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Ines the rise of the Aztec empire He also explores Aztec religion which provided both justification for and alternatives to warfare sacrifice and imperialism and he sheds light on Aztec poetry philosophy painting and especially monumental sculpture and architecture He concludes by looking at how the Aztecs have been portrayed in Western thought art film and literature as well as in Latino culture and ar Interesting insight into the religion and the history but I would have liked to have had on everyday life Organization is a little difficult to follow

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The Aztecs

This Very Short Introduction employs the disciplines of history religious studies and anthropology as it illuminates the complexities of Aztec life Readers meet a people highly skilled in sculpture astronomy city planning poetry and philosophy who were also profoundly committed to cosmic regeneration through the thrust of the ceremonial knife and through warfare David Carrasco looks beyond Spanish accou This book delivers exactly what its title promises a brief introduction on Aztec or rather Mexica history and culture The information here is just enough to whet one s appetite I will definitely look for books on this subject

review The Aztecs

Nts that have colored much of the Western narrative to let Aztec voices speak about their origin stories the cosmic significance of their capital city their methods of child rearing and the contributions women made to daily life and the empire Carrasco discusses the arrival of the Spaniards contrasts Aztec mythical traditions about the origins of their city with actual urban life in Mesoamerica and outl This was a bit of a curate s egg The political history part was very good albeit the part on Cortes is caught up in some contradictions Surprisingly given the author s PhD was on mesoamerican religion the section on religion and the cosmovision of the Aztecs was a little disappointing This is a notoriously tricky subject but here there was no real attempt to try to link things together There was no sense of how the female deities related to the male remarkably little on Tlaloc or on the role of Xipe Totec nor on how Ometeotl who bursts onto the scene in chapter 6 There is a rather sad attempt to play down the role of human sacrifice in Aztec religion The attempt to euate this with Greece and Rome is particularly piteous and does the author no credit Despite the author stressing new advances in the understanding of smaller settlements in the Aztec empire none of this information is presented here and we are mainly presented with the high politics of the Aztecs not that I m complaining that much There is an insistence on the Aztecs cultural achievements which is a view with which I sympathise but could have been made of the poetry of Nezahualcoyotl and though we are promised philosophical thought the promise is never really delivered There is also a rather naive approach to the way criollos regarded the Aztec past and a rather uncritical approach to modern neo Aztec advocates which doesn t look at some of the glaring tergiversations it presents Obviously the author has been constrained by the size of volumes in this series and so perhaps I m complaining too much There are choices to be made and I would have chosen in a slightly different way Nevertheless there are a lot of good things here and the book is worth a read It isn t though in my opinion the balanced intro that you might have expected from this series


10 thoughts on “The Aztecs

  1. says:

    This is what the Very Short Introductions are intended to be a short but balanced introduction to the topic with plenty of jumping off points to follow for in depth treatments elsewhere Carrasco does a solid job presenting the background of the Mexica people and governance structures placing human sacrifice in

  2. says:

    This book delivers exactly what its title promises a brief introduction on Aztec or rather Mexica history and culture The information here is just enough to whet one’s appetite I will definitely look for books on this subject

  3. says:

    I do dearly love these little gems from Oxford University Press In this case I happen to admire the author too having taken one of his classes at Harvard in 2015 Davíd Carrasco is a gifted teacher a warm human being and of course a great expert in this subject I read this book as part of a tear I'm on to read histories of Mexico and particularly of the Mexican American border As expected I learned some things from this slim vol

  4. says:

    If you always carry a book on you it's surprising how much time you can find to read throughout the day On public

  5. says:

    This was a bit of a curate's egg The political history part was very good albeit the part on Cortes is caught up in some contradictions Surprisingly given the author's PhD was on mesoamerican religion the section on religio

  6. says:

    It's slightly irritating that introductions about the Aztecs always end up as historical accounts of the Spanis

  7. says:

    There are a lot of details for a short introduction maybe too many but overall it's uite readable and interesting I read this partly out of personal interest and partly because I've started teaching a short section on Aztec philosophy in my W

  8. says:

    Ethusiastic short history of the Aztecs Lots of uotes from primary sources Highly readable although the names can get confusing if you're unfamiliar with Aztec history Still if you have to start getting familiar somewhere this seems like a good place to start I enjoyed it

  9. says:

    Interesting insight into the religion and the history but I would have liked to have had on everyday life Organization is a little difficult to

  10. says:

    Pretty balanced viewpoint Gives uick summary of Aztec history Discusses the Aztecs as successors of a broader urban civilization which emerged in Mesoamerica According to Paul Kirchhoff geographically it comprised of the southern two thirds of Mexico plus Guatemala Belize El Salvador and parts of Honduras Nicaragua and Costa Rica Begins with a historiography of how Aztec culture has been seen since its encounter with Europeans Gives account

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