Troon van Montezuma

Troon van Montezuma

Die manjifieke klipmonument wat na verwys word as die Monument van die Heilige Oorlog, die Teocalli van die Heilige Oorlog, die Tempelsteen of, meer eenvoudig, die troon van Motecuhzoma II (Montezuma), die Asteke -koning (tlatoani) wat regeer het ten tyde van die Spaanse verowering, is bedek met reliëfsnywerk van simbole, gode en Motecuhzoma self. Die troon, uitgekerf in die vorm van 'n piramide -tempel, herdenk die nuwe vuurplegtigheid van 1507 nC en demonstreer deur kuns die onafskeidbare skakel tussen vuur en water en tussen die heersers van hierdie wêreld en die ewige kosmos. Dit is een van die meesterwerke van die Azteekse kuns en kan bewonder word in sy permanente tuiste in die National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

Doel

Ontdek in 1831 nC naby die paleis van Motecuhzoma II onder die huidige Mexikostad, is die troon in 1507 CE uit vulkaniese klip gesny en meet 1,23 meter hoog en ongeveer 1 meter in diepte en breedte. Die voorwerp in sy geheel vier die triomf van die son en die bokant is ingeskryf met die jaar 2 Huis wat vertaal word as 1345 CE, beskou as die tradisionele stigtingsdatum van die Azteekse hoofstad Tenochtitlan. Die troon verskyn in die vorm van 'n tipiese Azteekse piramide, met die agterkant die heilige tempel wat bo -aan sulke monumente gestaan ​​het. Die steen kan in werklikheid as 'n herdenkingsstem beskou word teocalli (wat 'huis van god' beteken) van heilige oorlogvoering en die New Fire Ceremony (Toxiuhmolpilia). Hierdie ritueel, wat slegs een keer elke 52 jaar gehou is na die voltooiing van die volledige Azteek -kalendersiklus, was miskien die belangrikste gebeurtenis in die Asteekse godsdiens en die lewe in die algemeen.

Die troon verskyn in die vorm van 'n tipiese Azteekse piramide, met die agterkant 'n heilige tempel.

Onder leiding van die Xiuhtechutli, die god van vuur, was die doel van die seremonie om die suksesvolle vernuwing (of herhaling) van die son te verseker. Bo -op die berg Uixachtecatl (of Citlaltepec), naby die Azteekse hoofstad Tenochtitlán, het priesters om middernag vergader en gewag op 'n presiese belyning van die sterre. Daarna is 'n offer aan Xiuhtecuhtli gebring deur die hart van 'n offeroffer te sny. Vuur het toe in die oop borsholte aangesteek en as die vuur suksesvol aangesteek het, was alles goed. As die vlam nie brand nie, word geglo dat dit die verskyning van verskriklike monsters, die Tzitzimime, aandui wat die duisternis deur die hele mensdom sou eet.

Met die ondenkbare moontlikheid dat die son nie werklik weer sou verskyn nie, was elke seremonie 'n deurslaggewende oomblik in die Azteekse samelewing, maar miskien was die een van 1507 CE meer betekenisvol as die meeste. Die Asteke -ryk het verskeie ongelukke opgedoen voor die gebeurtenis, veral 'n verwoestende hongersnood en vernietigende sneeustorms, sodat 'n nuwe siklus en 'n nuwe begin presies wat Motecuhzoma nodig gehad het. Uiteindelik het die son weer verskyn in nog 52 jaar van kosmiese harmonie, maar in werklikheid was dit eers 14 jaar later dat vreemdelinge uit die weste die rampspoedige ineenstorting van die Aztec -beskawing sou meebring.

Besonderhede

Die twaalf trappe wat die sitplek nader, word geflankeer deur 'n beeld van 'n konyn aan die linkerkant wat die kalenderdatum 1 aandui, terwyl die riete aan die regterkant die datum 2 voorstel. van die 52-jaar siklus of die jare waarin hierdie spesifieke nuwe vuurplegtigheid oorgesteek het. Bo hierdie simbole, weer, een aan weerskante, is voorstellings van cuauhxicalli - die vaartuie wat tydens die godsdienstige seremonies offerandes gehou het, soos die harte van offeroffers Die een aan die linkerkant het merke wat dui op 'n jaguarvel en die een aan die regterkant het arendvere.

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Die agterkant van die troon se sitplek bevat 'n groot sonskyf waarop die kardinale en interkardinale punte aangedui word, 'n algemene motief in die Asteke-kuns. Links van die sonskyf staan ​​die figuur van Huitzilopochtli, die god van oorlog en die son, met sy gewone kolibriehoofdoek en met sy linkervoet in die vorm van 'n brandslang terwyl aan die regterkant Motecuhzoma II 'n offer bring aan die God. Die setel van die troon het 'n reliëf van die aardmonster Tlaltecuhtli van die Asteekse mitologie. Toe Motecuhzoma op die troon sit, was hy dus in kontak met die aarde en met die son, en vervul hy sy rol as heilige bewaarder van albei, skei hulle met sy persoon en verhoed dat die son op die aarde stort.

Die groot arend op die agterkant van die troon herinner aan die legende van die stigting van Tenochtitlán toe Huitzilopochtli die regte plek aangedui het met 'n arend wat op 'n kaktus sit. Die figure is die Asteke -mense wat hul harte offer in hulde en hulde aan hul gode en heerser. Aan die kante van die klip sit gode, elk met 'n tetl of steensimbool op hul rug, selfopofferende bloed uit hul heupe, 'n tipiese ritueel van die Asteekse godsdiens. Die vier gode wat voorgestel word, is Tlaloc (god van reën), Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli (dagbreek), Xiuhtecuhtli (vuurgod) en Xochipilli (god van blomme, somer en musiek). Daar is ook die datums 1 vuursteen en 1 dood en 'n rookspieël wat Tezcatlipoca, die god van die lot, voorstel. Hierdie tonele kombineer dus met die ander reliëfgravure aan alle kante van die klip om 'n oortuigende getuienis te lewer van die goddelike guns wat Motecuhzoma se bewind geniet het.


'N Voorskou van Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler

Y ons gesig word in die swart spieël weerspieël, maar u kan uself nie duidelik sien nie. U kenmerke swem in en uit die oog, soos 'n visioen in rook, in een van die vreemdste voorwerpe (en dit sê iets) in die sensasionele opwinding van hierdie herfs in die British Museum.

Dit is maklik om te dink waarom sulke spieëls, gemaak van 'n hoogs gepoleerde stukkie van die donker minerale obsidiaan, deur towenaars in Renaissance -Europa begeer is na die verowering van die inheemse Amerikaanse beskawing wat hulle gemaak het. Daar is 'n okkulte kwaliteit aan die beeld van jouself wat vir 'n oomblik realiseer, wat jou laat wonder presies wie jy is. Het Moctezuma, laaste heerser van die Asteke -ryk, dieselfde angs gehad toe hy in sy swart spieël kyk? Daar word gesê dat hy ontstellende tekens daar sien - tekens van vreemdelinge wat kom. Voorgevoelens van dreigende ramp.

Die swart obsidiaanse spieël vang die raaisel en tragedie in die hartjie van die British Museum se nuwe uitstalling vas. Moctezuma se verhaal is 'n verhaal van absolute mag - en afwykende oorgawe. Die ware emosionele krag van hierdie vertoning kom aan die einde, as u die pantser en baniere sien van die Spaanse soldate wat hierdie heerser en sy wêreld vernietig het en met 'n speurraaisel gekonfronteer word. Waarom het hy dit vir hulle so maklik gemaak?

'N Ware lewensepos

Die val van Moctezuma is 'n legendariese hoofstuk in die bloedige Europese pad na wêreldverowering en maak 'n gepaste afsluiting van die reeks uitstallings van die British Museum oor groot heersers. Hierdie reeks begin met die eerste keiser van China, en eindig met een van die laaste heersers van die Amerikas. Die verhaal wat dit vertel-en een van die deugde van hierdie boeiende vertoning is dat dit 'n verre plek en tyd 'n verstaanbare menslike vertelling gee-is een van die mees spookagtige van alle ware lewensepos.

