According to Mesoamerican historiography, the Toltec Empire, Toltec Kingdom or Altepetl Tollan was a political entity in Mexico. It existed through the classic and post-classic periods of Mesoamerican chronology, but gained most of its power in the post-classic. During this time its sphere of influence reached as far away as the Yucatan Peninsula; the capital city of this empire was Tollan-Xicocotitlan, while other important cities included Tulancingo, Huapalcalco, although some more distant cities like Chupícuaro, Chichen Itza, Coba seem to have been under Toltec control or influence at some point. Oral traditions about the origin of Toltecs were collected by historians like Mariano de Veytia and Carlos María de Bustamante in the early 19th century. According to said accounts, there was a city named Tlachicatzin in a country ruled by the city of Huehuetlapallan, whose inhabitants called the people of Tlachicatzin "Toltecah", for their fame as dexterous artisans. In 583, led by two notables named Chalcaltzin and Tlacamihtzin, the Toltecah rebelled against their overlords in Huehuetlapallan and after thirteen years of resistance they ended up fleeing Tlachicatzin.
Some of the Toltecah founded a new settlement called Tlapallanconco in 604, but others continued their migration. These narrations about the origin of the Toltecs have been disputed by archaeologists and historians like Manuel Gamio, Enrique Florescano and Laurette Séjourné. According to the Anales de Cuauhtitlan, in 674 a large group of Nahuatl-speaking Toltecs arrived at a place called Mam-he-mi which they renamed as Tollan. There they organized a new polity, which at first was ruled as a theocracy, but was reformed into a monarchy around the year 700. Other settlers marched further west, into the territories of the present-day Mexican states of Zacatecas and Nayarit, where they established new cities and polities like Hueyxallan in 610 and Xalisco in 618; the dynastic history of the Toltecs was recorded by several pre-Columbian and Colonial sources, although there are contradictions in most of them. Some sources say that a man named Huemac, was the leader of the Toltecs when they arrive into Man-he-mi, while others begin the list of Toltec rulers, or tlatoani, with Chalchiutlanetzin, with Mixcoamatzatzin, or with Cē Ācatl Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl.
Historians like Alfredo Chavero investigated the numerous proposed lists of Toltec rulers presented in the works of authors like Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxóchitl and Juan de Torquemada, in anonymous sources like the Codex Chimalpopoca. According to Chavero, his research led him to conclude that most of the traditional recounts of the Toltec royalty are not reliable because they were recorded in a style similar to the medieval Chansons de geste, something that became evident once he realised that most of the reigns of the Toltec monarchs lasted 52 years, the duration of the 52 year-long cycle of the Mesoamerican calendars, known in nahuatl as Xiuhmolpilli. Therefore, Chavero concluded, that most of the traditional Toltec royal accounts and exploits must be legendary in nature. According to one of those legends, during the reign of Tecpancaltzin Iztaccaltzin, a Toltec man named Papantzin invented a type of fermented syrup made from the maguey plant, he sent his daughter Xochitl with a bowl of the fermented syrup, today known as pulque, as a gift for the Tlatoani of the Toltecs.
Tecpancaltzin fell in love with the messenger, who kept coming with more bowls of pulque from time on time. After some more visits, the tlatoani granted lands and nobility status to Papantzin, married Xochitl, who would give birth to a boy named Meconetzin, who became prince of Tollan. Between 900 and 950, Tollan underwent a major urban redevelopment as the original urban center, today known as Tula Chico, was abandoned in favor of a new district, where most of the main religious and political buildings, like the Palacio Quemado, were located; this new district is today known as Tula Grande. By this time, Tollan had become a magnet for migrants from the surrounding areas, giving the city a large and ethnically diverse population, with the Nonoalca and Chichimeca Toltecs being the most important groups in the city. According to the Anales de Cuauhtitlan, the city of Tollan-Xicocotitlan was ruled by the priest-king Cē Ācatl Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl from 923 to 947; this ruler was born in the year 895 at Michatlauhco, a place which according to Mexican archaeologist Wigberto Jiménez Moreno could be located near the present-day town of Tepoztlán, in the Mexican state of Morelos.
