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The Toltec Civilization is considered the fourth among the five Aztec Ages that flourished in present-day central Mexico.
The Toltecs were famous for being great patrons of art, architecture, agriculture, trade, and craftsmanship. They were responsible for the excellence of the art and architecture of the Aztec Empire.
As stated by Miguel Ruiz, a famous modern-day philosopher, the word 'Toltec' means 'men and women of wisdom.' This suggests that the Toltecs were extremely knowledgeable and great at the arts of life. Their philosophy inspired Ruiz to such an extent that he propagated the movement 'Toltec Spirit.' It is rooted in the four agreements that teach the importance of living with love, true happiness, and freedom. However, the Toltecs have nothing to do with this movement at all!
The Toltecs birthed many great warriors; they practiced several ceremonies, the most remarkable one among them was the regular practice of human sacrifice. Keep reading to know more about this civilization, its culture, and its history.
Although much of Toltec history was destroyed by the Aztec Emperor, Itzcoatl, a little information remains in the accounts of the Aztec people. Read on to discover interesting facts about the origin and history of the Toltecs as written in Aztec chronicles!
The Toltec Civilization preceded the Aztec Empire and was the successor of Teotihuacan.
Although debatable, historians believe that the Toltecs attacked and burnt Teotihuacan before evolving as a civilization.
The rise of Toltec Civilization took place in present day central Mexico. Tula or Tollan was the capital city of the Toltecs.
The Toltec Civilization existed from the early 10th till the mid-12th century, precisely from 900-1168.
Another Mesoamerican civilization that flourished after the Toltecs was the Aztec Empire. The Aztec people considered the Toltecs as admirable predecessors who built an impressive empire and were legendary craftsmen and warriors.
Much of the historical record of Toltec culture is learned from Aztec chronicles, a compilation of historical and mythical accounts of the Aztec Era.
Although the ancient history of the origin of the Toltecs is shrouded in mystery, historical studies show that their lineage is sourced from other Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Zapotec and the Mixtec.
Historians regard the Toltec Era as the fourth among the five Aztec Ages or 'Suns.' Quetzalcoatl presided over the Aztec Empire during the Fifth Sun, from 1325-1520.
The Toltecs resembled the other Mesoamerican civilizations in the sense that their society was hierarchical, with the warriors forming the nobility. They put great effort into military conquests and produced some of the greatest warriors. Have a look at some of the known details about their society.
Although hieroglyphic writing provided much information about the culture and religion of the Toltecs, little is known about the structures of the city.
Based on archaeological data, historians believe that Tula was the marketplace of the Toltecs who carried out trade and other jobs here. A large square and several pyramids were located there.
Historians believe that the Toltec population consisted of nearly 60,000 individuals who were dependent on local crops such as chili peppers, squash, beans, and corn.
A significant heritage of the Toltecs, the Toltec Pyramid, is located in the ancient city of Tula. It is called the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl after the popular Mesoamerican God, Quetzalcoatl. This five-tiered pyramid resembles the Temple of Warriors that is located at Chichen Itza (of the Mayan Civilization), suggesting that these two civilizations were connected in some way.
Four large statues of Toltec warriors can be seen sitting atop the pyramid, symbolizing craftsmanship, which was an admirable aspect of the Toltec Civilization.
Much about Toltec culture and society was retrieved from the accounts of the Aztec people. The Aztecs greatly admired the Toltecs and respected them. Most of these accounts tell inspiring stories about the greatness of the Toltec people and their culture. Let us learn some interesting facts about Toltec cultural history and its significance.
The Toltecs greatly influenced Aztec art and architecture.
The Toltecs and the Aztecs shared a common language called Nahuatl. This also suggests that the Aztecs were direct descendants of the Toltecs.
According to the Aztecs, the word 'Nahuatl' meant 'artisan.' Hence, historians consider both the Aztecs and the Toltecs to be great patrons of art and culture.
As recorded by the Aztec people, Toltecs were extremely good at art, sculpting, and craftsmanship. Smelting metals and developing beautiful stonework were two of their greatest talents.
The Aztecs believed that the Toltecs were responsible for proliferating the worship of the greatest Mesoamerican god, Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent. However, this god existed during the time of the Olmecs, which was much removed from the Toltec timeline.
Human sacrifice and Sun worship were some of the ceremonies celebrated in Toltec culture.
Human sacrifice was practiced by the Toltec people with the belief that it would keep their gods happy and would also save them from natural disasters. Figures of men with a bowl (offerings for the gods) on their bellies were unearthed at Tola. The heads of the victims were placed on a skull rack called tzompantli at the ceremonial plaza.
A fermented drink called pulque is considered to be one of the Toltec discoveries.
The Toltecs had gathered considerable knowledge about astronomy which led to the invention of their calendar. The calendar had a cycle of 52 years, including 260 days in each cycle.
The Toltec Empire came to an end due to several reasons, as theorized by many historians. Studies show that the middle of the 12th century witnessed numerous natural disasters. Moreover, warfare in the region may have destroyed the Civilization, giving birth to its successors, the great Aztec Empire.
What did the Toltecs believe in?
Human sacrifice was practiced by the Toltec people, as they believed that it would keep their gods happy and who would also protect them from natural disasters.
What did the Toltecs eat?
Historical records show that the Toltecs survived on local crops such as chili peppers, squash, beans, and corn.
Who are the Toltec people?
The Toltec Civilization is a Mesoamerican civilization that came after Teotihuacan and preceded the Aztec Empire.
What are the dates of the Toltec Empire?
The Toltec Era dates back to the early post-classic period, from the 10th-12th century, or from 900-1168 precisely.
What was the name of the Toltec capital?
Tola or Tollan was the capital city of the Toltecs.
How did the Toltec Civilization end?
Although we are not certain, several historians believe that major issues such as widespread disease or warfare in the middle of the 12th century were the main causes of the decline of the Toltec Empire.
What are the Toltec wisdom beliefs?
The word 'Toltec' is said to mean 'men and women of wisdom.' The Toltec wisdom beliefs inspired Ruiz to formulate the four major agreements. These are, that our words must be impeccable, nothing should be taken personally, assumptions about anything must not be made, and we must always do our best.
What is Toltec wisdom?
Toltec wisdom is rooted in the belief that life is a dream and that people are dreamers. The movement called 'Toltec Spirit,' propounded by a modern-day philosopher, Miguel Ruiz, is largely influenced by Toltec wisdom beliefs.
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