Mesoamerican chronology divides the history of prehispanic Mesoamerica into several periods: the Paleo-Indian, the Archaic, the Preclassic or Formative, the Classic, the Postclassic and Postcolonial. The periodization of Mesoamerica is based on archaeological and modern cultural anthropology research; the endeavor to create cultural histories of Mesoamerica dates to the early twentieth century, with ongoing work by archeologists, ethnohistorians and cultural anthropologists. 10,000–3500 BCE The Paleo-Indian period or era is that which spans from the first signs of human presence in the region, to the establishment of agriculture and other practices and subsistence techniques characteristic of proto-civilizations. In Mesoamerica, the termination of this phase and its transition into the succeeding Archaic period may be reckoned at between 10,000 and 8000 BCE, although this dating is approximate only and different timescales may be used between fields and sub-regions. Before 2600 BCEDuring the Archaic Era agriculture was developed in the region and permanent villages were established.
Late in this era, use of pottery and loom weaving became common, class divisions began to appear. Many of the basic technologies of Mesoamerica in terms of stone-grinding, pottery etc. were established during this period. 2000 BCE–250 CEDuring the Preclassic Era, or Formative Period, large-scale ceremonial architecture, writing and states developed. Many of the distinctive elements of Mesoamerican civilization can be traced back to this period, including the dominance of corn, the building of pyramids, human sacrifice, jaguar-worship, the complex calendar, many of the gods; the Olmec civilization developed and flourished at such sites as La Venta and San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán succeeded by the Epi-Olmec culture between 300–250 BCE. The Zapotec civilization arose in the Valley of Oaxaca, the Teotihuacan civilization arose in the Valley of Mexico, the Maya civilization began to develop in the Mirador Basin and the Epi-Olmec culture in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec expanding into Guatemala and the Yucatán Peninsula.
250–900 CEThe Classic Period was dominated by numerous independent city-states in the Maya region and featured the beginnings of political unity in central Mexico and the Yucatán. Regional differences between cultures grew more manifest; the city-state of Teotihuacan dominated the Valley of Mexico until the early 8th century, but we know little of the political structure of the region because the Teotihuacanos left no written records. The city-state of Monte Albán dominated the Valley of Oaxaca until the late Classic, leaving limited records in their undeciphered script. Sophisticated arts such as stuccowork, sculptural reliefs, mural painting and lapidary developed and spread during the Classic era. In the Maya region, under considerable military influence by Teotihuacan after the "arrival" of Siyaj K'ak' in 378 CE, numerous city states such as Tikal, Calakmul, Copán, Palenque, Cobá, Caracol reached their zeniths; each of these polities was independent, although they formed alliances and sometimes became vassal states of each other.
The main conflict during this period was between Tikal and Calakmul, who fought a series of wars over the course of more than half a millennium. Each of these states declined during the Terminal Classic and were abandoned. 900–1521 CEIn the Postclassic Period many of the great nations and cities of the Classic Era collapsed, although some continued, such as in Oaxaca and the Maya of Yucatán, such as at Chichen Itza and Uxmal. This is sometimes seen as a period of increased warfare; the Postclassic is viewed as a period of cultural decline. However, it was a time of technological advancement in architecture and weaponry. Metallurgy came into use for jewelry and some tools, with new alloys and techniques being developed in a few centuries; the Postclassic was a period of rapid movement and population growth—especially in Central Mexico post-1200—and of experimentation in governance. For instance, in Yucatán,'dual rulership' replaced the more theocratic governments of Classic times, whilst oligarchic councils operated in much of Central Mexico.
