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Yury Knorozov is the founder of the Soviet school of a mayanistika.

Knorozov Yury Valentinovich (on November 19, 1922, Kharkiv - on March 31, 1999, St. Petersburg) - the ingenious scientist, the founder of the Soviet school of a mayanistika. Doctor of historical sciences (1955). Winner of the State award USSR. Gentleman of an award of the Aztec eagle (Mexico) and Big gold medal (Guatemala). It is known for the decoding of writing of the Maya, in advance of mathematical methods of research of not decoded writings.

Yury Knorozov: the biography of the genius

History of decoding of ancient systems of the letter fits in between two names now - Jean Champolion and Yury Knorozov. After death of the scientist the epithet which characterizes its contribution to science usually is chosen. Knorozov can be characterized in a word - the genius. It out of comparisons and the competition. Its biography full of heartrending experiences, coincidence, paradoxes and even mystifications, completely corresponds to a typical legend of the ingenious personality. During lifetime of Knorozov the same episodes of his life were differently stated by different people - even at his presence. Probably therefore he suggested to write down to me its own version of key events once, having noticed that it is extremely important for it as differently “after death the journalist all will muddle“. Now it is obvious that he in good time prepared the text of own biography, literally dictating the most difficult moments of the destiny as separate plots.

In 2002 to it 80 years would be executed. Official - according to the passport - was considered its on November 19, 1922 birthday. However he claimed that he actually was born on August 31. And both dates treated equally seriously - so it was necessary to congratulate its two once a year. However, did not come to it and to mind to celebrate at least one of these days.

Yury Valentinovich near Kharkiv in a family of the Russian intellectuals was born though the first honored actress of Armenia Mari - Zabel was his paternal grandmother. The house where it was born, remained still - in it there live relatives of the great scientist now. Hunger 30 - x in Ukraine which only kitchen gardens which got divorced even citizens in the most unexpected places allowed to endure remained years one of heavy childhood memories.

Here, in Ukraine, in 1941 appeared in occupation his mother that after war closed for it doors at first of postgraduate study, and then possibilities of departure abroad. Not incidentally, Knorozov with irony peculiar to it liked to say that it “the typical child of Stalin time“. From special stories attached a certain significance traumatized in the childhood, telling in “cable“ style, characteristic of it: “When I was no more than five years old, we played croquet and brothers knocked me a sphere on a forehead. I did not faint and did not even begin to squeak. For brothers everything managed well, and I was almost left without sight. And to read, we will notice, was already able. Sight was restored, though hardly. Probably, it was also some kind of “magical trauma“. I can make the recommendation: to beat future codebreakers a head, it is only not clear as. It is possible to take for experiment control group - and if who kicks off, and it is necessary to that!“, - having joyfully smiled, it presented, probably, me making similar experiments with group of students.

the Question of “a magical trauma“ arose by no means not incidentally - following one of the directions of theoretical researches which there began Knorozov in due time, I conducted researches of functional asymmetry of a brain, testing, in particular, representatives of various social groups. Knorozov to whom this work seemed extremely interesting with pleasure answered the questions of tests which became as it appeared, unique testimonies of features of his personality.

Remembering the school days, Knorozov not without pleasure told about how it tried to exclude for “bad behavior“, a neuspevaniye in some objects and, the main thing, for willful temper. However, the extract from the certificate demonstrates that it finished secondary education with excellent estimates, and the only fours were on Ukrainian. Nevertheless, it obviously did not concern silent pupils. What is only costed by history with the grenade which also did not explode over his head by mere chance. Apparently, eccentricity of this outstanding personality irritated many already then. It is difficult to assume, however, that he was an ordinary hooligan - as Yura perfectly played a violin (probably, the grandmother`s genes affected), perfectly drew and wrote romantic verses.

Our lot - to live! Destiny, envy! Again disasters prepare

for us.

the Wreath of suite

for both of us Freedom, pleasure and love …



Silently everything; the distance is clear - and where not to look

In gentle light of a dawn windows

began to sparkle there were we together then, and our short way

beams of a rising sun … Lit up


An ancient violin - barbarous broken in half and not giving in to restoration any more - it stored for the rest of the natural. On my questions of that as well as why the violin was broken, Knorozov answered only with foggy hints a certain, happened already far back in the past, tragic break in his life. Perhaps, he explained it with an addition to verses: “It is killed in the fall of 1941. My verses …“

In two years prior to these tragic events, in 1939 Knorozov arrives on department of history of the Kharkiv state university of A. M. Gorky. In the obligatory, but extremely laconic biography written in characteristic already then “cable“ style future student writes: “I was born in 1922 in the city of Kharkiv. In 1937 graduated from 7 classes 46 railway from schools. In 1939 graduated from workers` faculty at 2 HMI. The father is the chief engineer of the Southern trust of building materials. Mother is housewife. Brothers: Sergey is surveying engineer, in expedition in the Far East now. Boris is the graduated in a military academy of Military academy of Dzerzhinsky. Leonid is a medical officer 3 ranks of special Far East Army Decorated with the Order of the Red Banner. The sister Galina is a scientist of All-Ukrainian Endocrinological Institute.“ And signature: Knorozov Yury Valentinovich. 29. VII - 1939. Also results of entrance examinations remained - estimates differed from rabfakovsky a little. Why arriving on istfak handed over mathematics - now it is difficult to understand. But for written examination the three was exposed to Knorozov, and for oral - it is excellent. But he received the three also on foreign (probably, to German) to language! The physics, chemistry and Ukrainian were handed over on well, and excellent marks also stories of the people and the constitution of the USSR are given on Russian. Having disaccustomed with

, most likely, at the first year in Kharkiv, Knorozov leaves Ukraine to continue study in Moscow, on department of history of MSU. Its specialization takes place at department of ethnography that is caused by a particular interest in shaman practicians.

