The Maya, Aztecs, and Mesoamerica

The Great Courses
Show More

Related videos

Paquime - Northernmost Mesoamerican City?
On the frontier between Mesoamerica and the American Southwest stands a mysterious ruin: Paquime, also called Casas Grandes. Was it connected with the Pueblo culture to the north, or with the Aztecs and Tarascans to the south? Dr. Barnhart offers a fascinating hypothesis.
Agrarian Civilizations of Mesoamerica
Part of the Series: The Big History of Civilizations
The unique geography of Mesoamerica - the long isthmus that runs from the present-day Panama Canal through Mexico - has driven the region's history over the millennia. Review the geologic formations and plate tectonics that created Mesoamerica, and then turn to its many cultures, including the Olmecs, the Mayans, and…
Independent Tarascans - Desert Warriors
Second only to the Aztecs in the extent of their realm were the neighboring Tarascans. Compare their empire and culture to Aztec civilization, and sift through conflicting clues that point to the origin of the Tarascans, who considered themselves newcomers to Mesoamerica.
Conquest of the Maya and Landa's Legacy
Once the Aztecs were defeated, the Spanish turned their eyes to the rest of Mesoamerica. Follow the decades of military campaigns needed to subdue the Maya. This conquest included the wholesale destruction of Maya books and ritual objects by the Franciscan monk Diego de Landa.
Aztec Origins - Arrival and Rise of the Mexica
How did a vagabond group of wanderers become the most powerful civilization in North America? Survey the history of the Aztecs, looking behind their idealized self-image to discover their likely beginnings and the secret of their political, economic, and military success.
Maya to Aztec: Ancient Mesoamerica Revealed
Uncover the fascinating rise and fall of the Maya and Aztec civilizations-spectacular empires with complex cultures that ruled vast stretches of pre-Columbian America. In this comprehensive course taught by the Director of the Maya Exploration Center, you'll witness the enthralling history of these sophisticated societies as you explore their religions,…
The Toltecs - Role Models or Myth?
The Aztecs claimed that their civilization descended from the mighty Toltecs. But were the Toltecs as magnificent as the Aztecs believed? Join the hunt for this elusive empire, which was headquartered at the modest town of Tula and spread influential ideas such as the legend of Quetzalcoatl.
African Kingdoms and Trade
Part of the Series: The Big History of Civilizations
Sub-Saharan Africa has often been overlooked by outside historians who are considering the rise of human civilization, yet nations such as Mali and Ghana and the Bantu and Swahili civilizations all have a rich and fascinating history. Survey the story of Africa with a special focus on sub-Saharan geography, people,…
Cacaxtla Murals and Xochicalco
View the fantastic murals at Cacaxtla in central Mexico, arguably the finest in Mesoamerica. Then look at the famous Temple of the Feathered Serpent in Xochicalco, which, like the Cacaxtla murals, represents the influence of the vanished Teotihuacan and classic Maya cultures.
Early Highland Maya - Izapa to Kaminaljuyu
Trace the origin of Maya civilization to a dramatic change in the nature of public monuments. Dr. Barnhart takes you to early Maya highland cities such as Izapa, with its amazing religious carvings, and Kaminaljuyu, which heralded the dawn of the Classic Maya period.
Mesoamerican Religion
Delve into Mesoamerican religion, tracing the evolution of gods and religious practices from the Olmecs to the Maya and finally to the Aztecs, who are featured in the next section of the course. Learn the names, roles, and origins of the principal deities.
Archaeology: An Introduction to the World's Greatest Sites
The work of archaeologists has commanded worldwide attention and captivated the human imagination since the earliest days of exploration, with groundbreaking discoveries such as the treasures of ancient Egypt, the lost kingdoms of the Maya, and the fabled city of Troy. Archaeology brings us face-to-face with our distant ancestors, with…