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The Toltec Empire

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Tempest
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« on: May 13, 2007, 12:48:50 am »




The Rise of an Empire

The Toltec Empire appeared in the Central Mexico area in the 10th century AD, when they established their central city of Tula. It is believed that the Toltecs were refugees from the northern Teotihuacán culture and migrated after its fall in 700 AD.

Little is known directly about the Toltecs because the Aztecs plundered the Tula ruins for building materials for their nearby capital, destroying most of the historical evidence that remained. Much of what we know about the Toltecs comes from legends carried on about them by later cultures.

The Toltec Empire was the first of the extreme militaristic cultures in the region that used their might to dominate their neighbors, a trend associated with the later cultures in the region, especially the Aztecs. Eventually the empire spread across most of Mexico, Guatemala, and as far south as the Yucatan, as they conquered lands previously controlled by the Mayans.

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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2007, 12:52:09 am »


Art and Entertainment

The Toltec Empire and leaders created an unmatched mystique in the minds of the Central American people. The Toltec leaders were thought of as being alongside deities. Later cultures often revered them and copied their legends, art, buildings and religion. Many future rulers of other cultures, including Mayan leaders and Aztec emperors, claimed to be descended from the Toltecs.

The Toltecs sported the familiar ball game played by many central American cultures and may have sacrificed of the losers. Toltecs are known for their somewhat rougher form of architecture, a form that would later inspire the Aztec builders. Toltec art is characterized by walls covered with snakes and skulls, images of a reclining Chak-mool (red jaguar), and the colossal statues of the Atlantes, men carved from great columns.


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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2007, 12:53:53 am »


Religion and Legend

Atlantes statues

 
Religion in the Toltec Empire was dominated by two major deities. The first, Quetzalcoatl, is shown as a plumed serpent. This deity of learning, culture, philosophy, fertility, holiness and gentility was absorbed from earlier cultures in the area. His rival was Tezcatlipoca, the smoked mirror, known for his warlike nature and tyranny.

The greatest ruler of the Toltecs was Ce Acatl Topiltzin who was renown for being the leader and high priest of Quetzacoatl at the time when Tula and the Empire were established. According to Toltec legend, Tezatlipoca's followers drove Topiltzin and the followers of Quetzalcoatl out of the city around 1000 AD. They fled south, where they were able to defeat the Maya at the city of Chichen Itza, and take it for their own. An interesting twist in Topiltzin's legend is that he vowed to return to Tula from the east in one of his sacred years and take his vengeance. This legend lived all the way to the time of the Aztecs, who attributed the arrival of the Spanish as the return of Topiltzin, an event that they feared greatly.

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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2007, 12:55:22 am »


The Decline

Chak-mool (red jaguar)


The Toltec Empire lasted until the 12th century, when it was destroyed by the Chitimecs and other attacking groups. The Toltec people were absorbed by the conquerors and in the south they became assimilated with the Maya, subordinates to the people they once conquered. After the fall of the Toltecs, central Mexico fell into a period of chaos and warfare without any single ruling group for the next 200 years, when the Aztecs gained control.

References
****, Richard. "The Toltecs." Civilizations in America, 1996.
Quetzalcoatl. Quetzal Computational Associates, Inc., 1996.
Mexico City Sites. Go2, the Mexico City Travel Guide,.1997.
Toltec, Microsoft Encarta, 1996.

http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/latinamerica/meso/cultures/toltec.html
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2007, 12:57:51 am »





Teotihuacán was conquered by northern tribes in 700 AD and began to rapidly decline in its influence over the Mexican peoples. For two hundred years following the decline of Teotihuacán, the region had no centralized culture or political control. Beginning around 950, a culture based in northern Mexico at Tula began to dominate Central America. These people were known as the Toltecs. They were a war-like people and expanded rapidly throughout Mexico, Guatemala, and the Yucatán peninsula. At the top of their society was a warrior aristocracy which attained mythical proportions in the eyes of Central Americans long after the demise of their power. Around 1200, their dominance over the region faded.

   They were important as transmitters of the culture of Teotihuacán, including religion, architecture, and social structure. Their name, in fact, is not a tribal name (the original Toltec tribal names have been lost to us); the word, toltecatl , simply means "craftsman" in the Nahua languages. Toltec was simply the word used to distinguish the Mexican peoples which retained the culture and much of the urban characteristics of the culture of Teotihuacán from other peoples; even the Aztecs primarily referred to themselves by either their tribal name (Tenochca) or as "Toltecs."

