Deciphering Aztec Hieroglyphs

A Guide to Nahuatl Writing


Gordon Whittaker, a world authority on the world of the Aztecs, presents the first ever guide to understanding Aztec hieroglyphs


ISBN: 9780500518724 Category:

Gordon Whittaker


For more than three millennia the cultures of Mesoamerica flourished, building the first cities of the Western Hemisphere and developing writing systems that could rival those of the Eastern Hemisphere in their creativity and efficiency. The Nahuatl-speaking Aztecs reigned over one of the greatest imperial civilizations the Americas had ever seen, and up until now their intricate and visually stunning hieroglyphs have been overlooked in the story of writing.

In this innovative volume Gordon Whittaker provides the reader with everything they need to know to appreciate and understand Aztec hieroglyphs: a step-by-step, illustrated guide of how to read Aztec glyphs; an explanation of the special features of this writing system in comparison to others from around the globe; the story of how this enigmatic language has been deciphered; a tour through Aztec history as recorded in hieroglyphic codices; and demonstrations of how the writing system was adapted to transliterate Spanish words during the Conquest.

With 300 illustrations

Additional information

Weight 1064 g
Dimensions 19.7 x 25.3 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 8 April 2021
Number of pages 224
Format Hardback
Dimensions 19.7 x 25.3 cm
Weight 1064 g


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Gordon Whittaker is Fiebiger Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Göttingen, where he has held joint positions in the Institute of Ethnology and the Department of Romance Philology. He has written extensively on Aztec language, writing and civilization. His areas of specialization are Linguistic Anthropology and the Anthropology of the Americas.