak' Chan Yopaat and Smoke Imix

K'ak' Chan Yopaat was the eleventh dynastic ruler at Copán. He was crowned as king in AD 578, 24 days after the death of Moon Jaguar. At the time of his rule Copán was undergoing an unprecedented rise in population, with residential land use spreading to all available land in the entire Copán Valley. The two surviving stelae of K'ak' Chan Yopaat contain long hard-to-decipher hieroglyphic texts and are the oldest monuments at the site to survive without being either broken or buried. He had a long reign, ruling at Copán for 49 years, and he died on 5 February 628. His name is recorded on four stelae erected by his successors, one of which describes a rite performed with relics from his tomb in AD 730, almost a hundred years after his death.[47]

Smoke Imix was crowned 16 days after the death of K'ak' Chan Yopaat. He is thought to have been the longest reigning king of Copán, ruling from 628 to 695. He is believed to have been born in AD 612 to have become king at the age of 15. Archaeologists have recovered little evidence of activity for the first 26 years of his reign but in AD 652 there was a sudden explosion of monument production, with two stelae being erected in the Great Plaza and a further four in important locations across the Copán Valley. These monuments all celebrated a katun-ending. He also erected a stela at the Santa Rita site 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) away and is mentioned on Altar L at Quiriguá in relation to the same event in 652. It is thought that he was trying to stamp his authority throughout the whole valley after the end of some earlier restriction to his freedom to rule as he wished.[48]

After this sudden spate of activity, Smoke Imix continued to rule until almost the end of the 7th century, he dedicated another 9 known monuments and made important changes to the architecture of Copán, including the construction of Structure 2 which closes the northern side of the Great Plaza and a new version of Temple 26, nicknamed Chorcha. Smoke Imix ruled Copán for 67 years and died on 15 June 695 at the age of 79, an age that was so distinguished that it is used to identify him in place of his name on Altar Q. His tomb had already been prepared in the Chorcha phase of Temple 26 and he was buried just 2 days after his death.[49]

Uaxaclajuun Ub'aah K'awiil

Uaxaclajuun Ub'aah K'awiil was crowned as the 13th king in the Copán dynasty in July 695. He oversaw both the apogee of Copán's achievements and also one of the city's most catastrophic political disasters. During his reign, the sculptural style of the city evolved into the full in-the-round sculpture characteristic of Copán. In AD 718, Copán attacked and defeated the unidentified site of Xkuy, recording its burning on an unusual stone cylinder. In AD 724 Uaxaclajuun Ub'aah K'awiil installed K'ak' Tiliw Chan Yopaat as a vassal on the throne of Quiriguá. Uaxaclajuun Ub'aah K'awiil was confident enough in his power to rank his city among the four most powerful states in the Maya region, together with Tikal, Calakmul and Palenque, as recorded on Stela A. In contrast to his predecessor, Uaxaclajuun Ub'aah K'awiil concentrated his monuments in the site core of the Copán; his first was Stela J, dated to AD 702 and erected at the eastern entrance to the city.[50]

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