While Europe was buried in the Dark Ages, the Maya were producing astonishing sculpture, stelae, and wall murals, as well as building magnificent temples, tombs, and ball courts. This extraordinary volume pairs the leading Maya scholar and one of the world’s finest photographers of ancient sites to trace the rise and fall of Mayan civilization through its great royal cities. From El Mirador to the cities of the Maya Renaissance and finally to Chichen Itza, where the 700-year flowering of the Mayan people came to a halt, the riveting history of powerful dynasties, political intrigues, and a flourishing culture is illuminated through new research and evocative photographs. A new reading of artifacts, reliefs, murals, maps, and other archaeological evidence allows Coe to untangle the complex sequence of internecine ritual warfare that fatally weakened the late Maya era.
Author: Mary Ellen Miller
Release Date: 2014
Presents a survey of Mayan art and architecture, focusing on the classical period from 100 B.C. to 909 A.D., covering tombs, palaces, temples, and shrines, and including such art forms as ceramics, sculptures, stone reliefs, and paintings.
Author: Lynn V. Foster
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Release Date: 2005
This comprehensive and accessible reference explores the greatest and most mysterious of civilizations, hailed for its contributions to science, mathematics, and technology. Each chapter is supplemented by an extensive bibliography as well as photos, original line drawings, and maps.
Author: Asa Simon Mittman
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Company
Release Date: 2013
The field of monster studies has grown significantly over the past few years and this companion provides a comprehensive guide to the study of monsters and the monstrous from historical, regional and thematic perspectives. The collection reflects the truly multi-disciplinary nature of monster studies, bringing in scholars from literature, art history, religious studies, history, classics, and cultural and media studies. The companion will offer scholars and graduate students the first comprehensive and authoritative review of this emergent field.
Author: Matthew G. Looper
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Release Date: 2010-01-01
Genre: Social Science
The Maya of Mexico and Central America have performed ritual dances for more than two millennia. Dance is still an essential component of religious experience today, serving as a medium for communication with the supernatural. During the Late Classic period (AD 600-900), dance assumed additional importance in Maya royal courts through an association with feasting and gift exchange. These performances allowed rulers to forge political alliances and demonstrate their control of trade in luxury goods. The aesthetic values embodied in these performances were closely tied to Maya social structure, expressing notions of gender, rank, and status. Dance was thus not simply entertainment, but was fundamental to ancient Maya notions of social, religious, and political identity. Using an innovative interdisciplinary approach, Matthew Looper examines several types of data relevant to ancient Maya dance, including hieroglyphic texts, pictorial images in diverse media, and architecture. A series of case studies illustrates the application of various analytical methodologies and offers interpretations of the form, meaning, and social significance of dance performance. Although the nuances of movement in Maya dances are impossible to recover, Looper demonstrates that a wealth of other data survives which allows a detailed consideration of many aspects of performance. To Be Like Gods thus provides the first comprehensive interpretation of the role of dance in ancient Maya society and also serves as a model for comparative research in the archaeology of performance.
Author: Gerardo Aldana y V.
Publisher: Oxbow Books
Release Date: 2014-05-30
Genre: Social Science
Archaeoastronomy and the Maya illustrates archaeoastronomical approaches to ancient Mayan cultural production. The book is contextualized through a history of archaeoastronomical investigations into Mayan sites, originating in the 19th century discovery of astronomical tables within hieroglyphic books. Early 20th century archaeological excavations revealed inscriptions carved into stone that also preserved astronomical records, along with architecture that was built to reflect astronomical orientations. These materials provided the basis of a growing professionalized archaeoastronomy, blossoming in the 1970s and expanding into recent years. The chapters here exemplify the advances made in the field during the early 21st century as well as the on-going diversity of approaches, presenting new perspectives and discoveries in ancient Mayan astronomy that result from recent studies of architectural alignments, codices, epigraphy, iconography, ethnography, and calendrics. More than just investigations of esoteric ancient sciences, studies of ancient Mayan astronomy have profoundly aided our understanding of Mayan worldviews. Concepts of time and space, meanings encoded in religious art, intentions underlying architectural alignments, and even methods of political legitimization are all illuminated through the study of Mayan astronomy.
