What Does This Aztec Calendar Indicate About Aztec Culture

Aztec calendar

Originally from the Valley of Mexico, the Aztec calendar was based on the Mayan calendar and was utilized until the Aztec Empire was defeated and destroyed. The Aztec calendar, like the Mayan calendar, was divided into two parts: an aritual cycle of 260 days and a civil cycle of 365 days. The ritual cycle, ortonalpohualli, was divided into two smaller cycles: an ordered sequence of 20 named days and a sequence of days numbered from 1 to 13. The ritual cycle, ortonalpohualli, was divided into two smaller cycles: an ordered sequence of 20 named days and a sequence of days numbered from 1 to 13.

Every named day was also linked with a distinct god, and researchers think that combinations of reigning deities were employed for divination purposes.

The Aztec ritual and civil cycles returned to the same places relative to each other every 52 years, much as they did in the Mayan calendar, an event known as theBinding Up of the Years, or the New Fire Ceremony, which was celebrated in the same way.

A fresh holy fire was sparked on the breast of a sacrifice victim at the conclusion of the event, and the people rekindled their hearth fires and began eating as a result.

The stone is presently on exhibit at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

These are signs that depict the 20 days of the Aztecmonth that are circling around them.

Originally developed from older calendars in the Valley of Mexico, the calendar of the Aztecs was fundamentally identical to that used by the Maya people.

The Aztec Calendar

It was the Aztecs of ancient Mexico who kept track of time with a sophisticated and linked triple calendar system that was based on the motions of the heavenly bodies and included a detailed list of key religious festivals and sacred dates. To distinguish each day of the calendar from the others, a unique combination of its name and a number was assigned to it. Additional gods were established in the calendar for both specific days and spans of days, underscoring the Aztec notion that time and everyday living were inextricably bound up with religious beliefs.

Every 52 years, the exact date when the two calendars aligned was considered to be highly significant and auspicious by the ancients. Dennis Jarvis’s Aztec Sun Stone is a work of art. (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike)

The Aztec View of Time

In the modern world, time is sometimes shown as a straight line that extends from a distant past to a limitless future; however, this was not the case for the Aztec civilization. ‘Time for the Aztecs was full of energy and motion, it was the forerunner of change and it was always imbued with a tremendous feeling of extraordinary occurrence,’ writes historian R.F. Townsend. It is clear from the cosmogenic tales that the ancient people were preoccupied with the processes of creation, destruction, and regeneration, and the calendrical system mirrored their ideas about the nature of time.

The passage of time had to be tracked, measured, and documented.

Tonalpohualli – ‘Counting of the Days’

The Aztecs utilized a religious calendar called as thetonalpohuallior ‘counting of the days,’ which literally translates as ‘counting of the days’. This practice dates back to ancient times in Mesoamerica, possibly to theOlmec civilisation of the first millennium BCE, and is still practiced today. It established a 260-day cycle, which was most likely based on astronomical observations at the time of its formation. The calendar was divided into units (also referred to as astrecenas) of 20 days, with each day having its own name, symbol, patron deity, and augury: for example, the first day of the month of January had the name, symbol, patron deity, and augury:

  1. Cipactli- crocodile -Tonacatecuhtli – good
  2. Ehecatli- wind -Quetzalcoatl – evil
  3. Calli- house – Tepeyolohtli – good
  4. Coatli- snake – Chalchiutlicue – good
  5. Miquiztli-death -Tecciztecatl / Meztli –

The 20-day group operated concurrently with a second group of 13 numbered days, which was also 20 days (perhaps not coincidentally the Aztec heaven had 13 layers). This meant that each day had a name as well as a number (for example, 4-Rabbit), with the latter changing as the calendar circled around the year. After all feasible combinations of names and numbers had been accomplished, 260 days had elapsed since the start of the game. The number 260 has numerous meanings: it represents the estimated duration of a human pregnancy, the time between the appearances of Venus, and the length of the Mesoamerican agricultural cycle, to name a few examples.

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  2. (Creative Commons Attribution) Apart from being given names and numbers, each day was also assigned a god, choosing from one of thirteen day-lords (the levels of heaven) and one of nine night-lords (the levels of hell) (the levels of the underworld).
  3. Aside from having their own patron birds, the daylight hours also had their own patron birds, including the hummingbird, owl, turkey, and quetzal, and one day had a butterfly patron.
  4. In addition, to provide still another layer of significance, the 20 days were split into four groups based on the cardinal points: acatl (east), tecpatl (north), calli (west), and tochtli (south) (south).
  5. This all appears to be somewhat confusing when compared to the current 7-day week of repeated names, but it did have the advantage of ensuring that every single day of the year had its own unique name and number combination and could thus not be mistaken with any other day of the year.
  6. The days were recorded in an atonalamatl, a book composed of bark paper that was used to keep track of the events.

Besides that, there existed a class of official diviners who interpreted which days were the most auspicious for certain events such as marriages and agricultural activities such as planting specific crops, and which days should be avoided at all costs.