War by a black censorial pencil walked according to young Knorozov`s plans, having embellished his biography ridiculous and in the subsequent created to it there are a lot of painful psychological problems legends which it, owing to circumstances unknown to us, was forced to support. (1) As appears from entry in the military ID, Knorozov met a victory near Moscow the operator of the 158th artillery regiment of a reserve of a rate of the commander-in-chief. It is known that he did not participate in capture of Berlin, but, nevertheless, it agrees the official version which arose later, from Berlin as a military trophy it brought two books, extremely important for any researcher of the Maya, allegedly “saved from a flame of the burning library“. This legend was published in a journalistic sketch of the end 50 - x, the USSR glorifying outstanding acts of young citizens.

It is natural that Knorozov had to be familiar with the publication - but me he never mentioned it. In recent years, when the Soviet ideological car was destroyed, Yury Valentinovich tried to get rid from “foolish and ridiculous“ as he spoke, legends and in a new way to present those far events - books lay in boxes of the German library prepared for evacuation in Berlin and from there were taken by the Soviet officers. However a lot of things continue to remain not clear: in - the first how, eventually, these books got to Knorozov? And in - the second why the officer has nobody such editions as “The message on affairs in Yucatan“ of Diego de Landa in Brasseur de Bourbour`s publications and “Codes of the Maya“ in the Guatemalan publication of brothers of Vilyakort were necessary? The great scientist died, without having shared until the end of this hateful for him secret. On the card commenting on an origin of one of books, an addition: “I ask to destroy this leaf immediately“. To whom and why he promised to be silent? Now about it it is only possible to guess. And thanks to these two books decoding of the hieroglyphic letter of the Maya was also carried out.

So, after service in army it returned to MSU to continue study. However he was engaged not in Indians of the Maya at all. Most of all he at that time was interested in shaman practicians what the thesis under the name “Mazar Shamun Nabi was devoted to. Srezneaziatsky version of a legend of Samson“. For collecting material it went to Kazakhstan. Here during field researches he, as the observer, took part in a Sufi zikr in a vault Malumkhan - Sula during which he porkhan (shaman), having entered an ecstatic state, by special movements and exhalations, carried out predictions. Porkhan did not disregard also Knorozov. However its clairvoyance was not absolutely exact that obviously disappointed the captious student.

Struck it rather other details which he and in many years remembered with surprise: “My friend in Khwarezm had a revolver. From where - permission was not clear, probably. It shot from the revolver at hares. On the cemetery, to great amazement of the student, sheikhs specified: “there is a hare, give shoot!“.

Nevertheless, records of field researches became the first publication which appeared in 1949. The most surprising that the text is read not as scientific work, and as a detailed statement of a video series, amazing on accuracy, on which though it is possible to shoot the movie now.

I at this time, caught sight to Knorozov article of the German researcher Paul Schellchas published in 1945 under the name “Decoding of the Letter of the Maya - an Unsoluble Problem“. And this publication sharply changed its scientific plans. It leaves shaman practicians to answer Schellchas`s call: “How it is an unsoluble problem? What is created by one human mind should be solved by another. From this point of view, unsoluble problems does not exist and cannot exist in one of the field of science!“. He steadily adhered to this position all the life.

Actually the decision to decode the letter of the Maya, by own words of Knorozov, was accepted almost like a call or a bet. It often in the memoirs came back to those far events, as if trying to inform of own version of occurring. I in this case intentionally did not begin to look for third-party certificates to state events exactly as he to me dictated them.

managed Department of ethnography on an istfaka 40 at the end - x professor Sergey Pavlovich Tolstov who was by Knorozov`s definition by “the furious Don Cossack“. Being engaged in ancient Khwarezm, he believed that the talented student will become his pupil. However future codebreaker, the person very ambitious and independent at heart, refused the flatter offer that caused quite predictable negative reaction: Tolstov, according to Knorozov, “was enraged“. The relations with the first research supervisor were unconditionally spoiled - so that at thesis defense Tolstov refused to make to Knorozov the formal recommendation in postgraduate study. Fortunately, here at department of ethnography professor Sergey Aleksandrovich Tokarev who was very not loving Tolstov and therefore worked with pleasure supported Knorozov who perfectly understood that the new head “did not believe at all in success of decoding of the letter of the Maya as, following Americans, he considered that this letter is not phonetic“. However the position which is officially declared by Tokarev sounded so: “Youth is time to throw down a challenge“.

Tokarev`s support was invaluable not only from the scientific point of view. In MSU, after unsuccessful attempt of receipt in postgraduate study on an istfaka, Knorozov was told that the postgraduate study for it is closed in any establishment from - for the fact that his family appeared in the territory occupied by the enemy. Then professor Tokarev, having the influence and communications in the scientific world, arranged the pupil to work as the junior researcher in the Museum of ethnography of the people of the USSR that near the Russian Museum. So began Leningrad - the main - the period of life of Knorozov. In Leningrad on Fontanka there lived the grandmother`s sister on mother, the old resident of St. Petersburg. However Knorozov lodged in the Museum. It was the personal museum of the emperor Aleskandr III, in the building everything was provided, up to housing for all personnel - “from the director to the last janitor“. Here, in long as the case to the room also lodged the junior researcher without scientific degree. From a floor to a ceiling the room was filled with books, on walls it hanged out portrayals of hieroglyphs of the Maya. From furniture there was only a desk and a soldier`s bed. Tell that already then under a table there was a battery of bottles - trouble which pursued his all life.

