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|Religion · Mythology|
|Calendar · Medicine|
|Tenochtitlan · Templo Mayor|
|Aztlán · Warfare|
|Codices · Aztec writing|
|Aztec Empire · Tlaxcallan|
|Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire|
|Moctezuma II · Hernán Cortés|
Aztec philosophy was a school of philosophy that developed out of Aztec culture. The Aztecs had a well-developed school of philosophy, perhaps the most developed in the Americas and in many ways comparable to Ancient Greek philosophy, even amassing more texts than the ancient Greeks.Aztec philosophy focused on dualism, monism, and aesthetics, and Aztec philosophers attempted to answer the main Aztec philosophical question of how to gain stability and balance in an ephemeral world.
Aztec philosophy saw the concept of Ometeotl as a unity that underlies the universe. Ometeotl forms, shapes, and is all things. Even things in opposition—light and dark, life and death—were seen as expressions of the same unity, Ometeotl. The belief in a unity with dualistic expressions compares with similar dialectical monist ideas in both Western and Eastern philosophies.
Aztec priests had a panentheistic view of religion but the popular Aztec religion maintained polytheism. Priests saw the different gods as aspects of the singular and transcendent unity of Teotl but the masses were allowed to practice polytheism without understanding the true, unified nature of their Aztec gods.
Aztec philosophers focused on morality as establishing balance. The world was seen as constantly shifting with the ever-changing teotl. Morality focused on finding the path to living a balanced life, which would provide stability in the shifting world.
Aztec philosophy saw the arts as a way to express the true nature of teotl.Art was considered to be good if it in some way brought about a better understanding of teotl. Aztec poetry was closely tied to philosophy and often used to express philosophic concepts. Below is an example of such a poem, translated from the original Nahuatl:
No one comes on this earth to stay
Our bodies are like rose trees -
They grow petals then wither and die.
But our hearts are like grass in the springtime,
They live on and forever grow green again.
There is a dearth of material from which Aztec philosophy can be studied with a majority of extant texts written after conquest by either Spanish colonists and missionaries, or Christianised Spanish educated natives. Pre-conquest sources include the Codex Borgia and the Codex Borbonicus (written about the time of conquest). Post-conquest texts include the Florentine Codex, Codex Mendoza and the Codex Magliabechiano, including others.
Aztec mythology is the body or collection of myths of Aztec civilization of Central Mexico. The Aztecs were Nahuatl-speaking groups living in central Mexico and much of their mythology is similar to that of other Mesoamerican cultures. According to legend, the various groups who were to become the Aztecs arrived from the north into the Anahuac valley around Lake Texcoco. The location of this valley and lake of destination is clear – it is the heart of modern Mexico City – but little can be known with certainty about the origin of the Aztec. There are different accounts of their origin. In the myth the ancestors of the Mexica/Aztec came from a place in the north called Aztlan, the last of seven nahuatlacas to make the journey southward, hence their name "Azteca." Other accounts cite their origin in Chicomoztoc, "the place of the seven caves," or at Tamoanchan.
In the Aztec religion, Huitzilopochtli is a deity of war, sun, human sacrifice, and the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan. He was also the national god of the Mexicas, also known as Aztecs, of Tenochtitlan. Many in the pantheon of deities of the Aztecs were inclined to have a fondness for a particular aspect of warfare. However, Huitzilopochtli was known as the primary god of war in ancient Mexico. Since he was the patron god of the Mexica, he was credited with both the victories and defeats that the Mexica people had on the battlefield. The people had to make sacrifices to him to protect the Aztec from infinite night. He wielded Xiuhcoatl as a weapon, associating him with fire.
In Aztec mythology, Centeōtl[senˈteoːt͡ɬ] is the maize deity. Cintli[ˈsint͡ɬi] means "dried maize still on the cob" and teōtl[ˈteoːt͡ɬ] means "deity". According to the Florentine Codex, Centeotl is the son of the earth goddess, Tlazolteotl and solar deity Piltzintecuhtli, the planet Mercury. Born on the day-sign 1 Xochitl. Another myth claims him as the son of the goddess Xochiquetzal. The majority of evidence gathered on Centeotl suggests that he is usually portrayed as a young man, with yellow body colouration. Some specialists believe that Centeotl used to be the maize goddess Chicomecōātl. Centeotl was considered one of the most important deities of the Aztec era. There are many common features that are shown in depictions of Centeotl. For example, there often seems to be maize in his headdress. Another striking trait is the black line passing down his eyebrow, through his cheek and finishing at the bottom of his jaw line. These face markings are similarly and frequently used in the late post-classic depictions of the 'foliated' Maya maize god.
Ōmeteōtl is a name sometimes used to refer to the pair of Aztec deities Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, also known as Tōnacātēcuhtli and Tonacacihuatl. Ōme translates as "two" or "dual" in Nahuatl and teōtl translates as "god". The existence of such a concept and its significance is a matter of dispute among scholars of Mesoamerican religion.
In Aztec mythology, Tōnacācihuātl was a creator and goddess of fertility, worshiped for peopling the earth and making it fruitful. Most Colonial-era manuscripts equate her with Ōmecihuātl. Tōnacācihuātl was the consort of Tōnacātēcuhtli. She is also referred to as Ilhuicacihuātl or "Heavenly Lady."
The Aztec or Mexica calendar is the calendar system that was used by the Aztecs as well as other Pre-Columbian peoples of central Mexico. It is one of the Mesoamerican calendars, sharing the basic structure of calendars from throughout ancient Mesoamerica.
