Popol Vuh
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Popol Vuh

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3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  1,895 ratings  ·  115 reviews
Popol Vuh, the Quiché Mayan book of creation, is not only the most important text in the native languages of the Americas, it is also an extraordinary document of the human imagination. It begins with the deeds of Mayan gods in the darkness of a primeval sea and ends with the radiant splendor of the Mayan lords who founded the Quiché kingdom in the Guatemalan highlands. Or...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 31st 1996 by Touchstone (first published 1550)
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Popol Vuh by AnonymousAn Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient ... by Mary Ellen MillerThe Aztecs by Richard F. TownsendBreaking the Maya Code by Michael D. CoeAztec Thought and Culture by Miguel León-Portilla
Mesoamerica
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Lily
Jan 22, 2008 Lily added it
Can you really rate something like the Popol Vuh?
Jeremy
Allen J. Christenson has given us a brilliant translation (packed with very helpful notes) of the Popol Vuh, the Sacred Book of the Quiché Maya, the "book that pertains to the mat." The "mat" is the royal throne upon which the king gave counsel to his people, with the fibers symbolizing the interlaced community remembered in the text.

This is a personal book for me, because if family legend is to be believed, the distant ancestors of my Ecuadorian relatives might have come through the area of Gua...more
Tom
I re-read this book with a writing group and still find it amazing. The hero twins on the road to Xibalba. It is a dark creation myth that partially follows Joseph Campbell's heroic journey, but there are corners of Mayan consciousness that remain impenetrable. It presents a fascinating world laden with imagery and symbolism that defy our comprehension. What a shame that this world was virtually destroyed first by European viruses and later by European arrogance in the guise of Christianity and...more
Balam
I was taking aback by the amount of bad reviews the kiddies are giving this awesome book. Even as a kid myself I loved the stories and the characters. It transported me to a world full of heroes, powerful lords, Kings, and princesses. As an adult I could see the spirituality behind it. The beauty in the simplicity of the text, and the stories of how humans came into being according to Mayan mythology.

Joseph Campbell, in his "Hero's Journey" draws parallels between the Twin brothers Hun Ah'pu an...more
Dario Alioscha
Es muy importante conocer nuestra cosmogonía, la mitología maya. Como pensaban nuestros origen y argumentación en este mundo para justificarlo. Los relatos son originales, auténticos. El hombre hecho de maíz, los gemelos que derrotan a los señores del Xibalba, la visión de la naturaleza donde los animales jugaban diferentes roles en las culturas precolombinas, que van desde, las hormigas que roban las flores sagradas, El hombre jaguar, y todo esto que tiene un misticismo lleno de magia, impregna...more
Stacey Donovan
I guess most ancient mythologies are crazypants, and this one seems even more so because the culture is so unfamiliar. So things happen like: a guy gets killed and they bury his skull, and a calabash tree grows up from the skull but one of the calabashes is actually this guy's head, and a lady comes by and this head spits into her hand and she gets pregnant with twins. It's pretty amazing.

The creation of humans in this book begins with a few failed attempts, which wind up being monkeys and othe...more
Gawain
The "Mayan Bible", or more accurately the Quiché Bible. Absent a law code, it is divided into two parts, a Genesis, and a Chronicle of kings. But what I find remarkable is that the stories of the "Genesis" section are not myths in the Western sense -- stories rooted in psychology. Rather they are stories rooted in _astronomy_. It is believed that the Popol Vuh would have represented an interpretation of a hidden book, and that this hidden book would have in fact been a complex astronomical chart...more
Kerim
Refreshing and engaging look at one of the best preserved accounts of the earliest complete work of literature as recorded from oral tradition, allowing a spectacular look into the cosmological, social, and lingual mind of the ancient Maya. Don't just read a bunch of misinformed misinterpretations of their calendar by whichever "expert" thinks whatever new disaster will happen this year, and because the often dry thick archaeological literature that I read as an archaeology masters student is no...more
Cristina López
Are uxe‘ ojer tzij
waral K‘iche‘ ub‘i‘.
Waral
xchiqatz‘ib‘aj wi
xchiqatikib‘a‘ wi ojer tzij,
utikarib‘al
uxe‘nab‘al puch rnojel xb‘an pa
tinamit K‘iche‘
ramaq‘ K‘iche‘ winaq. "This is the root of the ancient word
of this place called Quiché.
Here
we shall write,
we shall plant the ancient word,
the origin
the beginning of all what has been done in the
Quiché Nation
country of the Quiché people."
Leah Ixchel
I am of full Mayan decent but have never got a true understanding of any sort of the culture since I'm adopted and no longer reside in my hometown back in Guatemala. This book was just what I needed to begin my journey in learning about the culture I had lost. I loved Popul Vuh but found the English version dreadful compared to the Spanish version, so I wouldn't reccomend the English translation.
Mercurio Cadena
A very interesting cosmogony. There are some common points with Christianity, such as a virgin who gets pregnant by Spirits, and the fact that men were created from mud (yet, in the maya myth, this was just the first attempt from the gods to create mankind, which ended, by the way, as a failed attempt. Their final creation was made from corn).

