Aztec and Maya Myths (The Legendary Past) by Karl Taube PDF

By Karl Taube

The myths of the Aztec and Maya derive from a shared Mesoamerican cultural culture. this can be a great deal a residing culture and lots of of the motifs and gods pointed out in early assets are nonetheless evoked within the lore of latest Mexico and important the USA. Professor Taube discusses the several assets for Aztec and Maya myths. The Aztec empire begun under 2 hundred years earlier than the Spanish conquests and data in their mythology derives essentially from local colonial files and manuscripts commissioned by means of the Spanish. The Maya mythology is much older and proof survives from local writing and artwork of the vintage interval, over six hundred years sooner than the Spanish conquest. Drawing upon those assets, in addition to nineteenth- and 20th-century excavations and study, together with the translation of the codices and decipherment of Maya hieroglyphic writing, the writer discusses, among others, the "Popol Vuh" myths of the Maya, the flood fable of northern Yucatan and the Aztec construction myths.

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Extra info for Aztec and Maya Myths (The Legendary Past)

Example text

Lightly incised on the ball is the head of Hunahpu, recalling the Popol Vuh episode in which the death gods play with Hunahpu's head after snatching it from the House of Bats. These ballcourt markers reveal that the Classic Maya re-enacted in actual ballcourts the mythical game between the hero twins and the lords of Xibalba. In one of the most common and important themes of the hero twins on Classic Maya pottery, they appear assisting their father, the maize god. In certain vessel scenes, the twins stand in water with the nude young women and hold the regalia of the maize god, such as his jewellery and a sack bundle.

As in the Popol Vuh, the hero twins are related to the ballgame in Classic Maya art. At the site of Copan, a stone marker from an actual ballcourt represents Hunahpu playing against a death god. On another Late Classic ballcourt marker, discovered near Chinkultic in highland Chiapas, a ballplayer dressed in death symbols strikes the ball with his hips. Lightly incised on the ball is the head of Hunahpu, recalling the Popol Vuh episode in which the death gods play with Hunahpu's head after snatching it from the House of Bats.

The graphic accounts of the flood and the erection of world trees in the three Books of Chilam Balam reveal that the ritual installation of the Katun and other Long Count periods were thought of in very similar terms. Rather than being unique to the Maya area, the documented mythology of the ancient QuichC and Yucatec shares many traits with Aztec myths. Like the Aztec, the Postclassic Maya of Yucatan and highland Guatemala believed in previous worlds, and that a flood immediately preceded the creation of the present era.

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