This volume presents ancient Mexican myths and sacred hymns, lyric poetry, rituals, drama, and various forms of prose, accompanied by informed criticism and comment. The selections come from the Aztecs, the Mayas, the Mixtecs and Zapotecs of Oaxaca, the Tarascans of Michoacan, the Otomís of central Mexico, and others. They have come down to us from inscriptions on stone, the codices, and accounts written, after the coming of Europeans, of oral traditions.
It is Miguel León-Portilla’s intention "to bring to contemporary readers an understanding of the marvelous world of symbolism which is the very substance of these early literatures." That he has succeeded is obvious to every reader.