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Understanding Mesoamerican Myths

Overview

Ancient peoples created myths to help explain the world around them-creation, death and the underworld, seasons and agriculture, natural disasters, class structure in society, and commerce. Myths Understood features important myths from different ancient cultures and describes the roles and relationships of the gods that were the foundation of their religions.

Understanding Mesoamerican Myths explores the roles and relationships of the heroes and gods in early Mesoamerica. ...

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Overview

Ancient peoples created myths to help explain the world around them-creation, death and the underworld, seasons and agriculture, natural disasters, class structure in society, and commerce. Myths Understood features important myths from different ancient cultures and describes the roles and relationships of the gods that were the foundation of their religions.

Understanding Mesoamerican Myths explores the roles and relationships of the heroes and gods in early Mesoamerica. Several myths, including "The Hero Twins Hunuaphu and Xbalanque" and "Quetzalcoatal and the Ant," are retold, describing how these stories helped people in ancient Mesoamerica interpret their world.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Jaguars, quetzals, serpents, chocolate: ancient Olmecs, Mayas, and Aztecs shared mythology explaining creation, natural phenomena, life and death. In this profusely illustrated volume of the "Myths Understood" series, a map of Mesoamerica shows sites in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, where ancient peoples built impressive carved stone structures. A pantheon included gods Quetzalcoatl or the Feathered Serpent, Ixcacao, goddess of chocolate, Tlaloc, god of rain, and the wizard god of war, Huitzilopochtli, who fought the Sun, created Moon and the stars, and guided the Aztecs to Tenochtitlan, their principal city. Maize and squash were Mesoamericans' most important foods; as Lord of the Winds, Quetzalcoatl was thought to have discovered maize as well as beans and peppers. Natural disasters were associated with the gods: stone giant Cabrakan could shake the earth, while his brother, Zipacna, built mountains and shook them into rubble. Both were destroyed by trickery—much admired by the peoples of the region—personified by Huehuecoyotl or Old Coyote. Though both Mayas and Aztecs felt compelled to offer bloody sacrifices of human hearts to the Sun god and the god of war, author Hyde stresses Mayan and Aztec creative works including elaborate stone calendars measuring time far into the future, paintings of jaguar warriors and daily life, hieroglyphics, and formidable stone statues. Color photos show readers the many magnificent sites of temples and pyramids that can be visited today; Mesoamerica's legacy is demonstrated in fabrics, art, food, and festivals like the Day of the Dead. A time chart and a list of books and websites will help with research. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778745259
  • Publisher: Crabtree Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 12/28/2012
  • Series: Myths Understood Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.27 (w) x 10.02 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Table of Contents

What are Myths? 4

What are myths, and how do Mesoamerican myths relate to the modern world? The differences between myths, legends, and fables.

Ancient Mesoamerica 6

The region of Mesoamerica and its different climates and landscapes. The role played by creation, nature, and landscape myths.

Religion and Gods 10

The importance of religion in Mesoamerica, and the many gods and their different roles. The cycle of life and death, and the gods of creation, rain, and death.

The Natural World 16

The often dangerous landscape lived in by the Mesoamericans. Myths about food, volcanoes, earthquakes, and mountains.

Daily Life 24

The layers of Mesoamerican society, and the importance of the family. Calendars and writing, and how the gods made people look different.

Trade and Warfare 34

Trade in Mesoamerica, and the importance of jade and chocolate. Weapons of war, and how Huitzilopochtli created the Moon and stars.

Mesoamerican Legacy 40

The modern-day legacy of Mesoamerica, as seen in numerous buildings, languages, festivals, and in design and style.

Time Chart 45

Glossary 46

Learning More 47

Index 48

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