Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Aztecs of Mexico: Origin, Rise and Fall of the Aztec Nation

Vaillant, George Clapp, The Aztecs of Mexico: Origin, Rise and Fall of the Aztec Nation, Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1951.

Available at Questia.

See also American Anthropologist © 1945.

George Clapp Vaillant (April 5, 1901, – May 13, 1945) was an American anthropologist.
Vaillant was known for the reconstruction of the early stages of Mexican Culture. His excavations at Zacatenco, Ticomán and El Arbollo established the framework for the Formative or Preclassic period in central Mexico. He was also known for his synthesis of Aztec history, which is also written in Aztecs in Mexico. Throughout his research of relating archaeology to the events and descriptions of colonial sources and Mexican traditions, Vaillant concentrated on problems of chronology and culture history. Later in his career Vaillant excavated at several Aztec sites (Chiconautla and Nonoalco), but failed to publish these projects. Several decades later Christina Elson and other scholars at the American Museum of Natural History completed the study of artifacts from these sites and began a program to publish them.

From the Foreword:
This book is a history of the Indians of the Valley of Mexico and the civilizations which they wrought. It was a hard book to write. It will be a hard book to read. There are two reasons for this unfortunate circumstance. First, the Indians did not have the same goals in life that we have, so that their pattern of life is different from our own and difficult to understand. Second, Indian history has to be reconstructed from what we can find, so that much of the material, like techniques of making household implements, does not fall within the scope of our usual historical reading. The first four chapters deal with such reconstruction, and the reader is warned in advance that the going will be very difficult. These pages may be skipped if he is not particularly interested in such a historical background. The remaining chapters are based on contemporary observations made by conquering Spaniards and by the Aztecs themselves.

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