The definitive chronicle of the ancient peoples of Central America & Mexico - including the Aztec, Maya, Olmec, Mixtec, Toltec and Zapotec In a sumptuous new large-format edition, this wide-ranging reference book covers almost 3000 years of history, offering enthralling insights into the art and architecture, myths and legends, and everyday life of the many different empires of Central America and Mexico. Stories of sun-gods and blood sacrifice, of pyramids and temples, and of the fabulous treasuries filled with gold have fascinated many generations. This book unravels the true facts behind the stories and looks at how myth and legends can tell us much about the cult of war in these pre-industrial nations. The magnificent architectural and cultural achievements of a succession of Mesoamerican peoples - the Olmecs, Maya, Zapotecs, Toltecs, Mixtec and Aztecs - cover almost 3000 years. These achievements range from the temple-pyramids and colossal stone carvings of the Olmecs to the awe-inspiring cities, vast trading networks and complex religious societies of the Aztecs and Maya. The World Heritage sites of historic Mexico City and Tenochtitla n, Teotihuaca n, Chiche n Itza , Tikal and Monte Alba n, are examined giving life to the civic, military and everyday world of the time. Archaeological finds and surviving documents provide intriguing insights into astronomy, the development of calendars, mathematics, writing and the arts. They also reveal a grim commitment to war and a savage religious devotion to gods who demanded the blood of human sacrifice. Pottery and textiles, carvings, mosaics, and gold and metalwork show the technological innovations of these pre-industrial civilizations. Superbly illustrated throughout, with more than 1000 colour photographs, artworks, maps and plans, the book reveals every aspect of the history of these lost civilizations. This unrivalled volume is not only a perfect introduction to the subject but also a stunning visual record of a fascinating period that has helped to shape our world.