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Teoilhuicatlapaluaztli-Ollin Tonalmachiotl also know as the Aztec Cosmos/Calendar

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teoilhuicatlapaluaztli ollin tonalmachiotl also know as the aztec cosmos calendar
Teoilhuicatlapaluaztli-Ollin Tonalmachiotl also know as the Aztec Cosmos/Calendar
  • It is commonly called the Aztec Calendar or the Sun Stone, but for our purposes we will call it the Aztec Cosmos, as it is much more than a calendar, astronomical guide or sun symbol; it is the depiction of the great and venerable (highly respected) mechanism of the universe and of Aztec concepts of their place both terrestrial (on earth) and celestial (in heaven)
the aztec cosmos
The Aztec Cosmos
  • On December 17, 1790 workers found a huge 26 ton monolith buried face down near what was once a corner of the ceremonial center of Tenochtitlan
  • The stone carved with symbols depicting the Aztec universe, calendar, history and lore, was brought out and attached to one of the towers of the Cathedral where it remained until 1885. The calendar was then moved to the city museum and from there to the National Museum of anthropology and history in Chapultepec park, Mexico city.
history of the cosmos
History of the “Cosmos”
  • Fray Diego de Duran mentions in his writings that it was the second archbishop of Mexico who ordered the stone buried in December of 1559. The means the stone which was sculpted in the 1400’s survived the Tenochtitlan’s destruction and was apparently left on view as an object of curiosity for conqueror and conquered alike for 38 years.
you may ask how did it get buried
You may ask; “How did it get buried?”
  • While many Aztecs came to accept the new religion brought by the Spanish, the old rituals and beliefs were not so easily erased.
  • A sacred period of time, according to the Aztecs was 52 years and they held a “New Fire” ceremony to mark the beginning of a new one. A New Fire Ceremony had taken place in 1507, and in 1559 another was due to celebrated.
  • It might have been the preparations for this ceremony by unchristianized Aztecs or the thought that the stone reminded them too much of their sun worship that caused the archbishop to order the colossal stone sculpture buried.
the sacred 52 year cycle
The Sacred 52 year Cycle
  • In the 52 year cycle, there were four periods of 13 years each. Each period had a god, a color and direction associated with it. It was believed that the gods took turns in carying time. A 13 year period is represented by a glyph representing the years tied together and secured with a knot. On the Axtec Cosmos two groups of four knots are each seen on the tails of the Fire Serpents on the outer ring
the outer ring xiuhcoatl
The Outer Ring,Xiuhcoatl
  • The outer ring is the “Fire Serpent.” The two fire serpents depicted represent the universe that surrounds the earth.
  • Xiuhcoatl was thought to carry the sun across the turquoise blue of the day sky and he is seen at night in the stars of the Milky Way. Observe the star glyph on his upturned snout

Star Glyph

the central face
The Central Face
  • The Central Face has been the subject of controversy. One theory is that it is the sun’s face representing the firth and present sun as it is in the middle of the circle. In the codices, the sun god is frequently shown in the middle of a Sun disc. However, it is important to note that Sun God Tonatiuh is always shown in profile. Frontal views like this one are characteristic of gods and goddesses of Earth and Death.
the tongue glyph
The tongue glyph
  • The glyph on the central face’s tongue is the light glyph.
four past suns
Four Past Suns

Aztec mythology held that the earth had lived four (epochs) ages called “Suns,” and had survived four catastrophes. The Four past suns on each side of the central face on the Aztec Cosmos are

  • Nahui Ocelot (Four Ocelot)
  • Nahui Ehecatl (Four Wind)
  • Nahui Quiauhuitl (Four Fire Rain)
  • Fahui Atl (Four Water)
nahui ocelotl four ocelot jaguar
Nahui OcelotlFour Ocelot (Jaguar)
  • In this first Sun or age, the earth was inhabited by giants who lived in caves and ate roots and wild fruits. This epoch ended when the giants were devoured (eaten) by jaguars
nahui ehecatl four wind
Nahui Ehecatl(Four Wind)
  • In this age beings learned to cultivate and breed plants. This epoch ended when winds and hurricanes swept everything away.
nahui quiauhuitl four fire rain
Nahui QuiauhuitlFour Fire Rain
  • In this age the beings built temples, pyramids and cities. This epoch ended when the Earth split open and spewed a rain of fire.

The Third Sun

nahui atl four water
Nahui Atl(Four Water)
  • In this age the beings navigated and crossed the oceans. This epoch ended when a flood covered the whole world.

The fourth Sun

the fifth sun
The Fifth Sun
  • The fifth and present sun is represented by the large circle marked at its outer edge by pairs of orange triangles. The Aztecs believed that this epoch would end when earthquakes shook the entire world.
  • Quetzalcoatl is represented by the arrow and the five pointed glyph above and below the central face
day glyphs
Day Glyphs
  • The twenty day glyphs are on the cosmos going in a counter-clockwise direction starting below and to the left of the orange triangle at the top of the Sun Disk.
day glyphs1
Day Glyphs

The day glyphs are

  • Cippactli (EarthMonster)
  • Ehecatl (Wind)
  • Calli (House)
  • Cuetzpalin (Lizard)
  • Coatl (Serpent)
  • Mizuiztli (Death)
  • Mazatl (Deer)
  • Tochtli (Rabbit)
  • Atl (Water)
  • Itzcuintli (Dog)
  • Ozomatli (Monkey)
  • Malinalli (Dry Grass)
  • Actl (Reed)
  • Ocelot (Ocelot)
  • Cuauhtli (Eagle)
  • Cozcacuauhtli (Turkey)
  • Olin (Movement)
  • Tecpatl (Flint)
  • Quiauhuitl (Fire Rain)
  • Xochitl (Flower)