It appears that the wealthy pochteca and military orders became more powerful than was the case in Classic times. This afforded some Mesoamericans a degree of social mobility; the Toltec for a time dominated central Mexico in the 9th–10th century collapsed. The northern Maya were for a time united under Mayapan, Oaxaca was united by Mixtec rulers in the 11th–12th centuries; the Aztec Empire arose in the early 15th century and appeared to be on a path to asserting dominance over the Valley of Mexico region not seen since Teotihuacan. Spain was the first European power to contact Mesoamerica and its conquistadores and a large number of native allies conquered the Aztecs. By the 15th century, the Mayan'revival' in Yucatán and southern Guatemala and the flourishing of Aztec imperialism evidently enabled a renaissance of fine arts and science. Examples include the'Pueblan-Mexica' style in pottery, codex illumination, goldwork, the flourishing of Nahua poetry, the botanical institutes established by the Aztec elite.
1521-1821 CEThe Colonial Period was initiated with Spanish conquest, which ended the hegemony of the Aztec Empire. It was accomplished with
Aztec mythology is the body or collection of myths of Aztec civilization of Central Mexico. The Aztecs were Nahuatl-speaking groups living in central Mexico and much of their mythology is similar to that of other Mesoamerican cultures. According to legend, the various groups who were to become the Aztecs arrived from the north into the Anahuac valley around Lake Texcoco; the location of this valley and lake of destination is clear – it is the heart of modern Mexico City – but little can be known with certainty about the origin of the Aztec. There are different accounts of their origin. In the myth the ancestors of the Mexica/Aztec came from a place in the north called Aztlan, the last of seven nahuatlacas to make the journey southward, hence their name "Azteca." Other accounts cite their origin at Tamoanchan. The Mexica/Aztec were said to be guided by their god Huitzilopochtli, meaning "Left-handed Hummingbird" or "Hummingbird from the South." At an island in Lake Texcoco, they saw an eagle holding a rattlesnake in its talons, perched on a nopal cactus.
This vision fulfilled a prophecy telling them. The Aztecs built their city of Tenochtitlan on that site, building a great artificial island, which today is in the center of Mexico City; this legendary vision is pictured on the Coat of Arms of Mexico. According to legend, when the Mexicans arrived in the Anahuac valley around Lake Texcoco, they were considered by the other groups as the least civilized of all, but the Mexica/Aztec decided to learn, they took all they could from other people from the ancient Toltec. To the Aztec, the Toltec were the originators of all culture. Aztec legends identify the Toltecs and the cult of Quetzalcoatl with the legendary city of Tollan, which they identified with the more ancient Teotihuacan; because the Aztec adopted and combined several traditions with their own earlier traditions, they had several creation myths. One of these, the Five Suns describes four great ages preceding the present world, each of which ended in a catastrophe, "were named in function of the force or divine element that violently put an end to each one of them".
Coatlicue was the mother of Centzon Huitznahua, her sons, Coyolxauhqui, her daughter. She found a ball filled with feathers and placed it in her waistband, becoming pregnant with Huitzilopochtli, her other children became suspicious as to the identity of the father and vowed to kill their mother. She gave birth on Mount Coatepec, pursued by her children, but the newborn Huitzilopochtli defeated most of his brothers, who became the stars, he killed his half-sister Coyolxauhqui by tearing out her heart using a Xiuhcoatl and throwing her body down the mountain. This was said to inspire the Aztecs to rip the hearts out of their victims and throw their bodies down the sides of the temple dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, who represents the sun chasing away the stars at dawn. Our age, the fifth age, or fifth creation, began in the ancient city of Teotihuacan. According to the myth, all the gods had gathered to create a new age. Although the world and the sun had been created, it would only be through their sacrifice that the sun would be set into motion and time as well as history could begin.
The most handsome and strongest of the gods, was supposed to sacrifice himself but when it came time to self-immolate, he could not jump into the fire. Instead, Nanahuatl the smallest and humblest of the gods, covered in boils, sacrificed himself first and jumped into the flames; the sun was set into motion with his sacrifice and time began. Humiliated by Nanahuatl's sacrifice, Tecuciztecatl became the moon. Water deities god of rain and lightning and thunder, he is a fertility god Chalchiuhtlicue, goddess of water, rivers, streams, horizontal waters and baptism. Huixtocihuatl, goddess of salt Opochtli, god of fishing and birdcatchers, discoverer of the harpoon and net Atlahua, god of water, a fisherman and archer Fire deities Xiuhtecuhtli, god of fire and time Chantico, goddess of firebox and volcanoes Xolotl, god of death, associated with Venus as the Evening Star Death deities Mictlantecuhtli, god of the dead, ruler of the Underworld Mictecacihuatl, goddess of the dead, ruler of the Underworld Xolotl, god of death, associated with Venus as the Evening Star Sky deities Tezcatlipoca, god of providence, the darkness and the invisible, lord of the night, ruler of the North.
