Kinich Janaab Pakal was also known as Pacal (meaning “shield”) and Pacal the Great. There is a good reason why this influential ruler was so admired by his folk, and this very reason is that he raised Palenque’s city to power.
Palenque was a modest-sized city before Pacal came and took the throne. If it was not for him, we do not know if the city could become the most significant Mesoamerican center. Their only rival in richness and splendor was the city of Tikal. The era of Pacal’s rulership is notorious for its wealth and significant relics like the Temple of Inscriptions. The largest stepped-pyramid offers valuable knowledge about the Maya thanks to the hieroglyphic text which was found on Inscription Tablets.
The tomb of Pacal himself was also found in this pyramid, with a sarcophagus which was a work of art in itself. There is a picture on the lid that shows Pakal lying on top of the “earth monster.” The jaguar with the open jaws symbolizes Xibalba and above him, there is the Celestial Bird on the top of the Cosmic Tree, holding a Serpent in its branches. The artwork represents the ruler being between two worlds; the heavens and the underworld with extraordinary symbolism. This shows us how significant and mighty they considered Pacal to be.
The real strength of Pacal’s strategy in the ruling was that he was not only governing one single city, but he expanded his power to the adjacent areas as well. This resulted in several centers of power, with cities where his political influence was dominant. In Ahau, the board game, the players embody the rivalry and warfare between the dominant city-states. You can learn from Pacal’s mastery of governing and place your workers in an adjacent city to make them execute your actions and spread the word about your great kingdom nearby!