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Ancient Americas: Aztec History & Art

Pacaritambo: The Machu Picchu Magazine & Ancient Americas Bookstore

The Aztecs - Aztec Civilization

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THE ANCIENT AMERICAN CIVILIZATIONS (History of Civilization series)
by Friedrich Katz. B&W drawings. Cover photo: Mask representing the god Quezalcoatl, Aztec, c. 1500. Condition: NEW 2000 Phoenix Press Trade Paperback, first printing. Content: Originally published in Germany in 1969. Ever since Columbus set foot on American soil ("invaded" is the correct term), and convinced he had reached India, called the native populations Indians, the origins of the aboriginal inhabitants have been hotly debated. There are few empires about which such contradictory ideas persist as those of the Inca and the Aztecs. Katz Begins his study of the ancient American civilizations - spanning the vast period from the first peoples, thirty-five to fifty thousand years ago, to the Spanish Conquest of 1517 - with a discussion of the sources of our knowledge. He describes the inhabitants, their agriculture - and the cultural sphere of Mesoamerica. Tracing the development of the civilizations of pre-Columbian America from village communities to prosperous city states, this is a fascinating account of how these civilizations culminated in the magnificent empires of the Aztecs and Inca. [1 copy available]
$ 8.88 + $ 2.99 media shipping.

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Ancient American Civilizations, Katz

AZTEC: A Novel (Historical Fiction)
by Gary Jennings. Condition: UNREAD 1980 Atheneum hardcover & DJ (in mylar jackaet), Book Club Edition. Problem: DJ has 2 "repaired" tears top edge. Interior perfect. Content: Reviewer: "The most conspicuous element of this entire book is how Jennings is able to blend accurate history of the 16th century with lessons of life that are sure to be timeless. What I mean is that while reading this, not only will you learn a ton about Aztec society and culture and its subsequent end at the hands of Cortes from a people-wide perspective, but you also get to see this same conquest from the eyes of the narrator Mixtli. I love historical fiction, and because I didn't know much about the Aztecs prior to picking this book up, it was a bullseye hit in that respect. Furthermore--and what makes this book more than a mere history lesson--is that you a treated to seeing Mixtli's life progress from being a common citizen, through his rise to warrior, to his becoming nobility. This story is the real soul of the book, and there are passages that are as relevant today as they were 500 years ago when Mixtli spoke them. The bottom line is that this is a great book both for its historical fiction, as well as its sad/funny/awkward/inspiring/heartfelt/tragic, etc. story line that tells of Mixtli's life. It's a long book that will occupy your time, but it's so worth it. Get it now." Probably the best historical novel ever written. Questions welcome. [1 copy available]
$ 6.49 + $ 3.88 media shipping.

Price: $ 6.49
Aztec, Gary Jennings

The AZTEC TREASURE HOUSE: New and Selected Essays
by Evan S. Connell. Condition: NEW 2001 Counterpoint large hardcover & DJ (in mylar jacket), first printing. Tiny edge wear to DJ edges. Remainder mark bottom edges. Content: A collection of new and selected essays by master craftsman Connell. He has long been attracted to the visionary and eccentric, to those people and events slightly outside the mainstream of human experience. His subjects are people of passion and purpose, events of legend and desire. He offers stories of the Anazasi, the "old ones" of the southwestern desert, of the grand explorers Marco Polo, Columbus, Magellan, and Ibn Batuta, of heretics, fanatics, scientists, cranks, and geniuses. There are tales of fabulous advances made in anthropology, archeology, astronomy, and linguistics. This is a book of great "celebrations of man's insatiable drive to probe unknown frontiers [that] read like superb novels," says Grover Sales. "[They] establish Connell as an important writer-poet-thinker with a truly original mind." The book comprises two previous collections, The White Lantern and A Long Desire, and two new essays never published in trade book form. The whole amounts to a dazzling monument to the career of one of America's finest writers. A few pieces consider historic clashes between "those traditional opponents Science and Religion." Fascinated by people who probe the outer limits of knowledge and geography, Connell provides a blow-by-blow account of the famous debate between Thomas Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce over evolution and describes the searing conflict between Galileo and the Catholic Church over heliocentrism. "White Lantern" the best essay of the bunch passionately (even enviously) details the amazing race to the South Pole between pragmatic Norwegian Roald Amundsen and romantic Englishman Captain Robert Scott, in a narrative even Jon Krakauer would admire. Connell sagely points out that "Amundsen, the victor, is not as renowned as the loser," because a dead hero (Scott died on the return trip) is more likely to captivate the public's imagination. Confessing a hopeless attraction to "buried treasure, monsters, ghosts, derelict ships, inexplicable footprints, and luminous objects streaking through the sky," Connell chronicles journeys of absolute, disastrous futility the searches for Atlantis, the Seven Cities of Gold and the Northwest Passage. These skillfully crafted essays will please any history, science or adventure buff. Questions welcome. [1 copy available]
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Aztec Treasure House, Connell, History essays