Belonged to duties of the junior researcher to sort and wash exhibits of the museum which was injured when bombings. But, being engaged, according to him, “draft museum work without claims“ he devoted all the free time to the main thing - decoding of the letter of the Maya.

two books from the German library already were by this time at Knorozov`s disposal. First of all, it translated from old Spanish into Russian “The message on affairs in Yucatan“. And at once understood that the alphabet from 29 signs which is written down in the 16th century by the Franciscan monk is a key to decoding of the letter of the Maya. Thanks to comments of the publisher of “The dictionary from Motul“, he dealt with the misunderstanding which arose at dictation of the alphabet - when the informant wrote down Mayan signs not sounds, but names of the Spanish letters.

But if to speak about history of decoding of the letter of the Maya, then it is worth coming back by the 19th century when in 1822 in London the message of the captain the dragoon Antonio del Rio about fancy ancient Indian ruins in Palenque appeared. Six years later Alexander von Humboldt for the first time published five pages of the unknown drawn manuscript from Mexico stored since 1793 in the Dresden royal Library. Interest among the European scientists and just fans of antiquities to the unknown letter from America arose not incidentally. It was time when Champolion managed to deal with a trilingual inscription on the Rozettsky stone and to decode the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic letter - that inexpressibly inspired linguists and historians. All waited that secrets of the left civilizations will begin to be revealed one by one. The Americanist Konstantin Rafineske - Shmalts the first found undoubted similarity between signs on monuments of Palenque and in the found library manuscript. In 1832 he reported about the guesses to Jean Champolion, having fairly assumed that reading the manuscript can be a key to reading “monumental“ inscriptions. However same year the great Egyptologist died, having hardly touched secret of the letter of the Maya. For Rafineske - the glory of the founder of researches on Mayan hieroglyphics remained Shmalts.

In the next 30 years were found two more Codes of the Maya and, at last, Diego de Landa`s manuscript “Message on affairs in Yucatan“. In 1864 it is published in Paris by the spiritual mentor of Indians of the Maya - rabinal the abbot Brasseur de Bourbour - in the old Spanish and French languages, having preceded by introduction with the name, remarkable for the 19th century: “About sources of primitive history of Mexico and Central America in the Egyptian monuments and primitive history of Egypt in andmerikansky monuments“. At the end of the edition the grammar of language of the Maya, the short Maya - the French dictionary and for some reason the dictionary of drevnegaityansky language was placed.

The German scientist Ernst Ferstman managed to establish a position way of writing of numbers therefore became possible to understand dates in manuscripts. He in detail commented on calendar records, established connection of numbers with astronomical and chronological dates. Along with Ferstman, but irrespective of him, American Joseph Goodman was engaged in the Mayan letter. He also managed to deal with chronological part and, besides, defined values of front options of figures in dates.

Then followed organized expeditions to the world of ancient Maya - in particular Peabody`s museum and Carnegie`s Institute - and finds fell down one by one. Processing of materials began. Researches of inscriptions Chichen - Itsa allowed Herman Bayer to finish work on definition of the calendar mechanism of “the long account“ together with Eric Thompson. Bayer established that the variable element of an introduction hieroglyph of an initial series is connected with the name of a twenty-day cycle of month. American Charles Baudich did huge work on synthesis of separate data and development of the main directions of further researches. It collected magnificent drawings and images of signs of the letter, calendar cycles, gods.

Brasseur de Burburom was identified part of signs. So, for example, the sign u which most often is found in manuscripts quite could have the specified reading. However reading many other signs looked absolutely impossible. Not to mention that some of them were identified incorrectly, and in attempts to present their reading “according to Lande“ unsoluble puzzles turned out.

is the closest to decoding of the letter of the Maya the beautiful expert on drevnevostochny letters, Frenchman Leon de Roni approached in 1881. It was the first not only that allocated the hieroglyphs designating colors of the directions of the countries of light (yellow - the South, white - the North, black - the West, red - the East), but also output the theory according to which in the letter of the Maya ideograms, soundtracks and determinatives were used. Moreover, Roni absolutely reasonably believed that the phonetic component was syllabic. He managed to read correctly the word which is written down by signs from “Landa`s alphabet“. This word was cutz “turkey-cock“ which is written down by the syllabic signs cu - tzu. Roni came to the correct conclusion about that. that “Landa`s alphabet“ could serve as a valuable key to identification of it of “a phonetic component“.

Cyrus Thomas who managed to read three more words correctly followed his example: “scare“

of moo; kuch “signature stamp“; le “silok“. If Leon de Roni or Cyrus Thomas managed to prove that the same sign is read equally in different hieroglyphs, that is would show so-called “cross reading“, then the issue of decoding would be resolved at the end of the last century. However in 1880 in the USA the book is published Filippa Valentini under the name “Landa`s Alphabet - the Spanish Fabrication“ was nobody. The author proved that at all not signs of the Maya, and just drawings of various objects which names begin with an alphabet letter which under each of them is written - like modern children`s alphabets are given in the manuscript. For example: under a letter and the turtle who is called in language of the Maya of aac under a letter b is represented it is expensive, in language of the Maya of be, etc. Valentini`s arguments though were not accepted by all scientists, but nevertheless made strong impression and interest in Landa`s alphabet weakened.

As a result the American scientist Sylvanus Morley, having published in 1915 the generalizing work on hieroglyphics, paid the main attention mainly to calendar series, having absolutely disregarded the main text. And at scientists among whom there were no so outstanding linguists as Leon de Roni any more the unfounded opinion began to dominate that Maya had no alphabetic characters.

