- Series: Legendary Past
- Paperback: 80 pages
- Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1 edition (November 1, 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: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Aztec and Maya Myths (Legendary Past) 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
The myths of the ancient Aztec and Maya derive from a shared Mesoamerican cultural tradition which is still alive in the lore of contemporary Mexico and Central America. The Maya creation and flood myths have survived in various forms in pre-Hispanic writing and art, but the Aztec empire arose less than two centuries before the Spanish conquest and our knowledge of its mythology comes primarily from early colonial documents of the 16th century.
About the Author
Karl Taube is aProfessor of Anthropology at the University of California at Riverside.
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Top customer reviews
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Overall, however, I regret having purchases this book.
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
The pictures and reproduction of drawings are incredible.
The cover picture for the book is of "The Maize God,
flanked by his sons Hunahpu and Xbalanque, emerging out
of the earth, represented as a split turtle shell."
On page 6 there is a very good map of Mexico and the
Mesoamerican region with the Aztec and Maya sites
located. Some of the other provocative pictures are of
A Mesoamerican Model of Time and Space, The Venus god
Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli attacking a watery mountain,
Mosaic sacrificial knife (Aztec), God 9 Wind (Mixtec),
Tezcatlipoca deity impersonator to be sacrificed during
the twenty-day month of Toxcatl, The Destruction of the Sun
of Wind and the Transformation of Humans into Monkeys, the
Aztec Calendar Stone, and many others.
An excerpt or two: "The rain god Tlaloc rules over the
third creation, the sun of rain. This world is destroyed
by Quetzalcoatl in a rain of fire -- probably volcanic ash,
a relatively common geological occurrence in central
Mexico. The fiery rain magically transforms the people of
this race into turkeys [! -- from "Aztec Mythology"]."
"Mesoamerican myths are more than sacred accounts of the
origins of the world; they also contain profound lessons
for proper behaviour. Among the most commonly mentioned
vices to bring disaster and defeat are arrogance and
greed." (--from "Introduction: Role Models and Social
-- Robert Kilgore.