Toltec Civilization Essay Research Paper Toltec Civilization — страница 3
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cement. This raises yet another interesting question: did the Toltecs destroy their own city? If this is true, it would just be more evidence of their civilized nature, as no uncivilized group of people could have planned or accomplished this feat (Tompkins, p. 189). . Other evidence of technological prowess comes in the form of small discoveries, one of which was used in farming. Teotihuacan posed a problem for farming, as the whole city was paved. Its location also posed a problem: it was built next to no source of water. It had to constantly import water from the nearby lake Texcoco. The Toltecs solved this problem in a unique way: They brought the crops to the water. The Toltecs were masters of art and weaving, so they used this skill to help them in their agricultural problem. They wove large baskets(15 ft. in diameter) and filled them with peat moss. They would then plant their crops in these and float them in bodies of water. This ingenious method could only have been thought up through the cooperation of many minds (Burland, p. 40). One strange twist of this Toltec genius is one that should have stunted their own growth: they did not use wheels. There is almost unanumous agreement that this was perhaps the most important invention in the history of mankind. Archeologists have found wheels in only one small place in Toltec culture: toys. They apparently never used wheels in any type of labor or hauling. It is almost as if the idea had never occured to them (von Hagen, Sun, p. 113). There may be a logical and simple answer to this mystery. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, there were no horses in the Americas. The Toltecs no pack animals. If they had carriages with wheels made to pull heavy weight, who would pull them? The logical answer to this one would be people, or more specifically, slaves. This lack of wheels(if we attribute this to lack of pack animals) would seem to say that either the Toltecs did not think of using their slaves to pull the burden, or , they had no slaves. If I had a slave, the first thing I would make them do is carry my things, and I sould think that the Toltecs were as smart as I am. So that leaves one option: the Toltecs did not have slaves. (the rest of this is my own opinion) Why did the Toltecs not keep slaves? They were certainly capable of gaining them. There is evidence that in their wars, they did take prisoners; but, these prisoners were used almost exclusively for sacrifice. I think that this shows a certain respect for human life, definitely a civilized trait. Toltec Life Human life was highly respected in Toltec culture. One might think the opposite because, as stated earlier, the Toltecs practiced human sacrifice. This may sound like they have no feelings for life, but consider this. The reason Toltecs (as well as any culture) make any kind of offering to the gods is to have them look favorably upon their people. The ultimate gift for anyone would be one’s own life. If you offer a human life to a god, you are giving what means most to you. Human life meant a lot to thge Toltecs, which is why they offered it to the gods. Since the greatest gift you can give is life, I will talk about birth. When a mother gives birth, it is almost a festive occasion. Immediately after birth, an attending midwife congradulates the mother for having fought a good battle and for having “captured” a baby. She then speaks to the child as she would an honored, weary traveler, and asks it to rest among its parents (Townsend, p. 156). When the indian was born, he/she became part of a group of families who owned a piece of land. When it was time for marriage, the man would be given his own piece of land to live off. He built his house on the land and was expected to farm it. If, for any reason, the man did not work the land, it would be taken back by the clan (von Hagen, Sun, p. 36). The feminist ideal seemed to be going strong at this time, as is shown by failed marriages. Divorces were not unheard of in Toltec culture. If the man was not doing his job or supporting his family, the woman could have a divorce arranged and be remarried to a more ablebodied man. Of course, if the woman was unable to produce children, the man could also arrange a divorce (von Hagen, World, p. 35). An interesting contrast between Toltecs and another “civilized” culture, early Europeans, has to do with individual status in the society. In Europe, the people were divided by classes. They could not change what class the were born into, but were stuck for life. In the Toltec way of life, the people were divided by rank. An Indian, when born, was considered an Indian, nothing else. This was independant of what rank the parents held.