Xipe-Totec, god of force, lord of ruler of the East. Quetzalcoatl, god of the life, the light and wisdom, lord of the winds and the day, ruler of the West. Huitzilopochtli, god of the war, lord of ruler of the South. Xolotl, god of death, associated with Venus as the Evening Star Ehecatl, god of wind Tlaloc, god of rain and lightning and thunder, he is a fertility god Coyolxauhqui and leader of the Centzonhuitznahua, associated with the moon Meztli, goddess of moon Tonatiuh, god of sun Centzonmimixcoa, 400 gods of the northern stars Centzonhuitznahua, 400 gods of the southern stars Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, god of the morning star Lords of the Night Xiuhtecuhtli, god of fire and time Tezcatlipoca, god of providence, the darkness and the invisible, lord of the night, ruler of the North. Piltzintecuhtli, god of the visions,associated with Mercury (the planet that
Obsidian use in Mesoamerica
Obsidian is a formed volcanic glass, an important part of the material culture of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. Obsidian was a integrated part of daily and ritual life, its widespread and varied use may be a significant contributor to Mesoamerica's lack of metallurgy. Lithic and contextual analysis of obsidian, including source studies, are important components of archaeological studies of past Mesoamerican cultures and inform scholars on economy, technological organization, long-distance trade, ritual organization, socio-cultural structure. Due to its glassy internal structure, obsidian is easy to work, as it breaks in predictable and controlled ways via conchoidal fracturing; this contributed to its prolific use throughout Mesoamerica. It is obtained by either quarrying source sites or in nodule form from riverbeds or fractured outcrops. Following the removal of cortex, bifacial and expedient flake stone tools could be produced through lithic reduction; the use of pecking and carving techniques may be employed to produce figurines, eccentrics, or other types of objects.
Prismatic blade production, a technique employing a pressure flaking-like technique that removed blades from a polyhedral core, was ubiquitous throughout Mesoamerica. Modern attempts to redesign production techniques are based on Spanish records and accounts of witnessed obsidian knapping. Motolinia, a 16th-century Spanish observer, left this account of prismatic blade production: It is in this manner: First they get out a knife stone, black like jet and 20 cm or less in length, they make it cylindrical and as thick as the calf of the leg, they place the stone between the feet, with a stick apply force to the edges of the stone, at every push they give a little knife springs off with its edges like those of a razor." As the distribution of obsidian sources in Mesoamerica is limited, many areas and sites lacked a local obsidian source or direct access to one. As a result, tool curation through edge-rejuvenation and/or resharpening was used on larger-mass tools, such as bifaces, to prolong the tool’s utility.
While prismatic blades were not curated due to their small size, utility of the tools may have been maintained by changing their function. In other words, as the edge of a blade lost its sharpness after long-term use, the blade may have been used in scraping activities, which does not require a sharp edge, than as a cutting implement. Other curation techniques of prismatic blades involve reshaping them into other tool types, such as projectile points and awls. Obsidian sources in Mesoamerica are limited in number and distribution, are restricted to the volcanic regions of the Sierra Madre Mountains as it runs through Mexico and Guatemala; these resources, are still quite abundant in the archaeological record and their origins can be traced by their physical and geological properties. Before discussing these obsidian sources, a definition of what an obsidian source is must be established, as many of the terms used allow for different and competing interpretations. Sidrys et al. stated that an obsidian source area includes several outcroppings of obsidian, limited in spatial extent, which may or may not have common chemical features and may or may not have been used by ancient humans.