Quetzalcoatl was regarded as a wise and benevolent ruler, who made Tollan a "prosperous city in which their inhabitants -the Toltecs- were endowed with great qualities". At the same time he was regarded as a holy and pious man, who engaged in acts of penance. Cē Ācatl Topiltzin preached against the practice of human sacrifices, arguing that the supreme deity whose name he took for himself wasn't pleased with the practice of ritual killings. According to Bernardino de Sahagún, one day, Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl was visited by an elderly man who offered him a "medicine" that would make him younger; because of their drunkness, both siblings forgot their sacred duties and acted in disgracefu
Carlos Castaneda was an American author. Starting with The Teachings of Don Juan in 1968, Castaneda wrote a series of books that describe his training in shamanism with a group whose lineage descended from the Toltecs; the books, narrated in the first person, relate his experiences under the tutelage of a man that Castaneda claimed was a Yaqui "Man of Knowledge" named don Juan Matus. His 12 books have sold more than 28 million copies in 17 languages. Critics have suggested. Castaneda withdrew from public view in 1973, living in a large house in Westwood, California from 1973 until his death in 1998, with three colleagues whom he called "Fellow Travellers of Awareness." He founded Cleargreen, an organization that promotes "Tensegrity", which Castaneda described as the modern version of the "magical passes" of the shamans of ancient Mexico. Castaneda moved to the United States in the early 1950s and became a naturalized citizen on June 21, 1957, he received his B. A. from UCLA in 1962, Ph. D. in anthropology in 1973.
Castaneda married Margaret Runyan in Mexico according to Runyan's memoirs. Castaneda is listed on the birth certificate of Runyan's son C. J. Castaneda as his father though his biological father was a different man, it is unclear whether Carlos and Margaret were divorced in 1960, 1973, or not at all, his death certificate stated he had never been married. Castaneda's first three books – The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, he wrote these books as his research log describing his apprenticeship with a traditional "Man of Knowledge" identified as don Juan Matus a Yaqui Indian from northern Mexico. Castaneda was awarded his bachelor's and doctoral degrees based on the work described in these books. In 1974 his fourth book, Tales of Power, was published and chronicled the end of his apprenticeship under the tutelage of Matus. Castaneda continued to be popular with the reading public with subsequent publications that unfolded further aspects of his training with don Juan. Castaneda wrote that don Juan recognized him as the new nagual, or leader of a party of seers of his lineage.
Matus used the term nagual to signify that part of perception, in the realm of the unknown yet still reachable by man, implying that, for his own party of seers, Matus was a connection to that unknown. Castaneda referred to this unknown realm as "nonordinary reality." The term nagual has been used by anthropologists to mean a shaman or sorcerer who claims to be able to change into an animal form, or to metaphorically "shift" into another form through magic rituals and experiences with psychoactive drugs. While Castaneda was a well-known cultural figure, he appeared in public forums, he was the subject of a cover article in the March 5, 1973 issue of Time which described him as "an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a tortilla". There was controversy when it was revealed that Castaneda may have used a surrogate for his cover portrait; when confronted by correspondent Sandra Burton about discrepancies in his personal history, Castaneda responded: "To ask me to verify my life by giving you my statistics... is like using science to validate sorcery."
Following that interview, Castaneda retired from public view. Scholars have debated "whether Castaneda served as an apprentice to the alleged Yaqui sorcerer don Juan Matus or if he invented the whole odyssey." Castaneda's books are classified as non-fiction. In two books, Castaneda's Journey: The Power and the Allegory and The Don Juan Papers and Castaneda critic Richard de Mille intimated that Don Juan was imaginary, although de Mille's critiques have been questioned. Walter Shelburne contends that "the Don Juan chronicle cannot be a true account." In the 1990s, Castaneda once again began appearing in public to promote Tensegrity, described in promotional materials as "the modernized version of some movements called magical passes developed by Indian shamans who lived in Mexico in times prior to the Spanish conquest." Castaneda, along with Carol Tiggs, Florinda Donner-Grau and Taisha Abelar, created Cleargreen Incorporated in 1995. The organization's stated purpose is "carrying out the instruction and publication of Tensegrity".
