Siyaj Kʼakʼ

Aztec calendar (sunstone)

Born (formerly nicknamed "Smoking Frog"), was a prominent political figure mentioned in the glyphs of Classic Period Maya civilization monuments, principally Tikal (which he conquered in January 378 ), as well as Uaxactun and the city of Copan.

- Siyaj Kʼakʼ

21 related topics


Mesoamerican chronology

Mesoamerican chronology divides the history of prehispanic Mesoamerica into several periods: the Paleo-Indian (first human habitation until 3500 BCE); the Archaic (before 2600 BCE), the Preclassic or Formative (2500 BCE – 250 CE), the Classic (250–900 CE), and the Postclassic ; as well as the post European contact Colonial Period (1521–1821), and Postcolonial, or the period after independence from Spain (1821–present).

Aztec calendar (sunstone)
Vessel from the Capacha culture, found in Acatitan, Colima.
Several of the most prominent Formative Period sites in the central Mexican plateau and Gulf Coast regions.
A typical Pre-Classic figurine from central Mexico, Tlatilco culture.
The Olmec heartland.
Olmec head, La Venta
Important Classic Era settlements, circa 500 CE
Central Plaza of Monte Albán, a city constructed on a hill that dominates the Central Valley of Oaxaca
Temple 2, Tikal, Guatemala
Mural of the Portic A, in Cacaxtla, Tlaxcala
View of the Calzada de los Muertos (Avenue of the Dead) from the Pyramid of the Moon, Teotihuacan, Mexico
Location of the Mayan people and their principal cities
Bas-relief in the museum of Palenque, Chiapas
Codex vessel of the Aztatlan culture of Nayarit, in the LACMA
Present day view of the chinampas of Xochimilco, in the Federal District
Pillars of Tula, in Hidalgo
Mesoamerica and Central America in the 16th century before the arrival of the Spanish.

In the Maya region, under considerable military influence by Teotihuacan after the "arrival" of Siyaj K'ak' in 378 CE, numerous city states such as Tikal, Uaxactun, Calakmul, Copán, Quirigua, Palenque, Cobá, and Caracol reached their zeniths.


Archaeological site of the Maya civilization in the Copán Department of western Honduras, not far from the border with Guatemala.

One of two simian sculptures on Temple 11, possibly representing howler monkey gods.
Location of Copán
Artistic conception of mayas at the Stela I and altar. Painting of 1898 by Henry Sandham.
Stela H at Copán, commissioned by Uaxaclajuun Ub'aah K'awiil.
Ceramic lid shaped to represent K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo', recovered from the tomb of the 7th-century king Smoke Imix, under Temple 26.
Stela 63, probably dating to the reign of K'inich Popol Hol.
Stela H, depicting king Uaxaclajuun Ub'aah K'awiil
Stela N, depicting K'ak' Yipyaj Chan K'awiil
A head from the Structure 10L-20 that currently is at the Peabody Museum of Harvard University.
Map of the center of Copán
Stela M and the Hieroglyphic Stairway
A stone head at the bottom of Structure 10L-11
The West Court of Copán
Life-size reconstruction of the Rosalila temple at the site museum of Copán.
The interior doorway of Structure 10L-22
The final version of the ballcourt was dedicated by Uaxaclajuun Ub'aah K'awiil in AD 738.
Altar Q depicts 16 kings in the dynastic succession of the city
Great Plaza of the Stelae
Stela P, depicting K'ak' Chan Yopaat.

Texts record the arrival of a warrior named K'uk' Mo' Ajaw who was installed upon the throne of the city in AD 426 and given a new royal name, K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo' and the ochk'in kaloomte "Lord of the West" title used a generation earlier by Siyaj K'ak', a general from the great metropolis of Teotihuacan who had decisively intervened in the politics of the central Petén.


Ancient Mesoamerican city located in a sub-valley of the Valley of Mexico, which is located in the State of Mexico, 40 km northeast of modern-day Mexico City.

