Dirk van Tuerenhout The Aztecs: New Perspectives


Dirk van Tuerenhout
The Aztecs: New Perspectives

A wealth of new archaeological findings and interpretations has sparked a richer understanding of the Aztecs, dispelling many myths. The Aztecs: New Perspectives looks at evidence from ancient, colonial, and modern times to present a contemporary, well-rounded portrait of this Mesoamerican culture. Like no other volume, it examines daily Aztec life both at, and away from, the seats of power, revealing the Aztecs to be accomplished farmers, astronomers, mathematicians, and poets—as well as ruthless warriors and tireless builders of empire.
The Aztecs ranges from the mysterious origins of the Aztlan tribe to the glory years of empire and ultimate defeat. But the story doesn’t end there. To present the most complete picture possible, the author goes to the most fascinating source available—the living ancestors who keep the Aztec language and many aspects of their ancient worldview alive. There is no better volume for exploring the realities of Aztec life as it was, and as it influences our world today.
In Search of Maya Sea Traders will appeal to that part of each of us that longs to explore distant places and cultures, in quest of a seldom-glimpsed past.

David Carrasco, Scott Sessions
Daily Life of the Aztecs: People of the Sun and Earth

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.

Manuel Aguilar-Moreno
Life In The Aztec World

Since its violent dissolution in 1521, the Aztec Empire of Mexico has continually intrigued us. Recent discoveries resulting from the excavation of the Templo Mayor in the heart of Mexico City have taught us even more about this fascinating culture. The increasing recognition that the achievements of Mesoamerican civilizations were among the most sophisticated of the ancient world has led to a demand for introductions to the basic methods and theories of scholars working throughout the region. Handbook to Life in the Aztec World gathers the results from recent archaeological discoveries and scholarly research into a single accessible volume. Organized thematically, the handbook covers all aspects of life in the Aztec world: Mesoamerican civilizations and Aztec archeology; evolution of Aztec civilization; geography of the Aztec world; society and government; religion, cosmology, and mythology; funerary beliefs and customs; Aztec art; Aztec architecture; Nahuatl literature; the calendar, astronomy, and mathematics; economy, industry, and trade; daily life; the Aztec after conquest and today. Each chapter includes an extensive bibliography, and more than 165 original line drawings, photographs, and maps complement the text. Handbook to Life in the Aztec World provides all the essential information required by anyone interested in Aztec history or culture.

David Carrasco
The Aztecs: a very short introduction

An easy-readable and entertaining introduction to aztec culture by leading aztec scholar.

Michael Smith
At Home with the Aztecs

“At Home with the Aztecs” provides a fresh view of Aztec society, focusing on households and communities instead of kings, pyramids, and human sacrifice. This new approach offers an opportunity to humanize the Aztecs, moving past the popular stereotype of sacrificial maniacs to demonstrate that these were successful and prosperous communities. Michael Smith also engagingly describes the scientific, logistic and personal dimensions of archaeological fieldwork, drawing on decades of excavating experience and considering how his research was affected by his interaction with contemporary Mexican communities. Through first-hand accounts of the ways archaeologists interpret sites and artifacts, the book illuminates how the archaeological process can provide information about ancient families. Facilitating a richer understanding of the Aztec world, Smith’s research also redefines success, prosperity and resilience in ancient societies, making this book suitable not only for those interested in the Aztecs but in the examination of complex societies in general.

Michael Smith
The Aztecs

The Aztecs brings to life one of the best-known indigenous civilizations of the Americas in a vivid, comprehensive account of the ancient Aztecs.
A thorough examination of Aztec origins and civilization including religion, science, and thought
Incorporates the latest archaeological excavations and research into explanations of the Spanish conquest and the continuity of Aztec culture in Central Mexico
Expanded coverage includes key topics such as writing, music, royal tombs, and Aztec predictions of the end of the world.

