The Maya a Very Short Introduction

Despite its brevity, this book is unique for its treatment of all periods of Maya civilization, from its origins to the present.

The Maya  a Very Short Introduction

The Maya forged one of the greatest societies in the history of the ancient Americas and in all of human history. Long before contact with Europeans, Maya communities built spectacular cities with large, well-fed large populations. They mastered the visual arts, and developed a sophisticated writing system that recorded extraordinary knowledge in calendrics, mathematics, and astronomy. The Maya achieved all this without area-wide centralized control. There was never a single, unified Maya state or empire, but always numerous, evolving ethnic groups speaking dozens of distinct Mayan languages. The people we call "Maya" never thought of themselves as such; yet something definable, unique, and endlessly fascinating - what we call Maya culture - has clearly existed for millennia. So what was their self-identity and how did Maya civilization come to be "invented?" With the Maya historically subdivided and misunderstood in so many ways, the pursuit of what made them "the Maya" is all the more important. In this Very Short Introduction, Restall and Solari explore the themes of Maya identity, city-state political culture, art and architecture, the Maya concept of the cosmos, and the Maya experience of contact with including invasion by outsiders. Despite its brevity, this book is unique for its treatment of all periods of Maya civilization, from its origins to the present.

Ancient Egypt A Very Short Introduction

He makes a fascinating comparison with a Maya scene on a carved lintel from
Yaxchilan, showing a ruler called Bird-Jaguar capturing two of his enemies (c.ad
755). In the Maya scene, the richly clothed triumphant warriors contrast with the ...

Ancient Egypt  A Very Short Introduction

The ancient Egyptians are an enduring source of fascination - mummies and pyramids, curses and rituals have captured the imagination of generations. We all have a mental picture of ancient Egypt, but is it the right one? How much do we really know about this great civilization? In this absorbing introduction, Ian Shaw describes how our current ideas about Egypt are based not only on the thrilling discoveries made by early Egyptologists but also on fascinating new kinds of evidence produced by modern scientific and linguistic analyses. He also explores the changing influences on our responses to these finds, through such media as literature, cinema and contemporary art. Each chapter deals with a different aspect of ancient Egypt, from despotic pharaohs to dismembered bodies, and from hieroglyphs to animal-headed gods. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Conquistadors A Very Short Introduction

Still, the Spanish colonies of Yucatan and Guatemala in the late sixteenth century
excluded most of the Maya area. Spanish maps marked the miles between the
two colonies as despoblado (“uninhabited”), but that fiction masked the failure of
 ...

The Conquistadors  A Very Short Introduction

With startling speed, Spanish conquistadors invaded hundreds of Native American kingdoms, took over the mighty empires of the Aztecs and Incas, and initiated an unprecedented redistribution of the world's resources and balance of power. They changed the course of history, but the myth they established was even stranger than their real achievements. This Very Short Introduction deploys the latest scholarship to shatter and replace the traditional narrative. Chapters explore New World civilizations prior to the invasions, the genesis of conquistador culture on both sides of the Atlantic, the roles black Africans and Native Americans played and the consequences of the invasions. The book reveals who the conquistadors were and what made their adventures possible. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Writing and Script A Very Short Introduction

This so-called Mayan 'alphabet' is from the surviving copy of an original
manuscript written in the 16th century by a Spanish priest, Diego de Landa, who
worked among the Maya in the Yucatan. In the 1950s and after, it provided the
key to the ...

Writing and Script  A Very Short Introduction

Without writing, there would be no records, no history, no books, and no emails. Writing is an integral and essential part of our lives; but when did it start? Why do we all write differently and how did writing develop into what we use today? All of these questions are answered in this Very Short Introduction. Starting with the origins of writing five thousand years ago, with cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs, Andrew Robinson explains how these early forms of writing developed into hundreds of scripts including the Roman alphabet and the Chinese characters. He reveals how the modern writing symbols and abbreviations we take for granted today - including airport signage and text messaging - resemble ancient ones much more closely than we might think. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Buddhism A Very Short Introduction

Damien Keown. 2. The Buddha's conception: the Buddha's mother, Queen Māyā,
dreams that the future Buddha enters her side in the form of a white baby
elephant, a very auspicious symbol. Detail from a Tibetan thangka ...