View of the Avenue of the Dead and the Pyramid of the Moon.
Front view of the Pyramid of the Sun
Teotihuacan and other important Classic Era settlements
View of the Pyramid of the Moon from the Pyramid of the Sun
Platform along the Avenue of the Dead showing the talud-tablero architectural style
Restored portion of Teotihucan architecture showing the typical Mesoamerican use of red paint complemented on gold and jade decoration upon marble and granite.
Felid head, Teotihuacán, Mexico.
Teotihuacán-style mask, Classical period. Walters Art Museum.
Incensario Lid, Teotihuacan style, 400–700 CE, Brooklyn Museum
A mural showing what has been identified as the Great Goddess of Teotihuacan
Human sacrifices found at the foundations of La Ciudadela.
Pyramid of the Sun and the Teotihuacán Diorama at the Teotihuacán Museum.
Teotihuacan - Temple of the Feathered Serpent - architectural detail to the right of the steps.
Avenue of the Dead, Teotihuacán, Mexico.
Vessel of the Coyotlatelco type.
A recreation of a map of the city featured in the June 1967 issue of Scientific American and the captioned source.
Toilet in Teotihuacan.
View from the Pyramid of the Sun
View from the Pyramid of the Moon
Courtyard of the Palace of Quetzalpapálotl
Figurines at the local museum
Puma mural in the Avenue of the Dead
Marble mask, 3rd–7th centuries
Serpentine mask, 3rd–6th centuries
Alabaster statue of an Ocelot from Teotihuacan, 5th–6th centuries, possibly a ritual container to receive sacrificed human hearts (British Museum)<ref>British Museum Collection</ref>
Detail of a collective burial of those sacrificed humans as part of the rites of consecration for the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent (phase Miccaotli, c. AD 200) In this case, all buried bodies had their hands tied behind their backs. The necklace is made of pieces that simulate human jaws, but other subjects buried wore necklaces with actual jaws.
Detail of the murals of the palace of Atetelco, dated in Xolalpan phase (c. 450–650).
A wall painting in Teotihuacan
Green Bird Procession, Temple of the Feathered Serpents
From Pyramid of the Sun

In January 378, the warlord Sihyaj K'ahk' (literally, "born of fire"), depicted with artifacts and the feather-serpent imagery associated with Teotihuacan culture, conquered Tikal, 600 miles away from the Teotihuacan, removing and replacing the Maya king, with support from El Peru and Naachtun, as recorded by Stela 31 at Tikal and other monuments in the Maya region.


Ruin of an ancient city, which was likely to have been called Yax Mutal, found in a rainforest in Guatemala.

Tikal Temple I rises 47 m high.
Emblem glyph for Tikal (Mutal)
Map of the Maya area within the Mesoamerican region. Both Tikal and Calakmul lie near the center of the area.
The great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico appears to have decisively intervened in Tikal politics.
The main plaza during winter solstice celebrations
The site core seen from the south, with Temple I at center, the North Acropolis to the left and Central Acropolis to the right
One of Maudsley's photos of Tikal from 1882, taken after vegetation had been cleared
Map of the site core
The North Acropolis
The Lost World Pyramid in the Mundo Perdido complex
The Plaza of the Seven Temples
Temple II on the main plaza
Contrasting photo, scan shot, and isometric images for the roof comb of Temple IV, using data acquired by a laser scan collected by nonprofit CyArk
Detail of Teotihuacan-related imagery decorating the sloping talud sections of the talud-tablero sides of Structure 5D-43.
A large stucco mask adorning the substructure of Temple 33
The elaborately carved wooden Lintel 3 from Temple IV. It celebrates a military victory by Yik'in Chan K'awiil in 743.
Stela 31, with the sculpted image of Siyaj Chan K'awiil II
A ceramic censer representing an elderly deity, found in Burial 10.

Little is known about Chak Tok Ich'aak except that he was killed on 14 January 378 AD. On the same day, Siyah K’ak' (Fire Is Born) arrived from the west, having passed through El Peru, a site to the west of Tikal, on 8 January.


Ancient sacred place of the Maya civilization, located in the Petén Basin region of the Maya lowlands, in the present-day department of Petén, Guatemala.

View of E Group from the temple of masks at Uaxactun
Ballcourt at Uaxactun

Linda Schele, in A Forest of Kings, devotes an entire chapter to a war between Tikal and Uaxactun, in which Uaxactun was defeated by forces led by Fire is Born (Siyaj K'ak', formerly identified as Smoking Frog ) of Tikal.

