Explores the complex aspects of the ancient Aztec civilization, its artistic and cultural achievements, its bloody religion, and its history–from earliest times to its collapse with the arrival of the Spanish in the New World.
The gruesome Aztec practice of mass human sacrifice horrified Cortés when he entered Tenochticlán in 1519. Yet these bloodthirsty warriors also created a refined society, monumental architecture, powerful sculpture, magnificently illustrated codices, fine goldwork and brilliant feathered costumes. How did these contradictory aspects co-exist in one people? From their early beginnings as nomads through their time as powerful empire builders to the period of Spanish rule, The Aztecs examines the complete history of this amazing culture. The richly illustrated text is supplemented by contemporary documents including evidence on Aztec myths, social organization, trade, the arts, human sacrifice, the conquest, the continuation of Aztec religion after Christianity and the fate of the Indian population today.
Serge Gruzinski is Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris and author of several books, among them The Conquest of Mexico and Man-Gods in the Mexican Highlands. Heather MacLean is a translator who lives in Forest Grove, Oregon.