Buddhism  A Very Short Introduction

Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction introduces the reader to the teachings of the Buddha and to the workings of Buddhism in daily life. Damien Keown looks at the distinctive features of Buddhism, examining who the Buddha was and what his teachings were. By considering how Buddhist thought has developed over the centuries, Keown considers how contemporary dilemmas can be faced from a Buddhist perspective. In this new edition Keown provides new perspectives on Buddhist thought, including up-to-date material about the evolution of Buddhism throughout Asia, the material culture of Buddhism and its importance, new teachings on the ethics of war and peace, and changes to ethnicity, class, and gender. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Aztecs

Illuminates the complexities of Aztec life.

The Aztecs

Illuminates the complexities of Aztec life. Readers meet a people highly skilled in sculpture, astronomy, city planning, poetry, and philosophy, who were also profoundly committed to cosmic regeneration through the thrust of the ceremonial knife and through warfare.

Social and Cultural Anthropology A Very Short Introduction

In fact the most recent amendments to the constitution have all been concerned
with denying the relevance of class, ethnic, racial, religious, or gender differences
in social arrangements, economic decision making, and political participation.

Social and Cultural Anthropology  A Very Short Introduction

If you want to know what anthropology is, look at what anthropologists do. This Very Short Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology combines an accessible account of some of the disciplines guiding principles and methodology with abundant examples and illustrations of anthropologists at work. Peter Just and John Monaghan begin by discussing anthropologys most important contributions to modern thought: its investigation of culture as a distinctively human characteristic, its doctrine of cultural relativism, and its methodology of fieldwork and ethnography. They then examine specific ways in which social and cultural anthropology have advanced our understanding of human society and culture, drawing on examples from their own fieldwork. The book ends with an assessment of anthropologys present position, and a look forward to its likely future. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Presocratic Philosophy A Very Short Introduction

A lively and thematic treatment of early Greek philosophy, this work discusses the invention of western philosophy - the first thinkers to explore ideas about the nature of reality, time, and the origin of the universe.

Presocratic Philosophy  A Very Short Introduction

This is a book about the invention of Western philosophy, and the first thinkers to explore ideas about the nature of reality, time, and the origin of the universe. It begins with the finding of the new papyrus fragment of Empedocles' poem, and uses the story of its discovery and interpretation to highlight the way our understanding of early philosophers is marked by their presentation in later sources. Generations of philosophers, both ancient and modern, have traced their inspiration back to the presocratics, even though we have very few of their writings left. In this book, Catherine Osborne invites her readers to dip their toes into the fragmentary remains of thinkers from Thales to Pythagoras, Heraclitus to Protagoras, to try to fill in the bits of a jigsaw that has been rejigged many times and in many different ways. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Savanna

Here, Peter A. Furley describes the range of ecosystems encompassed in the savanna landscape; their rich wildlife; their impact on humans and their evolution; and the approaches to their conservation and management.

Savanna

Savannas form one of the largest and most important of the world's ecological zones. Covering one fifth of the Earth's land surface, they are home to some of the world's most iconic animals and form an extremely important global resource for plants and wildlife. However, increasing recognition of their land potential means that they are extremely vulnerable to accelerating pressures on usable land. This Very Short Introduction considers savannas as landscapes. Discussing their origin, topography, and global distribution, Peter A. Furley explores the dynamic nature of savannas and illustrates how they have shaped human evolution and movements. He goes on to discuss the unrelenting pressures that confront conservation and management and considers the future for savannas. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Borders A Very Short Introduction

This might be explained by the Greeks' need for grazing lands, which could be
used in common with neighboring city-states, while the Maya practiced intensive
agriculture, which required clearer partitions of land. In contrast to both, the Malay
 ...

Borders  A Very Short Introduction

Borders: A Very Short Introduction offers insights into the form and function of historical and contemporary political and social boundaries. The authors show how and why borders have been, are currently, and will undoubtedly remain controversial topics and at the forefront of global headlines for years to come.