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Central and South America Chapter 13 The Region Aztec Civilization The Aztecs leave their homeland of Aztlan in northern Mexico and begin their journey south. Over the next 225 years the Aztecs will move many times until they finally settle down at the city of Tenochtitlán. Tenochtitlan was the capital city and center of the Aztec Empire. It was founded in 1325 and served as the capital until the Aztecs were conquered by Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes in 1520. Aztec The Aztecs built causeways and canals for transportation to and from the city. A causeway is a raised road that allowed the people to easily travel over the swampy and wet areas. There were three major causeways that led from the island city to the mainland. There were also bridges built into the causeways that allowed small boats and canoes to travel under them. These bridges could be removed when the city was being attacked. The Aztecs also built many canals throughout the city. The canals acted like water roads that allowed people to easily travel around the large city in boats. The city was well planned and laid out in a grid that made traveling around the city easy. Temples Often a whole area of a city would be dedicated to religious activities. Some monuments would be made to specific gods. Some were built for specific celebrations. The buildings you probably associate with the Aztec religion are the great pyramids. These were four sided, stable structures that can withstand the earthquakes that are common in the area. These would have stairs up one side, and a flat top, often with a shrine on the top. Temple Mayor Templo Mayor was a part of the sacred area of the city of Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City. It was only one of perhaps 75-80 buildings which included other pyramids, ornamental walls, gathering places, shops and, of course, bathrooms. Since the city was build on swampy ground, the temples would often sink and needed to be repaired and built up over the years. Codex Aztec Writing The Aztecs wrote using symbols called glyphs or pictographs. They didn't have an alphabet, but used pictures to represent events, items, or sounds. Only the priests knew how to read and write. They would write on long sheets made of animal skins or plant fibers. An Aztec book is called a codex. Most of the codices were burned or destroyed, but a few survived and archeologists have been able to learn a lot about Aztec life from them. The Olmec The Olmec civilization prospered in Pre-Classical (Formative) Mesoamerica from c. 1200 BCE to c. 400 BCE and is generally considered the forerunner of all subsequent Mesoamerican cultures such as the Maya and Aztecs. Centered in the Gulf of Mexico (now the states of Veracruz and Tabasco) their influence and trade activity spread from 1200 BCE, even reaching as far south as present-day Nicaragua. Monumental sacred complexes, massive stone sculpture, ball games, chocolate drinking and animal gods were features of Olmec culture which would be passed on to all those who followed this first great Mesoamerican civilization. The most striking legacy of the Olmec civilization must be the colossal stone heads they produced. These were carved in basalt and all display unique facial features so that they may be considered portraits of actual rulers. The heads can be nearly 6 feet high and 8 tons in weight and the stone from which they were worked was, in some cases, transported 80 km or more, presumably using huge balsa river rafts. 17 have been discovered, 10 of which are from San Lorenzo. The ruler often wears a protective helmet (from war or the ballgame) and sometimes show the subject with jaguar paws hanging over the forehead, perhaps representing a jaguar pelt worn as a symbol of political and religious power. The fact that these giant sculptures depict only the head may be explained by the belief in Mesoamerican culture that it was the head alone which bore the soul. The Olmec Heads A great stone head from the Olmec civilization at the Smithsonian Institution Mayan Civilization The Maya Empire, centered in the tropical lowlands of what is now Guatemala, reached the peak of its power and influence around the sixth century A.D. The Maya excelled at agriculture, pottery, hieroglyph writing, calendar-making and mathematics, and left behind an astonishing amount of impressive architecture and symbolic artwork. Most of the great stone cities of the Maya were abandoned by A.D. 900, however, and since the 19th century scholars have debated what might have caused this dramatic decline. Maya Court Dominated by the king, the Maya court was the focus of religious and political life. Within palace chambers and behind curtains, the king ruled