Author: Dennis Wong
Release Date: 2012-12-19
According to the Long Count Calendar used by the Maya, the current Great Cycle which has lasted 5,125 years is to end in 2012. What will happen when this occurs has been a hot topic for many years, literally decades, since the mid-1980s. Based loosely on Maya cosmology and mythology describing the death and rebirth of humankind, many observers have speculated on the events preceding and subsequent to the changing of the Great Cycles. These speculations have developed into a theory which is now known as the Mayan Prophecy of 2012. This Prophecy supposedly foretells significant changes to our way of life as the current Great Cycle ends and the next one begins. Exactly what these changes will be, and how it might affect all of us, run the gamut from the total destruction of our world, essentially the End of Days of our existence, to a new evolution of humankind. What one believes depends upon how he or she views life in general. If one is a pessimist, catastrophe will rule the day. On the other hand, an optimist will expect a new day with sunshine and roses. This book summarizes the most popular theories coming from both viewpoints, ultimate catastrophe versus a new beginning for humans and life on our planet. It then traces the archeological evidence and observations of noted Mesoamerican scholars to establish the validity and true nature of such a Mayan Prophecy. Along the way, other noteworthy prophecies regarding the future of our existence will be examined. Those future events predicted by the extraordinary prophet, Nostradamus, are especially informative. Recently, with the advent of advanced technology, notably computers, cyber predictions of our future and how they relate to the Mayan Prophecy will also be examined. Lastly, the enigmatic saga of the Maya crystal skulls appears to play an important role in our future. Much about the legend of the crystal skulls comes from the Maya Elders, who do anticipate great changes in the coming Great Cycle. Also, the mysterious phenomenon of the formation of crop circles may provide other clues as to what the future holds for all of us as we enter the next Great Cycle.
Author: Francisco Estrada-Belli
Release Date: 2010-11-08
Genre: Social Science
When the Maya kings of Tikal dedicated their first carved monuments in the third century A.D., inaugurating the Classic period of Maya history that lasted for six centuries and saw the rise of such famous cities as Palenque, Copan and Yaxchilan, Maya civilization was already nearly a millennium old. Its first cities, such as Nakbe and El Mirador, had some of the largest temples ever raised in Prehispanic America, while others such as Cival showed even earlier evidence of complex rituals. The reality of this Preclassic Maya civilization has been documented by scholars over the past three decades: what had been seen as an age of simple village farming, belatedly responding to the stimulus of more advanced peoples in highland Mesoamerica, is now know to have been the period when the Maya made themselves into one of the New World's most innovative societies. This book discusses the most recent advances in our knowledge of the Preclassic Maya and the emergence of their rainforest civilization, with new data on settlement, political organization, architecture, iconography and epigraphy supporting a contemporary theoretical perspective that challenges prior assumptions.
Author: Sarah E. Jackson
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Release Date: 2013-06-24
In recent decades, advances in deciphering Maya hieroglyphic writing have given scholars new tools for understanding key aspects of ancient Maya society. This book—the first comprehensive examination of the Maya royal court—exemplifies the importance of these new sources. Authored by anthropologist Sarah E. Jackson and richly illustrated with drawings, photographs, and maps, Politics of the Maya Court uses hieroglyphic and iconographic evidence to explore the composition and social significance of royal courts in the Late Classic period (a.d. 600–900), with a special emphasis on the role of courtly elites. As Jackson explains, the Maya region of southern Mexico and Central America was not a unified empire but a loosely aggregated culture area composed of independent kingdoms. Royal courts had a presence in large, central communities from Chiapas to Yucatan and the highlands of Guatemala and western Honduras. Each major polity was ruled by a k’uhul ajaw, or holy lord, who embodied intertwined aspects of religious and political authority. The hieroglyphic texts that adorned walls, furniture, and portable items in these centers of power provide specific information about the positions, roles, and meanings of the courts. Jackson uses these documents as keys to understanding Classic Maya political hierarchy and, specifically, the institution of the royal court. Within this context, she investigates the lives of the nobility and the participation of elites in court politics. By identifying particular individuals and their life stories, Jackson humanizes Maya society, showing how events resulted from the actions and choices of specific people. Jackson’s innovative portrayal of court membership provides a foundation for scholarship on the nature, functions, and responsibilities of Maya royal courts.