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The Toltec Civilization

Mesoamerican society flourishing between 900 CE and 1200 CE
by

Rob Pulliam

on 17 December 2012

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Transcript of The Toltec Civilization

The Toltec Civilization
in Comparison to the
Mayan and Aztec Empires The Toltecs lived in an area that encompassed around 386 square miles. This area was semi-arid, as the rest of Mexico and Mesoamerica is today.

The capital, Tollan, the modern-day city of Tula, was the heart of the civilization. This area is also known as the Hidalgo Highlands. Geography Government The Toltecs were polytheistic. Religion The Toltecs had a flourishing agricultural division, so crops were traded and bartered for. Economy and Technology Collective Identity Interactions with Others Tula is located just North of the Basin of Mexico. One leader, Ce Acatl Topiltzin, abandoned Tula in 895 CE, and over the next 100 years, the government (and the rest of the civilization) fell.

Topiltzin changed his name to Quetzalcoatl, a major god of the Toltecs. Quetzalcoatl, the "good god" of Toltec religion, was in charge of fertility, gentility, philosophy. Tezcatlipoca, the "antagonist" fighting Quetzalcoatl, ruled over war, dictatorship, and evilness. In Toltec religion, human sacrifices were made. During the sacrifices, athletes would play a game called Tlachli. This was a mix of basketball and soccer that was meant to please the gods. There was no afterlife or creation story for the Toltecs that we know about. There is not much known about the Toltec government, but it had a warrior aristocracy that was successful. The Toltecs also rapidly discovered medicinal herbs and drinks that cured ailments and relieved pain. Agricultural techniques like hill terracing and irrigation were used to efficiently grow their crops. Temples, specifically the Temples of the Sun and the Moon located in Teotihuacan, were built from huge limestone blocks, indicating a skill comparable to Ancient Egypt regarding construction. Often imported goods and luxuries from the lowlands of the East back home. Aztecs Mayans Thought to be descendants of the Toltecs, the Aztecs scavenged the ruins of Tollan and adopted some of the Toltecs' techniques. Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl doing battle Temple of the Warriors, Chichen Itza Toltec statues recently uncovered Comparison to Aztec Empire's Geography Area within circle is Toltec, while green area is Aztec Empire. Comparison to Mayan Empire's Geography The Mayan Empire includes the yellow area east of the blue line drawn in. Comparison to Aztec Empire's Government Comparison to Mayan Empire's Government The Mayan Empire had many different forms of government, including an elder rule and an elite rule. The Toltecs were also known to have had a very effective military. This information can be inferred by the knowledge of the Toltecs' great wealth and their knowledge of advanced weaponry. Aztec battleline preparing for war The Mayan army was very skilled. The Mayans used long-distance weapons, allowing them to take advantage of the dense forests in which they lived. Prisoners of war pleading before Mayan leader Bonampak Comparison to Aztec's Religion An Aztec representation of their god Quetzalcoatl Also like the Toltecs, the Aztecs were polytheistic. Comparison to Mayan's Religion The Mayans, like the Toltecs and Aztecs, had a polytheistic religion.

Of these gods, there was Quetzalcoatl, and Tezcatlipoca. The Mayans also practiced human sacrifices, had a creation story and afterlife explanation. Comparison to Aztec Empire's Economics and Technology Used agriculture for bartering The Toltecs, c. 900 CE, conquered part of Mayan territory, Chichén Itzá. Developed two important agricultural techniques (Crop Rotation and Chinampa, a way of growing plants on beds of reeds in a pond, creating farming area). Invented clubs, spears, lances, bows and arrows, and slings. Most of these were made of wood and splinters of obsidian. The Aztecs also built temples and pyramids, but were made of stone blocks, instead of the Toltecs' limestone. Great Pyramid of Teopanzolco Comparison to Mayan Empire's Economics and Technology Mayans traded among "neighboring peoples," as well as within the civilization. Traded agricultural yields (Salt, Cotton, Obsidian, Cacao, and Vanilla) Like Toltecs, built weapons made with pieces of obsidian. Mayas used agricultural techniques of hill terracing and wetland ground use. c. 500 CE, Mayans build city of Chichen Itza, and consruct many pyramids and temples. El Castillo, the most iconic temple at Chichen Itza Comparison to Aztec Empire's Collective Identity The Aztecs did not call themselves "the Aztecs." "Tenochca," or "Mexica," was the name used by the Aztecs to describe themselves.

