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Ancient Aztec Calendar

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 2 months ago

Ancient Aztec Calendar

By: Rina Sor


In the Pre-Columbian period of Mexico the Aztec people created their own calendar system. The calendar's structure was similar to many other ancient Mesoamerican cultures at that time. The calendar consisted of two cycles: a 365 day calendar cycle and a 260 day ritual cycle. These two cycles together formed a 52 year "century," which is often referred to as a "Calendar Round". Each month had twenty-one days and each month has a name, however, the days of the last month, Nemontemi, is numbered from one to five. The days are named and symbolized as such:




The calendar is recorded on the Aztec Calendar Stone, which is a twelve feet, massive stone slab, carved around the middle of the 15th century. It was during the reign of the 6th Aztec monarch in 1479 that the stone was carved and dedicated to the main Aztec god, which was the sun. The stone served both a mythological and astronomical purpose. 




retrieved from : http://www.eso-garden.com/index.php?/weblog/C25/               http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/karora/mexico/images/aztec_calendar.jpg



The Aztec calendar kept two different aspects of time: the tonalpohualli and xiuhpohualli. Each of these systems had a different purpose. The tonalpohualli kept count of the days. It's astronomical basis originated from the ancient people observing  the sun, as it crossed a certain zenith point near the Mayan city of Copan, every 260 days. The 260 days were then broken up into twenty periods, with each period containing 13 days, called trecenas. Each trecenas was numbered between one through thirteen and were thought to have a deity presiding over it. And the xiuhpohualli counted the years. This calendar was kept on a 365-day solar count. This was also the agricultural and ceremonial calendar of the Aztecs. It describes the days and rituals related to the seasons. The xiuhpohualli was divided into eighteen periods, with each period containing twenty days, called veintenas. And after all of this it still left five days unrepresented in their calendar, which were named nemontemi, or "empty days," which were considered transition days between the old and new year.





http://www.classzone.com/Credits: Aztec Calendar Stone © Kimball Morrison/South American Pictures; Codex Borbonicus

http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/karora/mexico/images/aztec_calendar.jpg© J.P. Courau/Explorer/Gamma.

http://www.mexconnect.com/mex_/travel/dpalfrey/dpaztec.html.© Mexico Connect 1996-2007

Comments (4)

Taekyun Lee said

at 8:35 am on Jan 21, 2011

So good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said

at 1:08 pm on Oct 14, 2008

I especially like the colorful image with the small pictures depicting the days and symbols. Great visuals but I don't believe you explained the names pointed around the Aztec stone.

Anonymous said

at 12:44 pm on Oct 14, 2008

Rina, this is a really informative web page! You provided as very good amount of background information about the Aztecs and did an exceptional job explaining the significance of astronomy in the calendar. You also presented nice graphics that strengthen your overall presentation. One aspect of the site that could have been improved would be the separation of information into different sections. For example, a section labeled for the history and a separate section for the astronomy aspect.

Anonymous said

at 12:30 pm on Oct 14, 2008

I truly think that this web page is excellent. It has almost all the information person needs to learn about the ancient Aztec calendar. It provides facts based on the astronomical pint of view and also talks about the culture and the heritage of the people. The pictures provides as artistic perspective to the overall presentation also.

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