Reading the Maya Glyphs / Edition 2

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Stephen Houston
The best single introduction to Maya writing, one of the most beautiful but difficult scripts in the world.
Library Journal
Although most Mayan inscriptions have been deciphered within the last 30 years, very little has been written for the general reader interested in learning to read these ancient hieroglyphics. To remedy this, anthropologist Coe (Breaking the Maya Code) and calligrapher Van Stone have put together this illustrated manual. After an introductory chapter on Mayan history and culture, an overview is given of Mayan script, phonetics, and morphology, which readers need to study carefully with the help of the syllabary and lexicon provided in the appendix. The authors then go on to introduce glyphs, elaborating on subjects like time, the Mayan calendar, royalty, places, titles, relationships, warfare, scribes and artists, ceramic texts, religion, and nature. Also provided are exercises, a discussion of formulae and tables for calendrical calculations, references to software programs, and suggestions for further study. Although no previous knowledge of Mayan culture or language is assumed, this is not a simple primer to take on a trip to the Yucat n. Some background reading, especially on the Mayan calendar and Mayan history, is needed to benefit fully from this manual. For academic and large public libraries. Lucille M. Boone, San Jose P.L., CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Coe (anthropology, Yale U.), a curator emeritus at the Peabody Museum of Natural History, teams up with Stone, a type designer, stone carver, art historian, and interpreter of Maya calligraphic art, to explain how to translate the Maya texts, whether inscribed on stone or written in books. They write for travelers to Maya ruins and beginning and intermediate students, assuming no previous knowledge of the Maya or their script. Chapter-end exercises facilitate classroom or systematic learning. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500285534
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 6/15/2005
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 363,585
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael D. Coe is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Yale University. His books include The Maya, Mexico, Breaking the Maya Code, Angkor and the Khmer Civilization, and Reading the Maya Glyphs. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Mark Van Stone trained as a type designer, stone carver, and art historian, and is the leading interpreter of Maya calligraphic art.

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Table of Contents

1 The cultural background of Maya writing 11
2 The nature of the Maya script 17
3 Time and the calendar 37
4 Royal lives and royal rituals 59
5 Places and polities 68
6 Dynastic names and titles 74
7 Relationships 86
8 Warfare 89
9 Scribes and artists 94
10 Ceramic texts 98
11 The supernatural world 108
12 The inanimate and animate worlds 123
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 28, 2011

    A scholarly effort

    This book is an excellent resource for learning about Mayan logograms and glyphs. Expect that you will need to read it several times in order to get a grip on deciphering the writings. Think of this book as a graduate course on Mayan epigraphy as it is not an easy read by any means. I carry it with me on travels to the Mayan ruins and wish that it were available in electronic format.

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