General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 18 Apr 2019/12 Water
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Young Researcher Series: The Aztecs

Young Researcher Series: The Aztecs

Jacqueline Dineen, Heinemann Educational 1992

Comprehensive (60-odd pages) and wide-ranging student’s book on the Aztecs, full of useful information, including timeline and glossary; straight-forward (if rather unimaginative by today’s standards) presentation - all the illustrations are from primary sources

The only section that is really weak is the last paragraph on ‘The legacy of the Aztecs’. 10 lines hardly does justice to such an important topic, and it contains a serious error: “Today there are only about 3000 Aztecs in Mexico. They still speak Nahuatl, the Aztec language.” Between 1 and 2 million people still speak Nahuatl today, but it is impossible - and a fruitless exercise - to try and put a figure on the number of ‘pure-blooded Aztec’ people alive today. Far more important than this is to point to the extent and depth of pre-Hispanic influence in the country generally.

Sadly, the pronunciation list on page 61 contains over a dozen errors out of 41 words. Popocatepetl is mis-spelt here and on p. 43 in the body of the book, and Chalchiuhtlicue is given as ‘Chalchinuitlicue’; all the ‘z’s are listed as being pronounced as an English ‘th’ sound (whereas they’re really pronounced as ‘s’s), etc. etc. I really feel it isn’t worth offering pronunciation guides if they’re not 100% accurate.

There are a few minor errors: the glyphs on p.8 are not from the Codex Mendoza, and do not show ‘wind’ and ‘Fire Serpent marrying a flower’ - they are from the Codex Selden and show the marriage between bridegroom 6 Reed ‘Jaguar-Sun’ on the right and bride 5 Movement ‘Ornament-Incense’ on the left; the great temple was 150 feet high not metres (p. 21), and Tlaloc’s ‘chapel’ was on the left of Huitzilopochtli’s not vice versa (p. 21); the codex page shown on p. 36 to illustrate featherworking is a very poor choice - instead of this page from the Codex Mendoza there is a far more detailed and clearer page in the Florentine Codex all about featherwork skills which would have been much more appropriate; and more.

The faults are few and not major, so we feel this book is recommended