from his throne, where he reclined on jaguar. Dwarfs and hunchbacks served as his trusted counselors, while musicians played wooden trumpets and horns made from conch shells. The Maya commissioned finely crafted works to furnish their palaces and attest to their sovereignty-among them carved thrones. Sculpted throne back Usumacinta River region, 700-800, limestone Museo Amparo, Puebla, México CYLINDER VESSEL WITH A COURT SCENE Cylinder vessel with a court scene Painted cups and vases for the elite depict scenes of court life, while clay figurines portray members that attended the king. Representing servants, dwarfs, hunchbacks, musicians, messengers, and priests, along with elegantly coiffed women, these figurines all come from tombs, where they served theirceramic lordsNational in Mexico or also Guatemala, 600-800, Gall death. Temple Chichen Itza The Temple of Chichen Itza, a Mayan pyramid in modern-day Mexico that features several unique features, including an echo designed to sound like a bird call. There are two calendars at work simultaneously in the Maya system: the Haab, or civil calendar of 365 days in an 18 month period of 20 days each, and the Tzolkin, or sacred calendar, of 260 days divided into three groups of months of 20 days. The Haab and the Tzolkin work together, like gears interlocking in a machine, to create what is known as the Calendar Round but cannot account for dates farther in the future than 52 days. For longer calculations, the Maya devised what is known as the Long Count Calendar and is this which has attracted so much international attention in recent years regarding the end of the world on 21 December 2012 CE. As the long count calendar begins 11 August 3114 BCE, it goes into its next cycle (known as a Baktun) on 21 December 2012 CE Mayan Calendar Incan Civilization The Inca called their empire the Land of the Four Quarters. It stretched 2,500 miles from Quito, Ecuador, to beyond Santiago, Chile. Within its domain were rich coastal settlements, high mountain valleys, raindrenched tropical forests and the driest of deserts. The Inca controlled perhaps 10 million people, speaking a hundred different tongues. The true history of the Inca is still being written. According to one story, four brothers emerged from Lake Titicaca. During a long journey, all but one disappeared. Manco Capac survived to plunge a golden staff into the ground where the Rios Tullamayo and Huantanay meet. He founded the sacred city of Cuzco. Situated in the Peruvian Andes, Cuzco developed, under the Inca ruler Pachacutec, into a complex urban center with distinct religious and administrative functions. It was surrounded by clearly delineated areas for agricultural, artisan and industrial production. When the Spaniards conquered it in the 16th century, they preserved the basic structure but built Baroque churches and palaces over the ruins of the Inca city. Cusco or Qosqo was built at 3.400m in the shape of an enormous puma. The body of the puma contained the most important palaces, temples and governmental buildings while the fortress just outside the city formed the head of this sacred animal. The square between the legs of the puma is the Plaza de Armas. The city today is a strange mixture of Inca architecture and Spanish-Moorish colonial style. Unfortunately, the Spanish destroyed most of the temples in Cusco for building catholic churches. The Temple of the Sun, the famous Inca building, was designed with six chapels around a courtyard. The stone of the buildings were covered with sheets of gold. Architecture Qurikancha (Quechua quri gold, kancha enclosure, enclosed place, yard, a frame, or wall that encloses, originally named Inti Kancha (Quechua inti sun) or Inti Wasi (Quechua for "sun house"), was the most important temple in the Inca Empire, dedicated primarily to Inti, the Sun God. It was one of the most revered temples of the capital city of Cusco. The walls and floors were once covered in sheets of solid gold, and its adjacent courtyard was filled with golden statues. Spanish reports tell of its opulence that was "fabulous beyond belief". When the Spanish required the Inca to raise a ransom in gold for the life of the leader Atahualpa, most of the gold was collected from Qurikancha. Essay #2 Topics All Essays are due- Tuesday, April 29th NO LATE PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED If you do not have a topic- write on the following: 1. Describe (through the use of art and artifacts) how the spread of religious beliefs, across multiple cultures and continents affected the iconography and stylistic elements of the art in that region. 1. Compare and contrast (through the use of art and artifacts) the use of human/animal hybridization across all the prehistoric cultures discussed in class.