Synopses & Reviews
Examine the fascinating and often controversial details of the daily lives of the ancient Aztecs through this innovative study written from the perspective of the history of religions. The Aztec people come to life for students, teachers, and interested readers through the exploration of the ceremonial character of their social and symbolic imagination. Insights into the communities they created, the games they played, the education they received, the foods they harvested, and the songs they sang, as well as the sacrificial rituals they performed, enable the reader to gain a better understanding of this complicated culture. The Aztecs organized their society as a microcosm of the cosmos that intricately linked all aspects of their daily lives to the natural and supernatural world. Carrasco explores the details of the Aztecs' lives and provides an in-depth look at all of these connections to help the reader comprehend the complexity of this ancient culture: The Aztec calendar, Aztec religion and myths, Aztec marketplace, Aztec art and architecture, Aztec war, and autosacrifice and sacrifice are just some topics among the vast number that are colorfully presented. Actual Aztec poems and riddles scattered throughout the text, provide an even deeper understanding of their world view. Carrasco also examines the Aztecs' violent encounter with Europeans and illustrates the long-term significance of colonialism and Aztec culture reflected in modern-day Mexican and Mexican American imaginations.
This is a superb overview of Aztec society and culture. It also provides a wonderful postscript by discussing the Spanish invasion and the compelling legacy of Aztec civilization. --Douglas Richmond, University of Texas at Arlington
Based on the most recent archaeological discoveries, this volume offers a balanced interpretation of the complex relationships between Aztec cultural practices, social order, and religious myths and symbols. In addition to examining such topics as the ancient Aztec calendar, commerce, art, and human sacrifice, Carrasco considers the impact and influence Aztec culture continues to have on modern Mexican society. Heavily illustrated, this book also includes a chronology of Central Mexico, a glossary, and a selected bibliography.
About the Author
David Carrasco is L. Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America, Harvard University.Scott Sessions is Research Associate, Department of Religion, Amherst College.