Many of the monuments from the Maya area contain glyphs that fall into what is known as the “Lunar Supplementary Series,” components of which have been understood for a very long time. Morley, Teeple, Thompson, Andrews, Schele, Grube and Fahsen are among the more well-known students.
The commonly-used designations for the glyphs in this series, however, are a
bit of a puzzle. These designations use letters of the alphabet, and are,
in general, read in reverse order—with a few zingers. Schele, Grube and
Fahsen (1992) explain it this way:
|Epigraphers have been studying the supplementary series for almost a century. Morley (1916) completed the first extensive study of the lunar series. He collected eighty examples, arranged them in a chart with each text placed in a horizontal row and all similar parts compared in vertical columns. Since Morley saw more regularity in the columns to the right of his charts than in those to the left, he assigned alphabetic designations (A-G) going from right to left on the charts. Because of his strange assumption, the alphabetic order of the supplementary series reverses the reading order of the glyphs. Glyphs G and F are read first, Glyph A last. He used X as the designation of a variable glyph that occurred between his Glyph C and D. E. Wyllys Andrews IV (1938) added Glyphs Z and Y to the series as designations for a pair of glyphs Morley had included in the original charts, but not labelled. Andrews retained the reversed alphabetic order so that Z is read before Y.|
So, let’s see if I’ve got this right. Morley initially observed that between the day (veintena) and the haab day glyphs was a series of optional glyphs to which he gave the letters A-F; for convenience, he added the letter X, and then assigned the letters starting with the last glyph in this optional series:
(Initial Series Introductory Glyph)
Remember that not all inscriptions contain all of the supplementary series, and some don't contain any. The G glyphs are very common, with F glyphs often being incorporated into them; E and D glyphs are not as common, and you will usually not see both in an inscription even though the "rules" of the Mayan Calendar say you should. A glyphs are less common than the D and E glyphs, but not by much, and B glyphs are usually seen with A glyphs. X glyphs are much less common, by a large percentage.
Later, E. Wyllys Andrews added two glyphs, the Y and the Z (again, for convenience, not in that order); so what we’ve got now (when all the glyphs in the supplementary series are present) is:
|ISIG||Initial Series Introductory Glyph|
|G||The Nine Lords of the Underworld|
|F||Jester Headband verb|
|Z||Seven Lords of the Earth|
|Y||Seven Lords of the Earth|
|B||God B Elbow|
|A||Length of Lunation|
If you are not confused by now, you should be .
You can click on the glyphs to go to the page describing that component of the supplementary series.
Main web site: http://www.pauahtun.org