Xiuhpohualli – ‘Counting of the Years’

Thexiuhpohuallior ‘counting of the years’ was the second Aztec calendar, which was based on a 365-day solar cycle and was used to keep track of the passage of time. This calendar served as a reminder of when specific religious events and festivals were to take place. This calendar was divided into 18 groups of 20 days, each with a different color (each with its own festival). These’months’ were as follows:

  1. Atlcahualo means “water has stopped” in Spanish. Tlacaxipeualiztli means “flaying of men” in Tlacaxipeualiztli. Tozoztontli means “lesser vigil,” whereas Hueytozoztli means “greater vigil.” Toxcatl means “drought” in Spanish. Etzalqualiztli– a group of people who consume maize and beans. Tecuilhuitontli (Little Lords’ Feast) and Hueytecuilhuitl (Great Lords’ Feast) are two different feasts of the lords. Tlaxochimaco means “flower giving,” while Xocotlhuetzi means “fruit falling.” Ochpaniztli is a sweeping term. Teotleco means “return of the gods” in Spanish. Tepeilhuitl translates as “mountain feast.” Quecholli is a kind of bird. Panquetzaliztli (the raising of the quetzal-feather flags) is a traditional celebration in Mexico. Atemoztli is a term that means “water falling.” Tititl carries no recognized significance. Izcalli-development

Others begin the series with Izcalli, which makes Atlcahual the second’month,’ and so on through the years. The conclusion of the year was also marked by an additional time known as thenemontemi (roughly, “nameless days”), which lasted for five days. These measures, however, were insufficient to assure total solar correctness (which was attained by our leap-year), and the calendar gradually became out of sync with the seasons, necessitating the relocation of festivals and even the renaming of days.

The entire year was given a name, which was chosen from a list of four options in order of appearance: Rabbit, Reed, Flint Knife, and House.

As a result, by the time all four names had been used 13 times, an entire 52-year cycle had elapsed.

The Calendars in Unison

In accordance with Townsend’s description, thetonalpohualliandxiuhpohuallicalendars ran simultaneously. They have frequently been described as two engaged rotating gears, in which every 52 years, the beginning day of the larger 365-day wheel would align with the beginning day of the smaller 260-day cycle. A Mesoamerican “century” was defined as a period of 52 years in length. (127)The transition from one 52-year cycle (xiuhmolpilli) to another was celebrated by the New Fire Ceremonial, the most important religious event in the Aztec culture, which was also known as the ‘Binding of the Years’ ceremony, which was aptly named after the Aztec god of time.

If the gods were not happy with mankind, there would be no new sun and the world would come to an end.

Interestingly, despite the fact that the 52-year intervals were significant blocks in Aztec history, they were never given a specific name, and all dates were reset at the start of each new cycle.

Did you like reading this article? Prior to publication, this paper was checked for correctness, dependability, and conformance to academic standards by two independent reviewers.

Aztec Calendar: It Is More Than What We Know

Close-up image of the Aztec Calendar The Aztec Calendar (also known as the Sun Stone) has piqued the interest of archaeologists, historians, and conspiracy theorists alike since its discovery in 1790. A number of different interpretations have been advanced regarding its use, and until recently, practically everyone accepted that it served as a calendar of some sort. However, recent study has brought to light some data that suggests the opposite. Continue reading to learn more about this enigmatic stone and why it might not be what it appears to be.

What Is The Aztec Calendar?

The discovery of the Aztec Calendar, courtesy of the Casasola Archive in 1913. The Aztec Calendar, also known as the Sun Stone, is a massive artwork that weighs a whopping 24,590kg and is little more than 3ft thick. It is the world’s largest stone sculpture. The round front panel, which has a massive circumference of approximately 11.5ft, is comprised of eight concentric circles, each of which has a different symbol. In this collection, you will find a variety of native creatures, such as crocodile and jaguar; natural elements, such as wind and water; some primitive marks of civilization, such as buildings; and qualities that are common to all humans, such as movement and death.

Although there are disagreements over who (or what) is shown, the majority of experts feel that it depicts the sun deity Tonatiuh, who is considered to be one of the most significant deities in the Aztec religion.

This is said to depict a need for blood through the sacrifice of human beings.

Who Made The Sun Stone?

Despite the fact that it was originally believed that the monolith was carved in the late 15th century, new evidence and study has prompted researchers to reach a different conclusion. It was discovered that a symbol on the middle disk indicated the name of Moctezuma II, the Aztec king who reigned from 1502 and 1520, according to the findings. However, despite the fact that the Aztec Empire reached its zenith under the reign of Moctezuma, it finally fell victim to the conquistadors, who seized control of the capital (now known as Mexico City) when the monarch himself was assassinated.

The Discovery Of The Sun Stone

Venustiano Carranza, a Mexican revolutionary leader, poses with the Sun Stone in 1917, courtesy of the National Photographic Archive of Mexico. During the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire in 1521, the conquistadors feared that their new people would continue to practice their horrific religious ceremonies, which they considered to be heretical. The Spaniards buried the Sun Stone upside down in the main square of what is now Mexico City in an attempt to put an end to the practice of human sacrifice and sun worship.

Painting residues were discovered in the pores of the stone, indicating that it was previously vibrantly colored in its previous life. Every trace of paint has been wiped away over the course of several years. The Piedra del Sol Cathedral, built in the 1950s.

