Publisher description for A forest of kings : the untold story of the ancient Maya / Linda Schele and David Freidel ; color photographs by Justin Kerr.


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The recent interpretation of Maya hieroglyphs has given us the first written history of the New World as it existed before the European invasion. Now, two central figures in the massive effort to decode the glyphs, Linda Schele and David Freidel, make this history available for the first time in all its detail. A Forest of Kings is the story of Maya kingship, from the beginning of its institution and the first great pyramid builders two thousand years ago to the decline of Maya civilization and its destruction by the Spanish. Here the great historic rulers of Precolumbian civilization come to life again with the decipherment of the writing. At its height, Maya civilization flourished under great kings like Shield-Jaguar, who ruled for over sixty years, expanding his kingdom and building some of the most impressive works of architecture in the ancient world. Long placed on a mist-shrouded pedestal as austere, peaceful stargazers, the Maya elites are now known to have been the rulers or populous, aggressive city-states.

Hailed as "a Rosetta Stone of Maya civilization" (Brian M. Fagan, author of People of the Earth), A Forest of Kings is "a must for interested readers," says Evon Vogt, professor of anthropology at Harvard University.



Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Mayas Kings and rulers, Mayas History