Mexican and Central American Mythology

Categories: Civilization, Culture, Religion

Author: Nicholson, Irene

Girol Number: 13541

ISBN: 978-84-999999-13541-G

Publisher: Paul Hamlyn

Location: London

Year: 1967

Edition: 1. ed.

Condition: Used. Excellent condition. Dust jacket has considerable shelf wear around edges. Book itself in perfect condition. Includes 27 color plates.

Binding: Hardcover with dust jacket

Our knowledge of ancient Mexico and Central America first came to us through Spain. At first sight their civilisation appeared to the invading Spaniards to be drowning in blood. They received an impression of stupefying horror —it seemed that every day of the calendar produced a reason for the Wholesale slaughter of victims. But some among them paused to wonder how a world of such unimagined wealth, with an art of astonishing richness, could evolve in an atmosphere of terror and oppression. The work of a handful of thoughtful inquirers, followed by the increasing interest of scholars, revealed step by step the true face of a civilisation which looked back the fifth century B.C. The Spaniards arrived when it had already entered its twilight —the Aztecs had debased the culture which provided their outward glory. This culture grew from the people’s beliefs in simple things —the maize which provided their basic food, the bright stones the invaders were to covet, the sun and the rain. As their civilisation developed the simple tales became invested with a richer imagination, and in a hundred different ways they used them to fashion a way of life and a religion. Out of the old stories came myths of man and his universe, tales of love, terror and adventure, and the sacred books which set down in permanent form the history and beliefs of a great civilisation. As in the case of the Greeks and the Egyptians the religion of ancient Mexico was also the foundation of art and science. Mathematics and astronomy were developed to a degree which not only produced calendars of astonishing accuracy but also foretold the very day on which the destroyer would arrive on the soil of Mexico. Irene Nicholson, the author of this book, is well qualified to tell the tales of old Mexico. She was born in Chile and lived in Mexico City for sixteen years, where she was The Times and BBC correspondent. Her interest in the antiquities of Mexico and Central America began during her first year of her stay and she was enabled, by her knowledge of the Spanish language, to delve deeply into this fascinating subject and acquire a remarkable knowledge of, and sympathy for, the peoples of pre-Hispanic America. She reveals a world, bright and ever-changing, of birds and flowers and jewels. The text is illuminated with illustrations drawn from seven cultures —Maya, Olmec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Totonac, Toltec, Aztec —and ranging over 2000 years. (24 pages in colour. Over 100 black and white illustrations.)

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