Michael D. Glascock, of the University of Missouri Research Reactor Center at the University of Missouri, has divided Mesoamerica into nine sub-regions with one or more obsidian sources in each; these subdivisions, while effective at systemizing the source characteristics and allowing for a more visualized distribution of sources, are still tentative. They are as follows: Zaragoza, in the south-central Gulf lowlands of Mexico) Orizaba, in the south-central Gulf lowlands of Mexico Paredon, in the central highlands of Mexico Otumba, in the central highlands of Mexico Tulancingo, in the central highlands of Mexico Pachuca, in the central highlands of Mexico Zacualtipan, in the central highlands of Mexico Ucareo – largest source in west Mexico; the Guatemalan region – which incorporates all sources located in the Guatemalan highlands. Tajumulco, El Chayal and San Martín Jilotepeque are the best known obsidian sources in Guatemala and were exploited in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. In fact all Obsidian found in Olmec and Maya sites originates from these sources.
Sources in the Valley of Mexico, which fell under Teotihuacan control during the Early Classic, were Pachuca and Chicoloapan. Obsidian from Pachuca is notable because of its unique green-gold color and its internal purity which makes it one of the highest quality obsidian sources in Mesoamerica, it was much sought after and traded. Green obsidian is found in the area of Tulancingo, but is distinct from Pachuca obsidian because of its internal opacity. Substantial research has been carried out to decipher the Guatemala region sources; as mentioned earlier, the Guatemalan region includes the El Chayal and San Martin Jilotepeque sources, located in southern/southeastern Guatemala. Obsidian originating from Guatemala was used in Mesoamerica and is found as far north as the Yucatán Peninsula, moving via a well-developed long-distance trade network that
Azcapotzalco is one of the 16 municipalities into which Mexico's Mexico City is divided. Azcapotzalco is in the northwestern part of Mexico City; the town began in the pre-Hispanic era and was the seat of the Tepanec dominion until the Aztec Triple Alliance overthrew it. After that it was a rural farming area becoming part of the Federal District of Mexico City in the mid-19th century. In the 20th century the area was engulfed by the urban sprawl of Mexico City. Today it is a center of industry; the municipality of Azcapotzalco is in the Valley of Mexico with its eastern half on the lakebed of the former Lake Texcoco and the west on more solid ground. The historic center is on the former shoreline of this lake; the average altitude is 2240 meters above sea level. Politically, the municipality extends over 34.5km2 in the northwest of the Federal District of Mexico City, bordering the municipality of Gustavo A. Madero, Cuauhtémoc, Miguel Hidalgo along with the municipalities of Tlalnepantla de Baz, Naucalpan in the State of Mexico.
It has a semi moist temperate climate with an average temperature of 15C. As the municipality is 100% urbanized, there are no ecological reserves, it is divided into 2,723 city blocks. There are 54 parks which have no wild vegetation but rather planted species such as willow and pine trees; these parks cover 100.51 hectares, 2.9% of the entire municipality. The most important of these are the Parque Tezozómoc and Alameda Norte, which together account for 52.4 hectares. Parque Tezozomoc was inaugurated in 1982 designed as a scaled replica of the Valley of Basin of Mexico in the pre-Hispanic era; the Alamedia Norte park is next to the Ferrería station. It has a pond, used as an ice rink and playing field but was rehabilitated in the 2000s. Other important green areas include community squares such as Plaza Hidalgo, sports centers, college campuses that of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, community parks and cemeteries. Sports facilities cover about 67 hectares of the municipality with 70 fields and sports centers open to the public.