A must in cosmogony.
Bbrown
Popol Vuh-
The Mayan creation myths are not just entertaining to read, but provide a fascinating look at Mayan culture and history as well, through the dimly remembered prehistory of the people up until their conquest by the Spanish. Popol Vuh doesn’t merely sketch out a story of creation that occurred in the distant past, it links that creation all the way through the time of the European invasion of the Americas and the effective end of Mayan supremacy; it’s as if the Prose and Poetic Eddas we...more
Barbara Bradley
I had the good fortune of reading the "Popol Vuh" under the tutelage of Dennis himself, and there really is no way to describe the detail and the power of the text. I highly recommend to pay special attention to every single symbol, every picture in the book (no matter how small or minor) because each one bears an important insight into the Mayan culture. For example, on page 107 there is a picture of a dancing monkey with quill pins bunched atop his head. The Maya consider monkeys to be their p...more
Antony
uhg.. just ugh!.. i need to come up with more words for this but it´s like 12 in the morning .. so it wasn´t that good of a book:S
Alhena
me encanto...conocer la idieología de los mayas en la historia de la creación del mundo, su mundo, es fantástica.
Andre
El Popol Vuh me ha parecido un libro fascinante, después de todo es un libro sagrado.

Hay quienes lo comparan con el Génesis judio, pero posee claras diferencias: los dioses del Popol Vuh no son creadores, más bien "ordenadores". La Tierra ya estaba, los dioses la ordenaron y con errores, ya que no poseen la perfección del dios judeocristiano. Son Dioses que necesitan del hombre, necesitan que el hombre los alabe y mediante su sangre, ayunos y alabanzas los mantenga vivos. Una relación recíproca...more
Katsumi
The Popul Vuh discusses the world before there was Man, when the gods got together and created everything, and how they went about doing that. If you aren't familiar with Mayan mythology, this is a treat. The language of this book follows Mayan patterns, which are really different from, say, American patterns, and you know right away you're dealing with a markedly different world view, which is fun from time to time for a sense of perspective. There are stories about heroes who were born before...more
LonewolfMX Luna
Aug 23, 2008 LonewolfMX Luna rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Raza and Native American Majors
Recommended to LonewolfMX by: Jackie Mendez, and Professors Rivera & Onate
This is the Mayan Bible so to say it deal with the Quiche Mayan creation stories and the diverse characters with at times difficult to memorize names.

It is full of symbolism that at times is difficult to interpret for the first time reader, but so far it is an interesting read.

Part I: Deals with the creation of the Universe and it's creator Gods such as Tepeu, Gucumatz or the forefathers, Caculha Huracan, Chipi-Caculha, and Raxa-Caculha become the triumvirate that would become known as the Hear...more
Lyn Fuchs
New travelers often see the world in terms of countries on a map or stamps in a passport. This is somewhat misleading. Seasoned world-trekkers know that natural boundries such as mountains played an older and deeper role in shaping cultural differences. Water defined humanity most of all. Today's global cultures evolved from ancient civilizations built on three great freshwater sources: The Nile, The Indus and The Papaloapan.

Big rivers allowed bigger settlements. Enhanced productivity gave human...more
Morgan
The Free Library of Philadelphia leant me their 1950 edition of "The Sacred Book of the Ancient Quiché Maya." Purported to have been scrawled on ficus bark by an unknown Quiché author in Latinized Mayan script and discovered by one Father Francisco Ximénez in the late 17th century, this Popol Vuh reads like a Narnia-ized version of Mayan legend, which leans toward the upholding of Christian mores and the justification of the Spanish conquest of most of the Americas. The pre-Columbian stories are...more
Viviana
Un libro muy interesante sobre como los maya-quiche pensaban que habia sido creado el mundo y otras leyendas tales como la teoria de como fue creado el hombre y su varias etapas sucesivas. Conocido como el libro del consejo o podria llamarse la biblia de los mayas-quiche. Este texto,que no se conoce quien fue su autor,relata en terminos poeticos la inmensidad de los cielos "en silencio, inmovil y callado" que precede en la Creacion del universo. El popol vuh habla sobre como el Creador, El Forma...more
Gijs Grob
Gelezen in de Nederlandse vertaling van R. van Houte van de Duitse vertaling van Wolfgang Cordan.