This name, in Nahuatl (one of their native languages), means "Sun," but could also just be referring to one of their leaders, Mexitli. Comparison to Mayan Empire's Collective Identity The name "Maya" is thought to have originated from "Zamna," a god worshipped by the Mayans. Comparison to Aztec Empire's Interactions with Others While in power, Tlacaelel, a Mexica leader in the 1400s, began ritual battles with a neighboring city-state Tlaxcala. These were called the Flowery Wars, now known as the Aztec Flower Wars. Comparison to Mayan Empire's Interactions with Others After conquering the Aztecs, Cortes and the Hispanics went on to face the Mayans. Conclusion The Toltecs spoke an early form of the Nahuatl language, but it is impossible to know exactly what they thought of themselves. Some helpful insight lies on the Nahuatl translation of Tollan (thought to be the root of "Toltec"). Tollan often denoted city of wise people, and through centuries of use, its derivative "Toltec" came to mean "skilled artist." After rising to power over the Teotihuacan peoples, the Toltecs began importing many resources and luxuries from the lowlands to the Northeast. The Aztecs considered themselves to be fierce warriors, and were proud of their Toltec heritage because of the prowess of the Toltec military. Rendering of Aztecs constructing a lavish plaza of temples Developed states that lasted longer than any other civilization, from before the common era until 1521, when the Hispanics destroyed them. Teotihuacan People The Toltecs were "just a confederation" when they assimilated into the ruling Teotihuacan family. This allowed the Toltecs to become the civilization they became and establish the city of Tollan. Chichimecas The Chichimecas were the semi-nomadic tribe from the North that was the demise of the Toltecs. The Mayans built a city, Chichen Itza, with many monuments. The Toltecs later conquered this city, being the primary relationship between the Toltecs and Mayans. Altun Ha, a Mayan pyramid NOT located in Chichen Itza, but a good representation of Mayan temples The Flower Wars were not for territory or in-battle death, but to take prisoners and sacrifice them to the winner's gods. From 1519 to 1521, Hernan Cortes and the Aztecs fight, and the Aztecs fall. Cortes, in Mexico City, met by the Aztecs While an initial conquering in the 1540s seemed to make the Spaniards the victor, the Mayans and their descendants kept pushing back.

These rebellions have not stopped occurring, the most recent by Zapatista members in 1994. The 1994 EZLN rebellion, considered the latest push by Mayans against Hispanics Thesis Two of the three largest mesoamerican societies, the Mayans and the Aztecs, are like the Toltecs in their characteristics as a civilization. Between 1100 CE and 1521 CE, the Aztecs established just under 85,000 square miles of territory. The Aztec Empire covers the same area of the Toltecs, as well as more to the South and Southwest. Between 250 CE and 900 CE, the Mayans established 37,000 square miles of territory on the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, Guatemala, and part of Honduras. The only territory of Mayas that overlap with the Toltecs is in the northernmost part of the Yucatan, Chichen Itza. This territory was established by the Mayas in 500 CE and conquered by the Toltecs in 900 CE. Toltecs developed in 700 CE, flourished 800-900 CE, and had fully collapsed in 1000 CE Aztecs developed in 1100 CE, flourished 1440 CE- 1510 CE, and had fully collapsed 1521-1525 CE. Had social hierarchy with families, calpulli (neighborhoods), cities, and kingdoms. Aztecs had "Greatest military of the Western Hemisphere"- John Pohl, Curator of UCLA's Fowler Museum. Mayans developed in 250 CE, flourished 300 CE-900 CE, and has not fully collapsed, but had
Classical era end in 1200 CE. Unlike the Toltecs, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca were not the only important gods. Quetzalcoatl was the Aztecs' creator. Tezcatlipoca was the god who first tried to create the world, failing. The Aztecs also executed human sacrifice rituals and played Tlachtli. Unlike the Toltecs, the Aztecs had a creation story and an afterlife explanation. Quetzalcoatl was the earth's creator, as well as the morning-star. Tezcatlipoca is the opposite of Quetzalcoatl, the tempter, the encourager of perversion. 31 dialects of Mayan spoken; Quiche dialect is most used. Mayans and Aztecs are like the Toltecs in Government Armies were all technologically resourceful
Armies were aggressive and successful Mayans and Aztecs are like the Toltecs in Religion Polytheistic Had human sacrifices Had gods Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca Mayans and Aztecs are like the Toltecs in Economics and Technology Agricultural bartering economy Revolutionary agricultural techniques Use of obsidian in weapons Construction of pyramids/temples The Mayans and the Aztecs are important to society because of their popular significance in astronomical prediction and human sacrifices, respectively.
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