The Mesoamerican Calendar Essay

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The Mesoamerican Calendar

“The Mesoamerican calendar, one of the most sophisticated timekeeping systems ever conceived by ancient people, “said by Anthony F. Avent in Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico, perfectly describes how significant the Mesoamerican calendar is. In order for you to understand the great importance of this creation, one needs to know comprehend the background of the people who created it, what it consists of, other calendars that relate to it, and how it affects us today.

Archaeologists, anthropologists, and art historians use the term Mesoamerica to describe the known world of the Aztecs in 1519 (The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya 9). It encompassed lands as far north as
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(The sign usually being that of an animal or an object.) The cycle of 20 days interlinked with a rotating cycle of numbers, 1 to 13, in which case each number was assigned a specific number of dots. So, the 260-day cycle was divided into 13 groups of 20 successive days, called veintenas. The second half of the calendar is composed of a 365-day, solar count. The days were divided into 18 months, which consisted of 20 days each. There were also five extra days at the end of the year, called nemontemi. In conclusion, these two systems work together simultaneously. When the 365-day year would start, it would align with the 260-day cycle and keep rotating until every 52nd year. The Mesoamericans would call this a “century”. After every century, they would always have a huge religious festival.

As I stated earlier, there are many uses for the Mesoamerican calendar. Some of the most common deal with commensuration and cosmology and religious offerings. The Mesoamericans’ calendar specialists used to use the time cycles that interlinked to predict the patterns of celestial events. For example, after a lunar eclipse occurred on a given divinatory calendar date, it could occur on alternate full moons near that same date (Carrasco, 122). They also used the calendar to set dates for religious events. For example in the Aztec culture, after every century, they would hold a festival and honor the theme of kindling a “New Fire”.

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