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The Popol Vuh is a book written in the Classical Quiche language containing mythological narratives and a genealogy of the rulers of the Post-Classic Quiche Maya kingdom of highland Guatemala.
The book contains a creation myth followed by mythological stories of two Hero Twins: Hunahpu (Junajpu) and Xbalanque (Xb'alanke). The second part of the book deals with details of the foundation and history of the Quiche kingdom, tying in the royal family with the legendary gods in order to assert rule by divine right.
The book is written in the Latin alphabet, but it is thought to have been based on an original Maya codex in the Mayan hieroglyphic script. The original manuscript which was written around 1550 has been lost, but a copy of another handwritten copy made by the Friar Francisco Ximenez in the early 18th century exists today in the Newberry Library in Chicago.
The significance of the book is enormous since it is one of a small number of early Mesoamerican mythological texts - it is often considered the single most important piece of Mesoamerican literature. The mythology of the Quiche is believed to correspond quite closely to that of the Pre-Classic Maya, as depicted in the San Bartolo murals, and iconography from the Classic period often contains motifs that are interpretable as scenes from the Popol Vuh. (Quote from wikipedia.org)
About the Author
Lewis Spence (1874 - 1955)
James Lewis Thomas Chalmbers Spence (November 25, 1874 - March 3, 1955) was a Scottish journalist, folklorist, poet and occult scholar.
A prolific writer, Spence has been credited in reviving the study of Scottish folklore. After an early career in Scotland as a journalist, about 1906 he began to take a keen interest folklore and mythol