   The Toltecs expanded the cult of Quetzalcoatl, the "Soveriegn Plumed Serpent," and created a mythology around the figure. In Toltec legend, Quetzalcoatl was the creator of humanity and a warrior-god that had been driven from Tula, but would return some day. The Toltecs also originated the Central American ball-game, which was played on a large stone court with a rubber ball. The game was primarily a religious ritual celebrating the victory of god-heroes over the gods of death; as a religious ritual, it involved the human sacrifice of the loser.

   The Toltecs conquered large areas controlled by the Maya and settled in these areas; they migrated as far south as the Yucatán peninsula. The culture borne out of this fusion is called the Toltec-Maya, and its greatest center was Chichén Itzá— on the very tip of the Yucatan peninsula. Chichén Itzá was the last great center of Mayan civilization. The Toltec-Maya cultures greatly expanded the cultural diffusion of Mayan thought, religion, and art north into the Valley of Mexico.
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2007, 12:59:22 am »


Observatory in Chichén Itzá


    The post-Classical Toltecs were a conservative culture. For the most part they preserved Teotihuacán traditions; the transformations that they introduced expanded on Mexican religions and reoriented much of the culture around a warrior ethic and warrior aristocracy. There was no real political center, but rather a diffuse set of tribes, some urbanized and some not, with distinct cultures. The last great period of cultural unification would come under the Aztecs who, at the very twilight of Mesoamerican culture in the fifteenth century, built the most complex urban culture in Native American history. 
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2007, 01:00:39 am »


Chichén Itzá: Chacmool


http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/CIVAMRCA/TOLTECS.HTM
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2007, 01:02:31 am »



The Atlantes are columns in the form of Toltec warriors in Tula
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2007, 01:03:23 am »


Tula is a town of about 10,000 in Hidalgo State, central Mexico, some 100 km (60 miles) to the north-north-west of Mexico City. The modern town is known as Tula de Allende; it covers part of the south-eastern portion of the Pre-Columbian city.


The Toltecs (or Toltec or Tolteca) were a Pre-Columbian Native American people who dominated much of central Mexico between the 10th and 12th century AD. Their language, Nahuatl, was also spoken by the Aztecs.


Nahuatl (Nawatl) is a term applied to some members of the Aztecan or Nahuan sub-branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family, indigenous to central Mexico.Often the term Nahuatl is used specifically with reference to the language called Classical Nahuatl, which was the language of the Aztec empire and therefore used as a lingua franca in much of Mesoamerica from the 7th century AD until the late 16th century, at which time its prominence and influence was interrupted by the Spanish conquest of the New World.
However, it also serves to identify a number of modern Nahuatl varieties (some mutually unintelligible) of the Nahuatl dialect complex that are still spoken by at least 1.5 million people in what is now Mexico. All of these dialects show influence from the Spanish language to various degrees, some of them much more than others. No modern dialects are identical with that of Classical Nahuatl, but those spoken in and around the Valley of Mexico are more closely related to it than are peripheral ones.

Nahuatl is the most widely spoken group of Native American languages in Mexico. As is the case with most other Mexican indigenous languages, many of the speakers of Nahuatl are bilingual, having a working knowledge of the Spanish language. In the past, a significant number of the Nahuatl speakers outside the Valley of Mexico were bilingual in languages other than Spanish, speaking both Nahuatl and, as their mother tongue, some other indigenous language. A famous example of bilingualism was Malintzin ("La Malinche"), the native woman who translated between Nahuatl and a Mayan language (and who later learned Spanish as well) for Hernan Cortez.

They originated as a militaristic nomadic people, and they or their ancestors may have sacked the city of Teotihuacan (ca. 750). After they established a more settled existence, the Toltec fused the many small states in Central Mexico into an empire ruled from their capital, Tula (also known as Tollan, or Tolan). They were accomplished temple builders. Their influence spread through much of Mesoamerica in the Post-Classic era of Mesoamerican chronology. The Toltec influence on the Post-Classic Maya of Yucatan is heavy, especially evident at the city of Chichen Itza. Their pottery has been found as far south as Costa Rica.

Some writers have alleged that the Toltecs introduced the cult of Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent. This is certainly not so, as this deity was commonly depicted throughout Mesoamerica for centuries earlier, going back to Olmec times. In Toltec (and later Aztec) mythology Quetzalcoatl was a rival of Tezcatlipoca, the first deity who is known to have demanded human hearts as sacrifice. Thus the Toltecs seem to have introduced the habit of mass human sacrifice as later practiced by the Aztecs.

The Toltec empire is believed to have been destroyed around 1200 AD by the nomadic warriors of the Chichimecs. The ruling family of the Aztecs claimed to descend from Toltec ancestry via the sacred city of Colhuacan.

