An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya
The myths and beliefs of the great pre-Columbian civilizations of Mesoamerica have baffled and fascinated outsiders ever since the Spanish Conquest. This is a dictionary of Mesoamerican mythology and religion, which seeks to act as a guide to this labyrinthine symbolic world. Nearly 300 entries, from Tlaltecuhtli, the Aztec earth monster, to Venus, the Mesoamerican planet of danger, describe the main gods and symbols of the Olmecs, Zapotecs, Maya, Teotihuacanos, Mixtecs, Toltecs and Aztecs. Topics range from jaguar and jester gods to reptile eye and rubber, from creation accounts and sacred places to ritual practices such as blood-letting, confession, dance and pilgrimage. Two introductory essays provide succinct accounts of Mesoamerican history and religion, while a substantial bibliographical survey directs the reader to original sources and discussions. Dictionary entries are illustrated with photographs and line drawings.