In 1519 beland die Spaanse avonturier Hernan Cortés en sy 450 man, met hul gedagtes vol goud, aan die Mexikaanse kus. Toe hulle die dominante stad van die streek nader, Tenochtitlan, wonder sy magtige god-koning Moctezuma II wat om te doen. Uiteindelik besluit hy om die vreemdelinge in vrede te ontmoet, geskenke te gee en hulle uit te nooi om te bly. Toe hulle skielik voorstel om hom in hegtenis te neem, gaan hy vreedsaam saam. Sy laaste daad was om sy opstandige onderdane aan te spreek, wat op die punt was om uiteindelik teen die bose indringers op te staan ​​en hulle aan te moedig om kalm te bly - om passief soos hy te wees. Hy is deur klippe getref deur die wraakgierige skare. Drie dae later sterf hy aan sy wonde - of so berig sy Spaanse gevangenes. Die getuienis wat in hierdie uitstalling aangebied word, dui daarop dat hulle hom eenvoudig doodgesteek het toe hulle besef dat hy so ongewild geword het dat hy geen invloed op sy mense gehad het nie, wat hom onlangs maar net aanbid het.

Moctezuma is 'n soort kruising tussen Tutankhamun en Neville Chamberlain - 'n wonderlike koning wat 'n begeerlike versoening geword het. Hierdie uitstalling laat die beeld nie soveel omslaan as om dit te bemoeilik, te verryk en te herformuleer nie, die mite uit te bou en geskiedenis uit legende te maak.

Dit word beter en beter, vanaf 'n onnodig verstommende begin. Die British Museum het die afgelope paar jaar homself as 'n liberale ontmoetingsplek van wêreldkulture geprojekteer - met reg en met baie gewilde resultate. Maar soms kan die vasberadenheid om die regte ding te sê, 'n bietjie prikkelbaar en waardig word. Ek vind dit irriterend om by 'n uitstalling te kom wat op die plakkaat "Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler" staan, maar slegs 'n hoë en baie lang muurtekst wat ons verduidelik dat ons die Azteke glad nie meer 'Azteke' sal noem nie. Blykbaar is hierdie naam in die vroeë 19de eeu opgelê. Die korrekte naam is Mexica. Gedurende hierdie vertoning word u gewaarsku: die naam Mexica sal gebruik word - ons sal nie meer van die Asteke hoor nie! En terloops, dit voeg by: Montezuma, die naam waarmee sy held vir baie bekend sal wees, is 'n Engelse spelfout. Van nou af is dit Moctezuma, baie dankie.

As u hierdie streng lesing nie net effens aangetas voel nie, is u waarskynlik 'n Mexikaans, en u is tevrede dat 'n eeue oue verkeerde naam reggestel is. Ek vind dit self afleidend en 'n bietjie nutteloos, want ons sal Mexica in elk geval nie korrek uitspreek nie, en ons sal nie meer die naam van Michelagnolo regkry nie, en in elk geval kom niemand van hierdie uitstalling af nie, en dink aan gesellige gedagtes oor die pre-conquest American kulture. Want dit word gou duidelik dat die Asteke met enige ander naam net so deurdrenk is.

Geen hoeveelheid handwringe of goeie bedoelings kan die beskawing wat die Spaanse in 1519 teëgekom het, in 'n goedaardige pre-koloniale paradys verander nie. As u uiteindelik herstel van die pedantiese begin van die vertoning, is een van die eerste dinge om u aandag te trek, 'n kolossale arend met 'n wasbak wat uit sy rug gekerf is - 'n houer vir menslike bloed uit offers by Tenochtitlan se Templo -burgemeester.

En dit is net die begin daarvan. Drie klipskedels in 'n ry is 'n beeldhoukundige voorstelling van galerye van regte skedels van offerslagoffers wat oor die stad uittroon. Twee pragtige pottebakkies het ook skrikwekkende driedimensionele skedels wat daaruit bars. Hierdie skedels is rooi en wit geverf - briljant nabootsend, wys die katalogus uit, die stukkies bloedige vet klou steeds aan vars gevlekte skedels.

As die openingskamers van die uitstalling 'n bietjie kieskeurig lyk, begin die styl van aanbieding gou sin maak. Die kurators probeer geen bedekking of verskoning vra vir die offer van Mexika nie. Op 'n model van die heilige gebied van die stad, toon hulle riviere bloed wat oor die wit trappe van die groot tempel stroom. Hierdie geskenk van bloed aan die gode was nodig om die voortbestaan ​​van die natuur te verseker. Moctezuma het homself ritueel gewond en sy eie bloed gegee toe hy in 1502 gekroon is, en hy moes sy leër in 'n 'kroningoorlog' lei, met die doel om gevangenes vir menslike offerande te voorsien.

Dit alles word koel en - perverse woord - sensitief uiteengesit. Dit is 'n uitstalling om 'n hele sosiale, politieke en godsdienstige heelal te rekonstrueer rondom die figuur van een man, Moctezuma. Dit kan ons maklik maak om gedetailleerde uiteensetting te bestudeer en selfs na 'n bietjie lesing te luister, want die vuur van Mexica -kuns is so intens dat al die antropologiese tekste die bruikbare funksie van suurroom met rissie dien.

'N Massiewe gesnyde klipblok wat vir my soos 'n troon lyk - maar die katalogus beskryf as 'n beeld wat heilige oorlogvoering vier - torings in die hartjie van die uitstalling, direk onder die oog van die leeskamer se koepel. Doodgesigte paradeer dit in 'n blokagtige fries, onder 'n stekelrige skyf wat die son voorstel. Dit is een van die mees beroemde Mexica-beeldhouwerke, 'n hoogtepunt in 'n storm van brandslange, geveerde gode en krygsverskuiwende krygers wat die verbeelding aangryp.

Detail uit 'n portret van Moctezuma uit die Uffizi -galery, te sien in die Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler -uitstalling in die British Museum. Foto: Felix Clay

'N Geskiedenis wat kortgeknip is

Moctezuma het een van die rykste visuele tradisies ter wêreld geërf. Al die kunsstyle in hierdie vertoning het sy oorsprong sedert die ouderdom van 3 000 jaar na die Olmecs. Nie net die kuns nie, maar die idees van die Mexica het die lang geskiedenis van stadstate in die gebied wat nou bekend staan ​​as Meso -Amerika, geput. Selfs die komplekse kalender wat Moctezuma gebruik het, kan teruggevoer word na die Maya's en uiteindelik die Olmieke. Wat ons hier sien, is 'n momentopname van 'n lang geskiedenis net voordat dit gewelddadig afgesny is - en dit was in geen opsig 'n wêreld in agteruitgang nie. Die Mexika het 'n spesiale gevoel vir realisme, vir lewendige waarneming. 'N Reuse klipslang se stert het 'n fyn rammel. 'N Masker se kronkelende, skynbaar abstrakte, turkoois versiering blyk by nadere ondersoek twee verweefde slange uit te beeld: soos die katalogus aandui, is dit 'n akkurate weergawe van die manier waarop slange paar. Die Mexika kyk hard na slange.

Die mees aangrypende waarnemings wat hierdie kunstenaars gemaak het, was van die menslike gesig. 'Uitbeelding' is waarskynlik 'n misleidende woord. Daar was geen 'portrette' in hierdie wêreld nie. Die beelde van die gesigte in Mexika is argetipies, maar dit is arrogant. Die grys aserige gesig van die god Tezcatlipoca het my lank gehou. Sy gelaatstrekke in gladde groensteen is net so lewensgetrou asof dit 'n kleimasker was wat op 'n regte gesig gevorm is: die neus met sy lewendige flense en sterk been, die lippe het geskei om vierkantige tande te onthul. Net so verleidelik is die kop van 'n arendkryger, sy roofvoëlhelm verklaar dat hy tot die elite van die leër van Moctezuma behoort. Hol oë kyk uit 'n kragtig akkurate menslike gesig van 'n man wat die krag van 'n voël roofvoël opgeneem het.

Dit bring ons terug by die raaiselagtige verhaal wat hierdie uitstalling vertel. As dit lomp begin, eindig dit briljant. Spaanse en koloniale skilderye en voorwerpe en kodeks - Mexica -boeke - wat die verhaal van die verowering vertel, gee 'n komplekse en ontstellende weergawe van die val van Moctezuma. Het hy werklik, soos die manuskripte hier beweer, wonderkinders in die hemel en ander tekens van die Spaanse aanval gesien? Is sy verlamming op een of ander manier deur profesie bepaal, of is dit net 'n Europese mite?