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Sign up for our Free Weekly Newsletter to stay up to date. The Aztec Calendar was discovered in 1790 by laborers who were working on the city’s plumbing system at the time. The Sun Stone, which was placed on the side of the Metropolitan Cathedral by the Spanish kings who governed Mexico at the time, served as a reminder of the empire’s long and illustrious past. The stone was gradually damaged by the wind, rain, and bullets of American soldiers, and it was eventually rehoused in the National Museum in Washington, DC, in 1885.

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The Legacy of the Sun Stone

Located in the National Anthropology Museum is a stone called the Sun Stone. The Sun Stone has made an indelible mark on history and academics, as well as on popular culture, and it will be missed. As of today, the Calendar is housed at Mexico City’s National Anthropology Museum, where it draws large throngs of tourists who are anxious to unravel what they believe to be the mystery of the Sun Stone for themselves. The monolith is so important to Mexican culture that the country’s coins are based on the structure of the Calendar, with each denomination depicting a different segment of the circular pattern.

In this particular instance, the predictions were not correct, but the amount of attention the claim received indicates the long-lasting influence of Aztec civilization throughout the world.

The Purpose of the Sun Stone

From Fordham University comes this illustration of a gourd dish used to collect human intestines after sacrifice. As of this writing, there is still no definite explanation to the question of why the monolith was built or what it was intended to do. Although there are various distinct interpretations, there is a general consensus. Until recently, it was commonly believed that the Sun Stone was a massive calendar, and as a result, it was known around the world as the Aztec Calendar. There are several compelling arguments in favour of this view, not the least of which is the fact that the concentric rings reflect the days, ‘weeks,’ and years of the Aztec calendar, respectively.

A sacrifice victim would be chained to these massive stone pillars, made to battle, and then eventually slain in order to appease the fearsome Tonatiuh.

According to a third point of view, the monolith was not originally intended to stand in the manner in which it does now, with the panel facing front.

These were receptacles used for the collection and burning of the entrails of sacrificial victims, and they were made of wood. It is now necessary to examine all of the facts and determine which interpretation is the most trustworthy.


AztecCalendar.com provides images of some of the symbols on the Aztec calendar, which symbolize the day, the month, and the solar year. The Sun Stone clearly demonstrates the characteristics of a calendar, with time periods etched out using symbols and sequences on the surface of the stone. The Aztec year consisted of 260 days, which were split into 13 months, each of which had 20 days. The concentric rings on the monolith depict these divisions of time, lending more credence to the theory that the Sun Stone was utilized as a chronological record in ancient times.

  • The Aztecs believed that mankind was obliterated at the beginning of each era, and that humanity was regenerated at the beginning of the following era.
  • The Sun Stone’s chronological symbolism and structural design suggest that it was intended to depict the passage of time and, as a result, may have functioned as a calendar after all.
  • Tonatiuh, despite the fact that he supplied warmth and nutrition, also required blood.
  • The Aztecs conducted the terrible process of human sacrifice in a variety of cruel methods, with the removal of the still-beating heart being a common feature.
  • They were informed that they would have a position beside the gods in the afterlife, which may not have been much consolation given that they were being chained to the sacrifice rock at the time of their death.


Through the use of the Aztec calendar, which includes symbols for the day, the month, and the solar year, you may learn more about them. There are obvious indications of a calendar on the Sun Stone, with dates and times etched out using symbols and sequences. It took the Aztecs 260 days to complete one year, which was divided into 13 months, each of which had 20 days to complete. It is possible that the Sun Stone was used as a chronological record because of the concentric circles on its surface, which adds weight to the idea that it was.

  • It was thought by the Aztecs that mankind was destroyed at the beginning of each era, only to be revived at the beginning of the next.
  • The Sun Stone’s chronological symbolism and structural design suggest that it was intended to depict the passage of time and, as a result, it may have functioned as a calendar.
  • The Aztecs revered the sun as the source of all life, and Tonatiuh was considered the most significant of all the gods by the people.
  • Human blood, to be more particular.
  • A large number of people, hundreds of people, are estimated to have died in this manner during the course of a 260-day year.

We could conclude that the Sun Stone served a symbolic or ceremonial function in Aztec society, given the prominence of religious sacrifice in the culture.


Diego Rivera’s La Gran Tenochtitlan (Great Tenochtitlan), 1945 Some last elements from the Sun Stone suggest that it may have had a geographical component to its design as well. Some believe that the four arrows that appear on each side of, above and below the image of Tonatiuh relate to the four cardinal points. It is reported that the Spanish conquistadors navigated the empire using native maps, and although none of these maps have survived, it is apparent that the Aztecs had a rudimentary sense of mapping and understood the significance of the cardinal directions.

In this case, it is possible that the Sun Stone was employed as a measure of space in addition to time, as shown by the arrows etched on it.

