Breaking the Maya Code Third Edition

Author: Michael D. Coe
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
ISBN: 9780500770610
Release Date: 2012-02-27
Genre: History

The inside story of one of the great intellectual breakthroughs of our time—the first great decipherment of an ancient script—now revised and updated. In the past dozen years, Maya decipherment has made great strides, in part due to the Internet, which has made possible the truly international scope of hieroglyphic scholarship: glyphic experts can be found not only in North America, Mexico, Guatemala, and western Europe but also in Russia and the countries of eastern Europe. The third edition of this classic book takes up the thorny question of when and where the Maya script first appeared in the archaeological record, and describes efforts to decipher its meaning on the extremely early murals of San Bartolo. It includes iconographic and epigraphic investigations into how the Classic Maya perceived and recorded the human senses, a previously unknown realm of ancient Maya thought and perception. There is now compelling documentary and historical evidence bearing on the question of why and how the “breaking of the Maya code” was the achievement of Yuri V. Knorosov—a Soviet citizen totally isolated behind the Iron Curtain—and not of the leading Maya scholar of his day, Sir Eric Thompson. What does it take to make such a breakthrough, with a script of such complexity as the Maya? We now have some answers, as Michael Coe demonstrates here.

Reading the Maya Glyphs Second Edition

Author: Michael D. Coe
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
ISBN: 9780500773338
Release Date: 2005-06-17
Genre: Social Science

The breaking of the Maya code has completely changed our knowledge of this ancient civilization, and has revealed the Maya people's long and vivid history. Decipherment of Maya hieroglyphic writing has progressed to the point where most Maya written texts—whether inscribed on monuments, written in the codices, or painted or incised on ceramics—can now be read with confidence. In this practical guide, first published in 2001, Michael D. Coe, the noted Mayanist, and Mark Van Stone, an accomplished calligrapher, have made the difficult, often mysterious script accessible to the nonspecialist. They decipher real Maya texts, and the transcriptions include a picture of the glyph, the pronunciation, the Maya words in Roman type, and the translation into English. For the second edition, the authors have taken the latest research and breakthroughs into account, adding glyphs, updating captions, and reinterpreting or expanding upon earlier decipherments. After an introductory discussion of Maya culture and history and the nature of the Maya script, the authors introduce the glyphs in a series of chapters that elaborate on topics such as the intricate calendar, warfare, royal lives and rituals, politics, dynastic names, ceramics, relationships, and the supernatural world. The book includes illustrations of historic texts, a syllabary, a lexicon, and translation exercises.

Maya Script

Author: Maria Longhena
Publisher: Abbeville Press
ISBN: 0789208822
Release Date: 2006-01-16
Genre: Art

By the time Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico in the sixteenth century, Maya cities had long since fallen into a state of decay and abandonment. Europeans were impressed by the painted books of the Maya but concluded that they did not have a system of writing because no alphabetic value could be given to their script. This impression remained in the West until recently when researchers finally succeeded in deciphering the written record of the Mayas. Maya Script presents about 200 Maya glyphs (symbolic figures). Some are ideograms (pictorial symbols representing things, not words); others are phonetic signs. The glyphs express people, animals, things, and such abstract concepts as death. Each one opens a window onto fragments of everyday life, religious beliefs, or even emotions. The complexity of the Maya calendar, mathematical computations, and astronomy reveals a highly developed civilization. This book also features two-color drawings of the glyphs, illustrations from reliefs and Spanish codices, and examples of Maya sculpture and paintings. Concluding the book are a chapter on writing systems of the New World, a bibliography, and an index of glyphs. This informative book is a travelogue back in time for anyone intrigued by ancient civilizations.

Yaxchilan

Author: Carolyn E. Tate
Publisher: University of Texas Press
ISBN: 9780292739123
Release Date: 2013-08-28
Genre: Social Science

