Aztec and Maya Myths (The Legendary Past)

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9780714117423: Aztec and Maya Myths (The Legendary Past)

The myths of the Aztec and Maya derive from a shared Mesoamerican cultural tradition. This is very much a living tradition, and many of the motifs and gods mentioned in early sources are still evoked in the lore of contemporary Mexico and Guatemala.

Professor Taube discusses the different sources for Aztec and Maya myths. The Aztec empire began less than 200 years before the Spanish conquest, and our knowledge of their mythology derives primarily from native colonial documents and manuscripts commissioned by the Spanish. The Maya mythology is far older, and our knowledge of it comes mainly from native manuscripts of the Classic period, over 600 years before the Spanish conquest.

Drawing on these sources as well as nineteenth- and twentieth-century excavations and research, including the interpretation of the codices and the decipherment of Maya hieroglyphic writing, the author discusses, among other things, the Popol Vuh myths of the Maya, the flood myth of Northern Yucatan, and the Aztec creation myths.

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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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Taube, Karl
Published by British Museum Press (1993)
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Taube, Karl
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