To the middle of the XX century in the USA already developed the whole school of mayanist which was headed by Englishman Eric Thompson. He also made an attempt of interpretation of calendar dates and hieroglyphs on the basis of data about kalendarno - a tsifovy code. In one of sections of the monograph “Hieroglyphic Writing of the Maya“ published in 1950 devoted generally to studying of a calendar it nevertheless made an attempt to go beyond dates, but these interpretation of not calendar signs differed in an extreme complexity. Actually what it was possible to expect if already in the preface Thompson categorically declared: “At all there is no doubt that Landa was mistaken in attempt to receive the alphabet of the Maya at the informer. The Maya signs usually never transfer words, occasionally, maybe, syllables of compound words, but, as far as we know, alphabet letters“. Probably Thompson decided that if he does not know, then does not follow and he especially stands on ceremony neither with Landa`s alphabet, nor with the letter of the Maya.

Should pay tribute to American Benjamin Vorf who made in the early forties the last attempt of scientific decoding - but he, unfortunately, was severely condemned by the almighty head Eric Thompson (and also, naturally, the school following it) and therefore, probably, did not risk to continue the researches, despite very encouraging results any more. Having ignored the accuracy of definitions accepted in professional linguistics, Eric Thompson began to use the term “decoding“ only in sense of any interpretation of separately taken signs. Thereby it blocked to talented representatives of the school a possibility of scientific research of the letter of the Maya as systems, having generous provided chance to achieve success to researchers from other countries.

Why, there is a natural question, Knorozov managed to finish decoding of this letter? “Secret“ is covered only in one - unlike the archeologist - the practician Thompson, Knorozov had the highest gift of analytical approach and creation of theoretical models. He to details developed theoretical justifications of a method and only then started actually analysis and decoding. In - the first, it accurately defined that is considered linguistic decoding (transition to exact phonetic reading hieroglyphs) and what it differs from the interpretation offered, in particular, by Thompson which is only attempt to assume value or reading separate signs in. Besides, it was necessary to understand that have nothing in common among themselves decoding of historical systems of the letter (in particular the Maya) and decoding of confidential codes. In ancient texts signs stand regularly, but reading them is forgotten; and language or is unknown, or strongly changed. In the encoded records the known signs are replaced by others, their order is mixed, and language has to be known. Thus, the general at both decodings can call only the end result - achievement of understanding of the written-down text. All the rest variously: both general scientific training of the codebreaker, and text volume, necessary for processing, and methodological approach.

the method applied by Knorozov when decoding the letter of the Maya and used in a consequence for decodings of the letter of Easter Island and protoindysky texts received the name of “a method of position statistics“. Its basic elements were revealed by codebreakers of ancient systems of the letter of the first half of the 20th century and were already successfully applied in 40 - 50 years by Michael Ventris. Knorozov managed to generalize and develop a decoding method then tested it on the letter of the Maya to the theory.

Decoding as it was already mentioned, carried out on the basis of three remained hieroglyphic manuscripts of the Maya - Parisian, Madrid and Dresden. It turned out that 355 independent signs occur in texts of all three manuscripts. It allowed Knorozov to define letter type as phonetic, morfemno - sillabicheskiya. That is each sign of the Maya was read as a syllable. Syllables could be the following types:


public - concordant,

concordant - public,

concordant - public - concordant.

Preliminary acquaintance to contents of texts began with identification of hieroglyphs which could be read, using Landa alphabetic characters as a key:

che - e - so in the Madrid manuscript is written down the word che “tree“

che - le - Chel “rainbow“, a name of the goddess Ish Chel

by ki - ki - kik “balls of fragrant pitch“

ma - ma - so in the Dresden manuscript serves written down a name of the bodestvenny ancestor of Mam

by Criterion of correctness of decoding in linguistics so-called “cross reading“ - i.e. when the same sign is read equally in different words, and these words communicate in intelligent offers, and those, in turn, do not contradict all text. Several such examples without effort were succeeded to find Knorozova.

u-lu> of ul “come“

u - lu - um> ulum “turkey-cock“

cu - tzu> cutz “turkey-cock“

tzu - lu> tzul “dog“

These examples often was confirmed by the accompanying scene where the turkey-cock or a dog was respectively represented.

came Further turn of work with dictionaries and gradual accumulation of quantity of readable signs.

At the initial stage of decoding first of all was required to reveal a maximum of signs with known (or assumed) reading. Then, making a start from what was recorded by Landa, to fill up in every way a collection of recognizable signs for further advance. Knorozov`s reasonings in these cases were under construction as follows: Land`s

provides a syllabic sign in the alphabet - cu. It appears the first in a hieroglyph of “turkey-cock“ which sense is allegedly defined by checking of the text and the accompanying drawing. In language of the Maya two synonyms for expression of the concept “turkey-cock“ of cutz and ulum are used. It is possible to assume that the block of a turkey-cock is phonetic record of the word cutz and then the second sign in it has to have the concordant - tz.

At the same time a sign transferring - tz costs to the first in a hieroglyph accompanying the image of a dog. And in this hieroglyph to the second there is a sign which Landa placed in the alphabet as - l. In language of the Maya there are several synonyms for expression of the concept “dog“: pek, tzul, ah bil, bincol. From all this set the second option naturally most of all approaches. From what it is necessary to draw a conclusion that the hieroglyph of a dog is phonetic record of the word tzul as the first sign of a hieroglyph contains tz, and the second - l.