As archaeologists peel away the jungle covering that has both obscured and preserved the ancient Maya cities of Mexico and Central America, other scholars have only a limited time to study and understand the sites before the jungle, weather, and human encroachment efface them again, perhaps forever. This urgency underlies Yaxchilan: The Design of a Maya Ceremonial City, Carolyn Tate's comprehensive catalog and analysis of all the city's extant buildings and sculptures. During a year of field work, Tate fully documented the appearance of the site as of 1987. For each sculpture and building, she records its discovery, present location, condition, measurements, and astronomical orientation and reconstructs its Long Counts and Julian dates from Calendar Rounds. Line drawings and photographs provide a visual document of the art and architecture of Yaxchilan. More than mere documentation, however, the book explores the phenomenon of art within Maya society. Tate establishes a general framework of cultural practices, spiritual beliefs, and knowledge likely to have been shared by eighth-century Maya people. The process of making public art is considered in relation to other modes of aesthetic expression, such as oral tradition and ritual. This kind of analysis is new in Maya studies and offers fresh insight into the function of these magnificent cities and the powerful role public art and architecture play in establishing cultural norms, in education in a semiliterate society, and in developing the personal and community identities of individuals. Several chapters cover the specifics of art and iconography at Yaxchilan as a basis for examining the creation of the city in the Late Classic period. Individual sculptures are attributed to the hands of single artists and workshops, thus aiding in dating several of the monuments. The significance of headdresses, backracks, and other costume elements seen on monuments is tied to specific rituals and fashions, and influence from other sites is traced. These analyses lead to a history of the design of the city under the reigns of Shield Jaguar (A.D. 681-741) and Bird Jaguar IV (A.D. 752-772). In Tate's view, Yaxchilan and other Maya cities were designed as both a theater for ritual activities and a nexus of public art and social structures that were crucial in defining the self within Maya society.

Gender and Power in Prehispanic Mesoamerica

Author: Rosemary A. Joyce
Publisher: University of Texas Press
ISBN: 9780292779730
Release Date: 2009-06-23
Genre: Social Science

Gender was a fluid potential, not a fixed category, before the Spaniards came to Mesoamerica. Childhood training and ritual shaped, but did not set, adult gender, which could encompass third genders and alternative sexualities as well as "male" and "female." At the height of the Classic period, Maya rulers presented themselves as embodying the entire range of gender possibilities, from male through female, by wearing blended costumes and playing male and female roles in state ceremonies. This landmark book offers the first comprehensive description and analysis of gender and power relations in prehispanic Mesoamerica from the Formative Period Olmec world (ca. 1500-500 BC) through the Postclassic Maya and Aztec societies of the sixteenth century AD. Using approaches from contemporary gender theory, Rosemary Joyce explores how Mesoamericans created human images to represent idealized notions of what it meant to be male and female and to depict proper gender roles. She then juxtaposes these images with archaeological evidence from burials, house sites, and body ornaments, which reveals that real gender roles were more fluid and variable than the stereotyped images suggest.

Cracking the Code

Author: Vic V. Varjabedian
Publisher:
ISBN: 0971758824
Release Date: 2004-01-01
Genre: Commercial law


Reading Maya Art

Author: Andrea Joyce Stone
Publisher:
ISBN: 0500051682
Release Date: 2011
Genre: Art

Presented here for the first time is a compendium of one hundred hieroglyphs that are also building blocks of ancient Maya painting and sculpture. Organized thematically, the symbols touch on many facets of the Maya world, from the natural environment animals, plants, the heavens to the metaphysical landscape of gods, myths and rituals. Using over five hundred line drawings and photographs, Andrea Stone and Marc Zender show how to identify these signs, understand their meaning, and appreciate the novel ways they appear in art. In addition to providing a clear and accessible introduction to Maya art, linguistics and writing, the authors also offer many new and exciting interpretations. Lavishly illustrated, fully cross-referenced and indexed, this remarkable and innovative guide will prove an invaluable tool for those wishing to see Maya art, perhaps for the first time, through the eyes of ancient scribes and artists.

The Writing Revolution

Author: Amalia E. Gnanadesikan
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 9781444359855
Release Date: 2011-09-13
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

In a world of rapid technological advancements, it can be easy to forget that writing is the original Information Technology, created to transcend the limitations of human memory and to defy time and space. The Writing Revolution picks apart the development of this communication tool to show how it has conquered the world. Explores how writing has liberated the world, making possible everything from complex bureaucracy, literature, and science, to instruction manuals and love letters Draws on an engaging range of examples, from the first cuneiform clay tablet, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Japanese syllabaries, to the printing press and the text messaging Weaves together ideas from a number of fields, including history, cultural studies and archaeology, as well as linguistics and literature, to create an interdisciplinary volume Traces the origins of each of the world’s major written traditions, along with their applications, adaptations, and cultural influences

Lost Languages

Author: Andrew Robinson
Publisher:
ISBN: 050028816X
Release Date: 2009
Genre: Foreign Language Study

Investigates famous examples of unsolved scripts and codes, in an account that recalls the stories of three forefront decipherments including the Egyptian hieroglyphs, the Maya glyphs, and the Minoan Linear B clay tablets before sharing the stories of such uncracked codes as the Indus script, the Etruscan language, and the Rongorongo script. Reprint.

Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire

Author: David Carrasco
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226094908
Release Date: 1992-06-15
Genre: History

Davíd Carrasco draws from the perspectives of the history of religions, anthropology, and urban ecology to explore the nature of the complex symbolic form of Quetzalcoatl in the organization, legitimation, and subversion of a large segment of the Mexican urban tradition. His new Preface addresses this tradition in the light of the Columbian quincentennial. "This book, rich in ideas, constituting a novel approach . . . represents a stimulating and provocative contribution to Mesoamerican studies. . . . Recommended to all serious students of the New World's most advanced indigenous civilization."—H. B. Nicholson, Man

Dictionary of Maya Hieroglyphs

Author: John Montgomery
Publisher:
ISBN: STANFORD:36105111790148
Release Date: 2002
Genre: Foreign Language Study

This authoritative work is the first visual dictionary of Maya glyphs published since the script's complete deciphering, offering a much-needed, comprehensive catalogue of 1100 secured glyphs. Each entry includes the illustrated glyph, its phonetic transcription, Mayan equivalent, part of speech, and meaning. About the Author John Montgomery is an illustrator, epigrapher, writer, and PhD candidate in the field of Pre-Columbian Art at the University of New Mexico. He also teaches art history at the South-western Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque. A long and varied experience in Central America first inspired his interest in the ancient Maya. His glyphic illustrations based on a lifetime of involvement with Maya glyph decipherment. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Linguist and the Emperor

Author: Daniel Meyerson
Publisher: Random House Incorporated
ISBN: 9780345448729
Release Date: 2005-02
Genre: History

Recounts the dramatic story of the race between Napoleon and linguist Jean-Francois Champollion to break the code of the Rosetta Stone, from its discovery and the early efforts to secure it, to the impact the stone had on the lives of everyone who encountered it. Reader's Guide included. Reprint. 14,000 first printing.

Escaping the Fire

Author: Tomás Guzaro
Publisher: University of Texas Press
ISBN: 9780292779204
Release Date: 2010-03-01
Genre: History

During the height of the Guatemalan civil war, Tomás Guzaro, a Mayan evangelical pastor, led more than two hundred fellow Mayas out of guerrilla-controlled Ixil territory and into the relative safety of the government army's hands. This exodus was one of the factors that caused the guerrillas to lose their grip on the Ixil, thus hastening the return of peace to the area. In Escaping the Fire, Guzaro relates the hardships common to most Mayas and the resulting unrest that opened the door to civil war. He details the Guatemalan army's atrocities while also describing the Guerrilla Army of the Poor's rise to power in Ixil country, which resulted in limited religious freedom, murdered church leaders, and threatened congregations. His story climaxes with the harrowing vision that induced him to guide his people out of their war-torn homeland. Guzaro also provides an intimate look at his spiritual pilgrimage through all three of Guatemala's main religions. The son of a Mayan priest, formerly a leader in the Catholic Church, and finally a convert to Protestantism, Guzaro, in detailing his religious life, offers insight into the widespread shift toward Protestantism in Latin America over the past four decades. Riveting and highly personal, Escaping the Fire ultimately provides a counterpoint to the usual interpretation of indigenous agency during the Guatemalan civil war by documenting the little-studied experiences of Protestants living in guerrilla-held territory.

Final Report

Author: Michael D. Coe
Publisher:
ISBN: 0500051437
Release Date: 2006
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

A foremost American archaeologist traces his more than four-decade career, describing his Harvard education, discoveries about ancient American civilizations, and travels to such regions as remote Guatemala, Russia, and Angkor Wat.

The Order of Days

Author: David Stuart
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
ISBN: 9780385527279
Release Date: 2012
Genre: History

Presents an analysis of doomsday prophecies about 2012 while refuting common myths and explaining what hysteria-based interpretations of the end of the Mayan calendar reveal about today's world.