Tensegrity seminars and other merchandise were sold through Cleargreen. Castaneda died on April 1998 in Los Angeles due to complications from hepatocellular cancer. There was no public service, his death was unknown to the outside world until nearly two months on 19 June 1998, when an obituary entitled "A Hushed Death for Mystic Author Carlos Castaneda" by staff writer J. R. Moehringer appeared in the Los Angeles Times. Four months after Castaneda's death, C. J. Castaneda known as Adrian Vashon, whose birth certificate shows Carlos Castaneda as his father, challenged Castaneda's will in probate court. C. J. challenged its authenticity. The challenge was unsuccessful. Carlos' death certificate states metabolic encephalopathy for 72 hours prior to his death, yet the will was purportedly signed 48 hours before Castaneda's death. After Castaneda stepped away from public view in 1973, he bought a large multi-dwelling property in Los Angeles which he shared with some of his followers. Among those who lived there were Taisha Abelar and Florinda Donner-Grau (formerl
Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although of leaders of some type, are contained in legends, as opposed to myths. Myths are endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses, are linked to religion or spirituality. In fact, many societies group their myths and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its form. Other myths explain how a society's customs and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals; the study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and revived by Renaissance mythographers.
Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies and psychology. The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject; the academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology. Since the term myth is used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Scholars now speak of Christian mythology, Jewish mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. Definitions of myth to some extent vary by scholar.
Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko offers a cited definition: Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. A myth expresses and confirms society's religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult. Scholars in other fields use the term myth in varied ways. In a broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story, popular misconception or imaginary entity. However, while myth and other folklore genres may overlap, myth is thought to differ from genres such as legend and folktale in that neither are considered to be sacred narratives; some kinds of folktales, such as fairy stories, are not considered true by anyone, may be seen as distinct from myths for this reason.
Main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans, while legends feature humans as their main characters. However, many exceptions or combinations exist, as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Moreover, as stories spread between cultures or as faiths change, myths can come to be considered folktales, their divine characters recast as either as humans or demihumans such as giants and faeries. Conversely and literary material may acquire mythological qualities over time. For example, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France, seem distantly to originate in historical events of the fifth and eighth-centuries and became mythologised over the following centuries. In colloquial use, the word myth can be used of a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact, or any false story; this usage, pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. However, as used by folklorists and academics in other relevant fields, such as anthropology, the term myth has no implication whether the narrative may be understood as true or otherwise.
In present use, mythology refers to the collected myths of a group of people, but may mean the study of such myths. For example, Greek mythology, Roman mythology and Hittite mythology all describe the body of myths retold among those cultures. Folklorist Alan Dundes defines myth as a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity evolved into their present form. Dundes classified a sacred narrative as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society". Anthropologist Bruce Lincoln defines myth as "ideology in narrative form." The compilation or description of myths is sometimes known as mythography, a term which can be used of a scholarly anthology of myths. Key mythographers in the Classical tradition include Ovid, whose tellings of myths have been profoundingly influential.
Francisco Javier Clavijero
Francisco Javier Clavijero Echegaray, was a Mexican Jesuit teacher and historian. After the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spanish colonies, he went to Italy, where he wrote a valuable work on the pre-Columbian history and civilizations of Mesoamerica and the central Mexican altiplano, he was born in Veracruz of a Criolla mother. His father worked for the Spanish crown, was transferred with his family from one town to another. Most of the father's posts were to locations with a strong indigenous presence, because of this Clavijero learned Nahuatl growing up; the family lived at various times in Teziutlán, Puebla and in Jamiltepec, in the Mixtec region of Oaxaca. Clavijero's biographer, Juan Luis Maneiro, wrote: From the time of his boyhood, he had occasion to deal intimately with the indigenous people, to learn their customs and nature, to investigate attentively the many special things the land produces, be they plants, animals or minerals. There was no high mountain, dark cave, pleasant valley, brook, or any other place that drew his curiosity to which the Indians did not take the boy to in order to please him.
