The Maya metropolis of Tikal was once one of the greatest cities in the world, its skyline dominated by huge temple-pyramids. In AD 750 over 100,000 people lived there, in the heart of the Guatemalan rainforest. But why did the city flourish? What does its history reveal about Maya civilization? And why did Tikal collapse? Drawing upon over 30 years of excavation and research, some of it his own, Peter D. Harrison provides this account of the turbulent story of Tikal over 1700 years, from 800 BC to the late-9th century AD. Strategically located, the city was a trade centre, a pioneer of architecture, and a focal point of warfare, struggling with other cities for dominance of the region. The apogee of power and wealth was achieved during the reign of the great Jaguar Claw clan, whose ruling lords built the Great Temples, some with tombs of treasures that hint at the richness of life as a lord of Tikal. The text also makes use of the breakthroughs in translating Mayan hieroglyphs.
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