Moctezuma was 'n groot oorlogsleier, en die beelde van arend- en jaguar-krygers en die troonagtige beeld van die oorlog self maak dit duidelik hoe die veg Mexikaanse kultuur was. So, wat het skeefgeloop? Op 'n manier is dit duidelik. Een van die opvallendste voorwerpe van die uitstalling is 'n offerdolk. Die handvatsel is fantasties versier. Maar sy lem is 'n vuursteen - 'n soort lem wat in die ou wêreld met die verloop van die Neolitiese opgehou het om te gebruik. Vir al die rykdom van hul beskawing - die uitgebreide kalender en ongelooflike argitektuur - het die Mexika letterlik in die steentydperk geleef. Hulle het goud gewerk, maar nie yster nie. Die staal conquistador borsplaat en swaard sê alles - en dit is sonder die Spaanse perde, nuut in Amerika, en gewere.

Hierdie uitstalling slaag daarin om 'n verlore wêreld te onthul. Moctezuma se passiewe aanvaarding van Cortés dui daarop dat hy eenvoudig nie die nut van stryd insien nie. Miskien was hy 'n wyse heerser wat sy bes vir sy mense gedoen het deur hulle aan te spoor om nie hul tyd te mors teen onmoontlike kans nie. Dit sou hom natuurlik nooit 'n reputasie as 'n Mexikaanse nasionale held besorg nie. In elk geval, gevegte was selfs meer irrelevant as wat hy besef het. Die Spaanse het per ongeluk pokke gebring, wat die inheemse bevolking binne 'n paar jaar met 90% verminder het. Die Mexika het gevrees dat die einde van die wêreld hul rituele nog 'n tydperk van 52 jaar sou probeer weerhou. Die ongelooflike wreedheid van die geskiedenis is in hul oortuigings geskryf. Moctezuma kon dit in sy swart spieël sien.


Inhoud

Die monoliet is aan die einde van die Meso -Amerikaanse postklassiese tydperk deur die Mexika uitgekerf. Alhoewel die presiese datum van die ontstaan ​​daarvan onbekend is, dateer die naam glyf van die Azteekse heerser Moctezuma II in die sentrale skyf die monument vir sy bewind tussen 1502 en 1520 nC. [6] Daar is geen duidelike aanduidings oor die outeurskap of die doel van die monoliet nie, alhoewel daar sekere verwysings is na die bou van 'n groot klipblok deur die Mexicas in hul laaste glansfase. Volgens Diego Durán was die keiser Axayácatl "ook besig met die kerf van die beroemde en groot klip, baie gesny waar die figure van die maande en jare, dae 21 en weke gevorm is". [7] Juan de Torquemada beskryf in sy Monarquía indiana hoe Moctezuma Xocoyotzin beveel het om 'n groot rots van Tenanitla, vandag San Ángel, na Tenochtitlan te bring, maar onderweg val dit op die brug van die Xoloco -woonbuurt. [8]

Die ouer gesteente waaruit dit onttrek is, kom uit die Xitle -vulkaan en kon van San Ángel of Xochimilco verkry word. [9] Die geoloog Ezequiel Ordóñez het in 1893 so 'n oorsprong bepaal en dit as olivienbasalt bepaal. Dit is waarskynlik deur duisende mense van 'n maksimum van 22 kilometer na die sentrum van Mexiko-Tenochtitlan gesleep. [9]

Na die verowering is dit na die buitekant van die Templo burgemeester, wes van die destydse Palacio Virreinal en die Acequia Real, waar dit onbedek gebly het, met die verligting vir baie jare opwaarts. [8] Volgens Durán het Alonso de Montúfar, aartsbiskop van Mexiko van 1551 tot 1572, beveel dat die Sonsteen begrawe moet word sodat "die herinnering aan die ou offer wat daar gebring is, verlore gaan". [8]

Teen die einde van die 18de eeu het die onderkoning Juan Vicente de Güemes 'n reeks stedelike hervormings in die hoofstad van Nieu -Spanje begin. Een daarvan was die bou van nuwe strate en die verbetering van dele van die stad deur die invoer van dreine en sypaadjies. In die geval van die destydse sogenaamde Plaza Mayor, is riole gebou, die vloer gelykgemaak en gebiede herbou. Dit was José Damián Ortiz de Castro, die argitek wat toesig hou oor openbare werke, wat die vind van die sonsteen op 17 Desember 1790 gerapporteer het. Die monoliet is 'n halwe meter onder die grondoppervlak en 60 meter wes van die tweede deur van die onderkoning, [8] en van die aarde verwyder met 'n "regte tuig met dubbele katrol". [8] Antonio de León y Gama het na die ontdekkingsplek gekom om die oorsprong en betekenis van die monument wat waargeneem is, waar te neem en te bepaal. [8] Volgens Alfredo Chavero, [10] was dit Antonio wat dit die naam van die Azteekse kalender gegee het, en glo dat dit 'n voorwerp van openbare konsultasie was. León y Gama het die volgende gesê:

. Ter geleentheid van die nuwe plaveisel, die vloer van die Plaza omlaag, op 17 Desember van dieselfde jaar, 1790, is dit slegs 'n halwe meter diep ontdek, en op 'n afstand van 80 na die weste van dieselfde tweede deur van die koninklike paleis en 37 noord van die portaal van blomme, die tweede steen, aan die agterkant daarvan.

León y Gama het self ingegryp voor die kanon van die katedraal, José Uribe, sodat die monoliet wat gevind is, nie weer begrawe sou word vanweë die vermeende heidense oorsprong daarvan (waarvoor dit amper twee eeue tevore begrawe was). [11] León y Gama het aangevoer dat daar in lande soos Italië baie belê is om monumente uit die verlede te red en in die openbaar uit te stal. [11] Dit is opmerklik dat, vir die gees van die tyd, pogings aangewend is om die monoliet op 'n openbare plek uit te stal en ook die studie daarvan te bevorder. [11] León y Gama verdedig in sy geskrifte die artistieke karakter van die steen, in stryd met argumente van skrywers soos Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, wat minder waarde gegee het aan diegene wat gebore is op die Amerikaanse vasteland, insluitend hul artistieke talent. [11]

Die monoliet is op 2 Julie 1791 aan die een kant van die westelike toring van die Metropolitan Cathedral geplaas. [8] Mexikaanse bronne beweer dat soldate van die Amerikaanse weermag wat die plein beset het tydens die Mexiko -Amerikaanse oorlog dit gebruik het om te skiet, hoewel daar geen bewyse is dat die beeld so beskadig is nie. [8] Oorwinnaar -generaal Winfield Scott het dit oorweeg om dit terug te neem na Washington DC as 'n oorlogstrofee, as die Mexikane nie vrede maak nie. [12]

In Augustus 1855 is die klip op inisiatief van Jesús Sánchez, direkteur daarvan, na die Monolith Gallery van die Argeologiese Museum in Monedastraat oorgeplaas. [8] Deur middel van dokumente uit die tyd is dit bekend oor die gewilde vyandigheid wat die 'opsluiting' van 'n openbare verwysing na die stad veroorsaak het. [8]

In 1964 is die klip oorgeplaas na die National Museum of Anthropology and History, waar die steen die Mexica -saal van die museum presideer en in verskillende Mexikaanse munte ingeskryf is.

Voor die ontdekking van die monoliet van Tlaltecuhtli, die godheid van die aarde, met 'n afmeting van 4 by 3,57 meter hoog, is gedink dat die sonsteen die grootste Mexica -monoliet in afmetings is.

Plaza Mayor van Mexico City deur Pedro Guridi (c. 1850) toon die sonskyf wat aan die kant van die katedraal se toring geheg is, dit is in 1790 daar geplaas toe dit ontdek is en op die toring gebly het tot 1885

Die Switserse kunstenaar Johann Salomon Hegi het die beroemde geskilder Paseo de las Cadenas in 1851 kan die sonsteen onder en regs van die asboomblare onderskei word

Beeld van die klip in die Metropolitan Cathedral

The Stone of the Sun soos dit in die National Museum uitgestal is, foto geneem in 1915

Foto uit 1910 van die sonsteen met (destydse president) Porfirio Díaz

Foto uit 1917 van die Piedra del Sol met (destydse president) Venustiano Carranza

Die gevormde motiewe wat die oppervlak van die klip bedek, verwys na sentrale komponente van die Mexica -kosmogonie. Die staatsgesteunde monument verbind aspekte van die Azteekse ideologie, soos die belangrikheid van geweld en oorlogvoering, die kosmiese siklusse en die aard van die verhouding tussen gode en die mens. Die Azteekse elite het hierdie verhouding met die kosmos en die bloedvergieting wat daarmee gepaard gaan, gebruik om beheer oor die bevolking te behou, en die sonsteen was 'n instrument waarin die ideologie visueel manifesteer. [13]

Sentrale skyf wysig

In die middel van die monoliet word daar dikwels geglo dat dit die gesig is van die songod, Tonatiuh, [14] wat in die glyf verskyn vir 'beweging' (Nahuatl: Inllin), die naam van die huidige era. Sommige geleerdes het aangevoer dat die identiteit van die sentrale gesig van die aardmonster, Tlaltecuhtli, of van 'n hibriede god, bekend as 'Yohualtecuhtli', na wie die 'Lord of the Night' verwys word. Hierdie debat oor die identiteit van die sentrale figuur is gebaseer op voorstellings van die gode in ander werke, sowel as die rol van die sonsteen in offerverband, wat die optrede van gode en mense behels om die tydsiklusse te bewaar. [15] Die sentrale figuur word getoon met 'n menslike hart in elk van sy kloue hande, en sy tong word voorgestel deur 'n klipoffermes (Tecpatl).

