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    Heaven and Earth in Ancient Mexico: Astronomy and Seasonal Cycles in the Codex Borgia (Hardback) By (author) Susan Milbrath

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    DescriptionThe Codex Borgia, a masterpiece that predates the Spanish conquest of central Mexico, records almanacs used in divination and astronomy. Within its beautifully painted screenfold pages is a section (pages 29-46) that shows a sequence of enigmatic pictures that have been the subject of debate for more than a century. Bringing insights from ethnohistory, anthropology, art history, and archaeo-astronomy to bear on this passage, Susan Milbrath presents a convincing new interpretation of Borgia 29-46 as a narrative of noteworthy astronomical events that occurred over the course of the year AD 1495-1496, set in the context of the central Mexican festival calendar. In contrast to scholars who have interpreted Borgia 29-46 as a mythic history of the heavens and the earth, Milbrath demonstrates that the narrative documents ancient Mesoamericans' understanding of real-time astronomy and natural history. Interpreting the screenfold's complex symbols in light of known astronomical events, she finds that Borgia 29-46 records such phenomena as a total solar eclipse in August 1496, a November meteor shower, a comet first sighted in February 1496, and the changing phases of Venus and Mercury. She also shows how the narrative is organized according to the eighteen-month festival calendar and how seasonal cycles in nature are represented in its imagery. This new understanding of the content and purpose of the Codex Borgia reveals this long-misunderstood narrative as the most important historical record of central Mexican astronomy on the eve of the Spanish conquest.


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  • Full bibliographic data for Heaven and Earth in Ancient Mexico

    Title
    Heaven and Earth in Ancient Mexico
    Subtitle
    Astronomy and Seasonal Cycles in the Codex Borgia
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Susan Milbrath
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 224
    Width: 224 mm
    Height: 284 mm
    Thickness: 20 mm
    Weight: 907 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780292743731
    ISBN 10: 0292743734
    Classifications

    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: SOC
    BIC subject category V2: HBLC
    BIC time period qualifier V2: 3H
    BIC subject category V2: HBJK
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: S3.2
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    BIC subject category V2: JFSL9
    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1KLCM
    B&T Modifier: Geographic Designator: 84
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 01
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 01
    B&T General Subject: 750
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 15590
    Ingram Subject Code: AH
    Libri: I-AH
    BISAC V2.8: SOC003000
    Ingram Theme: CULT/LATAME, CULT/MEXICN
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 50
    BISAC V2.8: HIS025000
    B&T Merchandise Category: UP
    BISAC V2.8: SCI004000
    BIC subject category V2: 3H, 1KLCM
    LC subject heading: , , , ,
    DC23: 972.018
    DC22: 523.10899745, 523.1089/97452
    LC classification: F1219.56.B65 M55 2013
    LC subject heading:
    Illustrations note
    black & white illustrations, black & white tables, figures, black & white plates, colour plates
    Publisher
    University of Texas Press
    Imprint name
    University of Texas Press
    Publication date
    08 May 2013
    Publication City/Country
    Austin, TX
    Review quote
    "Readers will appreciate the generous use of illustrations as they make their way through what is, by virtue of the subject matter, a complex line of argumentation. One of the strengths of Milbrath's study is the contextualization she provides, in the form of discussions of highland Mexican calendars, the likely provenience of the codex, and a detailed examination of central Mexican deities that play celestial or astronomical roles [...] this volume is certain to engender considerable discussion concerning how pre-Hispanic codices were used and the role of astronomical narratives in the every-day and ritual lives of Late Postclassic Mexican populations" - Anthropos