Centuries ago, Spanish conquistadors searching for gold and new lands encountered a group of independent city-states in Mesoamerica. Sophisticated beyond the Spaniards' wildest imaginings, these people were the Aztecs, the Maya, and related cultures that shared common traditions of religion, government, the arts, engineering, and trade. In many ways more advanced than European nations, these societies equaled the world's greatest civilizations of their time.
Immerse yourself in this epic story with 48 exhilarating half-hour lectures that cover the scope of Mesoamerican history and culture. You'll focus mainly on the Maya, who have been in Mesoamerica for thousands of years, and the Aztecs, who mysteriously appeared late and rose swiftly to power. The Aztecs fell from power just as precipitously; their empire controlled the region for less than a century, until the arrival of the Spanish in the early 1500s. Why were the Aztecs so quickly defeated by the conquistadors, while the Maya resisted the invaders for generations?
Although the Spanish eventually conquered all of Mesoamerica, much remains of the original cultures. Beautiful artifacts fill museums. Impressive ruins dot the landscape. And millions of descendants of ancient Mesoamericans still live in their ancestral homes, speaking native languages and practicing time-honored traditions. The countries from Mexico to Costa Rica include more than a dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites related to the pre-Columbian period, plus scores of other ancient sites that are equally worth a visit. This course is the ideal way to plan an itinerary, prepare for a tour, or simply sit back and enjoy a thrilling virtual voyage. You will be surprised at the number of sites to explore - many more than you could possibly see in months of travel. Your guide is Professor Barnhart, a noted archaeologist whose exploits include the discovery of a lost Maya city.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2015 The Great Courses (P)2015 The Teaching Company, LLC
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"Everything you would ever want and more"
Professor Barnhart in an expert and the research is up to date as of the spring of 2015. As with any Audible purchase of Great Courses material, you suffer from not having a study guide.
Professor Barnhart is engaging and easy to listen to. His personal stories and background in the field add color to his presentation. I did find myself fading away at times because he does take you deep into the weeds of every topic. His enthusiasm for the topic is infectious and brings to mind Bob Brier’s amazing “History of Ancient Egypt.”
These lectures are not designed for people with only a passing interest in the topic, but if your study of the word has neglected Mesoamerica, this is the definitive listening experience.
very dense with information. I felt I needed a text to go along with the lectures to track timelines, see pictures, maps, etc.
"rabbit says to the merchant god..."
I found professor Bernhardt's work to be both innovative and accurate. Yet most importantly delivered by someone who is still enthusiastic about their work.
the pottery piece of the rabbit speaking to the merchant God painstakingly decoded teaches us that humanity since the very inception of writing has found it funny to tell a God to smell his own butt.
"Great Presentation and a Wonderful Narrator"
I would say this book ranks among my top 3 for non-fiction content. It's possibly ranked 1st in regards to presentation and narration by Professor Edwin Barnhart. I would have to say that Dr. Barnhart's narration has been the most enjoyable I've heard yet among the Great Courses. The only other narrator I've enjoyed listening to on this level has been Will Patton. The lack of slurps, burps, "ah's and uh's", hard mouth candy, vocal fry, and "sing song" speaking has been refreshing.
There's no particular favorite. I've enjoyed the entire presentation.
I've enjoyed all of the chapters. Having traveled Central America and visiting several of the sites mentioned in his lecture, I've been inspired to plan another trip to the area after gaining another level of appreciation for the Mayan artifact's that we can so easily stroll through today thanks to the efforts of men and women such as Professor Barnhart.
I can't say enough how pleased I've been with the overall presentation and content of this lecture. I look forward to purchasing the other lecture that is available here on Audible from Professor Edwin Barnhart.
"Excellent Treatment of Panorama of Mesoamerica"
I have listened several times, as preparation make a trip more meaningful.
Couldn't recommend it more enthusiastically.
"A thorough time travel with an enthusiastic guide"
This is, no doubt, a great listen. It's clear that Prof. Barnhart knows, feels and loves Mesoamerica, a subject that has always fascinated me.
I feel some more storytelling would be welcome, though... May be I'll listen to it again...
I would suggest to attach some pdf maps. There are so many names, so many different places and connections that sometimes it becomes a bit hard to follow.
Anyway, it is inspiring to know that there's so much yet to be found... and it makes me want to go to Mexico again.
"A riveting tale"
Really extraordinary. I thought I knew a lot about this time period but I had no idea the complexities involved.
"informative and very enjoyable"
I just wanted to keep listening even did a great job of explaining things that would have been better with visuals
"WOW! I learned SO MUCH!"
This course is tops for how much I learned, right after the course on Ancient Egypt which is also excellent.
Between kindergarten, grade school, high school, and college I have 17 years of schooling plus lots of post-graduate learning. And during all those years, I learned NOTHING about the ancient America's. So little, in fact, that I was really interested in learning about the Inca. I saw the title and thought this would include information about the Inca. Nope.
I had to laugh at my own naivete. The very fact that I made that mistake meant that I very much needed this course. I knew NOTHING about Mesoamerica. All that schooling, and even though I live in the America's, we never once in all those years discussed anything substantive about ancient America. It's a travesty of our educational system.
But this course set things right.
This is a fun and enjoyable course. But it is not an easy course. I found it very difficult to keep track of the names of places and people because they were so strange to me. So just be forewarned that you will really need to pay attention to names. It helps to have a map so you can find these places and have a better idea of how everything fits together.
"Fantastic, Engrossing & Informative"
This is a beautifully written book; I learned a great deal from it. Be aware that it's not for beginners; I was grateful for my background in Mesoamerican studies.
The narrator was superb; he helped me a great deal with my pronunciation.
If this type of history sings to you, definitely try this book
planning a future trip to Mexico! its a revelation to see so deeply into the detail and past silly modern fringe wishful thinking interpretations.
What a ride - worlds we don't hear enough about - this is amazing. Looking for a sequel.
"Poorly delivered pedantry"
Editing! Spending 2 minutes explaining why he's using the Christian calendar and apologising if he causes offence is quite frankly ridiculous.
No, I will try to find one that sticks to the point.
He stumbles over words and it felt like a ramble with no particular point.
I only got through chapter 1 and part of chapter 2. I'd completely re-write it and only mention what was coming up in the book. The book says its about Mayans and Aztecs, but chapter 2 starts with the Olmecs. Poor title!
He mentions the mayans understand calendars about 3-4 times in the introduction. There are so many problems it's impossible to suggest a couple of fixes. Total re-write is needed.
Oh have I just repeated myself? It's the audiobook's effect.
This book desperately needs sub editing.
Another great lecture series from The Great courses. A fascinating and broad range of topics written and narrated by somebody who really knows their stuff! Compulsive listening .
"Great Course - but you need the PDF"
It is great - but you really need the pdfto fully enjoy it - the pdf is not available on Audiblebut it is available form the Great Courses website.It is v expensive.
It's in a league by itself.
All so interesting it;s impossible to say
You really need the pdf or you will have to transcribe a greatdeal of the information which of course means you might bereading this till the end of next year. I am using it for a courseand being selective.
I really want the pdf
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