James Maffie
Aztec Philosophy: Understanding a World in Motion

In Aztec Philosophy, James Maffie reveals a highly sophisticated and systematic Aztec philosophy worthy of consideration alongside European philosophies of their time. Bringing together the fields of comparative world philosophy and Mesoamerican studies, Maffie excavates the distinctly philosophical aspects of Aztec thought.

Aztec Philosophy focuses on the ways Aztec metaphysics—the Aztecs’ understanding of the nature, structure and constitution of reality—underpinned Aztec thinking about wisdom, ethics, politics, and aesthetics, and served as a backdrop for Aztec religious practices as well as everyday activities such as weaving, farming, and warfare. Aztec metaphysicians conceived reality and cosmos as a grand, ongoing process of weaving—theirs was a world in motion. Drawing upon linguistic, ethnohistorical, archaeological, historical, and contemporary ethnographic evidence, Maffie argues that Aztec metaphysics maintained a processive, transformational, and non-hierarchical view of reality, time, and existence along with a pantheistic theology.
Aztec Philosophy will be of great interest to Mesoamericanists, philosophers, religionists, folklorists, and Latin Americanists as well as students of indigenous philosophy, religion, and art of the Americas.

Constant Kerkhove Raymond
Explaining Aztec Human Sacrifice, MA Thesis

Human sacrifice was a global phenomenon that has perplexed scholars for centuries . Explaining the ceremony could prove pivotal towards understanding numerous supposedly ‘dark’ traditions wherein it flourished: Celtic religion, West African religion, Tantra. With this in mind, the following thesis makes an intensive study of the rite’s significance in Aztec religion.
The study comprises two parts:
A. Exposition of the context and nature of Aztec human sacrifice, and attempts to explain it.
B. Application of Frederick Streng’s theory: Aztec human sacrifice as a means of ultimate transformation.
Part A. , which begins with an introduction to the study of human sacrifice, also outlines the Aztecs, ‘ their religion, and available sources on both . Then follows a chapter that details the nature and aspects of Aztec human sacrifice. A final segment evaluates theories used to account for the practice, and offers an alternative approach: Streng’s model of religion as transformation.
The aim of Part A. is to establish that the Aztecs and their religious system were a great deal more sophisticated than is usually acknowledged. I also hope to show how pervasive and important human sacrifice was in their culture, and the inadequacy of most attempts to explain this.
For Part B., Streng’s model is ‘in use as a framework to detail the possible themes of transformation in Aztec human sacrifice, such as ‘bursting open’; atonement; remorse and ruin; birth; mirroring; and symbiotic exchange. Each of these form a chapter.
The aim of Part B. is to establish that human sacrifice fulfilled Aztec needs for personal and communal transformation. This serves to underline the complex spiritual motives that I consider the core of Aztec human sacrifice. Indeed, in Part B. I hope to achieve what has not yet been attempted: a reconstruction of these motives in considerable detail.
In order to carry out the latter, I draw widely on ancient written sources; on the iconography of monuments and folk art; on current Mexican Indian attitudes and practices; on outsiders’ observations; on evidence from archaeology; and even on historical incidents. Hopefully, a clearer, more comprehensive picture will emerge of what Aztecs truly thought and sought when conducting their human sacrifices.

John Bierhorst
Cantares Mexicanos: Songs of the Aztecs

Cantares Mexicanos is the name given to a manuscript collection of Nahuatl songs or poems recorded in the 16th century. The 91 songs of the Cantares form the largest Nahuatl song collection, containg over half of all known traditional Nahuatl songs. It is currently located in the National Library of Mexico in Mexico City. A complete transcription and English translation of the Cantares was published in 1985 by John Bierhorst as “Cantares Mexicanos: Songs of the Aztecs”, as well as a dictionary and concordance. Although Bierhorst’s transcription was appreciated by scholars for its accuracy and faithfulness to the original manuscript, his translations were considered controversial, being colored by his view that the Cantares are “ghost songs”, part of a colonial revitalization movement parallel to the ghost dances of the Plains Indians.