Lecture 9 - Textbook, p. 304-336 Teotihuacan o Rise of the...

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Textbook, p. 304-336 Teotihuacan o Rise of the Urban State Teotihuacan began to grow around 200-100 BC. At its height, it probably had 125,000 people. There were many factors leading to its rise: its on a natural trade route; obsidian resources; and its potential for irrigation. A volcanic eruption may also have led to its rise. Long-distance trade in obsidian gave elites access to exotic goods, attracting immigrants to Teotihuacan. Elites got more power as the population grew and there was a heightened need for crops, since they controlled irrigation. Growing wealth and some religious significance probably attracted a lot of people. Foreign groups – such as the Zapotec – had neighborhoods in the city. Teotihuacan had influence over a wide area, including the Maya area, but exactly how much effect it had on Maya development is debated. The initial population boom appears to have happened to quickly to be the result of internal factors alone. Growth of irrigation, exploitation of obsidian, and religious importance were probably factors, but it is “fruitless” to try to prove primacy of one of them. The last couple paragraphs on page 313 are pretty hilariously depressing, basically saying that archaeology is, in many cases, futile. o Teotihuacan’s fall We know less about the fall of Teotihuacan than its rise! So many questions… There was a decline in Teotihuacan’s pop. prior to its collapse. The climate got drier. Teotihuacan’s influence decreased prior to the collapse. No clear evidence it was invaded, though there is evidence of burning The city may have been vulnerable to attack due to the drier culture. Teotihuacan’s power declined by 800 AD (Fash thinks it was earlier – ca. 550). Other regions grew in significance and influence. The Toltecs o 2 changes around AD 900: increasing importance of merchants growing militarism o Toltecs lacked centralized control and economic influence. o The Rise of Tula and the Toltecs Tula exploited obsidian. It was important in trade and a military power. Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl – described in written record from 16 th century. He was the king of Tula, was expelled and fled to the east after a war and promised to return someday. There is probably some historical
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basis for his legend. He brought about militarism and sacrifice. Appears there was some connection between Tula and Chichen Itza – “Mexicanized Maya culture” Influence spread to the Gulf coast, American Southwest and Southeast. o The Toltecs in Perspective Toltecs can be seen as bridge between Teotihuacan and Aztecs, but exhibiting less control than both those cultures. Tula was a trading and religious center, but not
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Lecture 9 - Textbook, p. 304-336 Teotihuacan o Rise of the...

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