Vier vorige sonne of eras Redigeer

Die vier vierkante wat die sentrale godheid omring, verteenwoordig die vier vorige sonne of tydperke, wat die huidige era, "Vier beweging", voorafgegaan het (Nahuatl: Nahui Ōllin). Die Asteke het die volgorde van die sonne verander en 'n vyfde son met die naam "Vier Beweging" bekendgestel nadat hulle die mag oor die sentrale hooglande oorgeneem het. [16] Elke era eindig met die vernietiging van die wêreld en die mensdom, wat dan in die volgende era herskep is.

  • Die vierkant regs bo verteenwoordig "Four Jaguar" (Nahuatl: Nahui Ōcēlotl), die dag waarop die eerste era geëindig het, nadat dit 676 jaar geduur het weens die verskyning van monsters wat die hele mensdom verslind het.
  • Die vierkant links bo toon 'Four Wind' (Nahuatl: Nahui Ehēcatl), die datum waarop, na 364 jaar, orkaanwinde die aarde vernietig het en mense in ape verander het.
  • Die vierkant links onder toon 'Four Rain' (Nahuatl: Nahui Quiyahuitl). Hierdie era duur 312 jaar, voordat dit vernietig is deur 'n vuurreën, wat die mensdom in kalkoene verander het.
  • Die vierkant regs onder stel 'Four Water' voor (Nahuatl: Nahui Atl), 'n era wat 676 jaar geduur het en geëindig het toe die wêreld oorstroom is en al die mense in visse verander is.

Die tydsduur van die eeue word in jare uitgedruk, alhoewel dit deur die prisma van die Azteekse tyd waargeneem moet word. Trouens, die algemene draad van die figure 676, 364 en 312 is dat dit veelvoude van 52 is, en 52 jaar is die duur van 'n Azteekse "eeu", en dit is hoe hulle 'n sekere hoeveelheid Azteekse eeue kan uitdruk. 676 jaar is dus 13 Asteke eeue 364 jaar is 7, en 312 jaar is 6 Asteke eeue.

Onder hierdie vier vierkante is drie ekstra datums, "One Flint" (Tecpatl), "One Rain" (Atl) en "Seven Monkey" (Ozomahtli), en a Xiuhuitzolli, of liniaal se turkoois diadem, glyph. Daar word beweer dat hierdie datums historiese sowel as kosmiese betekenis kan hê, en dat die diadem deel kan uitmaak van die naam van die Mexica -heerser, Moctezuma II. [17]

Eerste ring Wysig

Die eerste konsentriese sone of ring bevat die tekens wat ooreenstem met die 20 dae van die 18 maande en vyf nemontemi van die Asteekse sonkalender (Nahuatl: xiuhpohualli). Die monument is nie 'n funksionele kalender nie, maar gebruik eerder die kalendriese glyfe om die sikliese konsepte van tyd en sy verhouding met die kosmiese konflikte binne die Asteekse ideologie te verwys. [18] Begin by die simbool net links van die groot punt in die vorige sone, word hierdie simbole linksom gelees. Die volgorde is soos volg:

1. cipactli - krokodil, 2. ehécatl - wind, 3. calli - huis, 4. cuetzpallin - akkedis, 5. cóatl - slang, 6. miquiztli - skedel/dood, 7. mázatl - hert, 8. tochtli - konyn, 9. atl - water, 10. itzcuintli - hond, 11. ozomatli - aap, 12. malinalli - kruid, 13. ácatl - suikerriet, 14. océlotl - jaguar, 15. cuauhtli - arend, 16. cozcacuauhtli - aasvoël, 17. ollín - beweging, 18. técpatl - vuursteen, 19. quiahuitl - reën, 20. xóchitl - blom [19]

Tweede ring Redigeer

Die tweede konsentriese sone of ring bevat verskeie vierkantige afdelings, met elke afdeling vyf punte. Direk bokant hierdie vierkantige gedeeltes is klein boë wat na bewering veerversierings is. Direk hierbo is spore of boë wat in groepe van vier verskyn. [19] Daar is ook agt hoeke wat die klip in agt dele verdeel, wat waarskynlik die sonstrale verteenwoordig wat in die rigting van die kardinale punte geplaas is.

Derde en buitenste ring Wysig

Twee brandslange, Xiuhcoatl, beslaan byna hierdie hele gebied. Hulle word gekenmerk deur die vlamme wat uit hul liggame kom, die vierkantige segmente waaruit hul liggame bestaan, die punte wat hul sterte vorm en hul ongewone koppe en monde. Heel onder op die oppervlak van die klip kom menslike koppe uit die mond van hierdie slange. Geleerdes het probeer om hierdie profiele van menslike hoofde as gode te identifiseer, maar het nie tot konsensus gekom nie. [19] Een moontlike interpretasie van die twee slange is dat hulle twee mededingende gode verteenwoordig wat betrokke was by die skeppingsverhaal van die vyfde en huidige "son", Queztalcoatl en Tezcatlipoca. Die tonge van die slange raak mekaar, wat verwys na die kontinuïteit van tyd en die voortdurende magstryd tussen die gode oor die aardse en aardse wêrelde. [20]

In die boonste gedeelte van hierdie sone verteenwoordig 'n vierkant wat tussen die sterte van die slange gekerf is, die datum Matlactli Omey-Ácatl ("13-riet"). Daar word gesê dat dit ooreenstem met 1479, die jaar waarin die vyfde son in Teotihuacan verskyn het tydens die bewind van Axayácatl, en terselfdertyd die jaar waarin hierdie monolitiese sonsteen uitgekerf is. [19]

Rand van klip Redigeer

Die rand van die klip is ongeveer 8 sentimeter groot en bevat 'n band van 'n reeks kolletjies, sowel as wat na bewering vuursteenmesse is. Hierdie gebied word geïnterpreteer as 'n sterrehemel. [19]

Sedert die Sonsteen in 1790 ontdek is, het baie geleerdes daaraan gewerk om die kompleksiteit van die klip te verstaan. Dit bied 'n lang geskiedenis van meer as 200 jaar van argeoloë, geleerdes en historici wat bydra tot die interpretasie van die klip. [21] Moderne navorsing werp steeds lig op of werp twyfel oor bestaande interpretasies as ontdekkings, soos verdere bewyse van die pigmentasie van die klip. [22] Soos Eduardo Matos Moctezuma in 2004 verklaar het: [19]

Benewens sy geweldige estetiese waarde, is die Sonsteen vol met simboliek en elemente wat navorsers steeds inspireer om dieper na die betekenis van hierdie unieke monument te soek.