Bernardino de Sahagún was a Franciscan friar, missionary priest and pioneering ethnographer who participated in the Catholic evangelization of colonial New Spain. Born in Sahagún, Spain, in 1499, he journeyed to New Spain in 1529. He learned Nahuatl and spent more than 50 years in the study of Aztec beliefs, culture and history. Though he was primarily devoted to his missionary task, his extraordinary work documenting indigenous worldview and culture has earned him the title as “the first anthropologist." He also contributed to the description of the Aztec language Nahuatl. He translated the Psalms, the Gospels, and a catechism into Nahuatl.
Miguel León-Portilla was a Mexican anthropologist and historian.
Tlacaelel I was the principal architect of the Aztec Triple Alliance and hence the Mexica (Aztec) empire. He was the son of Emperor Huitzilihuitl and Queen Cacamacihuatl, nephew of Emperor Itzcoatl, father of poet Macuilxochitzin, and brother of Emperors Chimalpopoca and Moctezuma I.
The Calmecac was a school for the sons of Aztec nobility in the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerican history, where they would receive rigorous religious and military training. The two main primary sources for information on the calmecac and telpochcalli are in Bernardino de Sahagún's Florentine Codex of the General History of the Things of New Spain and part 3 of the Codex Mendoza. Although the calmecac has been characterized as for elites only, Sahagun's account says that at times commoners, macehualtin were assigned to the calmecac as well and trained for the priesthood. The Tēlpochcalli was where mostly commoners and some noble youths received military training, but would have been precluded from the higher ranks of power. Codex Mendoza's account of the calmecac emphasizes the possibilities of upward mobility for young commoner men, (macehualtin), educated in the telpochcalli. The placement of a noble youth in the telpochcalli might have been by lesser wives' or concubines' sons or younger sons, perhaps of commoner status, so that the boys did not have to compete with noble youths in the calmecac. Codex Mendoza's account largely ignores class distinctions between the two institutions.
The Aztec religion originated from the indigenous Aztecs of central Mexico. Like other Mesoamerican religions, it also has practices such as human sacrifice in connection with many religious festivals which are in the Aztec calendar. This polytheistic religion has many gods and goddesses; the Aztecs would often incorporate deities that were borrowed from other geographic regions and peoples into their own religious practices.
The Anales de Tlatelolco is a codex manuscript written in Nahuatl, using Latin characters, by anonymous Aztec authors. The text has no pictorial content. Although there is an assertion that the text was a copy of one written in 1528 in Tlatelolco, only seven years after the fall of the Aztec Empire, James Lockhart argues that there is no evidence for this early date of composition, based on internal evidence of the text. However, he supports the contention that this is an authentic conquest account, arguing that it was composed about 20 years after the conquest in the 1540s, and contemporaneous with the Cuernavaca censuses. Unlike the Florentine Codex and its account of the conquest of Mexico, the Annals of Tlatelolco remained in indigenous hands, providing authentic insight into the thoughts and outlook of the newly conquered Nahuas.
The Florentine Codex is a 16th-century ethnographic research study in Mesoamerica by the Spanish Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagún. Sahagún originally titled it: La Historia Universal de las Cosas de Nueva España. After a translation mistake, it was given the name Historia general de las Cosas de Nueva España. The best-preserved manuscript is commonly referred to as the Florentine Codex, as the codex is held in the Laurentian Library of Florence, Italy.
Tlamatini is a Nahuatl language word meaning "someone who knows something", generally translated as "wise man". The word is analyzable as derived from the transitive verb mati "to know" with the prefix tla- indicating an unspecified inanimate object translatable by "something" and the derivational suffix -ni meaning "a person who are characterized by ...": hence tla-mati-ni "a person who is characterized by knowing something" or more to the point "a knower".
The traditions of indigenous Mesoamerican literature extend back to the oldest-attested forms of early writing in the Mesoamerican region, which date from around the mid-1st millennium BCE. Many of the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica are known to have been literate societies, who produced a number of Mesoamerican writing systems of varying degrees of complexity and completeness. Mesoamerican writing systems arose independently from other writing systems in the world, and their development represents one of the very few such origins in the history of writing. The conquistadors brought their distinctive cultural creations, in the form of books, from Europe to the New World which further influenced native literature.
Teotl is a Nahuatl term that is often translated as "god". It may have held more abstract aspects of the numinous or divine, akin to the Polynesian concept of Mana. It is a central idea of Aztec religion. In Pipil mythology Teut is known as the creator and father of life. The nature of Teotl has been an ongoing discussion among scholars.
The Cantares Mexicanos is the name given to a manuscript collection of Nahuatl songs or poems recorded in the 16th century. The 91 songs of the Cantares form the largest Nahuatl song collection, containing over half of all known traditional Nahuatl songs. It is currently located in the National Library of Mexico in Mexico City. A description is found in the census of prose manuscripts in the native tradition in the Handbook of Middle American Indians.
New Philology generally refers to a branch of Mexican ethnohistory and philology that uses colonial-era native language texts written by Indians to construct history from the indigenous point of view. The name New Philology was coined by James Lockhart to describe work that he and his doctoral students and scholarly collaborators in history, anthropology, and linguistics had pursued since the mid-1970s. Lockhart published a great many essays elaborating on the concept and content of the New Philology and Matthew Restall published a description of it in the Latin American Research Review. The techniques of the New Philology have also been applied in other disciplines such as European medieval studies.
Tēlpochcalli, were centers where Aztec youth were educated, from age 15, to serve their community and for war. These youth schools were located in each district or calpulli.
Omeyocan is the highest of thirteen heavens in Aztec mythology, the dwelling place of Ometeotl, the dual god comprising Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl.