Toltec Civilization Essay Research Paper Toltec Civilization

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Toltec Civilization Essay, Research Paper Toltec Civilization The Priest stood atop the temple of the Sun, looking down on his people gathered for this event. With one swift movement, he raised the sacrificial obsidian dagger and plunged it into the young man’s chest, tearing out his heart. He then placed the heart on the waiting chac-mool, smiled, and anounced the beginning of celebration. The Toltecs were one of the first “Nahuatl” speaking cultures to colonize central Mexico. It is unclear whether they came from the North or the South, but, popular theory is that they came from the North (Southern America). The tribe first settled a small distance west of what is now Mexico City. There, they built the largest city ever in Mexico, even dwarfing today’s Mexico City

(von Hagen, Sun, pp. 20, 29)! The Toltecs ruled over this town from 200 B.C to 900 A.D (Sabloff, p. 112). Then, something forced them to leave; climate change, foreigners, a war, nobody knows. The Toltecs then migrated about 50 miles North. There, they settled and began to build the town called Tula (Gruzinski, p. 14). They resided there until 1100 A.D (Sabloff, p. 112). In around 987 A.D or so, the Toltec priest- king Quezalcoatl (who was actually a god. There are also records of a man named Topiltzin who apparently followed the same course as Quetzalcoatl. It was unclear who was who, or if they were the same person.) was forced to flee with a few of his followers (Gruzinski, p. 14). He fled to the Yucatan peninsula, where the Mayas resided. He then proceeded to build a gigantic

city called Chichen Itza (von Hagen, Maya, p 39). Here, we switch to Mayan history, which discusses the leadership of a man called Kukulcan, which means “feathered-serpent,” or Quetzalcoatl (von Hagen, Sun, p. 332). He ruled over this culture for some time, then he decided to leave. Again, there is no evidence saying why he left. On the year 1-Reed( a Toltec measure of time), he set sail West in the Atlantic ocean, with the prophesy that he would return on the recurrence of that date (von Hagen, Sun, p. 28). Meanwhile, back in Tula, things were disintegrating in the Toltec culture. Their society was becoming progressively warlike, as was evidenced in their art. They began corrupting political power and becoming greedy for money. They raped the villagers with taxes using the

gods as their athority (Townsend, p. 49-50). This brought about a civil war which thouroughly destroyed the Toltecs (Gruzinski, p.15). Yes, the Toltec people definitely practiced human sacrifice. Immediately, one thinks what the Spaniards thought when they observed the Aztecs performing the same ritual 600 years later: “Savages!” In this paper, I will try to convince you why you should not consider the Toltecs savages, but consider them the epitome of civilization. If I am to prove this to you, we must have an understanding of what the word “civilization” means. There are two traits that I think are needed for a functional society. These two traits are planning, and the group over the one. I will explain each of these in turn, but first, I will talk about one other idea.

This idea is not a trait of civilized cultures, but is more of a method to check the effectiveness of the culture’s practices. Does the civilized people’s ways work for other groups of people? If a culture is civilized, it would follow that another group of people, following that culture’s ways, would become civilized themselves. I think this is an ingenious method to check the workability of the civilization. If the civilized people’s ways would not work for someone else, it would be hard to call them civilized. The Toltecs provide a rare opportunity to witness this in action. They touched almost every Mexican civilization that came after them. Later in this paper, I will show you two of them: the Maya and the Aztecs. A byproduct of a civilization is technology. The main