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Who were the Toltecs?
Toltec Sphere of Influence
Fall of Tula and the Toltecs
Fall Tolteca-Chichimeca & Nonoalca
Populated by two groups Tolteca-Chichimeca Nonoalca Toltec economy
Agriculture Irrigation was essential Hunting and Gathering Craft Production Commerce / Trade *Sahagun was a Spanish missionary, born in Sahagun, Leon, late in the 15th century;
died in Mexico, 23 October, 1590. Artifacts: Pottery
Artifacts: Brazier with skulls Duck effigy bowl Pipes Papagayo polychrome bowl
http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~delacova/toltecs-dishware.htm Artifacts: Stone Carvings
Artifacts: Jaguar statue Figurines http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~delacova/toltec-standing-figurines.htm Atlantes
Atlantes Altar support from the
Temple of Quetzalcoatl Rear view of the
altar support http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~delacova/tula-atlantes.htm Religion
Religion Tezcaltlipoca Tláloc Centéotl ltzpapáloti Tonatiuh
Tonatiuh Tlaloc god of rain
Tlaloc http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~delacova/toltec-tlaloc.htm Politics - "The Toltec State"
Politics Precise definitions of borders impossible Motivation for empire building was "free"
wealth in the form of tribute Matricula de Tributos, an Aztec document,
gives us an idea of the types of tribute
received Important rulers mentioned in
drama of Toltec history Tolpitzin
Tolpitzin Quetzalcoatl Tezcatlipoca ("Smoking Mirror")
Kukulcan Huemac Archaeology
Archaeology Multi-ethnic group that introduced changes in public and religious
architecture and new styles of stone carving and ceramics.
Tula builders did not call themselves Toltecs, but the Aztec used the
word to refer to a skilled craftsperson or artisan.
word Carnegie Museum of Washington who had been working at Chichen
Itza began excavations at Tula, Hidalgo., also University of Missouri
worked with Mesoamerican groups to conduct work after 1966.
worked mixture of Nahuatl, Otomi, Nonoalca, Chichimec peoples. Chronology in the area based largely on ceramics.
Prior to 400 A.D. Tula region was integrated with Teotihuacan, but most
people in the area were farmers and also some Hilltop sites such as
By around 700 A.D. areas such as Tula Chico which is situated north of
the Tula area with civic-ceremonial architecture laid out in a n-s axis.
the Several areas occupied for different reasons and at different times in
Tula. Tula Chica, Cerro Mogone, Tula Grande, Tula de Allende, Canal
Locality, El Corral, Cerro El Cielito, Cerro La Malinche.
Locality, Early Excavations
Early Archaeologist Jorge
Acosta, primary excavato
at Tula, stands next to
Pyramid B. http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~delacova/tula-excavations.htm Tula
Tula A.D. 900-1200 Development of city north of Teotihuacan. Located on the Tula river and near the Lerma
rivers for easy communication with others.
rivers This new capital was closer to the northern limits
of Toltec history embellished by Aztecs, Spaniards
and others after their collapse in 1200 A.D.
Geography north of Valley of Mexico in southern part of state of Hidalgo
rivers flow northeast to Rio Moctezuma, then down Sierra Madre
Oriental into Rio Panuco and Gulf of Mexico
Dry, desertified area
hardy scrup and cactus thickets, mesquite, prickly pear, and yucca
hardy soils are rich, alluvial ones but irrigation necessary for agriculture
soils high mountains to the east hold clouds away from area and rainy
season precipitation is insufficient for rainfall agriculture Tula area has slightly more rain, irrigation water, and arable land
than rest of region Climate
Climate mild, with annual temperatures ranging from 16-19C (60-66F)
monthly temperatures average from 11C (52F) in December to
38C (100F) in May with frosts frequent in winter Tula Grande
Tula Just south of Tula Chico, was occupied during the prime phase of Tula 9501150 A.D.
13 km in area, with a population of 30-60,000 residents.
craftspeople, trades people, religious leaders, but not farmers.
workshops included manos and metates makers.
City laid out on n-s axis. center with double plaza complex, two pyramids, council halls, and a colonnaded
two ballcourts, much of this built on large single platform 10-15 meters in height.
Building C was the most impressive but was destroyed.
Building B is the Temple to Quetzalcoatl.
stone sculpture is largely made of columns, pillars, relief panels, and atlantids
which are figures of men used to support roofs or altars.
a new feature known as a serpent wall which does not surround the temple but is
free standing along the north.
also depictions of Patolli playing which is a game of chance played by many
mesoamerican groups and is similar to modern Parchessi.
chacmool figures as well. 1. North Ball Court
3. Palace of Quetzalcoatl
4. Palace of the Columns
6. Temple of
7. Mound C
9. South Ball Court Tula Ballcourts
Tula Ballcourt 1 Ballcourt 2
Stone (found in the
center of the ballcourt)
possibly connected with
the scoring or ritual
of the game http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~delacova/ballcourt-no2.htm Palace of the Columns Temple of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli
(Temple of the Morning Star) http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~delacova/tula-temple.htm Atlantes Atlantean warrior columns on the
summit of Pyramid B, Tula Grande.
All are made of basalt and are over
fifteen feet tall. Pyramid B: Temple of Quetzalcoatl Chacmool http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~delacova/toltecs1.htm Recreation of what the temple would
have looked like in the past.
have Pyramid C Talud-tablero Drainage in
http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~delacova/tula-2.htm Coatepantli Detail of the Coatepantli, which
depicts a band of serpents
devouring a skeletal form
On the inner side of this is a well preserved frieze depicting
a rather grisly scene of a long line of snakes swallowing
skeletal people, who are thought to be warriors. Palace of Quetzalcoatl Toltec Sphere of Influence
Toltec Sphere Trade vs. Empire Fall of Tula and the Toltecs
Fall Sahagun's Davies version Problems were both Internal and
Agriculture Conflicts Social
Social integration Archaeological evidence
Evidence for fire and destruction found in
every building Not clear that all of it took place at once
Not Canal Locality houses appear to have
been abandoned by 1100 on the basis of
radiocarbon dates Urban peripheries appear to have been
abandoned before central core Toltec Legacy
Toltec Slowly, a few city states rose up to dominate their
neighbors, but no real successor to the Toltec power
emerged during this period.
The Kings of Culhuacan, as described in their "Annales de
Culhuacan" had some limited power, claiming descent from
the legendary Toltecs.
But every other dynasty (Quiche, Itza, Mixtec, Chichimec)
did the same.
Claiming to be a descendent of the Toltec Kings was
routine; even if many of the earliest rulers after the fall of
Tula were in all likelihood truly related to the nobles of the
Mixcoatl/Topiltzin/Huemac era, most of the succeeding
generations of petty rulers were not.
History, however, is written by the victors, and the victors in
the incessant warfare of the post-Toltec era were eager to
associate themselves with the once glorious Toltecs. ...
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- Fall '08