Die vroegste interpretasies van die klip hou verband met wat vroeë geleerdes geglo het dat dit die gebruik daarvan was vir astrologie, chronologie of as 'n sonwyser. In 1792, twee jaar nadat die steen opgegrawe is, het die Mexikaanse geleerde Antonio de León y Gama een van die eerste verhandelinge oor die Mexikaanse argeologie op die Asteke -kalender en Coatlicue geskryf. [23] Hy het korrek geïdentifiseer dat sommige van die glyfe op die klip die glyfe vir die dae van die maand is. [21] Alexander von Humboldt wou ook sy interpretasie in 1803, nadat hy Leon y Gama se werk gelees het, deurgee. Hy het nie saamgestem oor die materiaal van die klip nie, maar stem in die algemeen saam met Leon y Gama se interpretasie. Beide hierdie mans het verkeerdelik geglo dat die klip vertikaal geplaas is, maar eers in 1875 het Alfredo Chavero korrek geskryf dat die regte posisie vir die klip horisontaal was. Roberto Sieck Flandes publiseer in 1939 'n monumentale studie met die titel Hoe is die steen bekend as die Aztec -kalender? wat bewys het dat die klip inderdaad gepigmenteer is met helderblou, rooi, groen en geel kleure, net soos baie ander Aztec -beelde ook gevind is. Hierdie werk sou later uitgebrei word deur Felipe Solís en ander geleerdes wat die idee van kleur weer sou ondersoek en opgedateerde gedigitaliseerde beelde sou skep om 'n beter idee te kry van hoe die klip kan lyk. [19] Daar word algemeen vasgestel dat die vier simbole wat in die Ollin -glyf voorkom, die vier sonne in die verlede verteenwoordig wat die Mexika geglo het dat die aarde deurgegaan het. [24]

'N Ander aspek van die klip is die godsdienstige betekenis daarvan. Een teorie is dat die gesig in die middel van die klip Tonatiuh voorstel, die Asteekse godheid van die son. Dit is om hierdie rede dat die klip bekend geword het as die "Sonsteen". Richard Townsend het 'n ander teorie voorgestel en beweer dat die figuur in die middel van die klip Tlaltecuhtli verteenwoordig, die Mexikaanse aardgod wat voorkom in die skeppingsmites van Mexica. [21] Moderne argeoloë, soos dié by die National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, meen dat dit meer waarskynlik as 'n seremoniële wasbak of rituele altaar vir gladiatoroffers gebruik is as 'n astrologiese of astronomiese verwysing. [4]

Yet another characteristic of the stone is its possible geographic significance. The four points may relate to the four corners of the earth or the cardinal points. The inner circles may express space as well as time. [25]

Lastly, there is the political aspect of the stone. It may have been intended to show Tenochtitlan as the center of the world and therefore, as the center of authority. [26] Townsend argues for this idea, claiming that the small glyphs of additional dates amongst the four previous suns—1 Flint (Tecpatl), 1 Rain (Atl), en 7 Monkey (Ozomahtli)—represent matters of historical importance to the Mexica state. He posits, for example, that 7 Monkey represents the significant day for the cult of a community within Tenochtitlan. His claim is further supported by the presence of Mexica ruler Moctezuma II's name on the work. These elements ground the Stone's iconography in history rather than myth and the legitimacy of the state in the cosmos. [27]

Connections to Aztec ideology Edit

The methods of Aztec rule were influenced by the story of their Mexica ancestry, who were migrants to the Mexican territory. The lived history was marked by violence and the conquering of native groups, and their mythic history was used to legitimize their conquests and the establishment of the capital Tenochtitlan. As the Aztecs grew in power, the state needed to find ways to maintain order and control over the conquered peoples, and they used religion and violence to accomplish the task. [28]

The state religion included a vast canon of deities that were involved in the constant cycles of death and rebirth. When the gods made the sun and the earth, they sacrificed themselves in order for the cycles of the sun to continue, and therefore for life to continue. Because the gods sacrificed themselves for humanity, humans had an understanding that they should sacrifice themselves to the gods in return. The Sun Stone's discovery near the Templo Mayor in the capital connects it to sacred rituals such as the New Fire ceremony, which was conducted to ensure the earth's survival for another 52-year cycle, and human heart sacrifice played an important role in preserving these cosmic cycles. [28] Human sacrifice was not only used in religious context additionally, sacrifice was used as a military tactic to frighten Aztec enemies and remind those already under their control what might happen if they opposed the Empire. The state was then exploiting the sacredness of the practice to serve its own ideological intentions. The Sun Stone served as a visual reminder of the Empire's strength as a monumental object in the heart of the city and as a ritualistic object used in relation to the cosmic cycles and terrestrial power struggles. [29]

The sun stone image is displayed on the obverse the Mexican 20 Peso gold coin, which has a gold content of 15 grams (0.4823 troy ounces) and was minted from 1917 to 1921 and restruck with the date 1959 from the mid 1940s to the late 1970s. Different parts of the sun stone are represented on the current Mexican coins, each denomination has a different section.

Currently the image is present in the 10 Peso coin as part of the New Peso coin family started in 1992 having .925 silver centers and aluminum bronze rings changing in 1996 where new coins were introduced with base metal replacing the silver center.

The sun stone image also has been adopted by modern Mexican and Mexican American/Chicano culture figures, and is used in folk art and as a symbol of cultural identity. [30]

In 1996 the Mexican national football team employed a depiction of the sun stone image on to its home, away and third match kits. With each individual shirt being assigned the green (home), white (away) and red (third) colors of the Mexican flag respectively. The kit was featured until the 1998 World Cup in which the Mexican side impressed the world with satisfying results.

Impact of Spanish Colonization Edit

After the conquest of the Aztec Empire by the Spanish in 1521 and the subsequent colonization of the territory, the prominence of the Mesoamerican empire was placed under harsh scrutiny by the Spanish. The rationale behind the bloodshed and sacrifice conducted by the Aztec was supported by religious and militant purposes, but the Spanish were horrified by what they saw, and the published accounts twisted the perception of the Aztecs into bloodthirsty, barbaric, and inferior people. [31] The words and actions of the Spanish, such as the destruction, removal, or burial of Aztec objects like the Sun Stone supported this message of inferiority, which still has an impact today. The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan was covered by the construction of Mexico City, and the monument was lost for centuries until it was unearthed in 1790. [20] The reemergence of the Sun Stone sparked a renewed interest in Aztec culture, but since the Western culture now had hundreds of years of influence over the Mexican landscape, the public display of the monument next to the city's main cathedral sparked controversy. Although the object was being publicly honored, placing it in the shadow of a Catholic institution for nearly a century sent a message to some people that the Spanish would continue to dominate over the remnants of Aztec culture. [32]

Another debate sparked by the influence of the Western perspective over non-Western cultures surrounds the study and presentation of cultural objects as art objects. Carolyn Dean, a scholar of pre-Hispanic and Spanish colonial culture discusses the concept of “art by appropriation,” which displays and discusses cultural objects within the Western understanding of art. Claiming something as art often elevates the object in the viewer's mind, but then the object is only valued for its aesthetic purposes, and its historical and cultural importance is depleted. [33] The Sun Stone was not made as an art object it was a tool of the Aztec Empire used in ritual practices and as a political tool. By referring to it as a "sculpture" [33] and by displaying it vertically on the wall instead of placed horizontally how it was originally used, [20] the monument is defined within the Western perspective and therefore loses its cultural significance. The current display and discussion surrounding the Sun Stone is part of a greater debate on how to decolonize non-Western material culture.

There are several other known monuments and sculptures that bear similar inscriptions. Most of them were found underneath the center of Mexico City, while others are of unknown origin. Many fall under a category known as temalacatl, large stones built for ritual combat and sacrifice. Matos Moctezuma has proposed that the Aztec Sun Stone might also be one of these. [34]

Temalacatls Edit

The Stone of Tizoc's upward-facing side contains a calendrical depiction similar to that of the subject of this page. Many of the formal elements are the same, although the five glyphs at the corners and center are not present. The tips of the compass here extend to the edge of the sculpture. The Stone of Tizoc is currently located in the National Anthropology Museum in the same gallery as the Aztec Sun Stone.

The Stone of Motecuhzoma I is a massive object approximately 12 feet in diameter and 3 feet high with the 8 pointed compass iconography. The center depicts the sun deity Tonatiuh with the tongue sticking out. [35]

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has another,. [36] This one is much smaller, but still bears the calendar iconography and is listed in their catalog as "Calendar Stone". The side surface is split into two bands, the lower of which represents Venus with knives for eyes the upper band has two rows of citlallo star icons. [35]

A similar object is on display at the Yale University Art Gallery, on loan from the Peabody Museum of Natural History. [37] [38] The sculpture, officially known as Aztec Calendar Stone in the museum catalog but called Altar of the Five Cosmogonic Eras, [35] bears similar hieroglyphic inscriptions around the central compass motif but is distinct in that it is a rectangular prism instead of cylindrical shape, allowing the artists to add the symbols of the four previous suns at the corners. [35] It bears some similarities to the Coronation Stone of Moctezuma II, listed in the next section.

