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Heaven Born Merida and its Destiny: The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel

Edmonson, Munro S. (trans./annot.)

29 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0292730276 / ISBN 13: 9780292730274
Published by Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1986, 1986
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Atlantic Bookshop (Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Tall 8vo, cloth, dustwrapper, ix + 309pp. First edition. VG+/VG: very clean and sound binding with one very lightly bumped corner, solid hinges/joints, clean edges, clean text; bright wrapper just lightly dust-soiled and sunned at the spine. Extra postage may be needed. Bookseller Inventory # ATL006662

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Heaven Born Merida and its Destiny: The Book...

Publisher: Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1986

Publication Date: 1986

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


When the Spaniards conquered the Yucatan Peninsula in the early 1500s, they made a great effort to destroy or Christianize the native cultures flourishing there. That they were in large part unsuccessful is evidenced by the survival of a number of documents written in Maya and preserved and added to by literate Mayas up to the 1830s. The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel is such a document, literally the history of Yucatan written by and for Mayas, and it contains much information not available from Spanish sources because it was part of an underground resistance movement of which the Spanish were largely unaware.

Well known to Mayanists, The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel is presented here in Munro S. Edmonson's English translation, extensively annotated. Edmonson reinterprets the book as literature and as history, placing it in chronological order and translating it as poetry. The ritual nature of Mayan history clearly emerges and casts new light on Mexican and Spanish acculturation of the Yucatecan Maya in the post-Classic and colonial periods.

Centered in the city of Merida, the Chumayel provides the western (Xiu) perspective on Yucatecan history, as Edmonson's earlier book The Ancient Future of the Itza: The Book of Chilam Balam of Tizimin presented the eastern (Itza) viewpoint. Both document the changing calendar of the colonial period and the continuing vitality of pre-Columbian ritual thought down to the nineteenth century. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the survival of the long-count dating system down to the Baktun Ceremonial of 1618 ( But there are others: the use of rebus writing, the survival of the tun until 1752, graphic if oblique accounts of Mayan ceremonial drama, and the depiction of the Spanish conquest as a long-term inter-Mayan civil war.

About the Author:

Munro S. Edmonson (1924-2002) was Professor of Anthropology at Tulane University.

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