The Answers

In 1945, Diego Rivera created the mural La Gran Tenochtitlan. Some of the Sun Stone’s final characteristics suggest that it may have had a geographical component to its design as well. A theory has been put forward that the four arrows that appear on either side, above and below the picture of Tonatiuh, correlate to the four cardinal points. It is documented that the Spanish conquistadors navigated the empire using native maps, and although none of these maps have survived, it is apparent that the Aztecs had a rudimentary sense of mapping and understood the significance of the cardinal directions.

This suggests that the Sun Stone may have been employed as a measure of space as well as time, as shown by the arrows etched on the monolith.

The Aztec Calendar – mysterious origins and later uses

Most people are at least slightly aware with the Aztec calendar, thanks to the famed Aztec sun stone, which has become a symbol of the civilization. The question is, what exactly was this calendar, and where did it come from. First, a little background information. Mesoamerican civilizations arose in an area stretching from southern Mexico to Costa Rica, and they were influenced by indigenous peoples. The inhabitants of this country began to develop as a civilisation at a period when Greece was establishing itself as a major force in the Western world.

In Mexico City, there is a depiction of this at the National Anthropological Museum.

Enter: The Aztecs

The Aztecs were the last of the great civilizations of Mesoamerica to fall before the arrival of the Europeans. In this manner, they carried on the traditions of the early Mesoamericans, who looked to the sky for guidance on how to live in harmony with their gods and with the rest of the cosmos around them. The Aztecs were an agrarian society who saw religion as a means of ensuring their own existence. Aztec priests and leaders studied the motions of the sun and the planets in the sky to better understand their world.

When solar, lunar, and planetary occurrences occurred, the rites that accompanied them were scheduled religious ceremonies held in honor of their gods of the earth and the sky.

In spite of the fact that grisly rites were a fundamental component of the Aztec faith, it was the use of heavenly calendars that guided these people to follow in the footsteps of their forefathers and foremothers.

Aztec calendar – or calendars

Actually, the Aztecs employed three calendars, all of which were likely devised by the Olmecs, who were one of the oldest inhabitants of Mesoamerican territory. They were utilized to make connections between the present patterns of the sky and everyday Aztec life, much as they were most likely employed to control the events of the early Olmecs’ lives. The Tonalpohualli calendar was the most important calendar in Aztec history. The dates for the Aztec rites were noted on this 260-day calendar, which was kept in the temple.

  1. Beginning with the first day, the numbers one through thirteen were connected with each deity day, starting with the first day.
  2. This would be repeated every 260 days for a total of 260 days.
  3. The god of the day and the number of the first day of the ambiguous year dubbed hazy years are both unknown.
  4. It takes 52 years for a vague year and day god to be repeated once again when they are spun around together.
  5. After then, there existed theAztec long calendar, which kept track of each 52-year bundle of calendar cycle bundles.
  6. From the study and understanding of time and space, the Aztec calendars, which had been in use from the beginning of the cultural revolution of these Southern American peoples, drew an importance of life that was derived from the study and knowledge of these two dimensions.
  7. The peoples of the Aztec empire coupled calendar events with religious rites to demonstrate to the people that their lives were better as a result of the information that the priests had gleaned from the heavens, which they believed to be true.

Using the past to predict the future maintained these kings and priests of kings in power since many things could only be explained by divine intervention, and divine intervention is how powerful rulers keep the people in order within civilization and the cosmos for the good of everyone.

More on the Aztec calendar system

  • The sun stone (also known as the Aztec calendar stone)
  • Introduction to the Aztec calendar (with links to detailed information about each god, among other things)
  • Aztec calendar wheels are depicted in detail.

Aztec Empire for Kids: Writing and Technology

History for Kids: The Aztecs, Mayas, and Incas When the Spanish came in Mexico, the Aztecs had not yet created iron or bronze metals, and so were unable to trade with them. Their tools were constructed of bone, stone, and obsidian, among other materials. In addition, they did not rely on animals of burden or the wheel. Despite the fact that they lacked these fundamental technologies, the Aztecs possessed a very advanced social structure. They also had their own writing and technology, which they used to communicate.

  1. In some places of Mexico, it is still in widespread usage today.
  2. Aztec Writing The Aztecs communicated via the use of symbols known as glyphs or pictographs.
  3. Only the priests were capable of reading and writing.
  4. A codex is the name given to an Aztec book.
  5. Some examples of Aztec glyphs are shown below (artist Unknown) Aztec CalendarThe usage of calendars by the Aztecs was one of the most well-known features of their technological development.
  6. For religious rituals and festivals, a single calendar was utilized to keep track of everything.
  7. There were 260 days on the calendar.
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The other calendar was used to keep track of the passing of time.

Only 5 days remained, and these were considered unlucky days in certain cultures.

The Aztecs feared that the world would come to an end on this particular day.

Unknown artist created the Aztec calendar stone.

The chinampa was a method that they utilized in marshy places that was novel at the time.

They constructed a large number of chinampas and planted crops on these artificial islands.

Aqueducts Bathing was a significant aspect of Aztec society, which required bathing at least once every day.

The Aztecs constructed two massive aqueducts that brought fresh water from springs that were more than two and a half miles away to the capital city of Tenochtitlan.

They employed a vast array of plants to treat a wide range of ailments.