Calendar iconography in other objects Edit

Die Coronation Stone of Moctezuma II (ook bekend as die Stone of the Five Suns) is a sculpture measuring 55.9 x 66 x 22.9 cm (22 x 26 x 9 in [39] ), currently in the possession of the Art Institute of Chicago. It bears similar hieroglyphic inscriptions to the Aztec Sun Stone, with 4-Movement at the center surrounded by 4-Jaguar, 4-Wind, 4-Rain, and 4-Water, all of which represent one of the five suns, or "cosmic eras". The year sign 11-Reed in the lower middle places the creation of this sculpture in 1503, the year of Motecuhzoma II's coronation, while 1-Crocodile, the day in the upper middle, may indicate the day of the ceremony. [39] The date glyph 1-Rabbit on the back of the sculpture (not visible in the image to the right) orients Motecuhzoma II in the cosmic cycle because that date represents "the beginning of things in the distant mythological past." [39]

Die Throne of Montezuma uses the same cardinal point iconography [40] as part of a larger whole. The monument is on display at the National Museum of Anthropology alongside the Aztec Sun Stone and the Stone of Tizoc. The monument was discovered in 1831 underneath the National Palace [41] in Mexico City and is approximately 1 meter square at the base and 1.23 meters tall. [40] It is carved in a temple shape, and the year at the top, 2-House, refers to the traditional founding of Tenochtitlan in 1325 CE. [40]

The compass motif with Ollin can be found in stone altars built for the New Fire ceremony. [35] Another object, the Ceremonial Seat of Fire which belongs to the Eusebio Davalos Hurtado Museum of Mexica Sculpture, [35] is visually similar but omits the central Ollin image in favor of the Sun.

The British Museum possesses a cuauhxicalli which may depict the tension between two opposites, the power of the sun (represented by the solar face) and the power of the moon (represented with lunar iconography on the rear of the object). This would be a parallel to the Templo Mayor with its depictions of Huitzilopochtli (as one of the two deities of the temple) and the large monument to Coyolxauhqui. [35]


Cortes Meets Montezuma

When the Aztec ambassadors brought to Tenochtitlan the news that Cortes, heedless of Montezuma's wishes, was already over the mountains, and moving across the plains to Mexico, the Emperor, beside himself with terror and anxiety, shut himself up and refused to eat, finally convinced that the Spaniards were indeed sent by the gods to overturn the might of his mountain empire, which had been so secure until these strange white beings had invaded his land.

Despondently Montezuma summoned his nobles in council. Cacama, the King of Tezcuco, not knowing how he was to hate the white men later, advised the Emperor to receive Cortes courteously as ambassador of a foreign prince. Cuitlahua, the Emperor's brother, urged him to gather his forces and drive back the white men before they set foot in the kingdom. Hopelessly Montezuma disregarded both suggestions.

"Of what avail is resistance when the gods have declared against us?" he answered, and prepared to send one more embassy to Cortes almost at his gates.

Cacama himself headed this embassy which was to invite Cortes to Tenochtitlan. He was a young fellow, only twenty-five, strong and straight. He traveled in a litter decorated with gold and gems and covered with green plumes.

Cacama found Cortes in the town of Ajotzinco on Lake Chalco, where the natives were entertaining the Spaniards most hospitably. He told Cortes that he came from Montezuma to bid him welcome to Tenochtitlan, and, as proof of Montezuma's friendship, Cacama gave Cortes three large pearls. Cortes in return gave the Indian prince a chain of cut glass, which was as valuable to him as were the pearls to the Spanish general. Then with many assurances of friendship, Cacama went back to Tenochtitlan and Cortes resumed his march.

The way lay along the southern shore of Lake Chalco, through beautiful woods, cultivated fields and orchards of fruit trees unknown to the white men. Finally they came to a great stone dyke five miles long, which separated the fresh water of Lake Chalco from an arm of the salt lake of Tezcuco. In its narrowest part, the dyke was only a lance's length in breadth, but in its widest, eight horsemen could ride abreast. The white men crossed it with eyes open for all the strange sights about them: the floating gardens, rising and falling with the swell of the lake the canoes filled with Indians, darting hither and thither like swallows the many small towns built out on piles far into the lake and looking, at a distance, "like companies of wild swans riding quietly on the waves." Halfway across the dyke, they found a good-sized town, with buildings which stirred great admiration in the Spaniards. They stopped for refreshment and here, so near to the imperial city, Cortes heard no more of Montezuma's cruelty and oppression, only of his power and riches.

After this brief rest, the white men went on. Their march was made difficult by the swarms of curious Indians who, finding the canoes too far away for a complete view of the strangers, climbed up on the causeway to gaze at them. Cortes had to clear a way through the crowd for his troops before they could leave the causeway and reach Iztapalapan, the city of Montezuma's brother, Cuitlahua, on the shores of Lake Tezcuco.

Cuitlahua had invited many neighboring caciques to help him receive Cortes with proper ceremony. The Spaniards were welcomed with gifts and then invited to a banquet in Cuitlahua's palace, before they were assigned their quarters.

Cortes greatly admired Cuitlahua's city, especially the prince's big garden. It was laid out regularly and watered in every corner by canals which connected it with Lake Tezcuco. The garden was filled with shrubs and vines and flowers delightful to smell and see. It had fruit trees, too in one corner was an aviary of brilliant song birds in another a huge stone reservoir stocked with fish. The reservoir was almost five thousand feet in circumference and the stone walk around it was broad enough for four persons to walk abreast.

"In the city of Iztapalapan, Cortes took up his quarters for the night. We may imagine what a crowd of ideas must have pressed on the mind of the conqueror, as, surrounded by these evidences of civilization, he prepared with his handful of followers to enter the capital of a monarch, who, as he had abundant reason to know, regarded him with distrust and aversion. This capital was now but a few miles distant, distinctly visible from Iztapalapan. And as its long lines of glittering edifices, struck by the rays of the evening sun, trembled on the dark-blue waters of the lake, it looked like a thing of fairy creation, rather than the work of mortal hands. Into this city of enchantment Cortes prepared to make his entry on the following morning." [Prescott's Conquest of Mexico ]

It was on the 8th day of November, 1519, that Cortes started on the march that was to take him into the City of Mexico. The general with his cavalry was in the van behind him came his few hundreds of infantry—weather-beaten and disciplined by the summer's campaign next, was the baggage while the six thousand Tlascalans closed the rear. The little army marched back along the southern shore of Lake Tezcuco until it reached the great causeway of Iztapalapan, which ran across the lake straight north to the very heart of the City of Mexico. The dyke was broad enough for ten horsemen to ride abreast Cortes and his army, as they advanced, still wondered at the strange, beautiful sights about them. Less than two miles from the capital the dyke was cut by a shorter dyke running in from the southwest, and at the point where this dyke joined the main causeway of Iztapalapan there was built across the causeway a stone fortification twelve feet high, which could be entered only by a battlemented gateway. It was called the Fort of Xoloc.

At Xoloc Cortes was met by a body of Aztec nobles who, in their holiday dress, came to welcome him. As each noble separately had to greet Cortes, and as there were several hundred of them, the troops had time to get acquainted with the Fort of Xoloc. Later they grew to know it even better.

After the ceremony was over, the army went on along the dyke of Iztapalapan, and presently came to a canal cut through the causeway and spanned by a wooden drawbridge. To Cortes, as he walked over it, must have come the question whether getting out of Mexico would be as easy as getting in.

There was not much time to wonder about the future, however, for now Montezuma, the great Emperor, lord of Anahuac, was coming forth to meet Cortes. In the midst of a throng of great men, preceded by three officers of state bearing golden wands, came Montezuma's royal litter shining with gold, shaded by a canopy of brilliant feather work, adorned with jewels and fringed with silver, and borne on the shoulders of his nobles who, barefooted, walked with humble, downcast eyes.

The royal train halted and Montezuma descended. His attendants spread down a cotton carpet, that his royal feet might not touch the earth, and over this, supported on one side by Cuitlahua and on the other by Cacama, Montezuma came to greet Cortes.

He was about forty years old—six years older than Cortes. His dark, melancholy eyes gave a serious expression to his copper-colored face, with its straight hair and thin beard. He moved with the dignity of a great prince, and as he passed through the lines of his own subjects, they cast their eyes to the ground in humility.

As Montezuma approached, Cortes threw his reins to a page and dismounted, and with a few of his chief men went forward to meet the Emperor. The two great men looked at each other with a keen interest.

Montezuma very graciously welcomed Cortes to his city, and Cortes answered with great respect, adding many thanks for all the Mexican's gifts. He hung on Montezuma's neck a cut glass chain and, except for the interference of two shocked nobles, he would have embraced him.

Montezuma appointed Cuitlahua to escort the Spaniards to their quarters in the city, while he himself entered his litter and was carried back to his palace, followed by the Spaniards with colors flying and music playing. Thus Cortes triumphantly entered Tenochtitlan.

The Spaniards looked around them with the keen interest of people in a place of which they have heard much and see now for the first time. As they had entered by the southern causeway, they were marching through the broad avenue which led from the Iztapalapan dyke straight to the great temple in the center of the city. The houses on this street belonged to the nobles and were built of red stone with broad, flat roofs defended by the parapet which turned every housetop into a fort. Wonderful gardens surrounded the houses and sometimes were laid out on the roofs.

The streets were crowded with people, as eager to see the Christians as the Christians were to see them. The Indians were awed by the white faces and the glittering armor and the horses, but they had only anger for the Tlascalans. The white men might be gods, but the Tlascalans were the Aztecs' bitterest enemies, and it was not pleasant to Aztec eyes to see their foes walking confidently through the Mexican city.

The procession, crossing many bridges where the canals cut the avenue at various places, came at length to the heart of the City of Mexico, the great square, from which ran the four broad avenues. North, south and west these avenues ran to the three causeways that joined the city to the neighboring mainland. The avenue running east stopped at the lake front. In the center of the square stood the great temple in its courtyard surrounded by a high wall cut by a gate opposite each avenue. The temple itself was, excepting the sacred temple of Cholula, the largest and most important of the land.

Opposite the temple, on the southwest corner of the great square, was the royal palace which Montezuma had erected. On the west side was the old royal palace built fifty years before by Montezuma's father, Axayacatl. This palace was given to the Spanish army for their quarters.

Montezuma was in the courtyard of the palace of Axayacatl waiting to receive Cortes and his train. He took from a vase of flowers a chain made of shells ornamented with gold and joined by links of gold, and as he threw it over Cortes' head, he said, "This palace belongs to you, Malinche, and to your brethren. Rest after your fatigue, for you have much need to do so, and in a little while I will visit you again."'

Then he and his followers withdrew, and the white men were left with their allies in their palace in Tenochtitlan. Through much danger and untold hardships, in the face of Montezuma's commands, they had reached his city, and he had housed them in a royal palace. The Spaniards must have wondered that night if the thing were real or if they were in a dream.


Aztec Emperor Montezuma II

One of the most well known Aztec rulers in history, Montezuma II met his end in 1520 during the Spanish conquest of Tenochitlan.

Originally a priest in the temple of the war god Huitzilopochtli, Montezuma II rose to power only to lose his capital, Tenochitlan, to the Spanish conquistadors and then be killed in Spanish custody.

Montezuma II’s Early Years

Montezuma was born in Tenochitlan (now Mexico City) in 1480. He spent much of his formative years studying science, art and more than anything else religion as his training to become a priest in the temple of Huitzilopochtli, the god of war. Also trained in warfare, Montezuma played an integral part in the numerous Aztec wars.

Aztec Emperor Montezuma II

Montezuma rose to power in 1502, succeeding his uncle Ahuitzotl to the throne. Several sources describe Montezuma as a proud ruler who instead of focusing on reality, gave into the power of omens and prophecies. When Montezuma assumed control of the Aztec Empire it was at its largest, stretching from modern Honduras to Nicaragua, but during his reign it was weakened but the resentment of subject tribes because of his need for more tribute and more human sacrifices. He increased taxes on merchants trading withing his boundaries and had all the plebeians removed from his court. Because of his actions as Emperor, revolts and wars broke out between several different tribes and the Aztec capital of Tenochitlan.

The Conquest of Tenochitlan

Being a priest, Montezuma believed that Quetzalcoatl, the white, bearded god of civilization was about to return to the Aztecs and rule over them. In 1519, Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez (a white man with a thick beard) arrived on the shores of Mexico and Montezuma and the Aztecs instantly assumed that Cortez was Quetzalcoatl. Montezuma sent a group of nobles to meet the Spanish and offer them gifts. But on his way to the city Cortez had met and sided with the Tlaxcala who had been one of the tribes who had led revolts against the Aztecs.

Unaware of the alliance, Montezuma welcomed Cortez into the city and allowed him and his men to live in his palace for several months. During this time the Spanish captured Montezuma, holding him prisoner in his own palace and forcing him to be their political puppet. They made him summon all his chiefs and order them to obey the Spaniards and to begin collecting tribute of gold for the Spanish King. Cortez didn’t remain in Tenochitlan for long as he heard that a group of men from Spain was coming to limit his power. So Cortez left Tenochitlan to try to convince this new group to join him, leaving one of his lieutenants in charge of the city when he was gone.

Montezuma took advantage of his departure, leading an uprising against the remaining Spaniards and barricaded them inside the palace with no food. When Cortez returned, his men were starving and he ordered Montezuma to get them supplies, but he refused so Cortez released one of the Aztec chiefs named Cuitlahuac to do it instead. Cuitlahuac used this freedom to take control of the Aztec revolt and a riot broke out in the city. Cortez, in an attempt to quell the fighting, eventually convinced Montezuma to address his people and tell them to obey the Spanish.

Cortez believed that if had control of Montezuma that he could control the Indians as well, but instead of listening to what Montezuma had to say, the Aztecs threw stones and shot arrows at him. Three days later on June 30, 1520, Montezuma died, although no one knows whether it was from injuries sustained while giving his address or by the hands of the Spanish who didn’t need him anymore.


The Aztec Empire

Civilization in the Valley of Mexico has always centered around despotism, a system of government in which power is entirely in the hands of one person — which, in Aztec times, was a king.

Independent cities peppered the land, and they interacted with one another for the purposes of trade, religion, war, and so on. Despots frequently fought with one another, and used their nobility — usually family members — to try and exercise control over other cities. War was constant, and power was highly decentralized and constantly shifting.

Political control by one city over another was exercised through tribute and trade, and enforced by conflict. Individual citizens had little social mobility and were often at the mercy of the elite class that claimed rulership over the lands on which they lived. They were required to pay taxes and also volunteer themselves or their children for military service as called upon by their king.

As a city grew, its resource needs grew as well, and in order to meet these needs kings needed to secure the influx of more goods, which meant opening new trade routes and getting weaker cities to pay tribute — aka pay money (or, in the ancient world, goods) in exchange for protection and peace.

Of course, many of these cities would have already been paying tribute to another more powerful entity, meaning an ascending city would, by default, be a threat to the power of an existing hegemon.

All of this meant that, as the Aztec capital grew in the century after its founding, its neighbors became increasingly threatened by its prosperity and power. Their feeling of vulnerability often turned into hostility, and this turned Aztec life into one of near-perpetual war and constant fear.
However, the aggression of their neighbors, who picked fights with more than just the Mexica, wound up presenting them with an opportunity to seize more power for themselves and improve their standing in the Valley of Mexico.

This was because — fortunately for the Aztecs — the city most interested in seeing their demise was also the enemy of several other powerful cities in the region, setting the stage for a productive alliance that would allow the Mexica to transform Tenochtitlan from a growing, prosperous city into the capital of a vast and wealthy empire.

The Triple Alliance

In 1426 (a date known by deciphering the Aztec calendar), war threatened the people of Tenochtitlan. The Tepanecs — an ethnic group that had settled mostly on the western shores of Lake Texcoco — had been the dominant group in the region for the previous two centuries, although their grip on power did not create anything that resembled an empire. This was because power remained very decentralized, and the Tepanecs’ ability to exact tribute was nearly always contested — making payments difficult to enforce.

Still, they saw themselves as the leaders, and were therefore threatened by the ascendancy of Tenochtitlan. So, they placed a blockade on the city to slow the flow of goods on and off the island, a power move that would put the Aztecs in a difficult position (Carrasco, 1994).

Unwilling to submit to the tributary demands, the Aztecs sought to fight, but the Tepanecs were powerful at the time, meaning they could not be defeated unless the Mexica had the help of other cities.

Under the leadership of Itzcoatl, the king of Tenochtitlan, the Aztecs reached out to the Acolhua people of the nearby city Texcoco, as well as the people of Tlacopan — another powerful city in the region that was also struggling to fight off the Tepanecs and their demands, and who were ripe for a rebellion against the region’s current hegemon.

The deal was struck in 1428, and the three cities waged war against the Tepanecs. The combined strength of them led to a quick victory that removed their enemy as the dominant force in the region, opening the door for a new power to emerge (1994).