He began his studies in Puebla, at the college of San Jerónimo for grammar, the Jesuit college of San Ignacio for philosophy and theology. Upon completion of these studies, he entered a seminary in Puebla, Puebla to study for the priesthood, but he soon decided to become a Jesuit instead. In February 1748 he transferred to a Jesuit college in State of Mexico. There he continued to study Latin and learned ancient Greek, Portuguese, Italian and English. In 1751 he was sent back to Puebla for further studies in philosophy. Here he was introduced to the works of such contemporary thinkers as Descartes and Leibniz. Next he was sent to Mexico City, to complete his theological and philosophical studies at the Colegio de San Pedro y Pablo. Here he joined with other students of stature, including José Rafael Campoy, Andrés Cavo, Francisco Javier Alegre, Juan Luis Maneiro and Pedro José Márquez, a group known today as the "Mexican humanists of the eighteenth century". While still a student, he began teaching, was made prefect of the Colegio de San Ildefonso.
He was appointed to the chair of rhetoric in the Seminario Mayor of the Jesuits, an exceptional appointment as he had yet to be ordained as a priest. In 1754, Clavijero was ordained a priest, he began to teach at the Colegio de San Gregorio, founded at the beginning of the colonial era to teach Indian youth. He spent five years there. Again, quoting from his biographer, Juan Luis Maneiro: In those five years he examined with great curiosity all the documents relating to the Mexican nation, collected in large numbers in the Colegio de San Pedro y San Pablo, with great determination extracted from them precious treasures that were published in the history he left for posterity, his time at San Gregorio was not without problems. In a letter dated April 3, 1761, Father Pedro Reales, vicar general of the Jesuits, rebuked him in a letter for having shaken off the yoke of obedience, responding with an "I don't want to" to those who assigned you duties, as occurred yesterday, or at the least this answer was given to the superior, who in truth did not know what path to take so that Your Reverence would fulfill and embrace your duty.
Relocating you is hardly a solution, Your Reverence's life and example have provided no satisfaction completely removing the unique purpose of those who live in this college, handing over to others jobs and studies that you fill. It seems clear that these "other jobs and studies" of Father Clavijero referred to the Aztec codices and the books of the period of the Conquest, given to the college of San Pedro and San Pablo by Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora. Clavijero followed Sigüenza as an example in his investigations, was pleased with Sigüenza's benevolence to and love of the Indians, he admired much of the culture of the Indians before their contact with Europeans. Clavijero never ceased to try to read the ideograms in the codices. Clavijero was transferred to the Colegio de San Javier in Puebla dedicated to the education of Indian youth, he taught there for three years. In 1764 he was transferred again, to Valladolid. More of a rationalist in philosophy than his predecessors, he was an innovator in the field.
Good work in Valladolid got. It was in Guadalajara that he finished his treatise Physica Particularis, together with Cursus Philosophicus, sets out his scientific and philosophical thought; as part of the Bourbon Reforms in Spanish America and the general suppression of the Jesuits by European monarchs in the late eighteenth century, the Jesuits were expelled from all the Spanish dominations on June 25, 1767, on orders of King Charles III. When Clavijero left the colony, he went first to Ferrara, but soon relocated to Bologna, where he lived the rest of his life. In Italy he devoted his time to his historical investigations. Although he no longer had access to the Aztec codices, the reference works, the accounts of the first Spanish conquistadors, he retained in his memory the information from his earlier studies, he was able to write the work. In Italy a work by the Prussian Cornelius de Pauw came to his attention, it was entitled Philosophical Investigations Concerning the Americans. This work revealed to Clavijero the extent of European ignorance about the nature and
Chichen Itza was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people of the Terminal Classic period. The archaeological site is located in Yucatán State, Mexico. Chichen Itza was a major focal point in the Northern Maya Lowlands from the Late Classic through the Terminal Classic and into the early portion of the Postclassic period; the site exhibits a multitude of architectural styles, reminiscent of styles seen in central Mexico and of the Puuc and Chenes styles of the Northern Maya lowlands. The presence of central Mexican styles was once thought to have been representative of direct migration or conquest from central Mexico, but most contemporary interpretations view the presence of these non-Maya styles more as the result of cultural diffusion. Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities and it was to have been one of the mythical great cities, or Tollans, referred to in Mesoamerican literature; the city may have had the most diverse population in the Maya world, a factor that could have contributed to the variety of architectural styles at the site.