Steam baths were one of the most common treatments recommended by doctors. They believed that through sweating, the toxins that were causing the person’s illness would be expelled from their body. Information on Aztec Writing and Technology that is both interesting and educational

  • Aztec codices were fashioned from a single long sheet of paper that was folded in half like an accordion to form the writing surface. Many of the codices measured more than ten meters in length
  • The chinampa farms were sometimes referred to as “floating gardens” because they looked to float on top of the lake. It is believed that the Aztecs utilized canoes for transportation and to move commodities throughout the rivers of the Valley of Mexico
  • Aztec surgeons employed splints to support fractured bones while they healed. They were built in rectangles, and the farmers would travel between the fields in canoes. The Aztecs are credited with introducing the globe to two of our favorite foods: popcorn and chocolate, among other things. One of the innovations that the Aztecs had ahead of much of the rest of the globe was the implementation of compulsory schooling for all citizens. Everyone, boys and girls, rich and poor, was expected by law to attend school
  • This included children with disabilities.
  • Activities This page is the subject of a ten-question quiz
  • Listen to an audio recording of this page being read: The audio element cannot be played because your browser does not support it. The following works are cited:HistoryAztecs, Mayans, and Incas for Kids

Ominous new interpretation of Aztec sun stone

The language of instruction is Spanish. One of the most important remaining artifacts from the Aztec Empire, a 24-ton basalt calendar stone, has been subjected to a new study, which interprets the stone’s central image as the death of the sun god Tonatiuh during an eclipse, an event Aztecs believed would herald the beginning of the end of the world, accompanied by earthquakes. Many experts think that the core of the stone is the face of Tonatiuh (pronounced toe-NAH-tee-uh), upon which the Aztecs sacrificed human beings in order to prevent the end of the world from approaching.

Her research revealed that the people of the time “had a more ominous outlook on their future than those in today’s civilizations.” “However, the Aztecs were more advanced in their understanding of astronomy than most people know.” Stone has a shady background.

This picture, which represents the sun dimmed during an eclipse, shows that the sun god’s face was either unpainted or tinted black, as suggested by ” href=” The Florida Museum graphic was created by James Young and includes photos from El Commandant and Keepscases / Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

The Spanish invaded the region, integrating the indigenous population to live more like their European conquerors.

According to Milbrath, the stone, which was on display in the main square of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, which is located in present-day Mexico City, was most likely the site where the most prized prisoners were sacrificed.

Observing the sun in order to forecast the future The sun’s motions were observed by early societies such as the Aztecs and Mayas, according to Milbrath, in order to forecast future occurrences such as weather patterns and astronomical cycles.

Florida Museum photo by Kristen Grace According to her, “it’s fairly normal for individuals to want to make predictions about cycles.” People began following the sun and the moon, as well as observing when eclipses happened, and it is likely that it became fundamental to their religious beliefs at that point.

  1. The concept that they needed to feed the sun with the blood of human sacrifice in order to keep it alive, however, complemented their reliance on the sun for agriculture.
  2. According to their calendar cycle, the day repeats every 260 days.
  3. Tonatiuh was still alive.
  4. Some speculate that they were aware that no eclipse would occur on 4 Olin at the peak of the empire.
  5. According to her, “when they built their mythology, they made certain that 4 Olin would never occur in conjunction with an eclipse in their universe.” There should be no doubt about the likelihood of deliberate manipulation.
  6. Paint, according to Milbrath, was one of the most essential characteristics of the stone that may have been washed away over time.
  7. Susan Milbrath captured this image of the Florida Museum of Natural History.

” href=” Susan Milbrath captured this image of the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Although there is no evidence to support this, some evidence suggests that the picture of Tonatiuh may have been left unpainted or colored black, similar to the sun during a solar eclipse.

According to her, Tonatiuh’s tongue, shown on the Calendar Stone as a knife protruding out of his mouth, was also a frequent symbol of death in ancient times.

Fire serpents — open-jawed snakes with flames on their bodies and starry snouts — represent a constellation closely associated with the sun during the dry season, when the sun’s powerful rays were at their most brilliant, according to Milbrath.

Astronomy and religion were intertwined in the minds of the Aztecs.

“Astronomy and religion have always had a strong connection,” she explained.

Photograph by Kristen Grace of the Florida Museum In order to create an 8-foot facsimile of the Aztec Sun Stone replica at Dickinson Hall, artists Gardner and Addie Hassel of Stelter Creative photograph and measure the original at Dickinson Hall.

Photograph by Kristen Grace of the Florida Museum According to Milbrath, the Aztecs attempted to oppose and battle the powers they believed were attempting to destroy the sun during an eclipse, when darkness covered the sun and damage may befall humans.

According to her, “pregnant ladies kept home because they were afraid their children would be born with dreadful defects.” “While much of the specifics of how the Aztecs coped with solar eclipses are unknown, it is certain that they attempted to scare away the monster they believed was devouring the sun.” Despite the fact that human sacrifice was a significant part of Aztec civilization, Milbrath believes that scientists should not dismiss what they were able to accomplish by being able to predict eclipses.

“I hope people have a better understanding of the Aztecs and do not think of them as a murderous people,” she remarked.

