The story of our family...for my sons

Friday, November 9, 2012

Viking-Maya the possibilities

While doing genealogy on the Bengston side (Aaron and Josh's mother), I was thinking about the conquistadors and their reception by the Aztec. Were they waiting for the Vikings to return? Not much on this subject, but it really sturs the imagination.

The Legend of Quetazlcoatl

The Quetzalcoatl legend is known throughout Mesoamerica . Some legends refer to Quetzalcoatl as a god, others a stranger from a distant land who sailed to their shores upon a “magic raft of serpents."

The feathered serpent god is commonly referred to as Quetzalcoatl. The name Quetzalcoatl has Toltec/Aztec origins. A series of invasions by the Toltecs, which led to a blending of cultures, introduced the feathered serpent god to the Mayas, where he was later referred to as Kukulcan.

Two male heroes similar to the god Quetzalcoatl appear in Mayan lore. Itzamna and Kukulcan were both portrayed as bearded men who led their ancestors into the Yucatan. Itazmna was known as a guide who helped build up the great cities and who invented the letters that make up the Mayan language. Kukulcan, was referred to as a great architect, a builder of pyramids.

Could all of these legends be based on one real person? And could that person have been a Norseman?

The Murals

A red-bearded man’s likeness appears on many stone carvings in the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in the Yucatan, Copan, Honduras, and other places in Latin America. There are also murals depicting bearded warriors dressed in armor and helmets which could be relating an account of a foreign invasion by some ancient people.

Early Viking Voyages

It has been established that both Eric the Red and Leif Erickson reached the New World 500 years before Columbus. To date, the only truly authenticated Viking site is L’Anse aux Meadows, at the northern tip of Newfoundland, where the remains of Norse-style dwellings and artifacts have been found.

The Lost Viking Ship

Around 967 AD, it was recorded that a Viking ship led by Ullmann on the way to Iceland was driven by strong ocean currents and blown off course. Could this ship have ended up in Central America?

Was such a Voyage Possible?

The likelihood that Vikings may have touched upon Caribbean shores was not given much credibility because it was believed such a voyage would not have possible. Then, in 1947, Thor Heyerdahl tested the possibility by recreating a reed boat using materials such as the Vikings, Phoenicians and other cultures would have used at that time. The Kon Tiki’s voyage of over 4,300 miles proved that ancient navigators could have sailed much farther than originally believed.

A link between the Vikings and the early cultures of the Yucatan and Central America has never been proven. If Viking artifacts ever existed, they have been lost with the passage of time. If the Vikings ever did visit Central America, the only traces left are the curious images of a red-bearded man caved in stone.

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