Mexico : from the Olmecs to the Aztecs

by Michael D. Coe

Book, 2013



Call number

F1219 .C63


Publisher Unknown


"This authoritative volume has been revised throughout and expanded, with new images and accounts of the major discoveries of recent years. Updates begin with the earliest periods: one of the enduring puzzles surrounding Mexican prehistory, the origins of maize farming, has at last been solved. There are insights into the latest finds at the Olmec sites at Chiapas de Corzo and Zazacatla. The classic city of Teotihuacan continues to yield discoveries, changing the way we look at this major site. The Post-Classic Huastec people are covered in greater detail. And the unearthing of burial deposits in the center of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan has led to a new understanding of the history and symbolism of this hallowed area."--Page 4 of cover.… (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
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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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LibraryThing member nmele
This is the first book I read to try to make up for my ignorance of Mexican history and culture. It reads like a textbook but has plenty of good illustrations which brought home the highly developed indigenous cultures of Mexico before the Spanish. I now understand much more about the Aztecs and
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the other indigenous peoples than I did before. I found this book an excellent introduction to pre-Conquest Mexico.
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LibraryThing member AndreasJ
For the purposes of this book, "Mexico" means Mesoamerica west of the Maya area, so approximately the central and southern bits of the modern country, minus the Yucatan.

This is then an overview of the archaeology and history of this region before the arrival of the Spanish. It mostly tries to give
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a consensus view, though in some instances it comes down firmly on one side or another on controversial issues, such as insisting on the priority of Tula over Chichén Itzá.

I found it quite useful.
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