There were also other hints. So, for example, on the page 19a of the Dresden manuscript instead of figure 11 there was suddenly a hieroglyph from three signs. It was not necessary to be also Sherlock Holmes to assume: this hieroglyph is than other as phonetic record of a numeral “eleven“ in language Maya of buluc. Value of the first sign - is unknown. The second sign in Landa`s alphabet and in a hieroglyph of a dog is read as l. The third sign in Landa`s alphabet and in a hieroglyph of a turkey-cock is read to cu. Out of any doubts, it had to be phonetic record of a numeral 11 buluc. And the first sign had reading bu. It became gradually clear that by transfer of one concordant, public in a syllabic sign simply it was not read.

But it was only the beginning of work with the text. Then the following stage - a stage of studying of the text followed. First of all all text should have been formalized - i.e. to present it in the form of a set of the standardized signs. For this purpose was to be just very exact a little - it was necessary to develop special skills - to seize a font and individual handwriting of copyists of the Maya. Drawing up a transcription provided an identification of all variations of writing, and also the semi-erased and distorted graphemes.

For convenience of research the text should be considered as a number of the morphemes located in the sequence peculiar to this language. It is known that all morphemes share on root and office. By means of office morphemes word forms are formed and communication between words in the offer is carried out. It is necessary to notice that seldom there are more than five morphemes in one word form. To everyone it is clear that it is not enough office morphemes in language in comparison with root. Therefore the frequency of the most usable office morphemes in the usual text has to exceed the frequency of root morphemes much more.

it was necessary to deal with the frequency of the use of signs Now. In total there were 355 graphemes repeating on structure, not including strongly deviating variations, figures, and diacritical signs. In process of advance in the text of new signs became less and less. In the text of manuscripts signs had various absolute and relative (i.e. excepting repetition cases as a part of the same hieroglyph) frequency. About a third of all signs meet as a part of only one hieroglyph. About two thirds are used in structure of less than 50 hieroglyphs. And only single signs meet extremely often. The sign which in Landa`s alphabet transmits u sound became the absolute champion.

followed Further definition of grammatical reviewers. On the position in line hieroglyphs were divided into six groups. Having analysed their compatibility with variables and semivariables signs, Knorozov managed to allocate the hieroglyphs transferring main and secondary parts of the sentence. It became clear that variable signs as a part of hieroglyphs had to transfer affixes and syntactic words (particles, pretexts, the unions).

after that, on the basis of definition of grammatical reviewers of hieroglyphs and separate variables and semivariables of signs the following stage did not make special work any more to assume the general sense of the main types of offers which there were five in which sentence parts were combined in rather rigid sequence: a predicate - addition - a subject - definition - circumstance.

Further there came the turn of work with dictionaries and gradual accumulation of quantity of readable signs and the proof of correctness of this reading by cross reading. Thus, becomes obvious that decoding of the letter of the Maya consisted in identification like letter, definition of functions of signs, grammatical reviewers, root and office morphemes, establishment of reading the main structure of signs and proofs of this reading by cross reading. Knorozov in a room - a case of Institute of Ethnography of the people of the USSR perfectly coped with all this. Then reading and the translation of three manuscripts of the Maya followed. And still a bit later the method of decoding was approved on other ancient systems of the letter - Easter Island and protoindian. The collections devoted to results of work on texts received naming later: “The forgotten systems of the letter“.

So, at the beginning of 50 - x the letter of the Maya was read. The first publication about results of decoding appeared in 1952. The success of the young scientist even united for the period of Tolstov and Tokarev, achieved Knorozov`s translation for work in Cabinet of curiosities - at that time the Leningrad office of Institute of ethnography of Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Protection of the master`s thesis as the applicant was coming. However again there were problems about which Knorozov always told with special pleasure. The matter is that in a question of the Maya Indians the Marxist dogma had at the order only opinion of Engels on lack of the states in pre-Columbian America. At the same time, according to the same dogma, the phonetic letter could exist only at emergence of class state educations. The statement for presence at the Maya of the phonetic letter automatically assumed a denial of provisions of Engels that could cause, as we know, the most unexpected consequences. The thesis sounded neutrally: “The message on affairs in Yucatan Diego de Landa as ethno - a historical source“. However as the main objective the proof of presence of the state at Indians of the Maya and then justification of presence of the phonetic letter was put. As Yury Valentinovich told, he went for protection and did not know, than everything will end, allowing even the most dreadful - charges of a revisionism of the Marxist doctrine and arrest. Protection took place in Moscow on March 29, 1955 and already next day turned into a legend. Knorozov`s performance on an academic council, on a trope of eyewitnesses, lasted exactly three and a half minutes, and assignment of a rank not became result candidate, and doctor of historical sciences. At the same time, as Knorozov told, the research supervisor Tokarev was the only thing who voted against assignment to the pupil of a rank of the doctor of historical sciences at once, and Tolstov was the first who insisted on it.

Defense of a thesis on Indians of the Maya became scientific and cultural sensation in the Soviet Union, very quickly learned about decoding and abroad. It seemed paradox - having never visited Mexico, the Soviet researcher made what many scientists of the different countries for years conducting field researches among the Maya did not achieve? Without leaving an office, it decoded the ancient letter, based on texts of three remained manuscripts that allowed it to think up in the subsequent the defensive phrase similar to the known maxim of Hercule Poirot about “gray substance“: “I am the room scientist. To work with texts, there is no need to climb pyramids“.