These include the Deportivo Renovacion Nacional, Deportivo Reynosa, Centro Deportivo Ferrocarrilero and the Unidad Deportiva Benito Juarez. Deportivo Reynosa used to host one of Mexico City’s temporary “artificial beaches” consisting of pools and a sand area, which were constructed by the city government as a service to the poor; the municipality has cemeteries which are counted as green spaces San Isidro because of its large size. There is little surface water with the exception of the Río de los Remedios, used for drainage of wastewater; the lowering of water tables in the valley has led to large cracks developing in areas of the municipality which has caused damage to infrastructure. The municipality is flat with inclines of between zero and five percent with no prominent elevations; because of its flatness, flooding is a problem in heavy rain in areas such as Santiago Ahuizotla, Nueva Santa María, San Pedro Xalpa and Pro Hogar. Sixty five percent of the municipality is occupied by about 500 industries which use toxic substances.
There are hundreds of km of underground gas lines. Nine communities have been classified as high risk. There are 250 chemical producers concentrated in Colonia Industrial Vallejo which make ethanol, cyanide compounds, organic solvents and more. Air pollution is a significant problem in the municipality. Most comes from vehicular industry. Noise pollution is caused by truck traffic. Although the municipality has no surface water, water pollution in its drainage is a problem from residential areas and industry. Industry contamination is in the form of poor water use and the dumping of prime materials from cleaning and includes organic matter, grease and detergents, dyes and more. Solid waste production is a problem from residential sources; the amount of waste produced in the municipality has grown seven-fold since the 1980s at a current rate of 571 tons per day. Due to the proximity of the old 18 de Marzo refinery, there are many underground pipes some of which are still in use. More are associated with another nearby but active refinery Terminal de Almacenamiento y Distribución de Destiados de Pemex-Refinación.
Most pipelines are found under Avenida Tezozomoc, 5 de Mayo, Salónica, Eje 3 Norte, Ferrocarril Central and Encarnación Ortiz. The town of Azcapotzalco consisted of neighborhoods from the pre-Hispanic period. Many of these neighborhoods exist to this day, called colonias, barrios or pueblos. A number of them maintain individual cultural traits despite being engulfed by the urban sprawl of Mexico City; these include San Juan Tlihuaca, San Pedro Xalpa, San Bartolo Cahualtongo, Santiago Ahuizotla, San Miguel Amantla, Santa Inés, Santo Domingo, San Francisco Tetecala, San Marcos, Los Reyes and Santa María Malinalco. Today, the municipality has 15 pueblos and 11 barrios. In 1986, INAH designated the center of Azcapotzalco as a historical monument. In 2011, the historic center was designated as a "Barrio Mágico"; the most important community remains the former town of Azcapotzalco called the historic center, marked by Plaza Hidalgo. This square consists of fenced stone paths surrounding gardens, its two main focal points are a st
Human trophy taking in Mesoamerica
Most of the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica such as the Olmec, Mixtec and Aztec cultures practiced some kind of taking of human trophies during warfare. Captives taken during war would be taken to their captors' city-states where they would be ritually tortured and sacrificed; these practices are documented by a rich material of iconographic and archaeological evidence from across Mesoamerica. Evidence of the ritualistic sacrifice and taking human body parts as trophies in Maya civilization exists from as far back as the Middle Formative period; the evidence consists of skeletal remains and depictions in Maya iconography showing acts of human sacrifice. Excavations at the non-Maya site of Teotihuacan have unearthed the remains of hundreds of bodies that are thought to represent a mass sacrifice at the Temple of the Feathered Serpent. At the Temple of the Moon, another excavation site, there were a number of decapitated remains found along with numerous bound bodies of headless males. Given these two examples of mass sacrificial sites, there is no reason why this could not have taken place in Maya society.
With that in mind, there are other possible explanations that are used among the Maya. It is not unreasonable to think; this was a selective social practice in which ancestors were considered a subset of all the deceased and were the ones who validated political power and access to resources. There is proof that the mortuary practices of the region were varied and once thought to be evidence of human sacrifice, they were found in locations of tomb reuse and secondary burial practice. It is believed for the most part. Most of these battles were driven by the desire for domination and the intention to intimidate other cities. During this time it was not uncommon that the victors of a battle would take captives back to their cities and use them for ritual sacrifice. In some instances they would bind or hinder the captive so that he could not compete in a winner-take-all ballcourt match. Herein, the loser would be beheaded and the victor would, in certain situations, keep his head as a trophy and confirm victory in order to establish his city's dominance.