THE AZTECS (Indians of North America series)
by Frances F. Berdan. Wonderful color photo section with B&W maps, drawings and photos througout. Condition: UNREAD 1989 Chelsea House Trade Paperback, first printing. Tiny edgewear. Content: A wonderful overview of the Aztec Empire and civilization. Excellent! [1 copy available]
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Price: $ 3.49
Aztecs, Frances Berdan

by Frances F. Berdan. B&W maps, drawings, & Codex reproductins. Condition: Gently pre-read, IF at all, c. 1990 Holt, Rinehart Trade Paperback, 2nd printing. Light edge wear with pale tanning to page edges. Content: Who were the Aztecs, really? This book answers that question by covering the compelling story of a complex, imperial society in Central Mexico during the 15th and 16th centuries. It uses pre- and post-Spanish conquest documents and illustrations, as well as archaeological discoveries, to reconstruct the variety and "feel" of Aztec daily life at various status levels. This is a classic in Aztec history - some data may be somewhat dated, but still worth the read. [1 copy available]
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Price: $ 4.00
Aztecs of Central Mexico, Imperial Society, Berdan

THE CONQUEST OF AMERICA: The Question of the Other
by Tzetan Todorov. Translated from the French by Richard Howard. B&W illustrations. Condition: UNREAD, but not perfect, 1998 HarperPerennial Trade Paperback, 5th printing. Tiny edge wear with light to moderate tanning to page edges. Content: A fascinating study of cultural confrontation in the New World, with implications far beyond sixteenth-century America, this book has become a classic in its field. It offers an original interpretation of the discovery of America by Columbus and of the subsequent conquest, colonization, and destruction of Mexico and the Caribbean by the Spaniards at the beginning of the modern era. Using sixteenth-century sources, the distinguished French writer and critic examines the beliefs and behavior of both the Spanish conquistadors and the Aztecs, adversaries in a clash of cultures that resulted in the near extermination of Mesoamerica's Indian population. Absorbing, intelligent, and responsible in its call for a much-needed dialogue between different cultures, this evokes a drama that set the pattern for much of the history of Western colonialism. [1 copy available]
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Conquest of America, Todorov, Aztecs

DAILY LIFE OF THE AZTECS On the Eve of the Spanish Conquest
by Jacques Soustelle. Translated from the French by Patrick O'Brien. B&W photo section. Condition: NEW 2002 Phoenix trade paperback, reissue. Impression back cover. Content: Originally published in France in 1955. This is the full title of the book, however, Daily Life of the Aztecs is the generally used title. Reviewer: "The long short of it is: Anybody interested in Aztecs needs to read this book. Soustelle ably demonstrates that there was more to Aztec society then war and human sacrifice, as he leads us first through the daily life of the average citizen of the Aztec empire, and from there goes on to talk about almost everything that a citizen could possibly come in contact with, from big things like the legal and educational systems, down to little things like what they ate where they went to the bathroom. Soustelle's style is engaging and easy to read, and his immense admiration for the Aztecs is visible in nearly every sentence. In fact, sometimes it's almost too visible, as Soustelle doesn't really use the objective, detached style of writing that we modern readers are used to finding in history books. He often outright condemns both the Aztec merchant class and the Spanish conquistadors, which is a big no-no in history writing. That said, he spends most of the book examining subjects he admires, so these condemnations only occur in a few passages, and generally his enthusiasm for the subject matter is highly infectious. I'd be surprised if, after finishing this book, you didn't become a big Aztec booster." Questions welcome. [2 copies available]
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Daily Life of the Aztecs, Soustelle
Daily Life of the Aztecs, Soustelle

