Rabinal Achi: A Mayan Drama of Sacrifice

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Here is one of the most important surviving works of pre-Columbian civilization, Rabinal Achi, a Mayan drama set a century before the arrival of the Spanish, produced by the translator of the best selling Popol Vuh. The first direct translation into English from Quiche Maya, based on the original text, Rabinal Achi is the story of city-states, war, and nobility, of diplomacy, mysticism, and psychic journeys. Dennis Tedlock's translation is clear and vivid; more than that, it is rooted in an understanding of how the play is actually performed. Despite being banned for centuries by Spanish authorities, it survived in actual practice, and is still performed in the town of Rabinal today. Tedlock provides an introduction and commentary that explain the historical events compressed into the play, the Spanish influence on the Mayan dramatic tradition, and the cultural and religious world preserved in this remarkable play.