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24 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

Zapotec locations

The Roots of the ZapotecState:
San Jose Mogote, Oaxaca, Mexico
1400-1500 BC-first fully sedentary villages in Oaxaca
•1150-850 BC-emergence of hereditary ranking (San Jose Phase)
AuthoritySeated: AuthorityProne: Obeisance
Evidence of Hereditary Inequality
Burial of lightning pots with infants
•Skull deformation
Integration of Larger Political Units
•Large Scale Construction•Writing
Monte Alban
Social divides shown in city layout
Note how access to different areas of city are restricted•Lower area has access to ceremonial zones where even that is divided by level
•Higher areas have even more greatly restricted access..
•believed to be tied to social status of individuals

Teotihuacan (highland zone)

Rises to prominence ca. 50 BC
•Peak population of up to 120,000 people (c. 500 AD)
•Abandonment (c. 700 AD)

Teotihuacan Archiriculture

Ciudadela–Temple of the Feathered Serpent
•Over 200 burials found associated with the pyramid
•Set together in groups
•Both men and woman, with men more frequent•Men buried with warrior accoutrements
–Generally associated as being from Teotihuacan rather than being captives
Recently a tunnel found beneath the Temple using Ground Penetrating Radar
•15 meters deep by 130 meters long
•Running eastwards and terminating in several sealed funeral chambers beneath the pyramid.
•Contain a series of symbols
•Believed to be connected to imagery of the Mesoamerican underworld
–Water gods of highland traditions often associated with passing through underground tunnels
The sacking of Teotihuacan
•City sacked
–Buildings Burn
–Looting & Destruction
–People slaughtered
•By ca. 650/700 AD city virtually abandoned–Timing of population decline, city destruction, and abandonment unclear
–Contributions/severity/causality of various factors unclear
–Who (if anyone) attacked the city unclear
Teotihuacan as influence on Aztecs
•Aztecs offer sacrifices regularly-may have even held investiture ceremonies at the site
•Architectural inspiration
•Artifacts brought from Teotihuacan to Tenochtitlan
•Location of the birth of the fifth sun
•Location where Aztecs made sacrifices while wandering, then dispersed to populate central Mexico
•A Tollan(home of mythical(?) Toltec ruler, earthly paradise)
Teotihuacan: Nahuatl(Aztec) for “place where gods are born”?
•All of the names we use today for structures and features at Teotihuacan are from Spanish translations of Nahuatlterms

Monte Alban abandoned about same time as Teotihuacan

•No explanation why

•Thought to be tied to population growth

•Also possibly climate changes

•No clear sign of conflict

The Toltecs

•Following the collapse of Teotihuacan, the Toltecsrise to power
•From 10th-12thcentury AD they rule from Tula
•Toltecswere a militant people who conquered much of the Valley of Mexico
•Had cultural ties to Maya, adopting many cosmological concepts including calander
•Resulted in the creation of a series of city states who shared a general culture
•In the late 12thto 13thcentury there was a series of inter city conflicts….
The wandering Mexica…
•C. 1200-1250 AD a population from the “North”
•They were a warrior people who allied themselves and became vassals of one of the dominant, Toltec descended cities of the time.
•The Mexica intermarried with their liege lords, and adopted many of their cultural traits.
•C. 1323 AD the Mexica proved of great military assistance…
•They then asked their lord for his daughter… so they could provide a great honor upon her….
The Red Tezcatlipoca ( Xipe Totec)

-the flayed god

Associated with :




–He brings the spring, renews the harvest, and himself

–Does this by flaying himself of his old skin and emerging in his new skin...