Het mythische boek van de Maya's leidt je naar een vreemde wereld vol onbekende goden (met daarin meerdere scheppers), veel symbolische getallen, vreemde wezens als de Zevenpapegaai, een akelige onderwereld, Xibalbá genaamd en een opvallend belangrijke rol voor het balspel.

De mythische verhalen zijn even vreemd als intrigerend en laten een opvallend gebrek aan zwart-wit zien: maar weinig figuren zijn...more
David
Fantastic translation.

In the mid-16th century, just a few decades after the Spanish conquest, a group of Mayan nobles in the town of Santa Cruz del Quiché (in what is now Guatemala) set out to preserve in phonetic Latin script one of their culture’s most important documents: the Popol Vuh or “Book of the People,” a history of their community beginning from the creation of the world.

The Mayans living in Santa Cruz del Quiché had emigrated there from the Yucatan peninsula several centuries earli...more
Leonide Martin
This revised edition (published by Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, 1996) is the updated version by Dennis Tedlock. Everyone interested in ancient Mayan culture and civilization needs to read some version of the Popol Vuh-Book of Counsel, that tells the creation myth and origins story of the Maya people. After an excellent introduction, Tedlock translates the language of this ancient manuscript written by the Quiche Maya and copied into Spanish around 1703 by a friar. The Mayas used poetic and...more
Nicole
I can't say I loved this, too many long lists of names and very repetitive at times, but then so I'm not a real fan of all kinds of mythology. However, it is quite great to compare with the themes and elements of other myths and explore things we use to believe weren't known till modern times, when in fact they seem to have been suspected by ancient cultures.
kathleen
amazingly insightful. love the Mayans and can't wait to get back to Central America to do some more digging and connect on an even more personal level.
It's insane to see how they tied everything together in such sensical ways. They accounted for everything surrounding them, every piece of their world that needed defining just as we still try and do today. It is also fantastical and extreme in some of the interpretations for how various things came to be, with that magical and mysterious quality...more
Ana borbolla
Quitando los últimos capítulos, en donde los nombres y jerarquías se hacen confusas e innecesarias, el Popol Vuh me pareció extremadamente interesante. Se siente auténticamente un relato oral, de lectura entretenida y prosa que semeja a algún canto antíguo.
Matthew
It was hard to rate this book on the five-star scale. It's kind of like trying to rate the bible. It is truly a fascinating read and worth the time. Here are the liner notes:

_Popol Vuh_, the Quiche Mayan book of creation, is not only the most important text in the native languages of the Americas, it is also and extraordinary document of the human imagination. It begins with the deeds of Mayan gods in the darkness of a primeval sea and ends with the radiant splendor of the Mayan lords who founde...more
Crystal Carroll
It's always interesting reading primary source material for what a people thought about their world. This work is particularly interesting because it represents stories written down when the Mayan culture was in transition, as the Spanish had already taken over the region. There's a sense of people trying to preserve who they were and what they thought before it was lost.

This is to a degree reflected in the story itself, which covers waves of creation interwoven with the adventures of the Mayan...more
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Green Hilton hamilton 1 2 May 01, 2013 04:25AM  
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Books can be attributed to "Anonymous" for several reasons:

* They are officially published under that name
* They are traditional stories not attributed to a specific author
* They are religious texts not generally attributed to a specific author

Books whose authorship is merely uncertain should be attributed to Unknown.
More about Anonymous...
Holy Bible: King James Version The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights The Epic of Gilgamesh Holy Bible: New International Version The Bhagavad Gita

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“The first men to be created and formed were called the Sorcerer of Fatal Laughter, the Sorcerer of Night, Unkempt, and the Black Sorcerer … They were endowed with intelligence, they succeeded in knowing all that there is in the world. When they looked, instantly they saw all that is around them, and they contemplated in turn the arc of heaven and the round face of the earth … [Then the Creator said]: 'They know all … what shall we do with them now? Let their sight reach only to that which is near; let them see only a little of the face of the earth!… Are they not by nature simple creatures of our making? Must they also be gods?” 398 likes
“The first men to be created and formed were called the Sorcerer of Fatal Laughter, the Sorcerer of Night, Unkempt, and the Black Sorcerer  …   They were endowed with intelligence, they succeeded in knowing all that there is in the world. When they looked, instantly they saw all that is around them, and they contemplated in turn the arc of heaven and the round face of the earth  …  [Then the Creator said]: “They know all  …   what shall we do with them now? Let their sight reach only to that which is near; let them see only a little of the face of the earth!…   Are they not by nature simple creatures of our making? Must they also be gods ?” 2 likes
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