The World of the Ancient Maya / Edition 2

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Overview

Since it was first published in 1981, The World of the Ancient Maya has established itself as an extraordinarily accomplished—comprehensive, elegantly written, and concise—introduction to the rich Maya culture. In this edition, John S. Henderson has thoroughly revised the text and added a wealth of new photographs and drawings.

Henderson explores the entire Maya cultural tradition, from the earliest traces of settlement through the period of the Spanish conquest in the sixteenth century. The ancient Mayas were the only fully literate precolumbian people in the Americas, and Henderson incorporates deciphered Maya texts in his reconstruction of ancient Maya societies. Superb scientists, the Mayas developed a very sophisticated mathematics and an intricate and accurate calendar system. Theirs was one of the few complex societies to emerge in and to adapt successfully to a tropical forest environment. Their architecture, sculpture, and painting were sophisticated and compellingly beautiful. Henderson's wide-ranging and judiciously balanced account treats diverse aspects of the Maya world, including religion and philosophy, the environments of the various Maya peoples, and their links with neighbors and relatives in the area. Throughout, he considers the interaction among Maya societies and stresses the importance of the cultural variations from region to region, as well as the common Maya heritage.

From reviews of the first edition:

"A superb panoramic view of the entire history and extent of Maya culture. . . . This book . . . could be taken as a model of its kind"—Art Book Review

"The best full-length, up-to-date overview of Maya archaeology available today."—Choice

"General overview of the ancient Maya begins with summary discussions of the history of Maya studies, the environment and geography of the Maya world, and the European invasion. Text is devoted primarily to a synthesis of the history of Maya cultural traditions based primarily on archaeological data and complemented by epigraphic and ethnohistorical information"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The World of Ancient Maya by Cornell University's John Henderson, one of the leading Maya scholars, captures the excitement of recent research and much more, taking the reader from the earliest archaeological traces, to the great city-states, to the Spanish conquest of the 16th century. . . . Concise, well-written, and easy to understand, it is the best view of the Maya world available today."—American Archaeology

"A thorough, possibly definitive work. . . . Henderson's ordered, meticulous social historian's approach . . . succeeds in reconstructing a vivid sense of civilization which emerged and stabilized during a 1,500-year period; flourished between AD 300-900; and peaked about 600 years before the arrival of the Spanish, only to disappear. . . . Henderson provides a detailed, somber, authoritative, and certainly up-to-date account of a mysterious world which lives on through its dramatic architecture."—Irish Times

"The best available guide to the rich and extraordinary culture of the Maya. . . . Text is carefully thought out and presented, together with new illustrations that put the incredible Maya culture into perspective. . . . It is a book that everyone interested in this fascinating people will need to have."—Peter A. Clayton, Minerva

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801482847
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1997
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Maps
Preface
Guide to Pronunciation
Chronological Chart
Introduction
1 The Discovery of the Maya
2 The Maya World
3 The Maya World on the Eve of the Spanish Conquest
4 Roots of Mesoamerican Civilization
5 Foundations of Maya Civilization
6 The Crystallization of Maya Civilization: The Early Classic Period
7 Late Classic Maya Civilization
8 Transformations: The Terminal Classic Period
9 New Orientations: The Postclassic Maya
10 Perspectives on the Maya
Notes
Bibliography
Index
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