Translating Maya Hieroglyphs by Scott A. J. Johnson

By Scott A. J. Johnson

Maya hieroglyphic writing could seem impossibly opaque to starting scholars, yet pupil Scott A. J. Johnson provides it as a standard and understandable process during this attractive, easy-to-follow textbook. the one entire advent designed in particular for these new to the research, Translating Maya Hieroglyphs makes use of a hands-on method of educate beginners the present kingdom of Maya epigraphy.

Johnson exhibits readers step-by-step tips on how to translate old Maya glyphs. He starts by means of describing the way to holiday down a Mayan textual content into person glyphs within the right studying order, after which explains the different sorts of glyphs and the way they functionality within the script. eventually, he indicates easy methods to systematically convert a Mayan inscription into sleek English.

Not easily a reference quantity, Translating Maya Hieroglyphs is pedagogically prepared in order that it capabilities as an introductory foreign-language textbook. Chapters disguise key themes, together with spelling, dates and numbers, simple grammar, and verbs. Formal linguistic info is accessibly defined, whereas worksheets and routines supplement and strengthen the cloth lined within the textual content. Glyph blocks and words drawn from real monuments illustrate the range and scribal virtuosity of Maya writing.

The Maya writing process has no longer been absolutely deciphered. during the textual content, Johnson outlines and explains the exceptional disputes between Mayanists. on the finish of every bankruptcy, he deals resources for additional studying. necessary appendices supply quickly connection with vocabulary, glyph meanings, and calendrical info for college students venture a translation.

The research of Maya glyphs has lengthy been an arcane topic recognized purely to a couple experts. This ebook will swap that. benefiting from the nice strides students have made in decoding hieroglyphs long ago 4 a long time, Translating Maya Hieroglyphs brings this information to a broader viewers, together with archaeologists and budding epigraphers.

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Extra resources for Translating Maya Hieroglyphs

Sample text

This book-length defense of his actions describes the “idolatrous” practices of the local Yucatecans as justification. Although Landa destroyed perhaps thousands of irreplaceable manuscripts, he did provide one of the best descriptions of indigenous life shortly after conquest, including religious and ritual practices. Furthermore, he recorded what would turn out to be the Rosetta Stone of Maya decipherment. In an interview with a high-ranking Maya named Juan Nachi Cocom, Landa solicited what he called an “A, B, C” of the Maya writing system.

Fifty-four years earlier, Alexander von Humbolt had published five pages of a codex, one of the three remaining preconquest Maya documents. Constantine Samuel Rafinesque (1783–1840) deduced the numeral system from these saved books (which were probably loot from the conquest) and meager publications, and Ernst Förstemann (1822–1906) identified astronomical calculations. Although a number of people attempted to read the codices using Landa’s alphabet, including Brasseur de Bourbourg and Léon de Rosny, no real progress was made.


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