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The Madrid Codex

New Approaches to Understanding an Ancient Maya Manuscript

edited by Gabrielle Vail and Anthony F. Aveni

Paperback Price $38.95
Ebook Price $29.95
30-day ebook rental price $9.99

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Mesoamerican Worlds Series

"The Madrid Codex offers a new and nuanced understanding of one of the few surviving Maya hieroglyphic books, a porthole into the ancient Maya mind and a poignant reminder of how much was in a world now lost. [It is] a barrage of scholarship from leading scholars in everything from iconography to archaeoastronomy. . . . The Madrid Codex, on the basis of the impressive scholarship in every chapter of this book, now takes its place as a crucial document of this cultural ferment and fusion."

"I cannot think of another interdisciplinary study in Mesoamerican cultures that has produced such innovative results."
—Davíd Carrasco, Harvard University

"The exciting new approaches to interpreting the codices will make this a volume essential for those studying the Postclassic Maya."
—Susan Milbrath, University of Florida


This volume offers new calendrical models and methodologies for reading, dating, and interpreting the general significance of the Madrid Codex. The longest of the surviving Maya codices, this manuscript includes texts and images painted by scribes conversant in Maya hieroglyphic writing, a written means of communication practiced by Maya elites from the second to the fifteenth centuries A.D. Some scholars have recently argued that the Madrid Codex originated in the Petén region of Guatemala and postdates European contact. The contributors to this volume challenge that view by demonstrating convincingly that it originated in northern Yucatá­n and was painted in the Pre-Columbian era. In addition, several contributors reveal provocative connections among the Madrid and Borgia group of codices from Central Mexico. 

Contributors: Harvey M. Bricker, Victoria R. Bricker, John F. Chuchiak IV, Christine L. Herná­ndez, Bryan R. Just, Merideth Paxton, John Pohl


Additional support for this publication was generously provided by the Eugene M. Kayden Fund at the University of Colorado.


Gabrielle Vail is a research scholar specializing in codical and pre-Columbian studies at New College of Florida and the author or coeditor of five books.

Anthony Aveni is the Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy, Anthropology, and Native American Studies at Colgate University. He has researched and written about Maya astronomy for more than four decades. He was named a US National Professor of the Year and has been awarded the H. B. Nicholson Medal for Excellence in Research in Mesoamerican Studies by Harvard's Peabody Museum. 

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  • Paperback Price: $38.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-87081-939-1
  • Ebook Price: $29.95
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $9.99
  • EISBN: 978-0-87081-861-5
  • Publication Year: 2009
  • Pages: 456
  • Illustrations: 15 b&w photographs, 66 line drawings, 6 maps
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: edited by Gabrielle Vail and Anthony F. Aveni
  • ECommerce Code: 978-0-87081-939-1
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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