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The Maya: A Very Short Introduction [#656]
The Maya: A Very Short Introduction [#656]
  • A rare packaging of all Maya history from origins to the present
  • Takes a multidisciplinary approach to study of the Maya people, including literature, religion, and archaeology
  • Expands traditional periodization of Mayan history to explore more historical nuance

The Maya forged the greatest society in the history of the ancient Americas, and one of the great societies in human history. Long before contact with Europeans, Maya communities built spectacular cities, created complex agricultural systems, mastered the visual arts, and developed a sophisticated writing system that recorded extraordinary knowledge in calendrics, mathematics, and astronomy. All that was achieved without area-wide centralized control. For there was never a single, unified Maya state or empire, but always numerous, evolving ethnic groups speaking dozens of distinct Mayan languages. The people we call "Maya" never thought of themselves as such; so what was their self-identity and how did Maya civilization come to be "invented"? Yet something definable, unique, and endlessly fascinating-what we call Maya culture-has clearly existed for millennia.
With the Maya subdivided in so many ways-geographical, linguistic, and chronological-the pursuit of what made the Maya "the Maya" is all the more important. In this Very Short Introduction, Restall and Solari explore the themes of Mayan self-identity, polity or city-state political culture, and cosmovision and the world beyond.


Chapter 1 Maya Genesis
Chapter 2 The Divine King
Chapter 3 The Writing Rabbit
Chapter 4 A Day in the Life
Chapter 5 Maya "Mysteries"
Chapter 6 Conquests
Chapter 7 Colonizations
Further Reading

About the author: 

Matthew Restall, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of History and Anthropology, Penn State Univetsity, and Amara Solari, Associate Professor of Art History and Anthropology, Penn State Univetsity
Matthew Restall was educated at Oxford and UCLA. He is now Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of History and Anthropology, and Director of Latin American Studies, at Penn State University. A recent president of the American Society for Ethnohistory, he edits the Hispanic American Historical Review and book series with Cambridge University and Penn State presses. His one hundred publications on three fields of Latin American history-Yucatan and the Maya; Africans in Spanish America; and the Spanish Conquest-include The Maya World; Maya Conquistador; Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest; The Black Middle; 2012 and the End of the World; The Conquistadors; and When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story of the Meeting Than Changed History. His forthcoming books include histories of the Maya town of Ixil and of early Belize. 
Amara Solari was educated at the University of California at Berkeley and at Santa Barbara. She is now Associate Professor of Art History and Anthropology at Penn State University. She is the author of three books, 2012 and the End of the World: The Western Roots of the Maya Apocalypse (co-authored with Matthew Restall in 2011), Maya Ideologies of the Sacred: The Transfiguration of Space in Colonial Yucatan (2013), and the forthcoming Idolizing Mary: Maya-Christian Icons in Early Modern Yucatán (2019). She has published in The Art Bulletin, Ethnohistory, and the Hispanic American Historical Review of which she is currently a senior editor. Her latest book project is a material, iconographic, and spatial study of the extant corpus of Maya Christian murals in Yucatan.

Product details

ISBN : 9780190645021

Matthew Restall; Amara Solari
152 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Oct 2020
Very Short Introductions
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The Maya: A Very Short Introduction [#656]

The Maya: A Very Short Introduction [#656]

The Maya: A Very Short Introduction [#656]