The Beginning of an Empire

The creation of the Triple Alliance in 1428 marks the beginning of what we now understand as the Aztec Empire. It was formed on the basis of military cooperation, but the three parties also intended to help one another grow economically. From sources, detailed by Carrasco (1994), we learn that the Triple Alliance had a few key provisions, such as:

  • No member was to wage war against another member.
  • All members would support one another in wars of conquest and expansion.
  • Taxes and tributes would be shared.
  • The capital city of the alliance was to be Tenochtitlan.
  • Nobles and dignitaries from all three cities would work together to choose a leader.

Based on this, it’s natural to think that we’ve been seeing things wrong all along. It wasn’t an “Aztec” Empire, but rather a “Texcoco, Tlacopan, and Tenochtitlan” Empire.

This is true, to an extent. The Mexica relied on the power of their allies in the initial stages of the alliance, but Tenochtitlan was by far the most powerful city of the three. By choosing it to be the capital of the newly-formed political entity, the tlatoani — the leader or king “the one who speaks” — of Mexico-Tenochtitlan was particularly powerful.

Izcoatl, the king of Tenochtitlan during the war with the Tepanecs, was chosen by the nobles of the three cities involved in the alliance to be the first tlatoque — the leader of the Triple Alliance and the de facto ruler of the Aztec Empire.

However, the real architect of the Alliance was a man named Tlacaelel, the son of Huitzilihuiti, Izcoatl’s half-brother (Schroder, 2016).

He was an important advisor to the rulers of Tenochtitlan and the man behind many of the things that led to the eventual formation of the Aztec Empire. Due to his contributions, he was offered the kingship multiple times, but always refused, famously quoted as saying “What greater dominion can I have than what I hold and have already held?” (Davies, 1987)

Over time, the alliance would become much less prominent and the leaders of Tenochtitlan would assume more control over the affairs of the empire — a transition that began early, during the reign of Izcoatl, the first emperor.
Eventually, Tlacopan and Texcoco’s prominence in the Alliance waned, and for that reason, the Empire of the Triple Alliance is now remembered mainly as the Aztec Empire.


Ensured a Food and Water Supply

The Valley of Mexico where the Aztecs ruled contained about one million people during Montezuma's reign. "This Aztec heartland included not only Tenochtitlan, but at least nine provincial centers and a large number of smaller settlements, the largest and densest population concentration in the entire history of pre-Hispanic American. The only way to feed everyone was by efficient, government-controlled agriculture," explained Brian Fagan in Die Asteke. Montezuma employed inspectors to make sure that every bit of land was planted and that extra food was sent to the capital.

In 1449 Lake Texcoco flooded the city of Tenochtitlan. Rain and hail ruined the harvests and famine struck the Valley of Mexico. Montezuma asked his cousin Nezahualcoyotl, ruler of Texcoco, for help. Nezahualcoyotl directed the construction of a nine-mile-long dike that would help control the water level and also lessen the saltiness of the water so it could be used for farming. The immense project took almost ten years and tens of thousands of workers to complete. After the dike was finished, Montezuma requested that Nezahualcoyotl direct the construction of a three-mile-long aqueduct to bring more drinking water to the city.

In the first half of the 1450s many disasters struck the Aztecs. Grasshoppers and frost destroyed two harvests. Snow and rain caused terrible flooding one year and the next two years saw an extended drought. People had no food, and some even sold their children to distant tribes for corn. Famine led to rebelliousness among the tribes paying tribute to the Aztecs. Montezuma and Tlacaelel met with the provincial puppet rulers of these tribes and arranged for phony wars, called "Flower Wars," in which the chieftains told the Aztecs the size and location of their armies, guaranteeing an Aztec win.

In 1455 the Aztec calendar's 52-year cycle ended and the calendar began again, an occasion marked by fasting and making new fire. Also at this time, the famine ended because of abundant harvests. Worried about future famines, Montezuma decided to ensure a reliable food supply by conquest and the collection of tribute. In 1458 he and his army attacked and conquered the province of Panuco, thus extending the Aztec empire to the sea. In 1461 the army conquered the lands of the Totonacs to the south, along with the people of Coatzocoalcos, and four years later Montezuma defeated the Chalca. His last war, against the Tepeaca in 1466, solidified a course of military expansion that determined Aztec policies until the Spanish arrived in 1519.

During Montezuma's rule, an old garden in Huaxtepec was rediscovered. Montezuma hired an overseer named Pinotetl to renovate the garden's stone fountains, as well as the area's irrigation system. While Pinotetl worked, Montezuma sent requests to the Lord of Cuetlaxtla for vanilla orchids, cacao trees, and other valuable plants, as well as for gardeners who would know how to replant and care for them. The replantings were successful, giving Montezuma great joy, for which he thanked the gods.


Throne of Montezuma - History

OUR STORY

We’ve Been Bringing the Taste of Mexico to Australia for Almost Forty Years.

We’re proud of our heritage at Montezuma’s. From our birth in sunny Burleigh Heads in 1978, we’ve grown into a thriving network of restaurants. Word-of-mouth from satisfied customers has played an important part. Australia knows that Montezuma’s does justice to the magnificent cuisine of Mexico.

Part of our success is we use only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. Our meals are made fresh to order and we follow Montezuma’s secret recipes to create authentic, Sonora-style recipes.

We pride ourselves on providing customers with excellent value and delicious food delivered in a festive, friendly atmosphere. Life should be enjoyed and we’re here to help you do that.

Our goal is to ensure every dine-in or take-away order at a Montezuma’s Restaurant, you have a satisfying and enjoyable dining experience. We want the memory of Montezuma’s to stay with you.


Massacre of Toxcatl and Return of Cortes

In May of 1520, Cortes had to go to the coast with as many soldiers as he could spare to deal with an army led by Panfilo de Narvaez. Unbeknownst to Cortes, Montezuma had entered into a secret correspondence with Narvez and had ordered his coastal vassals to support him. When Cortes found out, he was furious, greatly straining his relationship with Montezuma.

Cortes left his lieutenant Pedro de Alvarado in charge of Montezuma, other royal captives, and the city of Tenochtitlan. Once Cortes was gone, the people of Tenochtitlan became restless, and Alvarado heard of a plot to murder the Spanish. He ordered his men to attack during the festival of Toxcatl on May 20, 1520. Thousands of unarmed Mexica, most of the members of the nobility, were slaughtered. Alvarado also ordered the murder of several important lords held in captivity, including Cacama. The people of Tenochtitlan were furious and attacked the Spaniards, forcing them to barricade themselves inside the Palace of Axayácatl.

Cortes defeated Narvaez in battle and added his men to his own. On June 24, this larger army returned to Tenochtitlan and was able to reinforce Alvarado and his embattled men.


Conquest of Tenochtitlán

Many Indians welcomed Cortés as a deliverer from Aztec control. Montezuma himself refused to fight Quetzalcoatl emissaries and invited Cortés into the capital. Fearful that the Aztecs might rebel against the Spanish presence, Cortés seized Montezuma, thus becoming the master of the Aztec empire without a struggle. Using Montezuma as his mouthpiece, he governed from behind the throne. Montezuma summoned all his caciques (chiefs), ordering them to obey the Spaniards and to collect tribute and gold for the Spanish monarch.

Cortés and his men remained in Tenochtitlán for several months. By then a new Spanish expedition from Cuba had reached the Mexican shores with orders to limit Cortés's power. Leaving one of his lieutenants in command, Cortés marched to the coast and persuaded his compatriots to join him.

In the meantime an Indian uprising occurred in Tenochtitlán as a result of the ruthless policies followed by Cortés's lieutenants. Cortés hastened back only to find his men barricaded in the palace and threatened by starvation. He ordered Montezuma to arrange for supplies, but the Emperor refused. Cortés then released one of the Aztec chiefs, Cuitlahuac, with orders to open the markets and bring back food. Instead, Cuitlahuac assumed the leadership of the revolt. There was furious fighting in the capital.

Cortés finally convinced Montezuma to address his people and to order them to obey the Spaniards. The angry Indians, however, refused to listen to their captive emperor and showered him with stones. Montezuma died several days later, in June 1520, either from wounds inflicted by the mob or at the hands of the Spaniards.


Kyk die video: ERIC MCFADDEN u0026 QUEEN DELPHINE - Palaces of Montezuma Live at High Sierra 2017 #JAMINTHEVAN