The authors of Ancient Origins of the Mexican Plaza highlight the rather surprising installation of bullrings next to, or even within, the monastic complexes built by Spanish friars during the viceregal period in the indigenous communities they were evangelizing, where the Spanish population was practically absent. Mendicant friars had prohibited the Mesoamerican ball game and systematically destroyed most ball courts; Logan Wagner, Hal Box, and Susan Kline Morehead postulate that bullfighting served as a substitute for this pre-Hispanic game—both rituals including blood sacrifice—and assisted the friars’ proselytizing effort, which customarily involved overlaying existing native religious spaces and structures with new ones. This is but one of many fascinating and well-documented examples presented in this book of how, in the early period of Spanish occupation, Christian rites, churches, convents, and urban plans incorporated, reshaped, reused, or referenced preexisting religious ceremonial open spaces, beliefs, practices, symbols, vast pyramidal platforms, native temple complexes,...

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