And actually he very much wanted to appear in Mexico. But it was impossible - it long time continued to remain “not eligible to travel abroad“. Participation in the International congress of Americanists in Copenhagen in 1956 became its only trip abroad. At insistance of the academician A. P. Okladnikov, Knorozov was included in structure of the Soviet delegation. Since then, up to 1990 it did not leave already anywhere, even without suspecting about the numerous invitations coming to his name. However, from the son V. A. Kuzmishchev I happened to hear also other version according to which Knorozov after a trip to Copenhagen was decided “not to be let out“ from - for too independent behavior which was not fitting into a framework of the rules existing for “the Soviet delegations“. Anyway, foreign Americanists some time were perplexed concerning refusal of the colleague of contacts, but, having quickly understood features of the Soviet customs, stretched to Leningrad. Among the first there was both the largest linguist David Kelly and the famous archeologist Michael Ko. The most known mayanist - as, for example, Tatyana Proskuryakova - considered it as honor to send it the publications. With special pride Yury Valentinovich liked to tell about how in the middle of cold war the American school recognized a fonetizm of the letter of the Maya and the principle of decoding offered them. But he also did not suspect what storm of hatred was caused by its success in the head of the American school of a mayanistika Eric Thompson. And cold war was there is nothing at all. The Englishman by origin Eric Thompson, having learned about results of work of the young Soviet scientist, at once understood, “who got a victory“. It is not surprising - he fairly was considered as one of the largest researchers of culture and the Maya hieroglyphics. But the thought that someone moreover from young people moreover from Russia, could bypass it, seemed intolerable. Especially as he so many years, having so many opportunities, prepared for the edition the catalog of signs and when that was published in 1956, at once it was obsolete. On October 27, 1957 in the message to Michael of Co, full of a literary delicacy, evil sarcasm and intolerance to scientific dissent, Eric Thompson wrote: “… When the centuries which ran during existence of the world became very much, it is difficult to present that these old trustful street children … imagined in the naivety

I that, these children? Of course, not children of Christopher Fraya, but the witches flying astride wild cats on the midnight sky by order of Yury. David Kelly who chased Ketsalkoatl the Thorn, Tonatiu and Sholotl on atolls of the Pacific Ocean as I chased with a net butterflies … in England; the poor sexually yearned Tanya who is looking for in the prophet from once sacred Russia droshky which would take it to Chekhovian pleasure. Who else? Oh yes g - N of Dalgetti who the first was going to read the inscriptions Palenque and then to translate the Chronicle from Kalkini, nowadays declares that he thanks to Yury can read any word from Manuscripts … I quietly watch Burland and David Kelly`s run after Yury as I precisely know that to Yury there will be the same that once happened to other guys, such as Cyrus Thomas and Benzhi Vorf,

which were also trying to read hieroglyphs … … And therefore at me pressure as it was after reading of the last revelations of Yury does not increase any more … I quietly perceive all this while work with my catalog of hieroglyphs of the Maya which, I am sure is continued, serves for a long time both for Yury and for many others … For this reason at me pressure does not increase and I keep away from your Square Table … Well, Mike, you will live till 2000. Enclose this message to Introduction to “The hieroglyphic letter of the Maya“ and judge then whether I was right …“

Michael Ko kept this letter and in the first day 2000 having re-read it declared: “Thompson was not right. The rights there was Knorozov and now all of us who are engaged in the Maya are knorozovist“. It distributed the copy of the letter to colleagues. So there was one more tall tale from life of the great codebreaker Yury Knorozov. Knorozov was not familiar with this letter, but it certainly would be pleasant to it - and not only the fact that all pathos of Thompson demonstrated understanding of the defeat, and also powerless rage from - for inaccessibilities of the Soviet scientist who could not forbid to work as in due time the gentleman Thompson did it with poor “Benzhi the Vorfy“. But here images and constant literary allegories of the Englishman were quite in knorozovsky spirit. Not to mention almost Bulgakov mention of cats with witches in the midnight sky. Knorozov also liked to call concourses of mayanist sabbaths … And comparison with leading a sabbath the Satan to it even flattered.

Cats for Knorozov was always considered as animals “sacred and inviolable“. The Siamese cat Asya (Adder) who had a son by the name of Fat Kys was the best-known representative of this sort. The chief quite “seriously“ represented Asya as the coauthor of the deepest theoretical article devoted to a problem of emergence of the alarm system and the speech and liked to be indignant to the fact that the editor preparing article for the publication cleaned a cat`s name from the title. The portrait of Tolstoy Kys who managed to catch in deep infancy at a window of a pigeon always took the place of honor on a big desk. Strangely enough, while over the ocean passions boiled, Knorozov did not even suspect so furious opponent of Thompson. The main scientific enemy for him continued to remain the German scientist Thomas Bartel who actually remained where as more loyal opponent. With Bartel it led irreconcilable polemic and on decoding of writing of the Maya and by the first results of application of a method of decoding to studying of texts of Easter Island. For the first time Knorozov addressed the letter of Easter Island in 1957 what the publication in the Culture and Life magazine which was called confirms: “The speaking tree: About researches of ancient writing of Easter Island“ [Culture and life. 1957. No. 3. Page 38 - 43] Subsequently decoding of the letter of ancestors of rapanuyets, and reading the texts which remained on plates to a kokha rongorongo were carried out by Irina Konstantinovna Fedorova - the schoolgirl and the colleague of the great codebreaker.