“We’re sacrificing individuals on a regular basis, and in a variety of ways,” she concluded.

In fact, I don’t believe we’re any more sophisticated than they were.” The language of instruction is Spanish. Learn more about the Florida Museum’s Latin American Archaeology Collection by visiting their website.

Recent Scientific Interpretations of the Aztec Calendar Stone

The Aztec Calendar Stone, also known as the Aztec Sun Stone (Piedra del Sol in Spanish), is a large basaltdisk inscribed with hieroglyphic engravings of calendar signs and other motifs relating to the Aztec creation story. It is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the world. The stone, which is presently on display at the National Museum of Anthropology (INAH) in Mexico City, spans around 3.6 meters (11.8 feet) in diameter, is approximately 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) thick, and weighs more than 21,000 kilograms.

Aztec Sun Stone Origins and Religious Meaning

The so-called Aztec Calendar Stone was most likely not a calendar at all, but rather a ceremonial container or altar associated with the Aztec sun deity, Tonatiuh, and the festivals held in his honor instead. At its heart lies what is commonly understood as the image of the god Tonatiuh, contained within the sign Ollin, which signifies movement and symbolizes the last of the Aztec cosmology epochs, the Fifth Sun, and represents the last of the Aztec cosmological epochs, the Fifth Sun. When you look closely at Tonatiuh’s hands, you’ll notice that they are claws clutching a human heart, and his tongue is shown as an orobsidianknife, which signifies that a sacrifice was necessary in order for the sun to continue its passage across the sky.

It is encompassed by a broad band or ring, which contains calendrical and cosmic symbols, around which Tonatiuh’s picture is set.

A second outer ring has a series of boxes, each of which contains five dots, symbolizing the five-day Aztec week, as well as triangular signs, which are most likely representations of sun rays, on either side of the ring.

Aztec Sun Stone Political Meaning

During Motecuhzoma II’s rule, 1502-1520, the Aztec sun stone was dedicated to him and was most likely crafted during that time period. On the surface of the stone, there is a symbol symbolizing the date 13 Acatl, also known as 13 Reed. In the year 1479 AD, this day corresponds to the year 1479 AD, which, according to archaeologist Emily Umberger, is the anniversary date of a politically significant event: the birth and rebirth of Huitzilopochtlias the sun, which took place on the same day. This stone conveyed a clear political message to all who came across it: this was an important year of rebirth for the Aztec empire, and the emperor’s authority to govern derives straight from the Sun God and is infused with the holy powers of time, direction, and sacrifice.

Aspects of Aztec art that emerge in these bands include serial and repetitive themes that are seen elsewhere in the culture (crossing bones, heart skull, bundles of kindling, etc.) and which symbolise death, sacrifice, and offering.

They speculate that the patterns reflect petroglyphic prayers or exhortations announcing the triumph of the Aztec forces, the recital of which may have been a part of the celebrations that took place on and around the Sun Stone, according to the authors.

Alternative Interpretations

Despite the fact that Totoniah is the most widely accepted interpretation of the picture on the Sun Stone, numerous interpretations have been presented. It was hypothesized in the 1970s that the face was not Totoniah’s, but rather the face of the alive earth Tlateuchtli, or even the face of the night sun Yohualteuctli, by a small group of archaeologists. According to the majority of Aztec experts, neither of these hypotheses is supported by the evidence. David Stuart, an American epigrapher and archaeologist who specializes in Maya hieroglyphs, has speculated that the figure might be a deified depiction of Mexica rulerMotecuhzoma II, who ruled during the time of the Aztecs.

As Stuart points out, there are numerous Aztec portrayals of governing rulers masquerading as gods, and he speculates that the center face is a composite picture of Motecuhzoma and his patron deity Huitzilopochtli, rather than a single image of either of them.

History of the Aztec Sun Stone

Physicists believe the basalt was mined somewhere in Mexico’s southern basin, at least 18-22 kilometers (10-12 miles) south of the ancient city of Tenochtitlan. Following its engraving, the stone must have been placed in the ceremonial precinct ofTenochtitlán, lying horizontally and most likely at the site where ritual human sacrifices were performed, before being moved. The structure may have served as an eagle vessel, a receptacle for human hearts (quauhxicalli), or a platform for the last sacrifice of a gladiatorial warrior, according to scholars (temalacatl).

The religious rulers in Mexico City concluded that the figure was a harmful influence on their inhabitants somewhere between 1551 and 1572, and the stone was buried facing down within the holy precinct of Mexico-Tenochtitlan.


The Sun Stone was uncovered in December 1790 by laborers who were leveling and repaving the main plaza of Mexico City at the time of the discovery. The stone was raised to a vertical position, where archaeologists conducted their initial examination of it. It remained there for six months, exposed to the elements, until it was carried into the cathedral in June of 1792. When the disk was carried to the early Museo Nacional, where it was shown in the monolithic gallery, it was believed to have taken 15 days and 600 pesos to complete the voyage, which began in 1885.