In his writings Miguel León Portilla explains that in Nahua legend, the Toltec were the originators of all civilization, so Toltec was synonymous with artist, or artisan, and their city "Tollan" was described as full of wonders. When the Aztecs rewrote their history, they tried to show they were related to the Toltecs. Unfortunately this means that much of the tradition of the Toltecs is legend, and difficult to prove. Stories say that after the fall of their capital Tula some of the Toltec retreated to Cholula, which did not fall until centuries later when it was burned by Hernán Cortés and the Spanish conquistadores.

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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2007, 01:05:04 am »

Most Toltec history is known from writings of later people, such as the Aztec, written centuries later after a "dark age" in Central Mexico, together with some references by the Maya. Toltec rulers are said to have included:

•   Chalchiuh Tlatonac - first Toltec king, founder of Tula
•   Mixcoamazatzin
•   Huetzin
•   Mixcoatl or Mixcoatl Totepeuh
•   Ihuitimal
•   Topiltzin Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl, son of Mixcoatl, the most famous Toltec ruler
•   Matlacxochitzin
•   Nauhyotzin
•   Matlacoatzin
•   Tlilcoatzin ¬ died c. 1000 (?)Huemac ¬ the last Toltec king, died in exile c. 1100 (?), some 6 years after the fall of Tula


In 1941, the Sociedad Mexicana de Antropología confirmed that Tula was the capital of the Toltec, as had long been tradition and suggested by archeologists since the 19th century. Some scholars, including Laurette Séjourné, regret the decision, claiming that several seasons of excavation only revealed a minor city, not enough to justify the legend of the Toltecs. The site of Tula actually shows it to have been a large city in its prime, although the ceremonial art and architecture visible there today is less impressive than that at other Mesoamerican sites. It should be understood, however, that some chronicles from the time of the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores and later confuse the Toltec with other earlier Mesoamerican civilizations and sometimes tend to attribute all achievements of the centuries before the rise of the Aztec to the Toltec.
During the late twentieth century, some Mexican shamans, including Don Miguel Ruiz, who claim to be descendants of the Toltec and inheritors of their spiritual powers, began writing and teaching for a worldwide audience, causing a renewed interest in the Toltec. Another such author is Victor Sanchez who was inspired by the writings of Carlos Castaneda. For the concept Toltec in the writings of Carlos Castaneda.
Reference
________________________________________
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2007, 01:06:04 am »

Art and Entertainment

The Toltec Empire and leaders created an unmatched mystique in the minds of the Central American people. The Toltec leaders were thought of as being alongside deities. Later cultures often revered them and copied their legends, art, buildings and religion. Many future rulers of other cultures, including Mayan leaders and Aztec emperors, claimed to be descended from the Toltecs.

The Toltecs sported the familiar ball game played by many central American cultures and may have sacrificed of the losers. Toltecs are known for their somewhat rougher form of architecture, a form that would later inspire the Aztec builders. Toltec art is characterized by walls covered with snakes and skulls, images of a reclining Chak-mool (red jaguar), and the colossal statues of the Atlantes, men carved from great columns.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2007, 01:06:45 am »

Religion and Legend

Religion in the Toltec Empire was dominated by two major deities. The first, Quetzalcoatl, is shown as a plumed serpent. This deity of learning, culture, philosophy, fertility, holiness and gentility was absorbed from earlier cultures in the area. His rival was Tezcatlipoca, the smoked mirror, known for his warlike nature and tyranny.

The greatest ruler of the Toltecs was Ce Acatl Topiltzin who was renown for being the leader and high priest of Quetzacoatl at the time when Tula and the Empire were established. According to Toltec legend, Tezatlipoca's followers drove Topiltzin and the followers of Quetzalcoatl out of the city around 1000 AD. They fled south, where they were able to defeat the Maya at the city of Chichen Itza, and take it for their own. An interesting twist in Topiltzin's legend is that he vowed to return to Tula from the east in one of his sacred years and take his vengeance. This legend lived all the way to the time of the Aztecs, who attributed the arrival of the Spanish as the return of Topiltzin, an event that they feared greatly.

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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2007, 01:07:21 am »

Black Feathered Sun

The history of the Toltec culture at Teotihuacan is shrouded in mystery. It is speculated that around the year 500 AD the Toltec Naguals and all their parties had learned how to transmute, to go through the Black Feathered Sun to the place of creation.