The ruins of Chichen Itza are federal property, the site's stewardship is maintained by Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. The land under the monuments had been owned until 29 March 2010, when it was purchased by the state of Yucatán. Chichen Itza is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico with over 2.6 million tourists in 2017. The Maya name "Chichen Itza" means "At the mouth of the well of the Itza." This derives from chi', meaning "mouth" or "edge," and chʼen or chʼeʼen, meaning "well." Itzá is the name of an ethnic-lineage group that gained political and economic dominance of the northern peninsula. One possible translation for Itza is "enchanter of the water," from its, "sorcerer," and ha, "water."The name is spelled Chichén Itzá in Spanish, the accents are sometimes maintained in other languages to show that both parts of the name are stressed on their final syllable. Other references prefer the Maya orthography, Chichen Itzaʼ; this form preserves the phonemic distinction between chʼ and ch, since the base word chʼeʼen begins with a postalveolar ejective affricate consonant.
The word "Itzaʼ" has a high tone on the "a" followed by a glottal stop. Evidence in the Chilam Balam books indicates another, earlier name for this city prior to the arrival of the Itza hegemony in northern Yucatán. While most sources agree the first word means seven, there is considerable debate as to the correct translation of the rest; this earlier name is difficult to define because of the absence of a single standard of orthography, but it is represented variously as Uuc Yabnal, Uuc Hab Nal, Uucyabnal or Uc Abnal. This name, dating to the Late Classic Period, is recorded both in the book of Chilam Balam de Chumayel and in hieroglyphic texts in the ruins. Chichen Itza is located in the eastern portion of Yucatán state in Mexico; the northern Yucatán Peninsula is arid, the rivers in the interior all run underground. There are four visible, natural sink holes, called cenotes, that could have provided plentiful water year round at Chichen, making it attractive for settlement. Of these cenotes, the "Cenote Sagrado" or Sacred Cenote, is the most famous.
In 2015, scientists determined that there is a hidden cenote under Kukulkan, which has never been seen by archaeologists. According to post-Conquest sources, pre-Columbian Maya sacrificed objects and human beings into the cenote as a form of worship to the Maya rain god Chaac. Edward Herbert Thompson dredged the Cenote Sagrado from 1904 to 1910, recovered artifacts of gold, jade and incense, as well as human remains. A study of human remains taken from the Cenote Sagrado found that they had wounds consistent with human sacrifice. Several archaeologists in the late 1980s suggested that unlike previous Maya polities of the Early Classic, Chichen Itza may not have been governed by an individual ruler or a single dynastic lineage. Instead, the city's political organization could have been structured by a "multepal" system, characterized as rulership through council composed of members of elite ruling lineages; this theory was popular in the 1990s, but in recent years, the research that supported the concept of the "multepal" system has been called into question, if not discredited.
The current belief trend in Maya scholarship is toward the more traditional model of the Maya kingdoms of the Classic Period southern lowlands in Mexico. Chichen Itza was a major economic power in the northern Maya lowlands during its apogee. Participating in the water-borne circum-peninsular trade route through its port site of Isla Cerritos on the north coast, Chichen Itza was able to obtain locally unavailable resources from distant areas such as obsidian from central Mexico and gold from southern Central America. Between AD 900 and 1050 Chichen Itza expanded to become a powerful regional capital controlling north and central Yucatán, it established Isla Cerritos as a trading port. The layout of Chichen Itza site core developed during its earlier phase of occupation, between 750 and 900 AD, its final layout was developed after 900 AD, the 10th century saw the rise of the city as a regional capital controlling the area from central Yucatán to the north coast, with its power extending down the east and west coasts of the peninsula.
The earliest hieroglyphic date discovered at Chichen Itza is equivalent to 832 AD, while the last known da
Teotihuacan, is an ancient Mesoamerican city located in a sub-valley of the Valley of Mexico, located in the State of Mexico 40 kilometres northeast of modern-day Mexico City, known today as the site of many of the most architecturally significant Mesoamerican pyramids built in the pre-Columbian Americas. After the collapse of Teotihuacan central Mexico was dominated by the Toltecs of Tula until about AD 1150. At its zenith in the first half of the 1st millennium CE, Teotihuacan was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas, with a population estimated at 125,000 or more, making it at least the sixth largest city in the world during its epoch; the city covered 8 square miles. Apart from the pyramids, Teotihuacan is anthropologically significant for its complex, multi-family residential compounds, the Avenue of the Dead, its vibrant murals that have been well-preserved. Additionally, Teotihuacan exported fine obsidian tools; the city is thought to have been established around 100 BCE, with major monuments continuously under construction until about 250 CE.