In the Popul Vuh, the vision of human sacrifice and decapitation emphasized. However, in instances of decapitation, the sacrifice was intended to signify creation; this theme is confirmed when the Hero Twins played the Lords of Death in a ball game match and ended up tricking the Lords of Death into decapitating themselves. With the Lords of Death out of the picture, the Hero Twins were able to resurrect their father, the Maize God; this shows the significance of sacrifice and decapitation in warfare as a means to reenact rebirth, in the Popul Vuh. Maya art and iconography is a major source to anthropologists' knowledge and beliefs about the culture and history of the Maya. For instance, at the site of Bonampak, photographer Giles Healy discovered exquisite murals showing a battle and its aftermath, including the torture of captives. Other examples of Maya art depicting sacrifice and torture include carved stone stelae and panels. There is evidence that this type of art was recorded on wood and other perishable media, but they have eroded with time.
Iconographic depictions of trophy heads tend to show the heads being suspended in midair, held by the hair, or upside down. In addition they depict blood or other fluids flowing from the neck, eyes or mouth. Holding a head by the hair is seen as a sign of disrespect. In Maya iconography, these heads are fastened upright with the eyes opened and are worn on a belt, positioned on the small of the wearer's back; the actual act of decapitation in the iconography does appear from time to time. The most common place to see the decapitation of human heads being worn or presented as trophy heads are on painted cylinder vases of the Late Classic period and involve the Hero Twins or some type of Creation myth. In Oaxaca there are various pre-Columbian figures in which high-ranking characters and ball players wear ritual and military paraphernalia, holding inverted heads with their loose, long hair hanging down. One of these figures can be seen in the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington.
Javier Urcid writes that these trophies may have been "soft parts of decapitated heads turned into relics to hang" There are several figures showing characters with facial skin on their faces: the skin of a flayed human. Urcid’s article in El Sacrificio Humano en la Tradición Religiosa Mesoamericana includes eight illustrations of these trophies in the southern west of Mexico, including a brazier depicting a ball player with a flayed facial mask, wearing a necklace of human bones and carrying a severed head; the Relación Geográfica of 1580 mentions the festivity of the tlacaxipehualiztli in the context of human skin as trophies in Oaxaca: "with rods they hit throughout the body until it swelled, flayed the bodies and washed the meat with hot water and ate it, carried the skins in the nearby villages for begging." Los Mangales lies within the Salama Valley in the Northern Highlands of Guatemala. It has been estimated that this site was active from 1000 until 400 BC and was the site of vast, elaborate burials.
Three principal mounds entail the main composition of the site, containing varied amounts of adult male crania that have been interpreted as trophy heads or dismembered sacrificial retainers. In addition to the three principal burial mounds, there were multiple burial sites. In particular at buri
Flaying known colloquially as skinning, is a method of slow and painful execution in which skin is removed from the body. An attempt is made to keep the removed portion of skin intact. A dead animal may be flayed when preparing it to be used for its hide or fur; this is more called skinning. Flaying of humans is used as a method of torture or execution, depending on how much of the skin is removed; this is referred to as "flaying alive". There are records of people flayed after death as a means of debasing the corpse of a prominent enemy or criminal, sometimes related to religious beliefs. Dermatologist Ernst G. Jung notes that the typical causes of death due to flaying are shock, critical loss of blood or other body fluids, hypothermia, or infections, that the actual death is estimated to occur from a few hours up to a few days after the flaying. Hypothermia is possible, as skin is essential for maintaining a person's body temperature, as it provides a person's natural insulation. Ernst G. Jung, in his "Kleine Kulturgeschichte der Haut", provides an essay in which he outlines the Neo-Assyrian tradition of flaying human beings.
