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Astronomy in the Maya Codices

Harvey M. Bricker and Victoria R. Bricker
cover of astronomy in the maya codices
Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society
Volume 265

The Precolumbian Maya were closely attuned to the movements of the Sun and the Moon, the stars and the planets. Their rituals and daily tasks were performed according to a timetable established by these celestial bodies, a timetable based on a highly complex calendar system. Agriculture provided the foundation for their civilization, and the skies served as a kind of farmer’s almanac for when to plant and when to harvest. In this remarkable volume, noted Maya scholars Harvey Bricker and Victoria Bricker offer invaluable insight into the complex world of the Precolumbian Maya, and in particular the amazing achievements of Maya astronomy, as revealed in the Maya codices the indigenous hieroglyphic books written before the Spanish Conquest. This far-reaching study confirms that, independent of the Old World traditions that gave rise to modern Western astronomy, the Precolumbian Maya achieved a sophisticated knowledge of astronomy based on observations recorded over centuries. Illus.