Palenque: The Oval Palace Tablet [January 1, 2004]

This tablet shows Pacal the Great sitting on a double-headed jaguar throne just before receiving the crown from his mother, Lady Zak-Kuk. Pacal was 12 years old when he ascended to power and ruled for the next 68 years until his death in A.D. 683.

"Lady Kanal-Ikal [Pacal's great-grandmother] and Lady Zac-Kuk [Pacal's mother] were very unusual individuals in that they are the only women we can be sure ruled as true kings. They were neither consorts nor, as in the case of Lady Wac-Chanil-Ahau of Naranjo, regents for young heirs. Yet by their very status as rulers, they created serious dilemmas for the government of their kingdom. When the throne of Palenque descended through Kanal-Ikal to her children, it became the prerogative of a different lineage, for the Maya nobility reckoned family membership through their males.

Lady Kanal-Ikal and Lady Azc-Kuk were legitimate rulers because they were the children of kings and, as such, members of the current royal lineage. The offspring of their marriages, however, belonged to the father's lineage. Each time these women inherited the kingship and passed it on to their children, the throne automatically descended through another patriline. This kind of jump broke the link between lineage and dynasty in the succession."

Linda Schele & David Freidel, A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya, p. 221

Most of Pacal's successors were inaugurated into the office of king while seated on a throne that once sat below this tablet.