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City of Sacrifice: Violence From the Aztec Empire to the Modern Americas

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  62 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
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 ne ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 7th 2000 by Beacon Press (first published December 1st 1999)
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May 21, 2013 John rated it liked it
I was kind of hoping that this would be one of those academic books where the author had secret hopes of crossover success. So that maybe he would write in a style accessible to those who merely want to dabble, or perhaps in a style more conducive to my being able to skim this and retain a main idea. Something I could write on an index card for future reference. Sadly, not to be.
It's not that the material is boring, to be sure...Carrasco covers all sorts of different religious ceremonies involv
Jonna Higgins-Freese
Jun 26, 2016 Jonna Higgins-Freese rated it really liked it
Argues that "the dynamic daily life of Tenochtitlan was reconstructed as a religiously meaningful landscape, in part, through the sacrifice of deity impersonators in public cermonial gatherings" (6).

Also political purposes "dramatizing the tensions of center-periphery geopolitical relations" Ritual violence became a way of managing "the unstable social and symbolic dynamics between the imperial center and the allied and enemy periphery . . . peripheral communities demonstrated their dependence o
Shaun Steven
Feb 05, 2014 Shaun Steven rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one.
Recommended to Shaun by: My professor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 26, 2009 Hilary rated it liked it
While teasing out the reasons behind Aztec sacrifice is an interesting premise for a nonfiction book, the author managed to drown himself in his own acedemia. His lengthy introduction was well-paced and filled with character, but as soon as the actual text of his book started all the character and personality of the intro was buried under words like "orientatio" and other mind-numbing, Latin words. Blah. If he had continued to inject himself and his own interests into his book, it would have mad ...more
Jan 12, 2009 Rocky rated it it was amazing
David Carrasco, professor of Mesoamerican Religious Studies at Harvard Divinity School, tackles the underlying symbolisms at the heart of the controversial religious practices of the Mexica people. Instead of resorting to reductionist ideas about the consolidation of state power, Carrasco delves into the meaningful relationship between the Mexica people, life, death, and the land. Taking a cue from Mircea Eliade, he sees religious ideas as primary motivating factors. This is a must read for anyo ...more
Jan 10, 2009 BeerDiablo rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Remember how in high school/college, you’d “pad” a paper to meet the minimum length required? Some people carry that into their professional lives.

City of Sacrifice is written by a career academic, which means that it’s poorly organized with the author going in circles repeating himself. The book could’ve been reduced by probably 25% with better organization.

Though I enjoyed the book and while it does show you the role of violence in Aztec civilization, it didn’t go deep enough into speculation
Mar 12, 2015 Gort rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Davíd L. Carrasco is currently Neil L. Rudenstine Professor of Latin America Studies at Harvard. He is a Mexican-American academic historian of religion, anthropologist, and a Mesoamericanist scholar who has published widely on the Aztecs.
More about Davíd Carrasco...

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