So, the decoding of the letter of the Maya offered by Knorozov was recognized by experts, the dissertation which was soon published as the preface to the translation of “The message on affairs in Yucatan“ by Diego de Landa is brilliantly defended. Its scientific achievement was estimated in the country at the level of progress in space exploration.

at the beginning of 60 - x - to Knorozov suggested to participate in drawing up the first computer program for machining of texts of the Maya. The group of programmers from Novosibirsk under the leadership of Evreinov gathered strange and, by Yury Valentinovich`s definition, consisting of “very impudent swindlers“. Having taken away all materials of Knorozov, they tried to create certain as now we would call it, primary database on signs of manuscripts. At the same time they constantly hinted at the cooperation with military departments and declared that they are engaged in “the theory of decoding“. After a while the Novosibirsk group solemnly declared that they developed “the theory of machine decoding“ and published the database of Knorozov computerized … in 4 volumes. They signed the edition in language of the Maya and immediately presented N. S. Khrushcheva. From the point of view of experts, the declared “machine decoding“ was full nonsense and any impression, except fastidiousness, did not make. Especially as in 1963 there was a magnificent monograph of Knorozov “Writing of Indians of the Maya“. However this ridiculous misunderstanding called for low-expert public into question original results of decoding. Almost a century later in a fatal way the situation surprisingly similar to a ridiculous story with Valentini`s publication repeated. Abroad opponents also used this pretext to challenge opening of the Soviet scientist. And twenty years` expectation of deserved recognition when only in 1975, with the publication of the translation of manuscripts of the Maya, to it the State Award USSR was awarded turned into bitter test. [Hieroglyphic manuscripts of the Maya. L.: Science, 1975. 272 pages]

B 60 - 70 were written years by Knorozov heading Group of ethnic semiotics brilliant theoretical works, decoding of the letter of Easter Island was conducted and, of course, the number of the read texts of the Maya - on vessels and monumental monuments was increased. The important place in its researches was taken by a problem of an origin of the mesoamerican letter which it connected with the letter of Olmecs. The circle of scientific interests of Knorozov was surprisingly wide - from decoding of ancient systems of the letter, linguistics and semiotics before settling of America, an arkheoastronomiya, Shamanism, evolution of a brain and the theory of collective. He generously distributed scientific ideas in hope that somebody will finish their development. “I am not an octopus“, - he liked to repeat.

It attached special significance to decoding of the protoindian letter, work on which was begun at the beginning of 60, - x. The method developed by it was here too applied. [Characteristic of language of the protoindian inscriptions//Preliminary message on research of the protoindian texts: Sb. articles. M, 1965. Page 46 - 51.] This direction was headed subsequently by M. F. Albedil.

Theoretical conclusions of Yu. V. Knorozov about fundamental difference of social systems from other biological became an important step in general idea about development of live systems. In a key of the system approach relying on features of work of a brain of the person it developed not only a method of decoding of ancient systems of the letter, but also the theory of communication and the theory of collective. These researches were conducted within the Brain program of the special commission of Presidium of Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Basic provisions of the theory of decoding were stated by Yu. V. Knorozov in the article “Unknown Texts“ published as the preface to the collection of materials on decoding of ancient systems of the letter. System approach to emergence of communication in collective was formulated in the article “To a Question of Classification of the Alarm System“. [Main problems of African Studies. M, Science, 1973. Page 324 - 334.]

Formulating bases of the system approach to “the theory of collective“ Yu. V. Knorozov noted that all systems lifeless and wildlife submit to the general regularities operating in the Universe (“universal system“), one of which, inherent in all systems the tendency to development from the lowest forms to the highest is. Development can be interpreted as acquisition by this system to some extent of some properties of “universal system“. Emergence of system of the highest order as a result of a quantum leap leads to emergence of new properties which, naturally, cannot be reduced to properties of units making system. So, properties of elementary particles are not similar to properties of the main differentiated system of wildlife - atom, and property of the integrated systems - molecules, a crystal - are not the sum of properties of the atoms making them. The features and regularities of development are peculiar to each level. In the conditions of our planet of the highest on the organization by the integrated system the live organism is. … The association of people is not further development or the highest form of association of animals, and represents the following type of the differentiated system, i.e. association of associations“, - he wrote. The belief that any theoretical provisions cannot be torn away from emotional correlation with personal “I“ the researcher was its position and the person and the scientist. He liked to collect and long stored various pictures which in a grotesque form as if “illustrated“ its theoretical conclusions. One of favourite illustrations was, the image of a huge pangolin which is cut out from some publication whom tears to parts sonmishche of small creatures. This picture “A meeting of an academic council“ was called. Deeply personal emotional approach to everything that mattered for it, was shown also in aspiration to call people, objects and the phenomena of nicknames or to give the reduced names. So, for example, the thick dictionary of language of the Maya “Kordomeks“ was renamed in “Tolstomyas“. It called the Mexican who shot about it the magnificent movie precisely “Mad Dakotka“. Michael Ko was “Bear“, but the wife of this American archeologist Sofie Dobrzhanskaya (the daughter of the pupil Vavilov of Feodosiy Dobrzhansky who went to the USA) remained Sofya Feodosyevna. It should be noted that nicknames were got only by those people and objects to which it treated with sympathy, characters of such honor, unpleasant for it, never received. But always with special respect remembered names of all familiar animals and by all means in each letter was interested as they by name live. Called cats as well as Sofya Feodosyevna by name, and was able to afford to rename a dog into “barbos“. Him as it was already mentioned, colleagues called for eyes only “chief“, and in attacks of good mood of “shefuly“. He called that it into Spanish of manners called “Don Jorge“ - but nobody ventured it. Even foreigners diligently uttered his full name: Yury Valentinovich.