THE FAIR GOD Or the Last of the 'Tzins: A Tale of the Conquest of Mexico
by General Lew Wallace (Ben-Hur). B&W full-page plates by Eric Pape. Condition: This is a used book. I will get the details of this shortly - seem to have misplaced the condition description. DUH! Content: This manuscript was found (said Wallace in his Introduction, which was fiction of a cloth with the novel to follow) among a heap of old dispatches from the Viceroy Mendoza to the Emperor. It must have been to give him a completer idea of the Aztecan people and their civilization, or to lighten the burdens of royalty by an amusement to which, it is known, Charles V. was not averse. Besides, Mendoza, in his difficulty with the Marquess of the Valley (Cortes), failed not to avail himself of every means likely to propitiate his cause with the court, and especially with the Royal Council of the Indies. It is not altogether improbable, therefore, that the manuscript was forwarded for the entertainment of the members of the Council and the lordly personages of the Court. . . . everything relative to the New World, and particularly the dazzling conquest of Mexico. [Regardless of the publisher's note here, this IS a work of fiction.] Questions welcome. [1 copy available]
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The Fair God, Lew Wallace, Aztecs

THE FLAME OF PEACE: A Tale of the Aztecs
story and color illustrations by Deborah Nourse Lattimore. Condition: UNREAD 1991 Harper Trophy soft cover, no printing given. Beautiful, historically accurate & detailed color illustrations - could have come right out of a Codex. Content: Two Flint knows no better place on earth than his beautiful Aztec city. But one day a hostile army appears outside the city walls. When Two Flint's father goes to talk peace with the enemy, he never returns. Only when the magic flame from Lord Morning Star's sacred light burns in the great Aztec temple can men live as brothers. But the journey to the great god's home is fraught with terrors. And the long road beyond the great city walls is ruled by nine evil demons of darkness. Two Flint knows he must be brave. But can he succeed where so many others have failed? [While the message of peace is an appropriate one for youngsters - recommended for ages 5 to 8 - I'm not convinced it is appropriate to the Aztec culture. However, it is a nice story and the illustrations will easily carry the text.] Questions welcome. [1 copy available]
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Price: $ 7.49
Flame of Peace: Tale of the Aztecs

by Shelley Tanaka. Excellent, detailed, and historically accurate color illustrations by Greg Ruhl. Condition: NEW 1998 Hyperion/Madison soft cover, third printing. Tiny edge wear. Content: Using the discovery of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan under the streets of Mexico City in 1978 as a starting point, Tanaka introduces readers to the world of the Aztecs at the time of the Spanish invasion. From this beginning, the readable text follows the fate of this capital city and its inhabitants until its fall and destruction in 1521?the death knell of an empire. Lavishly illustrated with full-color photos, period artwork, and dramatic full-page paintings, the book is handsome and eye-catching. It includes fictional dialogue and suppositions regarding emotional states, but purists may be comforted by the vetting of Professor Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, both a descendant of an Aztec ruler and the archaeologist in charge of the initial excavation of the Great Temple. Another comforting note indicates that, "The largely based on Aztec accounts...." Sadly, there is no index (or table of contents) to simplify swift information retrieval. Still, this is a colorful, lively edition. [1 copy available]
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Lost Temple of the Aztecs

ON THE TRAIL OF THE FEATHERED SERPENT: An Archaeologist Finds and Sails the Ancient Sea Route That Linked Incan and Aztec Civilizations
by Gene Savoy (Antisuyo). Loaded with B&W photos, maps, and drawings. End pages are decorated with the sea route Savoy followed. Condition: Gently pre-read 1974 Bobbs-Merrill hardcover & DJ (in mylar jacket), first printing. Problems: Edgewear with chips to DJ edges plus tanning to DJ spine and a bit into the front panel. Some foxing and "spots" fore edges and top edges of book. Interior clean & tight - no tanning. Content: Peruvian myth tells of a wise man known as Viracocha who sailed awy to the north after a period of persecution. And Mexican legend is filled with tales of Quetzalcoatl, a godlike fiture who appeared by sea from the south, who established law among the Aztecs, and whose fame grew as a teacher of all things. In Mexico and Yucatan, in the Andean caves, and in the jungles of Peru, extraordinary likenesses have been noted among stone carvings relating to these legends and in the ornamental work found among the runis of the ancients. Others have dismissed these similarities as coincidence. SAvoy felt sure that hundreds of years before the Spanish Conquest - and much earlier than scientists had thought it possible - cultural interchange had taken place between South and Central America. Guided by the legends, he theorized a sea link. To prove his assumption, he set out to duplicate the mythological voyage of Viracocha/Quetzalcoatl from Peru to Mexico.This tale of daring and exciting sea expedition in a totora reed vessel rivals the adventures of Kon-Tiiki. Wonderful read! Questions welcome. [1 copy available]
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On the Trail of the Feathered Serpent, Incas, Aztecs

