Thursday, September 1, 2016
Calixtlahuaca Part 2: The Tlaloc Temple and the Palace
Monument 4: The Tlaloc Temple Complex
four cardinal directions (north, south, east, west), considered sacred as far back as the time of the Olmecs.
Templo Mayor, in Mexico City. The "goggles" around Tlaloc's eyes are his most typical and distinctive feature. In addition, he is almost always shown with fangs hanging down from both corners of his mouth, with his tongue drooping between them. Tlaloc was one of the most important of all the many gods of the various Mesoamerican civilizations. This is not surprising, since all these societies were dependent upon agriculture, for which rain is always the critical element. He was so important to the Aztecs that they gave him equal billing, along with their War God Huitzilopochtli. Temples devoted to both gods sit side-by-side atop the Templo Mayor, a pyramid that marked the center of their world.
Huehueteotl, the "Old, Old God". Human awareness of the mystery, power, and usefulness of fire, as well as its dangers, long pre-dates agriculture.
Tlaloc was married to Chalchiuhtlicue, the beautiful Goddess of Lakes and Streams. The Rain God was assisted by four helpers, called Tlaloque, who were dwarf-like beings. One of their key jobs was to smash great clay urns full of water, thus creating thunder as the rain was released. Tlaloc was closely associated with Ehecatl, the Wind God. Since strong, gusty winds often precede a rainstorm, the ancient people believed the rain was being pushed by the Wind God.
the one at Chichen Itza near the great ball court. Other archaeologists assert that this may be a site for fertility rites where a pregnant woman would lie with her head in the circular area with her arms outstretched on either side. However, the skulls attached to the sides, along with the well-known association between human sacrifice and Tlaloc, incline me toward the tzompantli theory. Even the proponents of the fertility theory admit that a person positioned as they describe would also have been ideally placed to have his/her heart cut out.
Monument 17: The Palace Complex
calmecac, or elite school which provided religious and military training to the sons of Aztec nobles. Further investigations by later archaeologists revealed the site to be a palace, probably of the ruler of Calixtlahuaca. They drew this conclusion, in part, because it closely resembles palaces in other parts of the Aztec Empire. For a Google satellite view of the Palace Complex, click here.
Teotihuacan Empire (100 AD - 650 AD). The ruins of its capital are located a few miles to the northeast of Mexico City. Teotihuacan exerted a strong influence over the area around Calixtlahuaca during the Classic Era, 800 years before the Aztecs arrived in the Valley of Mexico. Either this staircase is a remnant of that earlier Empire, or the Aztecs copied the Teotihuacan style when they re-built the Palace after conquering the previous inhabitants. The Aztecs admired everything about Teotihuacan, believing it was "where the gods were born". They imitated many of the artistic and architectural features they found in the ancient city, even though it had been in ruins for many centuries.
residences of nobles and warriors, while others were used to store food, weapons, and treasure. Still others were workshops for the production of sculpture, feather art and other luxury items desired by the ruler and his court. A few rooms contained shrines for rituals.
resulted in deforestation. This caused droughts and may have contributed in the decline of civilizations such as Teotihuacan and the Maya city states of the Classic Era.
This concludes Part 2 of my series on Calixtlahuaca. In Part 3, I will show you some of the artifacts found at the various sites and some of the history of the area from the early nomadic period to the arrival of the Spanish. If you enjoyed Part 2, and would like to leave a comment or question, please do so in the Comments section below, or email me directly.
If you leave a question in the Comments section, PLEASE provide your email address so I can respond.
Hasta luego, Jim