The Paol’lunyu dynasty (Papol’lunyu Nimbja) is the first dynasty in traditional Mutulese history. It is described in ancient historical chronicles recorded on stelae and murals found thourough its old territories, but essentially in the cities of Kaminyajunlyu, it's capital, and Sakal Witz. Another famous source are the "Annals of the White Mountain, a collection of codices written by Sakal Witz' priesthood during the Chaan Dynasty and then preserved to this day. According to tradition, the Paol’lunyu dynasty was established by the god Chaak who incarnated himself on earth to lead mankind. The Papol’lunyu was later succeeded by the Chaan Dynasty.
According to the traditional chronology, the Papol’lunyu ruled between 1105 (LC : 126.96.36.199.7 ) and 370 BC (LC : 188.8.131.52.1) on “ 4 Wayeb 9 Imix”, a “Unlucky day of the Crocodile” in popular mutulese divination. This give us a very detailed time period for the dynasy, down to the day,even if it’s authenticity can be put into question because of the religious significance behind the ending date.
Contrary to the dynasties that would follow, the Papol’lunyu’s powers weren’t as extensive and the centralisation process had yet to begin. The dynasty is divided in two periods : the Intensive Period which describe the original domain of the Mutul without it’s colonies, with the Yajawils of :
|Kaminyajunlyu||The religious capital and home of the Paol’lunyu|
|Takalik Abak||An important city almost equal in might to Kaminyajunlyu, capital of the Southern March.|
|Izapak||Another important site, rival of Takalik Abak and capital of the Western March.|
|Oxwitik||Capital of the Eastern March.|
|Yaxk’an||Famous for its jades deposits.|
|Kakawkab’||a city that became famous for its production of cacao.|
|Chak’pasil||Red Door, an important garrison securing the north-east border of the first Mutul, and with important obsidians mines. Directly protected Yaxk'an.|
|Hunjay||another important deposit of obsidians.|
|Sakal Witz||a religious site that became quickly closely associated with the Papol’lunyu and the burrial site of the dynasty.|
|Tazumal||Known for harboring the first sign of metallurgy in the Mutul.|
|Ujuxte||an important site that seemed to have lost power in favour of Takalik Abak for unknown reasons.|
|Yajanite||Another site that was one of the major center of population in the Mutul, before slowly being dominated by Izapak.|
During the second half, called the Extensive Period, new cities will joined or were built to the north of Kaminyajulyu :
|Nakabe||founded by a House of Mutli aristocrats with the task of securing the northern border of the Mutul Capital of the Northern March.|
|Akol||An important K’ol settlement that was heavily influenced by the Mutul’s culture, until it swore fealty to the Papol’lunyu dynasty, even if it was de facto controlled by Nakabe.|
|Yux||A Mutli colony tasked with defending the north-west border against the Yakalmek.|
|Yarumela||An ethnically Lenca city that was conquered during the transition between the intensive and extensive periods. Contrary to other major settlements, it was paying a tribute to Oxwitik and not to the Papol’lunyu Dynasty.|
|Ek’pasil||An important garrison built to reinforce the northern and north-east border. Became an important regional market.|
The First Dynasty was established in the central highlands, considered the homeland of the Mutli culture. Agricultural settlements appeared around 3000 BC in the valleys and around the rivers of these mountains and hills, and soon expanded to the plains and jungles to the south. The oldest settlements in the region are, among many nameless villages and small cities, Ujuxte, Iximpasil, Nojol Witz, and Hunjay. Kaminyajunlyu first developed as an important site for the exploitation of obsidian
In the "Annals of the White Mountain", the anonymous chronicler details how the king of Sakal Witz, during a hunt, killed a Terror Bird who carried a snake's enormous egg. The king took the egg with him, and from it emerged a young boy with a bow and an axe. He named him K'o and he grew to become the most honorable and beloved prince of the kingdom. Once he reached adulthood, Prince K'o heard of Kaminyajunlyu and its tyrannic king. K'o pleaded to his father to let him free the city, but the latter was only convinced after he had a vision of Triumphant Chaak performing a human sacrifice. After he defeated and killed Kaminyajunlyu's Ajaw, K'o was offered the Manikin scepter of the city by its people, and thus he became its new ruler. In the Mutulese official historiography, K'o is considered to be the avatar and mortal aspect of Chaak and the first K'uhul Ajaw from whom all other Divine Lords descend from.
War against Ujuxte
During the 12th century, Ujuxte was the dominant city of the Southern Hills, but its authority was more and more contested by the growing settlement and trade hub of Takalik. At the beginning of the century, the Lord of Takalik was captured and sacrificed by a cabal of aristocrats and their leader, K'utz Chiman, proclaimed himself the new Ajaw of the city and rebelled against Ujuxte. For unknown reason, K'utz Chiman ended up calling the Ajaw of Kaminyajunlyu for help, and the latter answered positively, defeating Ujuxte at the battle of Abaj and capturing its Ajaw. Four years later, following the records found in Kaminyajunlyu's ruins, Takalik started to pay tribute to the "K'uhul Ajaw", officialy joining the Mutul as a vassal-state. In the following years, Takalik would continue its expansion, defeating and integrating all the vassals of Ujuxte to its territory, before obtaining the submission of Ujuxte's Ajaw himself. It's also during that period that Takalik expanded southward, gaining overlordship over Tazumal and its prized luxury goods made out of metal.
