Synopses & Reviews
Teotihuacan was one of the earliest and more populous preColumbian cities, and the Feathered Serpent was its vital monument, erected circa 200 AD. This work explores the religious meanings and political implications of the pyramid with meticulous and thorough analyses of substantially new excavation data. Challenging the traditional view of the city as a legendary, sacred, or anonymously-governed centre, the book provides significant new insights on the Teotihuacan polity and society. It provides interpretations on the pyramid's location, architecture, sculptures, iconography, mass sacrificial graves and rich symbolic offerings, and concludes that the pyramid commemorated the accession of rulers who were inscribed to govern with military force on behalf of the gods. This archaeological examination of the monument shows it to be the physical manifestation of state ideologies such as the symbolism of human sacrifice, militarism, and individual-centred divine authority, ideologies which were later diffused among other Mesoamerican urban centres.
Teotihuacan was the largest urban center in the New World in the first two centuries AD, and the Feathered Serpent Pyramid was a spectacular symbol of state power. Saburo Sugiyama investigates the ritual sacrifice of some 200 men and women that marked the erection of the Pyramid in this volume, the first substantial archaeological analysis of the political institutions of Teotihuacan based on stratigraphically recorded evidence. In the process, he illuminates our understanding of urbanization, the ritual behavior of elites, and the role of warfare and sacrifice in early Teotihuacan statecraft.
An archaeological examination of the Feathered Serpent Pyramid as a symbol of power in Teotihuacan.
About the Author
Saburo Sugiyama is a Professor in the Graduate School of International Cultural Studies, Aichi Prefectural University, Japan. He has contributed to a number of edited works on Mesoamerican archaeology including Mesoamerican Archaeology: Theory and Practice (Blackwell Publishing, 2003).
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: cognition of state symbols and polity; 2. Background: data and ideation; 3. The Ciudadela and the city layout; 4. Architecture and sculpture; 5. Burials; 6. Offerings; 7. Overview: sacrificial and elite burials; 8. Conclusion: Feathered Serpent Pyramid as symbol of sacrifice, militarism, and rulership.