- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: Scribner (March 18, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 068480106X
- ISBN-13: 978-0684801063
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #963,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The CODE OF KINGS: THE LANGUAGE OF SEVEN SACRED MAYA TEMPLES AND TOMBS Hardcover – March 18, 1998
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From Library Journal
Building on what was already known and on some ideas from other scholars, Schele (The Blood of Kings, LJ 10/15/93) and Mathews (archaeology, Univ. of Calgary) used the syntactic approach to break the Maya glyph code, making it possible to learn about Maya customs and beliefs where scholars previously had to guess about the meaning of what they found. Here the authors deal with the glyphs and the architecture of seven sites to explain their uses. The names of some are well known, even though their true purpose and function were not understood in the past. Some questions remain unanswered, but there are also new insights into the beliefs of the Maya. This well-illustrated tour of Maya ruins also has a key to pronunciation and a glossary of gods and supernaturals that add interest for the casual reader. Recommended.?Marilyn K. Dailey, Natrona Cty. P.L., Casper, Wy.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Mayan civilization, with its hieroglyphic writing and dazzling city ruins, is among the most spectacular in the world. Mayanists Schele and Mathews explain the recently deciphered script and give a vivid guided tour through the cities. Focusing on seven of the most famous buildings in Mayan archaeology, these experts show how the Maya used glyphs to literally inscribe their architecture with accounts of their history and sacred myths. The buildings described include the palace at Tikal, a shrine to the celebrated "Great-Jaguar-Claw," who, like George Washington to Americans, symbolized his city for centuries; and King Pakal's tomb, whose construction and inscriptions this patron of the arts, obsessed with preserving his memory for posterity and his soul for the afterlife, spent his last years overseeing. Stories of the text-covered monuments of Mayan kings will intrigue serious readers who seek depth of coverage on this civilization but will also appeal to those who simply want to dip into archaeology's mysteries. Philip Herbst
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Look at page 21 at the photo from 1891 that shows us what the Temple of the Inscriptions looked like before excavation and restoration. Obviously, all the trees that are cleared in the picture would have hidden them even more, but the photo could not have been taken with them there. As you read through the lessons on Mayan architecture, housing, writing, religion, and warfare, the Maya become life and blood people who existed at a time and place that becomes nearer to us through this great book.
If you are planning to visit one or more of these sites, then this book is a must read as well as a field guide to take with you on the trip. The authors take key features and each site and explain them in detail. What a great experience it would be to stand in front of these monuments, murals, and temples with this most helpful text helping you understand what you are seeing.
The book is richly illustrated with many drawings of important inscriptions, buildings, monuments, and architectural details. There are also many black and white photographs, and a section of wonderful color plates to help us understand the beauty of the natural setting that provides the context for these cultures.
After the visits to the cities there are many helpful features that comprise another hundred pages of the book. First, a concordance of Maya personal names provides the spelling used in this book, alternative and common anglicized versions of that name, and a brief description of who that person was. There is also a key to pronunciation and orthography that I found to be most helpful. It is always intimidating to see words without having any idea how they would be said.
The notes section is full of very helpful information for those readers who want to dig a little deeper as is the list of references (really, a bibliography). The Glossary of Gods and Supernaturals is amazingly interesting and helpful and the index is a handy way to get back to certain topics in each section when you are trying to tie the cultural elements together across time and geography.
As I said at the beginning, this is a fantastic and wonderful achievement that I am very grateful for and it is a final example of why we miss Linda Schele so much. The other authors are also fine and will continue to bring us much, but Prof. Schele had a special eye for the aesthetic achievements of the Maya and the ability to help us see things her way and enriched all of us who are fortunate enough to read her words.
Most recent customer reviews
a lots of detailed illustrations