Friday, May 26, 1995

Mexican And Central American Mythology

by Irene Nicholson

This is perhaps the most well written of the Hamlyn books I've read, and the author comes across as more of an expert than the others.  Like the Egyptian one, this book had a thesis geared to dispelling popular misconceptions about the myth at hand: that Mexican theology was not centered around subjugation and the sacrifice of human hearts, but that such things came later with the Aztec conquest; before then, the Nahua and Mayan religions emphasized the self-sacrifice of the humble and the victory of the spiritual over the material or base urges. Unlike the Egyptian book, this one made a good case for the thesis, although Nicholson tends to over-explicate the various symbols in the myths to the point of stretching credibility.  Other than its main thrust, the most interesting aspect of the book was its bewildering presentation of the amazingly accurate and complex Maya and Aztec calendar.

three stars

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