  • It is currently on display on the ground level of the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, in the Aztec/Mexico exhibition room, as part of the museum’s permanent collection.
  • Kris Hirst has edited and modified this page.
  • 2014.Aztec Archaeology and Ethnohistory (Berdan FF.
  • Cambridge University Press is based in New York.
  • (2013).
  • Boone, E.H., and Collins, R.
  • an image of the Stone of Motecuhzoma IlhuicaminaSSmith, ME.
  • The Aztecs Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Company, Oxford.
  • (2016, December).
  • Maya Decipherment is scheduled for June 13, 2016.
  • Umberger, Art History and the Aztec Empire: Dealing with the Evidence of Sculptures, University of California Press, 2007.

Revue Espanola de Antropologa Americana 37:165-202 (Spanish) Van Tuerenhout, D.R., et al., 2005. The Aztecs, to be precise. Perspectives that are different. ABC-CLIO Inc. is based in Santa Barbara, California.

How to Read an Aztec Calendar

L. Cargill, Medical Laboratory Scientist, American Society of Clinical Pathologists. Former blood banker and laboratory technician. Has a passion for writing about a diverse range of topics. Enjoy!

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The Great and Venerable Aztec Mechanism of the Universe

According to the Nahuatl language, the Aztec Sun Stone is referred to as Teoilhuicatlapaluaztli-Ollin Tonalmachiotl. What a lot of words! ‘The Great and Venerable Mechanism of the Universe,’ is how the translation reads. During the Spanish attack and takeover of Tenochtitlan in 1521, the massive Sun Stone was lost across one of the causeways connecting the city to Tenochtitlan, which was the Aztec capital at the time. The only method to get to Tenochtitlan, which was an island constructed into a shallow lake bed, was by boat or by crossing the causeways.

An incredible twenty-six tons of stone have been carved into the sculpture!

Some believe that its burial was planned, while others believe that it was an accident.

Where Is the Aztec Sun Stone Today?

The Aztec Calendar stone is currently housed at the Museo Nacional de Antropologa, or the National Museum of Anthropology, in Mexico City, where it has been since its discovery. Because of its geographic location, size, and weight, this is most likely a permanent house for the owner. Understanding the symbols on the Aztec Calendar is as follows: For Tomás J. Filsinger, author of The Aztec Cosmos (1984), the following information serves as a guide to the Sun Stone: According to Filsinger, the following information is a guide to the Sun Stone:

  1. The stone’s outer ring has been carved with two Fire Serpents, which represent the sun and the stars, respectively. Within the headdresses of the two heads that come together at the bottom of the outer ring, there are seven Aztec star glyphs to be found. The Pleiades constellation may be represented by the seven stars on the stone’s main face, which is surrounded by glyphs representing the four previous suns. These studies of the sun and stars resulted in the development of mythology around the Ages of the World, also known as the four Epochs of devastation of the earth. The central face of this sculpture depicts the Earth itself. It might be the current Sun, or it could be Tonatiuh, the Aztec deity of the sun. Most experts think it represents the face of the Earth God, Tlaltecuhtli, and that the four knots knotted into the tails of the outer fire serpents signify the number of years since the creation of the world. During an Aztec 52-year cycle, there were four counts of thirteen years each in the calendar year. This means that a total holy count of 52 years is represented by the four knots. In addition, the Aztec glyphs placed inside a ring around four previous suns signify each month of the year. Each month consisted of 13 days, which corresponded to the 260 days in the Aztec year. In addition to the Sun Stone, the Aztecs had another calendar (which was distinct from the Sun Stone) that represented the solar year of 360 days by dividing the year into eighteen months of 20 days each
  2. The Aztec Sun Stone, on the other hand, was not used as a calendar in the traditional sense, but rather as a representation of the Aztec gods as they related to daily life. It was certainly the Great and Venerable Mechanism of the Universe in the eyes of the Aztecs.

The Aztec Sun Stone

  1. The present sun, also known as the fifth sun, is surrounded by the four inner suns or ages, which are encircling the central face. This ring encircles the four faces from earlier in the game. This circle also contains the calendar months, which are represented by twenty named glyphs. The present solar age belief is that it will be brought to a close by tremendous earthquakes that would shake the entire planet
  2. The first sun was said to have been characterized by an era of giants. They were the ancestors of modern humans, and they lived in caves for thousands of years. According to Aztec legend, the first sun came to an end when jaguars devoured all of the men
  3. The second sun was an agricultural period during which people learned how to harvest and work the Earth
  4. And the third sun was a time of peace. This period came to an end when hurricanes and floods swept over the globe
  5. The third sun represented the height of Aztec pyramid construction, as well as the time when the first temples and observatories were built. As the era came to a close, the Earth erupted in fire and volcanic eruptions
  6. The age of the fourth sun is the period during which humanity roamed the world and bridged seas. According to legend, this age came to an end with a global deluge.

So what does an Aztec Calendar look like?

The Aztecs utilized the same calendar as the Maya, which is a common practice today. In reality, they took it on loan for their own use. They swap out the Mayan glyphs with Aztec glyph counterparts in the process. Farmers, tradesmen, and priests all utilize the Mayan calendar on a daily basis, and it is widely accepted as a universal calendar. It is believed that the Aztecs and Mayans had three calendars: one called the long count calendar, another called Haab, or civil/daily calendar, and a third called Tzolkin, which was their holy calendar, all of which were based on a long count system.

