Anniversary Post: Yohl Ik’nal Rule

Yohl Ik'nal GlyphOn this day in 583, Yohl Ik’nal became ruler of the Mayan city-state of Palenque. This was during the height of Palenque’s power. She is notable as being the first known woman to have ruled the city — only one of two known to have ruled. She ruled when the population was roughly 5,000 people. That doesn’t sound like much, but that was on the high side of classical period Mayan city-states (pdf). What’s more, this is just the core population. We really don’t know what the population was in the surrounding area that supported the city.

At some point during Yohl Ik’nal’s reign, it was defeated by Calakmul. It then lived under the ultimate rule of the much bigger city-state. This didn’t change her rulership, but it did mean that Palenque had to pay taxes to Calakmul. But sometime toward the end of her reign or that of her successor (and possible son), Ajen Yohl Mat, Palenque managed to rid itself of Calakmul dominance.

She ruled for over 20 years, which is quite a lot longer than the other rules around her time. However, her grandson (or great-grandson — it’s amazing how these things aren’t well established), K’inich Janaab’ Pakal, ruled for a staggering 68 years — living to be 80 years old.

16 thoughts on “Anniversary Post: Yohl Ik’nal Rule

  1. You know, one of the interesting things I have noticed about women rulers is the marked lack of conquering they do. Not that they won’t fight but that they often don’t seem to see a need to go grab their neighbor’s land.

    • It might also be social: a society is feeling less aggressive when it allows a woman to rule it.

      I still maintain that anyone inclined to be a ruler necessarily has too much testosterone.

      • -.- What did you say about me?!


        It could be that but since the society you mention in your post had a neighboring society with presumably a male ruler, I think since women are not normally taught to be aggressors, it has something to do with socialization of a person.

            • I meant I don’t buy the fact that all people who wish to lead are evil. But I see that I actually said they had too much testosterone. I’ll stand by that. But I’m not sure being a judge is in the same category.

              • *thinks of the judges she knows* Arrogance is a required trait. We are all pretty arrogant. Then again you have to be with some attorneys. Good grief.

                But testosterone? No clue-someone did tell me today when I was discussing possibly running in a different district that I do my absolute best to be fair but informative and it shows. That was nice to hear.

                • Okay. You can stay on the blog then!

                  I haven’t noticed judges being any more arrogant than other people at that station in life. Which is still awful, but not significant.

                  • I know a lot more so maybe I notice it more. But there is a marked difference between my level and say Superior Court. The Justices on the state Supreme Court are pretty cool though. Probably the reason they keep getting kicked up to the federal bench.

                    And why wouldn’t I get to stick around?! I know I am boring but I never thought I was that boring. Should I start sending bribes?

                    • Bribes?! What an interesting idea!

                      I remember a PD telling me about a new judge and how her insecurity made her pretty much always go along with the DA. What do you think of that? Does that sound right?

                    • I am down with it. As long as they are things like cookies. I cannot send beer anymore since the local brewery was bought out by Budweiser.

                      I can see it, a lot of times judges seem to go with the prosecutor because they tend to be former prosecutors. And it does seem that you do not get reversed as much if you go with what the prosecutor says. As time goes on and a person gets more settled, they are willing to buck the system a bit more. Of course appellate judges don’t care overmuch since they are far removed from trials and dealing with the prosecutors office frequently.

                    • I am still on the lookout for thin crisp chocolate chip cookies. Got a recipe? Or a trick?

                      Yeah, the reversal thing occurred to me. It’s interesting to me that in the wild there are those animals that can kill us and the animals that we kill. We’ve set up a society that is just like that. Everyone has someone they have to fear. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

                    • Buzzfeed throws out some useful lists at times and they had this guide:
                      Which led to this blog post:

                      So if you are looking for at thin, crisp cookie, I would suggest using only granulated sugar combined with slightly higher temp based on the way the cookies look. Try first with the granulated sugar and then try the higher temp and then do a combo to see if it works.

                      I usually just fear the Commission. Especially after what they did to a friend of mine recently.

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