SPIRIT CHILD: A Story of the Nativity
translated from the Aztec by John Bierhorst. Beautiful, soft pastel color illustrations by Barbara Cooney. Condition: NEW 1984 SeaStar Books hardcover (pictorial boards) & DJ (in mylar jacket), first printing. Content: This acclaimed picture book brings to life a stirring message of hope and salvation. Beneath the light of a brilliant star in Bethlehem, a "spirit child" is born to rescue the world from evil. He is Jesus, "savior of the people," and his story has not been told in these words for over four hundred years. This Native American nativity story from the Aztec tradition was rediscovered by noted scholar John Bierhorst and it is filled with vivid language and some of the most striking imagery of Caldecott Medalist Barbara Cooney's distinguished career. Questions welcome. [2 copies available]
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Price: $ 5.89
Spirit Child, Story of Nativity

TEOTIHUACAN: City of the Gods (Bilingual - English/Spanish)
by The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Beautiful color photos of sites, buildings, and artifacts. Condition: NEW 1993 Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco soft cover (stapled wraps), assumed first edition. Facing pages in English and Spanish. This book is in great condition it's hard for me to believe it was published in 1993, but . . . Content: A discussion of Teotihuacan and all of its facets - religious beliefs, arts, agriculture, buildings, etc. Wonderful book, IMHO. Questions welcome & answered. [2 copies available]
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Teotihuacan: City of the Gods

TWO EARTHS, TWO HEAVENS: An Essay Contrasting the Aztecs and the Incas
by Burr Cartwright Brundage. Machu Picchu cover art. Condition: UNREAD 1975 UNM Press hardcover & DJ (in mylar jacket), no printing given. DJ shows light edge wear top edge. Content: Brundage, a historian who has written extensively about both the Incas and the Aztecs, here compares their origins, creation myths, religions and ways of life and warfare. "The Incas," he writes, "trusting in their destiny as a master race, planned ahead whereas the Aztecs, pessimistic and acutely aware of irresponsibility as a main characteristic of the gods, lived from day to day dutifully performing the rites of war." He portrays the Inca Empire as "synonymous with order," the Aztec Empire as a "byproduct of warfare." His innovative explanation of the defeat of the two nations by the Spanish is based on his belief that by the sixteenth century both empires had already passed their apex. Questions welcome [1 copy available]
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Two Earths, Two Heavens

art from a photo. Condition: NEW package of 12 bookplates made by pacaritambo books. The peel-off label stock is heavier than most bookplate materials and is matte and not glossy. They are as perfect as possible, and we feel the subject matter is much different than you can get anywhere else. 4.0" H x 3" W. We can personalize your bookplate (the font is BinnerD) - just email us the name. Any questions, click here to email us. Content: This bookplate is a color representation of the Aztec Calendar symbolic of the ancient culture.
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Aztec Calendar

art by Frenta. Condition: NEW package of 12 bookplates made by pacaritambo books. The peel-off label stock is heavier than most bookplate materials and is matte and not glossy. They are as perfect as possible, and we feel the subject matter is much different than you can get anywhere else. 3.0" H x 4.0" W. We can personalize your bookplate (the font is Book Antiqua) - just email us the name. Any questions, click here to email us. Content: This bookplate is a color representation of the ancient Aztec culture. The interior is a light brown/tan parchment color which does not show up well here.
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Aztec Parchment Bookplates

art by I. Skorupych. Condition: NEW package of 12 bookplates made by pacaritambo books. The peel-off label stock is heavier than most bookplate materials and is matte and not glossy. They are as perfect as possible, and we feel the subject matter is much different than you can get anywhere else. 4.0" H x 3.0" W. We can personalize your bookplate (the font is CroissantD) - just email us the name. Any questions, click here to email us. Content: Revered throughout ancient Mesoamerica and parts of South America, the Quetzal is a beautiful large bird of many colors. The name is from Nahuatl quetzalli, "large brilliant tail feather" (Wikipedia). This representation is a bit of a "stylized" Quetzal.
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Quetzal Bookplates