At an excavation of the Great Aztec Temple in Mexico City, amid carvings of skulls and a dismembered warrior goddess, David Carrasco stood before a container filled with the decorated bones of infants and children. It was the site of a massive human sacrifice, and for Carrasco the center of fiercely provocative questions: If ritual violence against humans was a profound necessity for the Aztecs in their capital city, is it central to the construction of social order and the authority of city states? Is civilization built on violence?
In City of Sacrifice,Carrasco chronicles the fascinating story of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, investigating Aztec religious practices and demonstrating that religious violence was integral to urbanization; the city itself was a temple to the gods. That Mexico City, the largest city on earth, was built on the ruins of Tenochtitlan, is a point Carrasco poignantly considers in his comparison of urban life from antiquity to modernity.
Majestic in scope, City of Sacrifice illuminates not only the rich history of a major Meso american city but also the inseparability of two passionate human impulses: urbanization and religious engagement. It has much to tell us about many familiar events in our own time, from suicide bombings in Tel Aviv to rape and murder in the Balkans.
Brand: Beacon Press
Used Book in Good Condition
black & white illustrations
black & white illustrations
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In City of Sacrifice, David Carrasco explains his picture of Aztec cosmology by describing various Aztec rituals and traditions, drawing on his archaeological experience as well as his interpretation of Aztec art and myth. We may begin and end the book uncomfortable with human sacrifice, but Carrasco's understanding of the worldview behind it puts it in some perspective.
I find this work to be valuable first as a description of Aztec practices. Carrasco's accounts of the major Aztec festivals are interesting and enjoyable (the chapter titles include "Give Me Some Skin" and "Cosmic Jaws") although often macabre. I appreciate that Carrasco has worked on the archaeological dig in Ciudad de México and understands firsthand the primary sources-- artifacts, remains, sculptures, paintings-- that form our basis of understanding for Aztec culture. Second, I enjoy Carrasco's picture of Aztec cosmology, a cosmology that has lines (both vertical and horizontal) as well as a...
Not an exciting read but very informative.
The author rightly points out that scholars have largely avoided the topic of Aztec sacrifice, no doubt for political reasons (for fear that describing the horrible brutality of these practices might appear to be a justification for the European conquest). It is thus good to see someone face the topic directly. Nonetheless the book is a disappointment. Carrasco is addicted to unnecessary pseudo-technical jargon: "locative cosmology", "ortho-visus", "orientatio", "heterogeographical," etc., and to such mind-numbing phrasings such as "forefronting the locative nature of the city's final narrative." It is a challenge to choose the worst-written sentence in this book, so I'll pick two: "In this book, I extend the meaning of orientatio to include both the discovery and organization of central place and the sacrificial performances that have the power to reorganize, redistribute, and regenerate the central place as a culturally and politically meaningful environment." "The text and its...
The authorised South African distributor of this product is under no obligation to honour the manufacture's guarantees/warranties or to provide after-sales service.
Please note that this item is imported from the USA, and is designed to be used in the USA. In addition, if the unit is powered it will come with a US plug and an adapter/transformer may be required. Please click here for more information on power requirements, or check with us if you are unsure or need any assistance!
Please also note that certain items cannot be imported, these include Alcohol, Animals, Batteries, Flammable Materials, Currency, Food, Furs, Chemicals, Explosives, Medications, Plants, Seeds, Supplements, Pressurized Cans, Tactical Equipment, Vitamins, Weaponry and Weaponry Accessories. In these cases, the item and information is displayed for reference purposes only. If you are not sure if we are permitted to bring an item, please send us an e-mail with a link to the item to confirm.
Please also ensure that you are ordering the correct item for your particular application as returns to the USA are costly. Product reviews are also provided for most of our items, which can give you a good idea for possible things to look out for and the quality of the item. By clicking Add to Cart, you are confirming that the item is correct and you accept the conditions listed here.