Embodying the kingly persona : ephemerality and memory in Temple 18 of Copan
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This thesis analyzes a late Classic temple located in the southern reaches of the Maya world. Temple 18, the subject of this study, occupied Copan’s acropolis, positioned between the site’s ceremonial center and residence of the final king, Yax Pasaj Chan Yopaat. Temple 18 was the last construction at the site of Copan, and in many ways reflects the increasing turmoil at the site and surrounding areas. In this thesis I explore the temple’s importance within Copan and larger Mesoamerica to better understand its position, layout and function as a funerary crypt. I seek to comprehend the temple’s iconographic message, both historical and mythical, seen in the inclusion of military and maize imagery. I rely on iconographic analysis, spatial analysis, and archaeological and epigraphic data to understand its importance and nuances. I argue that Temple 18 legitimized Yax Pasaj’s rule, and ultimately served as an extension of the kingly persona; Temple 18 memorialized the last’s king’s rule, permanently interring his presence in Copan’s landscape.