Life during the heyday of Classic Maya rulers . . . We still have so many questions regarding the glue that linked the impressive royal courts with their sustaining populace (often numbering in the tens of thousands). Recently, scholars have focused on the mass appeal of ritual and pageantry performed by royals, but the magnetism of a theater state only goes so far. In this book, Joanne Baron presents hieroglyphic and archaeological evidence of patron deities and argues that the larger-than-life effigies fed and housed in many of the well-known temples of the Maya lowlands (such as the Cross Group at Palenque) elicited an affective devotion that connected royal courts with ordinary people who grew the food and built the structures that sustained one of the Americas' best-known pre-Columbian civilizations.

Over the past 50 years, evidence of Classic-period patron deities has been...

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