  • The first number, 12 represents the baktun (144,000 day count), or 12 x 144,000 days since the beginning of the current long count (
  • The second number, 13 represents the baktun (144,000 day count)
  • The third number, 13 represents the baktun (144,000 day count)
  • The fourth number, 13 represents the baktun (144,000 day count)
  • The fifth number, 13 represents the baktun (144,000 day count An addition of 19 x 7,200 days equals the katun (7,200 day count) and the second number, 19, represents the katun. Lastly, the third number, 19 represents the tun (360-day count) with an addition of 19 x 360 days. In the fourth number, 6, there are 20 days in the total (20-day count) as well as an addition of 6 x 20 days. In addition, the fifth number, 13 represents the kin (one-day count) with an increase of 13 x 1 days.

As a result, the date of May 8, 2012, is determined as follows:

  • There have been 1,871,823 days from the beginning of the current long count calendar, calculated as (12 x 144,00) + (19 x 7,200) + (19 x 360) + (6 x 20) + (13 x 1) = 1,871,823 days since the beginning of the current long count calendar In order to provide a point of comparison, the Julian calendar day of May 8, 2012 is stated as 2,456,055.5. As of this day, the Julian calendar has been in use for 2,456,055.5 days since its inception.

There have been 1,871,823 days since the beginning of the current long count calendar when multiplying (12 x 144,00) by (19 x 7,200) by (19 x 360) by (6 x 20) by (13 x 1); If you want to make a comparison, the Julian calendar day of May 8, 2012 is denoted by the numeric value 2,456,055.5. Taking into account leap years, this would be 2,456,055.5 days from the beginning of time according to Julian calendar.

How the three calendars worked together

Query:How does one go about using an Aztec calendar? Answer:With the exception of scientists, archeologists, and paleontologists, the Aztec calendar is no longer in use today. Although some Aztecs and Mayans may still be familiar with the ancient naming conventions of the old calendar, the Julian calendar is now the standard system. You may use the link provided in this page to look up the Aztec or Mayan counterpart of today’s date, or any other date, in the dictionary. How does one go about deciphering an Aztec calendar?

You will need to have all three calendars on hand.

Next, you must convert the generated date to one that you are acquainted with using a conversion tool.

Answer:That link was no longer active, therefore I deleted it.

Lela On January 4, 2013, Lela (author) wrote the following from Somewhere in the heart of Texas: Thank you so much, Lisa.

I like the art of the ancients and find it inspiring.

Liz Rayen wrote on January 4, 2013, from California: Lela, This was a pretty interesting hub.

It had always held a fascination for me, and it was really intriguing to me.

The Epochs of the Earth according to the Aztecs was a very interesting section of your website.

Excellent work, which I will surely share with others!

November 19, 2012: Wonderful knowledge – thank you very much.

I’ve been to Mexico, and it’s a fantastic country to visit, with a rich history to learn about.

I majored in global religions in college and thoroughly enjoyed it.

On October 6, 2012, Lela (author) posted the following from Somewhere in the heart of Texas: Mexico City is wonderful, but it is also quite large!

However, there is a great deal to see and do.

If only I were a year or two younger.

I’d want to go to the anthropological museum in Mexico City sometime and view this calendar, as well as a variety of other exhibits there.

It was written by Lela (author) on October 5, 2012, from Somewhere in the Heart of Texas: “I don’t dare dispute my own math:-)” It took me approximately 20 tries to get these calculations to make sense before I was convinced they were correct.

Those Aztecs were far too cunning for their own good.

I really liked the original artwork you included at the conclusion of the hub.

That stone calendar is a thing of beauty, I must say!


My explanation is a little technical and difficult to follow, but I tried to be as straightforward as possible.

s4176766 on the 26th of September, 2012: It was fantastic, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

After the “priests” prepared them for sacrifice, I have my doubts that they were virgins.

Louis, Missouri, wrote on August 21, 2012: Very interesting information!

That’s right: they HAD to sacrifice an occasional individual who wasn’t a nasty person in the first place.

On May 9, 2012, Lela (author) wrote the following from Somewhere in the heart of Texas: Oh, without a doubt, drbj.

On May 9, 2012, drbj and sherryfrom south Florida wrote the following: Hello, Lela.

Do you agree with this statement?

I wouldn’t be shocked if I made a clerical or grammatical error someplace.

Stacy Harris, from Hemet, California, wrote on May 9, 2012: I am very grateful that our calendars now are much simpler and lighter than the Aztec Calendar, which I found to be quite difficult to use.

In any case, it’s undoubtedly among the top ten.

Christopher Antony Meade is a resident of Gillingham, Kent.

Because of human sacrifice and other issues, they have long had a “bad reputation.” They were not significantly worse than the Romans, who have received far more favorable treatment from historians.

Thank you for writing such an amazing hub.

They were intelligent, strong, and hardworking individuals.

I’m delighted that certain aspects of their culture and values have survived to this day.

If you had asked me, I would have said that it was the previous century. It’s housed in a beautiful museum, which is a bonus. They were wonderful folks to be around. Bob

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