From the times of Ashurnasirpal II, the practice is displayed and commemorated in both carvings and official royal edicts. The carvings show that the actual flaying process might begin at various places on the body, such as at the crus, the thighs, or the buttocks. In their royal edicts, the Neo-Assyrian kings seem to gloat over the terrible fate they imposed upon their captives, that flaying seems, in particular, to be the fate meted out to rebel leaders. Jung provides some examples of this triumphant rhetoric. Here are some from Ashurnasirpal II:I have made a pillar facing the city gate, have flayed all the rebel leaders. I let the leaders of the conquered cities be flayed, clad the city walls with their skins; the captives I have killed by the sword and flung on the dung heap, the little boys and girls were burnt. The Rassam Cylinder, in the British Museum demonstrates this, their corpses they hung on stakes, they stripped off their skins and covered the city wall with them. Searing or cutting the flesh from the body was sometimes used as part of the public execution of traitors in medieval Europe.
A similar mode of execution was used as late as the early 18th century in France. In 1303, the Treasury of Westminster Abbey was robbed while holding a large sum of money belonging to King Edward I. After arrest and interrogation of 48 monks, three of them, including the subprior and sacrist, were found guilty of the robbery and flayed, their skin was attached to three doors as a warning against robbers of State. The Copford church in Essex, may have been found to have human skin attached to a door. In Chinese history, Sun Hao, Fu Sheng and Gao Heng were known for removing skin from people's faces; the Hongwu Emperor flayed many servants and rebels. In 1396 he ordered the flaying of 5000 women. Hai Rui suggested; the Zhengde Emperor flayed six rebels, Zhang Xianzhong flayed many people. Lu Xun said the Ming Dynasty was ended by flaying. One of the plastinated exhibits in Body Worlds includes an entire posthumously flayed skin, many of the other exhibits have had their skin removed. In Greek mythology, Marsyas, a satyr, was flayed alive for daring to challenge Apollo to a musical contest, which he lost.
According to Greek mythology, Aloeus is said to have had his wife flayed. In Aztec mythology, Xipe Totec is the flayed god of rebirth. Captured enemy warriors were flayed annually as sacrifices to him. Yahu-Bihdi, ruler of Hamath, was flayed alive by the Assyrians under Sargon II. According to Herodotus, Sisamnes, a corrupt judge under Cambyses II of Persia, was flayed for accepting a bribe; the Talmud discusses. Catholic and Orthodox tradition holds. Mani, founding prophet of Manichaeism, was said to have been beheaded. In March 415, Hypatia of Alexandria, a Neoplatonist philosopher, was murdered by a Christian mob of Nitrian monks who accused her of paganism, they stripped her naked, skinned her with ostraca, burned her remains. Totila is said to have ordered the bishop of Perugia, Herculanus, to be flayed when he captured that city in 549. In 991 AD, during a Viking raid in England, a Danish Viking is said to have been flayed by London locals for ransacking a church. Alleged human skin found on a local church door has, for many years, been considered as proof for this legend, but a deeper analysis made during the production of the 2001 BBC documentary, Blood of the Vikings, came to the conclusion that the preserved skin came from a cow hide and was part of a 19th-century hoax.
Pierre Basile was flayed alive and all defenders of the chateau hanged on 6 April 1199, by order of the mercenary leader Mercadier, for shooting and killing King Richard I of England with a crossbow at the siege of Châlus, in March 1199. In 1314, the brothers Aunay, who were lovers of the daughters-in-law of king Philip IV of France, were flayed alive castrated and beheaded, their bodies were exposed on a gibbet; the extreme severity of their punishment was due to the lèse majesté nature of the crime. In 1404 or 1417, the Hurufi Imad ud-Din Nes
The Aztecs were a Mesoamerican culture that flourished in central Mexico in the post-classic period from 1300 to 1521. The Aztec peoples included different ethnic groups of central Mexico those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica from the 14th to the 16th centuries. Aztec culture was organized into city-states, some of which joined to form alliances, political confederations, or empires; the Aztec empire was a confederation of three city-states established in 1427, city-state of the Mexica or Tenochca. Although the term Aztecs is narrowly restricted to the Mexica of Tenochtitlan, it is broadly used to refer to Nahua polities or peoples of central Mexico in the prehispanic era, as well as the Spanish colonial era; the definitions of Aztec and Aztecs have long been the topic of scholarly discussion since German scientist Alexander von Humboldt established its common usage in the early nineteenth century. Most ethnic groups of central Mexico in the post-classic period shared basic cultural traits of Mesoamerica, so many of the traits that characterize Aztec culture cannot be said to be exclusive to the Aztecs.
