Thursday, May 25, 2017

Popol Vuh / Anonymous / 388 pgs

I read this book in preparation of a presentation I had to give in my Spanish 102 class on ancient Mayan mythology. As mythology goes, I think I still prefer Greek mythology, but as someone who has a degree in religious studies, I found that my knowledge of Central and South American religion and mythology is sorely lacking, so I'm glad I got to read this. The book is divided in four parts, and it's a bit tricky to understand exactly what is going on at all times, but essentially, the first part concerns the creation of the universe and the different deities that played a part. It took several tries to get the creation of humans right. The first time, they were made of mud, then wood, and then flesh and bone. The second part concerns twins who were tricksters and clever enough to get themselves out of sticky situations. It's a common enough motif among Native Americans. The third and fourth parts concern the K'iche Mayans and how their tribe was formed, how they got a patron god, and how they found their capital in Guatemala. The stories themselves are quite short but there are a LOT of footnotes to help explain what is exactly happening in the stories.

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