The entire culture is believed to have ascended leaving the pyramids of Teotihuacan in abandonment until they were uncovered 500 years later around 1000 AD by the Aztecs, warriors who in their time conquered much of Mexico. The Aztecs were attracted to the Pyramid and adopted them as their own. Unlike the Toltecs, the Aztecs abused their power, not understanding the records of the Toltec teachings found at the pyramids. The Toltecs taught of the giving of the open heart to the Sun whereas the Aztecs took that to mean performed human sacrifice.

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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2007, 01:08:00 am »

Quetzalcoatl

One important body of myths describes Quetzalcoatl as the priest-king of Tula. He never offered human sacrifices, only snakes, birds, and butterflies. But the god of the night sky, Tezcatlipoca, expelled him from Tula by performing feats of black magic. Quetzalcoatl wandered down to the coast of the "divine water" (the Atlantic Ocean) and then immolated himself on a pyre, emerging as the planet Venus. According to another version, he embarked upon a raft made of snakes and disappeared beyond the eastern horizon.

The legend of the victory of Tezcatlipoca over the Feathered Serpent probably reflects historical fact. The first century of the Toltec civilization was dominated by the Teotihuacán culture, with its inspired ideals of priestly rule and peaceful behaviour. The pressure of the northern immigrants brought about a social and religious revolution, with a military ruling class seizing power from the priests. Quetzalcóatl's defeat symbolized the downfall of the Classic theocracy. His sea voyage to the east should probably be connected with the invasion of Yucatán by the Itzá, a tribe that showed strong Toltec features. Quetzalcóatl's calendar name was Ce Acatl (One Reed). The belief that he would return from the east in a One Reed year led the Aztec sovereign Montezuma II to regard the Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés and his comrades as divine envoys, because 1519, the year in which they landed on the Mexican Gulf coast, was a One Reed year.

In addition to his guise as a plumed serpent, Quetzalcóatl was often represented as a man with a beard; as Ehécatl, the wind god, he was shown with a mask with two protruding tubes (through which the wind blew) and a conical hat typical of the Huastec tribe of northeastern Mexico. The temple of Quetzalcóatl at Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital, was a round building, a shape that fitted the god's personality as Ehécatl. Circular temples were believed to please Ehécatl because they offered no sharp obstacles to the wind. Round monuments occur particularly often in Huastec territory.

Quetzalcóatl ruled over the days that bore the name ehécatl ("wind") and over the eighteenth 13-day series of the ritual calendar. He was also the ninth of the 13 gods of the daytime hours. Although he was generally listed as one of the first-rank deities, no ceremonial month was dedicated to his cult.

As the god of learning, of writing, and of books, Quetzalcóatl was particularly venerated in the calmecac, religious colleges annexed to the temples, in which the future priests and the sons of the nobility were educated. Outside of Tenochtitlán, the main centre of Quetzalcóatl's cult was Cholula, on the Puebla plateau.

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« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2007, 01:08:51 am »

Spiritual Beliefs

Toltec have been known throughout southern Mexico as "women and men of knowledge" for many centuries. Anthropologists have spoken of the Toltec as a nation or a race, but in fact, the Toltec were scientists and artists who formed a society to explore and conserve the spiritual knowledge and practices of the ancient ones. It may seem peculiar that they combined the secular with the sacred, but the Toltec considered science and spirit to be one and the same since all energy, whether material or ethereal, was derived from the one source and influenced by the same universal laws.

The Toltec came together as Toltec masters and students at Teotihuacan, the ancient city of pyramids outside Mexico City known as the place where "Man becomes God". Here, in order to realize the promise of the work to transcend the realm of ordinary human awareness and attain their personal freedom, the apprentices studied the three Toltec masteries: Awareness, Transformation (Tracking) and Intent. The students had to have the courage to face and know themselves and, through that knowing, change their way of life. Teotihuacan remained the Toltec center of spiritual knowledge and transformation for many thousands of years and still endures as a living repository of "silent knowledge".

The ancient Toltec knew that our perception of reality was just a point of view, one that generally doesn't consider how we fit into an expanding, living, intelligent universe. As we begin to identify the I AM, we become aware of how limited we have been conditioned to think we are and how little of our potential energy supply we use. To transcend the realm of our old dream and move into our full potential, we need to transfer the point where we "assemble" our perception from our "reason" to our "will". Shifting the source of our personal power from our mind to our spirit allows us to access "silent knowledge" and create the energy necessary to remember what we have forgotten. We can all dream a new dream and live a life of freedom - it is a matter of choice and will. Once we make that choice, it is helpful to find a guide to assist us on our progression towards freedom.

Reference: ****, Richard. The Toltec Civilizations in America, 1996.

http://www.crystalinks.com/toltecs.html
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