•This led to a series of bloody battles that the Mexica lost
•They were driven all about the valley of Mexico•Ended up settling in the middle of a swamp
•Where they founded the city of Tenochtitlan•Based around series of canals and man-made islands
The Rise of the Aztecs
•The city grew
•Began a series of alliances, exchange and military conflicts
•The Mexica is the nahuatlname of the Aztecs•grew to dominate the Valley of Mexico and later Mexico as a whole…
•Resulted in despotic empire with heavy class based system
Aztec Empire
•This empire grew based on three fundamentals:–First was Diplomacy and Alliances•Formed the Triple-Alliance with two other states: Texcoco, and Tlacopan•Aztecs in Tenochtitlan eventually came to dominate this–Second was Exchange and Commerce (in a more modern sense)•Barter system used•Focused on local market places located near temples (city centeres)•Traded food, ceramics, raw materials, and prestige items (cacao, jade, gold, silver, etc. etc. etc.)–Crucial for social display of Noble elites•With no domesticated animals, all good must be man-ported•Merchant classes formed powerful middle class, below nobles but significantly above commoners–Warfare to create and maintain Elites

Azetic rulers

•Aztecs ruled as sovereign empire over Vassal Sates–Vassals paid tribute in items and sacrifices–“pocket” kingdoms allowed to exist (possible so they could be attacked and provide sacrifices)•Warfare as a means of social reproduction–Warrior classes very important–Aztec culture had strict Castes–Families could move up in castes–Valor in combat was the surest way to do this…–To keep this open, constant warfare needed•Warfare Also tied to ritual beliefs–fed back into social reproduction

Aztec Cosmology

•Adopted elements from variety of cultures•Teotihuacan, Olmec and Mayan•Adapted Mayan Calendar and cosmology created a cyclic calendar based on Mayan–present earth was the last in a series of creations and that it occupied a position between systems of 13 heavens and 9 underworlds•This calendar formed basis for series of sacrifices

Aztec Religion
•The Four Tezcatlipoca (the first four gods who created all the others)–Quetzalcoatl -White Tezcatlipoca (west)-the god of light, mercy and wind–Huitzilopochtli -Blue Tezcatlipoca (south) -the god of war–XipeTotec-Red Tezcatlipoca (east) the god of gold, farming and Spring time (flayed god seen earlier)–Texcatlipoca–the Black Tezcatlipoca (north) –(aka Smoking Mirror) the god of judgment, night, deceit, sorcery and the Earth•Other gods–Tlaloc–the rain and water god–Tonatiuh–sun god –•required human heart to power him to keep burning
•Each god of the Aztecs important, particularly those mentioned.•Quetzalcoatlplays a particularly important role in what happened…•Portrayed as human and feathered serpent, image tied across Mesoamerica iconography (Teotihuacan, Cholula, etc…•Also the White Texcatlipoca•Tied to planet Venus, the dawn, merchants, arts, crafts and knowledge.•He was also the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and knowledge, mercy
Hernan Cortés as Quetzalcoatl
•Some Scholars argue that Cortés was viewed as Quetzalcoatl–White man–Arrives in giant boat–Didn’t let his cavalry dismount in front of locals (who had never seen horses… not to mention mounted horses before…)–How did a handful of men conquer Millions?•Others note no evidence of “resurrected Quetzalcoatl before Spanish arrival and likely a Christian conversion myth…
The Fall of the Aztecs
•In 1519 MoctezumaII was King of Aztecs•Hernan Cortés arrived with about 11 ships, 500 men, 13 horses, and a small number of cannons•Cortés allied with local indigenous peoples–For the most part happy to rise up against Aztec overlords.•Marched to Tenochtitlan with a troop of allies that grew along the route•He released prisoners all the way, and gave words of peace…•MoctezumaII deliberately let Cortés enter Tenochtitlan, hoping to learn their weaknesses–he gave lavish gifts of gold to the Spaniards which encouraged them to plunder•When Cortés learned of an attack on the coast, he used it as an excuse to take Moctezumahostage.•1520 Moctezumawas killed–the Spaniards say he was stoned to death by his own people–Spaniards high-tail out of city•1521 Spanish sieged, and raised Tenochtitlan to the ground.•End of Aztec Empire