The city may have lasted until sometime between the 7th and 8th centuries CE, but its major monuments were sacked and systematically burned around 550 CE. Teotihuacan began as a religious center in the Mexican Highlands around the first century CE, it became the largest and most populated center in the pre-Columbian Americas. Teotihuacan was home to multi-floor apartment compounds built to accommodate the large population; the term Teotihuacan is used for the whole civilization and cultural complex associated with the site. Although it is a subject of debate whether Teotihuacan was the center of a state empire, its influence throughout Mesoamerica is well documented; the Aztecs saw these magnificent ruins and claimed a common ancestry with the Teotihuacanos and adopting aspects of their culture. The ethnicity of the inhabitants of Teotihuacan is the subject of debate. Possible candidates are the Otomi or Totonac ethnic groups. Scholars have suggested; the city and the archaeological site are located in what is now the San Juan Teotihuacán municipality in the State of México 40 kilometres northeast of Mexico City.
The site covers a total surface area of 83 square kilometres and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It is the most visited archaeological site in Mexico, receiving 4,185,017 visitors in 2017; the name Teōtīhuacān was given by the Nahuatl-speaking Aztecs centuries after the fall of the city around 550 CE. The term has been glossed as "birthplace of the gods", or "place where gods were born", reflecting Nahua creation myths that were said to occur in Teotihuacan. Nahuatl scholar Thelma D. Sullivan interprets the name as "place of those who have the road of the gods." This is. The name is pronounced with the accent on the syllable wa. By normal Nahuatl orthographic conventions, a written accent would not appear in that position. Both this pronunciation and Spanish pronunciation: are used, both spellings appear in this article; the original name of the city is unknown, but it appears in hieroglyphic texts from the Maya region as puh, or "Place of Reeds". This suggests that, in the Maya civilization of the Classic period, Teotihuacan was understood as a Place of Reeds similar to other Postclassic Central Mexican settlements that took the name of Tollan, such as Tula-Hidalgo and Cholula.
This naming convention led to much confusion in the early 20th century, as scholars debated whether Teotihuacan or Tula-Hidalgo was the Tollan described by 16th-century chronicles. It now seems clear that Tollan may be understood as a generic Nahua term applied to any large settlement. In the Mesoamerican concept of urbanism and other language equivalents serve as a metaphor, linking the bundles of reeds and rushes that formed part of the lacustrine environment of the Valley of Mexico and the large gathering of people in a city; the early history of Teotihuacan is quite mysterious and the origin of its founders is uncertain. Around 300 BCE, people of the central and southeastern area of Mesoamerica began to gather into larger settlements. Teotihuacan was the largest urban center of Mesoamerica before the Aztecs 1000 years prior to their epoch; the city was in ruins by the time of the Aztecs. For many years, archaeologists believed; this belief was based on colonial period texts, such as the Florentine Codex, which attributed the site to the Toltecs.
However, the Nahuatl word "Toltec" means "craftsman of the highest level" and may not always refer to the Toltec civilization centered at Tula, Hidalgo. Since Toltec civilization flourished centuries after Teotihuacan, the people could not have been the city's founders. In the Late Formative era, a number of urban centers arose in central Mexico; the most prominent of these appears to have been Cuicuilco, on the southern shore of Lake Texcoco. Scholars have speculated that the eruption of the Xitle volcano may have prompted a mass emigration out of the central valley and into the Teotihuacan valley; these settlers may have accelerated the growth of Teotihuacan. Other scholars have put forth the Totonac people as the founders of Teotihuacan. There is evidence that at least some of the people living in Teotihuacan immigrated from
Quetzalcoatl is a deity in Mesoamerican culture and literature whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and means "feathered serpent" or "Quetzal-feathered Serpent". The worship of a Feathered Serpent is first documented in Teotihuacan in the first century BC or first century AD; that period lies within the Late Preclassic to Early Classic period of Mesoamerican chronology, veneration of the figure appears to have spread throughout Mesoamerica by the Late Classic period. In the Postclassic period, the worship of the feathered serpent deity was based in the primary Mexican religious center of Cholula, it is in this period that the deity is known to have been named "Quetzalcoatl" by his Nahua followers. In the Maya area, he was equivalent to Kukulkan and Gukumatz, names that roughly translate as "feathered serpent" in different Mayan languages. Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of wind and learning, wears around his neck the "wind breastplate" ehecailacocozcatl, "the spirally voluted wind jewel" made of a conch shell.
