Two of the world’s leading scholars of the Aztec language and culture have translated Sahagún’s monumental and encyclopedic study of native life in Mexico at the time of the Spanish Conquest. This immense undertaking is the first complete translation into any language of Sahagún’s Nahuatl text, and represents one of the most distinguished contributions in the fields of anthropology, ethnography, and linguistics.
Written between 1540 and 1585, the Florentine Codex (so named because the manuscript has been part of the Laurentian Library’s collections since at least 1791) is the most authoritative statement we have of the Aztecs’ lifeways and traditions—a rich and intimate yet panoramic view of a doomed people.
The Florentine Codex is divided by subject area into twelve books and includes over 2,000 illustrations drawn by Nahua artists in the sixteenth century.
Book Four delves into the Aztec’s complex astrological beliefs. The date of birth was so significant that it ultimately determined one’s personality and future; for example, almost all born on the second day sign—called One Ocelot—became slaves.
Book Five explains the meaning of the many evil omens Aztecs believed in, which usually took the form of animals and insects. It describes the consequences of each omen and the remedies, if any, that will reverse these effects.
Omens of Adversity is a profound critique of the experience of postcolonial, postsocialist temporality. The case study at its core is the demise of the Grenada Revolution (1979–1983), and the repercussions of its collapse. In the Anglophone Caribbean, the Grenada Revolution represented both the possibility of a break from colonial and neocolonial oppression, and hope for egalitarian change and social and political justice. The Revolution's collapse in 1983 was devastating to a revolutionary generation. In hindsight, its demise signaled the end of an era of revolutionary socialist possibility. Omens of Adversity is not a history of the Revolution or its fallout. Instead, by examining related texts and phenomena, David Scott engages with broader, enduring issues of political action and tragedy, generations and memory, liberalism and transitional justice, and the possibility of forgiveness. Ultimately, Scott argues that the palpable sense of the neoliberal present as time stalled, without hope for emancipatory futures, has had far-reaching effects on how we think about the nature of political action and justice.
Superstitions are surprisingly enduring. From dodging black cats to crossing one’s fingers while making a wish to an aversion to staff meetings on Friday the thirteenth, it is remarkable how many superstitions remain intact—even in this age of rationalism and swift scientific advancement.
First published in 1787 as part of the disparate collection A Provincial Glossary, with a Collection of Local Proverbs, and Popular Superstitions, Francis Grose’s Superstitions represents years of careful data collection and fieldwork and presents a full catalog of ways the supernatural might be expected to interfere in one’s life. Organized thematically into chapters like “Witches, Sorcerers, and Witchcraft,” “Things Lucky and Unlucky,” “Second Sight,” “Omens,” and “Superstitious Methods of Obtaining a Knowledge of Future Events,” Superstitions offers a systematic overview of the superstitious beliefs of the day as well as those held by earlier generations. Here, Grose’s work is reproduced under its original headings and supplemented by an informative introduction by Oxford English Dictionary editor John Simpson, setting the superstitions in proper historical and cultural context.
The resulting collection is a delightfully quirky guide to traditional sayings and beliefs, many archaic but some still surprisingly common today.
When and where did science begin? Historians have offered different answers to these questions, some pointing to Babylonian observational astronomy, some to the speculations of natural philosophers of ancient Greece. Others have opted for early modern Europe, which saw the triumph of Copernicanism and the birth of experimental science, while yet another view is that the appearance of science was postponed until the nineteenth century.
Rather than posit a modern definition of science and search for evidence of it in the past, the contributors to Wrestling with Nature examine how students of nature themselves, in various cultures and periods of history, have understood and represented their work. The aim of each chapter is to explain the content, goals, methods, practices, and institutions associated with the investigation of nature and to articulate the strengths, limitations, and boundaries of these efforts from the perspective of the researchers themselves. With contributions from experts representing different historical periods and different disciplinary specializations, this volume offers a fresh perspective on the history of science and on what it meant, in other times and places, to wrestle with nature.