Knorozov perfectly knew literature - from antiquity to detective stories which especially were pleasant to it. Possessing fine memory, could quote precisely very many texts - not only poetic, but also prose. With age, its literary tastes not that changed, but, if I may say so, “lost relevance“. 40 - x it carried “Alkey and Safo“ to the literary addictions of the period in translation of Vyach. Ivanova. In 80 - e and 90 - e years favourite books were “Our person in Havana“ of Graham Green, “The fourth vertebra“ of Martie Larni and “Adventures of the gallant soldier Shveyk“ of Yaroslav Gashek. “In life only the sense of humour also rescued me“, - Yury Valentinovich admitted more than once. Much it seemed sometimes the person severe and unsociable. However, once carrying out one of tests at my request, he, to my astonishment, unexpectedly sharply answered the question “whether you love loneliness?“: “Is not present!“. For Knorozov annual expeditions to the Kuril Islands had special value. The Kuril ridge as it was represented by Knorozov, was the approach to Beringiya - a way on which long ago ancient ancestors of Indians crossed the bared ocean floor, reaching coast of America. Settling of this continent continues to remain one of the most important problems of American studies also now.

At the beginning of 80 - x very few people decided to oppose the standard opinion that America was populated not earlier than 20 thousand years BC - shortage of archaeological data affected. It is natural that absence on the American earth of ancient human remains was considered as the most convincing argument. Nevertheless, Knorozov did not agree with date in 20 thousand years and developed own hypothesis according to which this historical event udrevnyalos to 40 thousand years. This hypothesis in the opinion of many colleagues looked really revolutionary and demanded convincing proofs. However, not cmotrya on the international recognition, Knorozov had no opportunity to participate in foreign projects. And therefore for search of arguments and proofs it undertook prospecting expeditions on islands Is southern - the Kuril ridge: To Iturup, Kunashir and Shikotan. Formally was considered that annual expeditions of institute of ethnography and institute of archeology went to islands for research of the remains of settlements of the relic people - Ainu who were moved from there in due time by Japanese. Unknown predecessors of Ainu who, perhaps, could have any relation to far Paleolithic immigrants on the American continent also were of however not smaller interest to Knorozov. Exactly here once there passed the way to Beringiya opening glaciers. But the main thing for the codebreaker of the letter of the Maya consisted that in this point of the territory of the USSR from Kunashir and Iturup Mexico was separated only by the Pacific Ocean.

As it was already mentioned, in Soviet period Knorozov was considered as “not eligible to travel abroad“. At the same time he bitterly joked, “the infinite commissions on export him to Mexico were created and already all members of the commissions there already visited“. I remember what rage was caused in it by the script of the movie of Radzinsky preparing for the publication about secrets of letters of the Maya - at all not from - for ignorances of the actual details and superficiality of a plot. First of all from - for the fact that in the movie the codebreaker comes from winter Leningrad to Mexico “in a warm fur coat“. “It what, wants to expose me the full idiot?“, - Knorozov was indignant. The scenario was not published and the movie was not shot. But … when Yury Valentinovich for the first time flew across the ocean - it was the winter - only for the third day it was succeeded to persuade him to take off a fur cap and a warm coat … It happened to

only in 1990 when Knorozov was invited by the president of the country Vinicio Cerezo Arevalo. The invitation coincided with the period of active efforts on defrosting of diplomatic relations with Guatemala. The government of Guatemala organized Knorozova visit of all brightest sights of the country and noted merits of the great scientist delivery to it the Big Gold Medal of the President of Guatemala. Though already not the young scientist also said to a trip that “he perfectly knows all archaeological places according to publications“, nevertheless, never to forget that surprising expression of his face when he rose by a pyramid of Tikal. Accompanying did not believe that it will be able to rise to the top - but it rose and long stood there alone. As always smoked - and it was shipped in the images. Its ability of forming of a video series was amazing …

In Guatemala managed to stay about two months and to visit the main archaeological zones. However travel in the spirit of traditional Guatemalan show came to an end or “Wick - an enda the terrorists who had us demonstrative shadowed and threatening to blow up our car suddenly appeared in Guatemala “ -. Knorozov was very happy - the present detective story was developed directly around it. However, this detective story ended with nothing - for safety reasons just it was necessary to leave the country to which Yury Valentinovich till last days dreamed to return.

Then, since 1995 followed trips to Mexico by the invitation of National Institute of History and Anthropology. It was happy, visiting all most treasured places - Palenque, Bonampak, Yashchilan, Chichen - Itsa, La - Venta, Monte - Alban, Teotihuacan, Xochicalco … If in 1990 it quite vigorously rose by a pyramid of the Big Jaguar in Tikal, then five years later descent to a sarcophagus in Palenque cost to it incredible efforts and he admitted it. But it was happy on the earth of the Maya.

In 1995 in Embassy of Mexico in Moscow was handed to it a silver Award of the Asteksky Eagle. These awards are handed by the Mexican government to the foreign citizens having exclusive merits in front of Mexico. This award had special value for Knorozov. Having received it, he told in Spanish: “Mi coraz ó n siempre es mexicano“ (“Heart I always remain Mexican“).

Knorozov the trip in 1997 on Hugo - the West of the USA, in so-called “Four Corners“ became the last achieved scientific dream, from where, on its representations very far cultural ancestors of the Maya once came to Mexico, having brought with themselves legends about a northern ancestral home.

the Great codebreaker died on March 30, 1999. Remained before issue in Mexico of the three-volume edition under the name “Decoding, Catalogue and Shkaret Dictionary of Yury Knorozov“ very little. He died alone in a corridor of one of city hospitals. Many people gathered for farewell to the great scientist, without being located in a close hospital morgue. It very much liked the Nevsky Monastery, but buried him on a new cemetery, already outside the city limits. Something its funeral reminded restless death of Paganini. But at geniuses everything occurs not as at ordinary people. And Yury Valentinovich Knorozov was the ingenious scientist whose contribution to science by right belongs to the greatest opening of the left 20th century.


[Yershov G. G. Yury Valentinovich Knorozov//Portraits of historians. Time and destinies. M, Science, 2004. Page 474