This talisman was a conch shell cut at the cross-section and was worn as a necklace by religious rulers, as they have been discovered in burials in archaeological sites throughout Mesoamerica, symbolized patterns witnessed in hurricanes, dust devils and whirlpools, which were elemental forces that had significance in Aztec mythology. In codex drawings and Xolotl were both pictured as wearing an ehecailacocozcatl around each of their necks. There has additionally been at least one major cache of offerings with knives and idols adorned with the symbols of more than one god, some of which were adorned with wind jewels. In the era following the 16th-century Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, a number of sources were written that conflate Quetzalcoatl with Ce Acatl Topiltzin, a ruler of the mythico-historic city of Tollan, it is a matter of much debate among historians to which degree, or whether at all, these narratives about this legendary Toltec ruler describe historical events. Furthermore, early Spanish sources written by clerics tend to identify the god-ruler Quetzalcoatl of these narratives with either Hernán Cortés or Thomas the Apostle—an identification, a source of a diversity of opinions about the nature of Quetzalcoatl.
Among the Aztecs, whose beliefs are the best-documented in the historical sources, Quetzalcoatl was related to gods of the wind, of the planet Venus, of the dawn, of merchants and of arts and knowledge. He was the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and knowledge. Quetzalcoatl was one of several important gods in the Aztec pantheon, along with the gods Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli. Two other gods represented by the planet Venus are Quetzalcoatl's ally Tlaloc, the god of rain, Quetzalcoatl's twin and psychopomp, named Xolotl. Animals thought to represent Quetzalcoatl include resplendent quetzals, rattlesnakes and macaws. In his form as Ehecatl he is the wind, is represented by spider monkeys and the wind itself. In his form as the morning star, Venus, he is depicted as a harpy eagle. In Mazatec legends, the astrologer deity Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, represented by Venus, bears a close relationship with Quetzalcoatl. A feathered serpent deity has been worshiped by many different ethnopolitical groups in Mesoamerican history.
The existence of such worship can be seen through studies of the iconography of different Mesoamerican cultures, in which serpent motifs are frequent. On the basis of the different symbolic systems used in portrayals of the feathered serpent deity in different cultures and periods, scholars have interpreted the religious and symbolic meaning of the feathered serpent deity in Mesoamerican cultures; the earliest iconographic depiction of the deity is believed to be found on Stela 19 at the Olmec site of La Venta, depicting a serpent rising up behind a person engaged in a shamanic ritual. This depiction is believed to have been made around 900 BC. Although not a depiction of the same feathered serpent deity worshipped in classic and post-classic periods, it shows the continuity of symbolism of feathered snakes in Mesoamerica from the formative period and on, for example in comparison to the Mayan Vision Serpent shown below; the first culture to use the symbol of a feathered serpent as an important religious and political symbol was Teotihuacan.
At temples such as the aptly named "Quetzalcoatl temple" in the Ciudadela complex, feathered serpents figure prominently and alternate with a different kind of serpent head. The earliest depictions of the feathered serpent deity were zoomorphic, depicting the serpent as an actual snake, but among the Classic Maya, the deity began acquiring human features. In the iconography of the classic period, Maya serpent imagery is prevalent: a snake is seen as the embodiment of the sky itself, a vision serpent is a shamanic helper presenting Maya kings with visions of the underworld; the archaeological record shows that after the fall of Teotihuacan that marked the beginning of the epi-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology around 600 AD, the cult of the feathered serpent spread to the new religious and political centers in central Mexico, centers such as Xochicalco and Cholula. Feathered serpent iconography is prominent at all of these sites. Cholula is known to have remained the most important center of worship to Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec/Nahua version of the feathered serpent deity, in the post-classic period.
During the epi-classic