Skip to main content
The Codex Dresden, folios 49-50
  • Jacob S. Neely, University of Kentucky

The Codex Dresden (ca. 1200-1400)

The Codex Dresden is ritual-calendrical in nature, like most of the codices. However, it stands out as being one of the most sophisticated and interculturally legible codices that survives.

Between 1865 and 1887, Ernst W. Föstermann recognized astronomical data in the Dresden and used this observation to correlate the Mayan and Gregorian calendars. In essence, mutual observation of the night sky on different continents led to a basis for intercultural understanding. This innovation allowed scholars to date (in the European fashion) some pre-Hispanic documents for the first time.

What’s more, further analyses of the Dresden revealed the stunning accuracy and forethought that went into the elaboration of the document. For example, it contains detailed information regarding the 584-day cycle of Venus as well as solar eclipse cycles. Regarding the later, Harvey and Victoria Bricker postulate that the Maya prediction cycle could accurately predict solar eclipses through the end of 2140.

Seen here are folios 49-50, regarding the cycle of Venus. Compare this to the page displayed for the Codex Borgia, which also regards the position of Venus, there represented as the deity Quetzalcoatl.

Which of the four categories of CONTINUITY apply to the Codex Dresden?


Bricker, Harvey and Victoria R. Bricker. “Classic Maya Prediction of Solar Eclipses.” Current Anthropology, vol. 24, no. 1, 1983, pp. 1-23.

Pool, Christopher and Barry Kidder. “Codex Dresden, p.49-50” and “Codex Dresden, p. 53-54.” A Glimpse into Ancient Mexico: Writings of the Aztecs, Mixtec, and Maya. Sep. 2013- Present. University of Kentucky Special Collections, Lexington, KY. 13 Sep. 2018.

Grube, Nikolai K. "Dresden, Codex." The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 13 Sep. 2018.

Valero de García Lascuráin, Ana Rita. Entre Códices. México: Universidad Anáhuac México Norte, 2012, pp. 32-35.

Curation Date
Photo Source

All scans courtesy of University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center and carried out by Jacob S. Neely.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0
Citation Information
Jacob S. Neely. "The Codex Dresden, folios 49-50" (2018)
Available at: