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Aztec and Maya Myths (Legendary Past Series) Paperback – 1993


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Karl Taube is aProfessor of Anthropology at the University of California at Riverside.
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Product Details

  • Series: Legendary Past Series
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1 edition (1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 029278130X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292781306
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Dr. Karl Taube's book "Aztec and Maya Myths" is an excellent introductory book for the study of ancient Mesoamerican mythology and cosmogony. This book is geared more towards a neophyte audience. Taube's book is not intended as a complete treatment of an immense topic, but rather provides the reader with a basic understanding of native Mexican mythology, and the tools to search further into the topic if one is so inclined. I would greatly recommend this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rafael Kühn on April 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
As always, Karl Taube provides good value with a book about Mesoamerican mythology written specifically for the beginner. He starts by illustrating the various sources from which these stories have come down to us, and then recites Maya and Aztec beliefs (mainly concerning Creation) in a fluent and enjoyable way. He doesn't go into the details as much as one could wish, and makes little mention of secondary myths which aren't yet completely understood, but - especially as far as the Aztec part is concerned - he does a fine job of hooking the reader onto the spiritual worlds of cultures that have rarely found their equal in both comlexity and richness of meaning. Buy and get excited.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Zeveck on July 22, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was not what I had expected. To start with, it is only 80 pages, and 30 pages are taken up discussing the research history from which our knowledge of Aztec and Mayan myths derive. The 50 pages of mythology offer only a broad overview of myths (broader even than the excellent World Mythology: An Anthology of Great Myths and Epics by Donna Rosenberg). That said, it does an okay job of tying the myths into the culture and has lots of apposite pictures.

Overall, however, I regret having purchases this book.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Eric on September 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
From the material on Amazon.com, I thought this book was going to be something at least partially comprehensive. What I recieved was a tiny little pamphlet of a book that washed over the mythologies of two huge civilizations in strokes so broad they told me almost nothing that I couldn't find in a good mythological Encyclopedia. Do a Google search for the Encyclopedia Mythica instead of buying this book, you'll be glad you did. This book is primarily notable for it's pretty pictures.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "acominatus" on February 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent volume for introductory, background,
and inspired reading to do further research on the Aztec
and Mayan mythologies. Don't let the number of pages
fool you (80) -- there is a wealth of solid information
and well as excellent photographs and drawing reproductions
to inform, entrance, and entertain in this book.
The chapter titles are: Introduction; Major sources and
the History of Research; Aztec Mythology; Maya Mythology;
Mesoamerican Mythology. There is also a 2 page presentation
of Suggestions for Further Reading, which is very fine.
The Introduction, as well as the chapters, are subdivided
into helpfully labeled subsections. The Introduction's
subsections are: Ancient Mesoamerican History; Ancient
Mesoamerican religion (Calendrics; Day versus Night;
Twins; Role Models and Social Conduct). The chapter on
Aztec Mythology has the subsections: The Creation of
Heaven and Earth; The Restoration of the Sky and Earth;
The Origin of People; The Origin of Maize; The Origin
of Pulque ("an alcohoic beverage made from the fermented
sap of the maguey plant"); The Creation of the Fifth Sun;
Mythology of the Aztec State; The Birth of Huitzilopochtli.
The chapter on Maya Mythology has the subsections: The
-Popol Vuh-: Primordial Origins; The Hero Twins and the
Vanquishing of Xibalba; The Origin of Maize and People;
The -Popol Vuh- Creation Epic in Classic Maya Religion;
Maya Mythology of Yucatan; Yucatec Creation Mythology
and the Flood; Creation Mythology and Calendrics in
Yucatan.
The pictures and reproduction of drawings are incredible.
Read more ›
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