Ritual, Violence, and the Fall of the Classic Maya Kings

Edited by Gyles Iannone, Brett A. Houk, and Sonja A. Schwake

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"A valuable contribution to our knowledge of the events surrounding the collapse of the ancient Maya in the Late and Terminal Classic periods, particularly the death of kings and the failure of the institution of divine kingship."--Lisa LeCount, coeditor of Classic Maya Provincial Politics: Xunantunich and Its Hinterlands

"A comprehensive look at the concept of Maya kingship as well as new insights into the Maya collapse--a must read for all Mayanists."--James Garber, editor of The Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley: Half a Century of Archaeological Research

Maya kings who failed to ensure the prosperity of their kingdoms were subject to various forms of termination, including the ritual defacing and destruction of monuments and even violent death. This is the first comprehensive volume to focus on the varied responses to the failure of Classic period dynasties in the southern lowlands. The contributors offer new insights into the Maya "collapse," evaluating the trope of the scapegoat king and the demise of the traditional institution of kingship in the early ninth century AD--a time of intense environmental, economic, social, political, and even ideological change.

Gyles Iannone, professor of anthropology at Trent University, is the editor of The Great Maya Droughts in Cultural Context. Brett A. Houk, associate professor of anthropology at Texas Tech University, is the author of Ancient Maya Cities of the Eastern Lowlands. Sonja A. Schwake is lecturer in anthropology at Pennsylvania State University–Behrend College.
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Much has been written about the successes of ancient Maya kings. . . . Much less studied have been their failures. . . . Highly recommended. -- Choice

Addresses a cross-cultural model of political organization. . . . using solid empirical data to address meaning, motivation and political action in the past. -- Antiquity

A comprehensive look at kingship from a variety of site specific, 9th-century case examples. It is a worthy addition to the literature and will doubtless influence our thinking on the politics of the Terminal Classic. -- Anthropos

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