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Yucatan Before and After the Conquest

By Landa, Diego De

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Book Id: WPLBN0003467434
Format Type: PDF eBook :
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Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Yucatan Before and After the Conquest  
Author: Landa, Diego De
Language: English
Subject: Sacred Texts, Native American, Maya
Collections: Classic Sacred Texts
Publication Date:
Publisher: Sacred Text


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Landa, D. D. (1937). Yucatan Before and After the Conquest. Retrieved from

Description: Among the many 'bad guys' in the history of sacred texts, the Friar Diego de Landa has to occupy a special circle in hell. In 1562, de Landa conducted an 'Auto de fé' in Maní where in addition to 5000 'idols,' he burned 27 books in Maya writing. This one act deprived future generations of a huge body of Mayan literature. He culturally impoverished the descendents of the Mayas, and left only four codices for scholars to puzzle over. The document translated here is de Landa's apology, and one of the few remaining contemporary texts which describe pre-conquest Mayan society, science, and art in detail. As such it must be read in context. The translator and editor, the distinguished Americanist William Gates, provides plenty of background on de Landa, the decline of the Maya, and what is today known about their ancient culture. Although the vast majority of the information here is solid and cross-documented, there is one notable lapse, de Landa's infamous Mayan alphabet, which bears no relation to the realities of the hieroglyphic Mayan writing system. This has often been mis-used to make points about the diffusion of letter forms, so it bears a close look in situ


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