Page:Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx.djvu/62

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for he ridicules the etymologists. "What nonsense," he says, "to thus rack their brains! They must be out of their mind to give themselves the work of bringing forth these erudite elucidations to explain the word Maya, that everybody knows is a mere Spanish corruption of Mayab, the ancient name of the country." In asserting that the true name (nombre verdadero) of the peninsula in ancient times was Mayab, Señor Ancona does not sustain his assertion by any known historical document; he merely refers to the Maya dictionary of Pio Perez, that he himself has published. He is likewise silent as to the source from which Señor Pio Perez obtained his information concerning the ancient name of the peninsula.

Landa, Cogolludo, Lizana,[1] all accord in stating that the land was called U-luumil ceh, "the land of the deer." Herrera [2] says it was called Beb (a very thorny tree), and the "great serpent " Can; but we see in the Troano MS. that this was the name of the whole of the Maya Empire, not the peninsula alone. Señor Ancona, notwithstanding his sneers, is not quite sure of being right in his criticism, for he also tries his hand at etymologizing. Taking for granted that the statement of Lizana is true, that at some time or other two different tribes had invaded the country and that one of these tribes was more numerous than the other, he pretends that the word Mayab was meant to designate the weaker, being composed, as he says, of Ma, "not," and yab, "abundant."

I myself, on the strength of the name given to the birthplace of their ancestors by the Egyptians, and on that of the tradition handed down among the aborigines of Yucatan, admitting that one of the names given to the peninsula, Mayab, was cor-

  1. See Appendix, note v.
  2. Antonio de Herrera, Decada 1, lib. 7, chap. 17.