Mexico : from the Olmecs to the Aztecs

by Michael D. Coe

Book, 2013



Call number

F1219.7 .C63


Publisher Unknown


"Michael D. Coe's Mexico has long been recognized as the most readable and authoritative introduction to the region's ancient civilizations. Now this companion volume to Professor Coe's bestselling The Maya has been completely revised and expanded for the fourth edition. Enlarged sections are included on early village life and the rise of Olmec civilization. Extraordinary recent discoveries - such as the stela from La Mojarra inscribed in the mysterious Isthmian script or the mass sacrifice of 200 victims at Teotihuacan - receive full coverage. A new chapter on Aztec life and society has also been added, based on fresh readings of the ethnohistorical sources." "Despite the cataclysm of the Spanish Conquest and ensuing epidemics, the native peoples of Mexico survived through the Colonial period. Describing their heroic struggle in a new Epilogue, the author makes clear just how much the character of modern Mexico derives from its Pre-Columbian past."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member barlow304
This splendidly illustrated book covers the history of Mexico from the earliest hunters through the fall of the Aztec empire. Coe and Koontz show how the defining elements of Mesoamerican culture were first established by the Olmecs, then elaborated by the successive civilizations of the Toltecs and the Aztecs. Those elements included urban centers; monumental sculpture; worship of a core group of gods (Rain God, Sun God, Moon God, and Maize God); the cultivation of maize, squash, amaranth, and chili peppers; human sacrifice, etc.

Among the many interesting sections of the book, the discussion of the development of maize cultivation in the “Early Hunter” phase of Mexican culture (prior to 1800 BC) is valuable, as is the discussion of the rise of the Toltecs. The Aztecs get the most space in this volume, as their warrior culture is the best documented and in many respects marks the culmination of Mexican cultural trends. See also the chronological table on p. 244.
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