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The Popol Vuh

An account of the Popol Vuh, written by Lewis Spence.  The full name of the work is “The Mythic and Heroic Sagas of the Kichés of Central America”.

The Popol Vuh is a the mythological and quasi-historical account of the K’iche’ people who inhabit the Guatemalan Highlands northwest of present-day Guatemala City. This version of the Popol Vuh is from the 1908 edition and is in the public domain.

Dresden Codex

The Dresden Codex is named after the city where it is kept, namely Dresden, Germany.  It is a manuscript thought to be the oldest from pre-contact Americas, possibly produced at the beginning of the 13th century.  It is believed to be a copy of an original text that was composed between about 700 to 900 CE, hence the conclusion that it may possibly be the oldest known book from the Americas.  The surviving copy may have been one of a number of pre-Columbian works sent to Europe by Hernán Cortés in 1519.

Composed of seventy-four fig bark pages, sewn together to produce an eleven foot document, it originally contained two protective wooden covers bearing engraved jaguar motifs.  It is one of the few surviving Maya manuscripts, and is interpreted as a comprehensive source of Maya calendar information and is a Rosetta stone of sorts for the Maya glyph writing system.

Don Juan Kahuil

Shadows of the world of pre-contact Maya society come to us mostly from the records of the Spaniards themselves.  Of the records that have survived, court decisions and the narratives presented in them, offer a glimpse of a world that straddled pre and post contact, of which the judgment that follows is an example.

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