For the same reason, the notion of "Aztec civilization" is best understood as a particular horizon of a general Mesoamerican civilization. The culture of central Mexico includes maize cultivation, the social division between nobility and commoners, a pantheon, the calendric system of a xiuhpohualli of 365 days intercalated with a tonalpohualli of 260 days. Particular to the Mexica of Tenochtitlan was the patron God Huitzilopochtli, twin pyramids, the ceramic ware known as Aztec I to IV. From the 13th century, the Valley of Mexico was the heart of dense population and the rise of city-states; the Mexica were late-comers to the Valley of Mexico, founded the city-state of Tenochtitlan on unpromising islets in Lake Texcoco becoming the dominant power of the Aztec Triple Alliance or Aztec Empire. It was a tributary empire that expanded its political hegemony far beyond the Valley of Mexico, conquering other city states throughout Mesoamerica in the late post-classic period, it originated in 1427 as an alliance between the city-states Tenochtitlan and Tlacopan.
Soon Texcoco and Tlacopan were relegated to junior partnership in the alliance, with Tenochtitlan the dominant power. The empire extended its reach by a combination of trade and military conquest, it was never a true territorial empire controlling a territory by large military garrisons in conquered provinces, but rather dominated its client city-states by installing friendly rulers in conquered territories, by constructing marriage alliances between the ruling dynasties, by extending an imperial ideology to its client city-states. Client city-states paid tribute to the Aztec emperor, the Huey Tlatoani, in an economic strategy limiting communication and trade between outlying polities, making them dependent on the imperial center for the acquisition of luxury goods; the political clout of the empire reached far south into Mesoamerica conquering polities as far south as Chiapas and Guatemala and spanning Mesoamerica from the Pacific to the Atlantic oceans. The empire reached its maximal extent in 1519, just prior to the arrival of a small group of Spanish conquistadors led by Hernán Cortés.
Cortés allied with city-states opposed to the Mexica the Nahuatl-speaking Tlaxcalteca as well as other central Mexican polities, including Texcoco, its former ally in the Triple Alliance. After the fall of Tenochtitlan on August 13, 1521 and the capture of the emperor Cuauhtemoc, the Spanish founded Mexico City on the ruins of Tenochtitlan. From there they proceeded with the process of conquest and incorporation of Mesoamerican peoples into the Spanish Empire. With the destruction of the superstructure of the Aztec Empire in 1521, the Spanish utilized the city-states on which the Aztec Empire had been built, to rule the indigenous populations via their local nobles; those nobles pledged loyalty to the Spanish crown and converted, at least nominally, to Christianity, in return were recognized as nobles by the Spanish crown. Nobles acted as intermediaries to convey tribute and mobilize labor for their new overlords, facilitating the establishment of Spanish colonial rule. Aztec culture and history is known through archaeological evidence found in excavations such as that of the renowned Templo Mayor in Mexico City.
Important for knowledge of post-conquest Nahuas was the training of indigenous scribes to write alphabetic texts in Nahuatl for local purposes under Spanish colonial rule. At its height, Aztec culture had rich and complex mythological and religious traditions, as well as achieving remarkable architectural and artistic accomplishments; the Nahuatl words and mean "people from Aztlan," a mythical place of origin for several ethnic groups in central Mexico. The term was not used as an endonym by Aztecs themselves, but it is