Toltec Civilization Essay Research Paper Toltec Civilization — страница 4

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Indians were put into political positions becauseof their merit, not their status (von Hagen, Sun, p. 36). This shows a fundamental viewpoint in Toltec culture. the tribe as a whole was more important than any one man. This concept went even as deep as their education. From birth, an Indian was taught to work and to become a benificial member of society (Townsend, p. 156). These are the traits of a highly civilized society. Only a society which has the “Group over One” mindset can grow to the advanced stage of cultural development that the Toltecs achieved. Maya and Aztec The Toltecs had an effect on all Mexican civilizations. In this section, I will describe the effects the Toltecs had on two major Mexican tribes: the Maya and the Aztecs. I will begin with the Maya. The Maya

were a peaceful culture living in some small towns south of the Yucatan. At this time they had not developed a system of writing, so archeologists had to infer greatly from their art (von Hagen, Sun, p. 120). Around 900 A.D., the Mayan peoples began the “Great Descent,” in which they moved away from the cities and into the Yucatan. During this time, the Mayan culture sunk to an all time low (von Hagen, Sun, p. 120). Soon after the Great Descent, a man and his followers arived in the Yucatan. This man taught the Maya his knowledge and rebuilt the abandoned Maya city Chichen Itza. This began the Mayan Renaissance. They developed their own writing system and their own style of archetecture (von Hagen, Sun, p. 332). In time, the man who came from the west built the Maya capitol,

Mayapan. The Maya adopted this man as their king and savior, calling him Kukulcan, which, in Maya, means “feathered serpent” (von Hagen, Sun, p. 332). Many similarities between the Mayan city Chichen Itza and the Toltec’s Tula give more evidence for this story. Before I show you these similarities, though, I will give a short description of each city. After leaving Teotihuacan, the Toltecs moved north about 50 miles. There, they built the city of Tula. Tula seems to have been built because of the need of a city, as there seems to have been much less planning involved than at Teotihuacan. There is none of the elegant symmetry like that shown at Teotihuacan. The houses were laid out in a very hapazard manner; room layout was not planned at all. The only planning that seems to

have taken place was in the temples, palace and ball courts (Sabloff, pp. 192-193). After it was built, Tula, or the legendary Tollan, as the Aztecs called it, embodied all that was great in Teotihuacan, and more. No one showed the grandeour better than the Spanish monk Bernardo de Sahagun when he described Tula as having “rich palaces of green jade and white and red shell, where the ears of corn and pumpkins reached the size of a man, where cotton grew in the plant in all colours and the air was filled with rare birds of precious feather…” (von Hagen, Sun, p. 30). Truly, this was a fantastic place. Almost the same thing could be said about Chichen Itza. Chichen Itza was a moderately sized city, but was the center of Mayan culture at the time of its height. The major

building in Chichen Itza is the temple of Kukulkan. From this structure, al things radiate. From the front runs a large ceremonial walkway, which leads to a large well, called a cenote. Into this was thrown gems and jewels and other precious items. Sacrificial victims were also thrown in (von Hagen, Sun, p. 168). To the right of the temple is a large court in which they played the great ball game, Pok-a-tok. The game was not unlike basketball, in that the players had to get a rubber ball into a hoop, even though that hoop was 30 ft high and vertical. The players could only use their elbws or hips. This was a big event, rivaling a sacrifice, and the spectators bet heavily (von Hagen, Sun, 162). To the left lay the temple of the Warriors, which contained the local market. To the

rear lay the remains of the old city (von Hagen, Sun, p. 168). The similarities are hard to miss when seeing the two of them. The easiest example to see are the temples. Both the temple of Kukulkan and the temple of Tula are built in the form of the truncated pyramid. A truncated pyramid has four sides with each side looking like a large staircase. Each Temple has a stairway on each of the four sides and an enclosed structure at the top (von Hagen, Sun, p. 195). The temple of the Warriors was built in the same fasion, but had two similar features found nowhere outside of Toltec influence. On the outskirts of both temples, there are hundreds of evenly spaced pillars used to hold up wooden roof beams. Only the temple of the Warriors and the temple of Tula had those. The other