War against Yajanite
Izapak glyph emblem first appears in the historical records preserved by the priests of Sakal Witz and on stelae estimated to have been erected in the 12th century BCE. It seems to have been at war with the then-larger settlement of Yajanite and called the Kaminajunlyu for help. The following triumph of the two cities against Ujuxte is well documented. Izapak's king, the "Lord of All Birds" (Mtl:Olas Muwan Ajaw), is then said to have had a vision during the festivites of the Kaminajunlyu Ajaw being transfigured into Chaak, the god of rain and storm, and immediately pledged an oath of allegiance to him. The veracity of this story is heavily debated among historians, but the fact remains that Izapak came under the Paol'lunyu's grasp sometime during the 12th century, and then expanded to the point that it had gained authority over Yajanite and all its old vassals. It also became an important trade hub between the Mutul and the "westerners".
Culture and Society
The K’uhul Ajaw
The roles of the K’uhul Ajaw were quite diverses : he was the official head of the religion, performing many religious ceremonies none of the other Ajaw could do. He was the final arbiter in case of conflict between the lords and was the “highest judge” of the Mutul. He was responsible of trades and markets in his domain, maintaining roads, and especially controlling the water reserves of the central mountains and hills. Aqueducs, canals, dams, alongside other forms of irrigations systems, plus roads and warehouses, were built and maintained by the K’uhul Ajaw and his armies of scribes and inspectors who patrolled the lands. The Kaminyajulyu market, at the center of an important north-south axis, was one of the busiest market of the period, especially since merchants didn’t had to pay taxes to obtain the right to sell inside the walls of the city. At the high of their powers, Papol’lunyans K’uhul Ajaws were de facto the direct rulers of Kaminyajulyu and Sakal Witz, and had a direct say in the politics and economy of all their vassals. But with time, this influence declined until the K'uhul Ajaw became mere figureheads and had only a purely ceremonial role outside of their own lands.
Another way the K’uhul Ajaw maintained his influence over his vassals was through his nomadic court. He regulary visited important Ajaws, such as the lords of Takalik, Izapak, or Oxwitik. Marriages were frequents, as well as youngs from the lords families being send to Kaminyajulyu to study and to serve as hostage in case of revolt. All of these strengthen the links between the cities.
During the Extensive Period, the K’uhul Ajaw started to loose power compared to the Marches of the kingdom. The Ajaws of Takalik, Izapak, Oxwitik, and Nakabe took for themselves many of the prerogatives reserved to the K’uhul Ajaw, who moved less and less away from the capital. This rise of these great vassals lead divisions among themselves. Oxwitik barely paied any respect to the K’uhul Ajaw, Izapak and Takalik multiplied the plots and intrigues against each others, while Nakabe strengthen its hold on the north, allying with the Barbarian Kingdoms of the K’ol and Yakalmek. This decentralisation of the Mutul would continue until the Nakabe Revolt and the Civil War that followed.
Historians have sometime described the Paol'lunyu system as "feodal". The Dynasty ruled from Kaminyajunlyu over a number of vassal states, each ruled by their own dynasties of Ajaw. Then, these Ajaws themselves ruled over their own vassals, generally bearing the title of Yajaw, and so on until the Batab, who ruled a single settlement. Of these vassals, the most well known lineages are the Syhij, the Hunal, the Lak'uk and the Ka, and the Chaan. All of these ruled over Ajawils and would play important roles during the Extensive Period and the following Nakabe Revolt that ended the Dynasty.
Permanent raised fields, terracing, intensive gardening, forest gardens, and managed fallows were crucial in supporting the large populations of the period. Evidence of these different agricultural systems persist today: raised fields connected by canals can be seen on aerial photographs. Pollen records in lake sediments suggest that maize, manioc, sunflower seeds, cotton, and other crops have been cultivated in association with deforestation since at least 2500 BC.
The basic staples of the Maya diet were maize, beans, and squashes. These were supplemented with a wide variety of other plants either cultivated in gardens or gathered in forest. Cotton was spun, dyed, and woven into valuable textiles in order to be traded. Already, chocolate was being produced in the form of a beverage highly sought after by the elite.
Trade was a key component of the Paol'lunyu Dynasty and the Ajaw derived their legitimacy from their capacity to protect trade in the areas they controlled. But generally, the most important Ajaws were those who controlled access to a vital ressource. With Kaminyajunlyu's control over important obsidian mines, its rulers were in the perfect position to impose themselves as hegemons over the other city-states.
The Paol'lunyu people engaged in long distance trade across their Mutal and beyond. Long distance trade of both luxury and utilitarian goods was controlled by the Ajaws and their lineages, making wholesaling a profession reserved to the high aristocracy and the elite, while retailer were typically commoners and thus dependent on their lords for their livelihood.
Because of the lack of pack animals, all trade goods had to be carried on the backs of porters when going overland. Whenever possible, roads followed rivers or artificial canals so that traders could transport some of their goods with canoe dragged from the shore. The maintenance of these causaways and canals was considered the most important task of a lord. Trade goods carried included cacao, obsidian, ceramics, textiles, food and drink for the crew, and copper bells and axes.
Paol'lunyu rulers, both the K'uhul Ajaw and the Ajaws, were expected to be distinguished war leaders, with one of the main attribute of their function being a belt carrying their trophy heads. They led their own armies which, in the strongest or more warlikes states like Nakabe Revolt and Oxwitik, had a core component of permanent professional soldiers. Troops were often recruited and led by the merchant-aristocrats, giving birth in the poor stratas of the Paol'lunyu society to a category of men known as the soldier-porters, paid to carry weapons or trade-goods depending on whether it was a period of war or peace.
Warfare among vassals polities of the Paol'lunyu was at first rare and limited to small skirmishes between traders parties. But with the Extensive Period and the dwindling of the K'uhul Ajaw's authority, wars for the control of trade roads and markets, or to secure both captives and tributes, became more common. But the most important conflicts the Dynasty had were with other neighboring cultures, generally considered to be "barbarians". These were the Lencas people or the Kachi Kingdom, for example. These wars could be much more bloodier and intensive warfares could be carried out in order to completely eliminate an ennemy state.