Maya civilization

Mesoamerican civilization developed by the Maya peoples, and noted for its logosyllabic script—the most sophisticated and highly developed writing system in pre-Columbian Americas—as well as for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system.

The Maya area within Mesoamerica
Remains in Joya de Cerén, a Classic-era settlement in El Salvador buried under volcanic ash around 600 AD. Its preservation has greatly helped in the study of everyday life in a Maya farming community.
Maya area
Stela D from Quiriguá, representing king Kʼakʼ Tiliw Chan Yopaat
Calakmul was one of the most important Classic period cities.
Chichen Itza was the most important city in the northern Maya region.
Zaculeu was capital of the Postclassic Mam kingdom in the Guatemalan Highlands.
Mayapan was an important Postclassic city in the northern Yucatán Peninsula.
Page from the Lienzo de Tlaxcala showing the Spanish conquest of Iximche, known as Cuahtemallan in the Nahuatl language
Drawing by Frederick Catherwood of the Nunnery complex at Uxmal
1892 photograph of the Castillo at Chichen Itza, by Teoberto Maler
Stela from Toniná, representing the 6th-century king Bahlam Yaxuun Tihl
Classic period sculpture showing sajal Aj Chak Maax presenting captives before ruler Itzamnaaj Bʼalam III of Yaxchilan
Lintel 16 from Yaxchilán, depicting king Yaxun Bʼalam in warrior garb
The Puuc-style Labna gateway. The passage is formed by a corbel arch, a common element in Maya architecture.
Reconstruction of the urban core of Tikal in the 8th century AD
Fired bricks with animal designs from Comalcalco. Made from brick since there was a lack of readily available stone, it is unique among major Maya sites.
Terminal Classic palace complex at Sayil, in northern Yucatán
Temple I, at Tikal, was a funerary temple in honour of king Jasaw Chan Kʼawiil I.
Model of a triadic pyramid at Caracol, Belize
Map of Mayan language migration routes
Pages from the Postclassic period Paris Codex, one of the few surviving Maya books in existence
Maya script on Cancuén Panel 3 describes the installation of two vassals at Machaquilá by Cancuén king Taj Chan Ahk.
Ceramic vessel painted with Maya script in the Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin
Reading order of Maya hieroglyphic text
Representation of an astronomer from the Madrid Codex
Relief sculpture of a decapitated ballplayer, adorning the Great Ballcourt at Chichen Itza
Maize was a staple of the Maya diet.
The Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología, in Guatemala City

This intervention was led by Siyaj Kʼakʼ ("Born of Fire"), who arrived at Tikal in early 378.

Yax Nuun Ahiin I

4th-century ruler of the Maya city of Tikal.

Yax Nuun Ahiin I's portrait on Stela 4

Yax Nuun Ahiin I may have been a child or youth at the time of his coronation, and the early years of his reign seems to have been dominated by one of his father's generals, Sihyaj K'ahk', in a sort of regency.

Spearthrower Owl

Name commonly given to a Mesoamerican personage from the Early Classic period, who is identified in Maya inscriptions and iconography.

Name glyph for Atlatl Cauac / Jatz'om Kuy / "Spearthrower Owl." Redrawn from carved stone.
Tikal Stela 31

Monuments at El Perú, Tikal and/or Uaxactun describe the arrival of a personage Siyaj K'ak' somehow under the auspices of Spearthrower Owl in the month of January 378.

Rulers of Tikal

The known rulers of Tikal, a major centre of the Pre-Columbian Maya civilization in modern-day Guatemala:

Tikal Temple I rises 47 m high.

Chak Tok Ich'aak I ("Jaguar Paw I") – c.a. 360-378. He died on the same day that Siyah K'ak' arrived in Tikal.

Bejucal (Mesoamerican site)

Maya archaeological site in the Petén Department of Guatemala.

The Maya area within Mesoamerica

The Teotihuacan-linked general Siyaj K'ak' ("Fire is Born") conquered Bejucal in the 4th century, together with many other sites in Petén, including the great city of Tikal.