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49

First of all, as the definition you cited states, The term empire does not have a precise definition. The Aztec Empire was large by the standards of their time in their part of the world. It dominated the Valley of Mexico and was a major power in Mesoamerica generally. Land size is not really a indicator of imperial status per se, but in context, the ...


24

On the topic of the Aztecs, an intriguing book on this subject is Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control, by Ross Hassig. The Aztecs were an extremely war-like civilization, that were constantly attacking and subjugating their neighbors. Interestingly, though, their style of warfare was quite different from what we are familiar with from ...


17

It appears that the real demise of the Mayan Empire was a number of factors, including drought, warfare, and disease. NASA archeologist Tom Sever used satellite images combined with archeological findings to piece together the most likely scenario. Using pollen trapped in layers of lake sediment, scientists learned that around 1,200 years ago, just before ...


13

If you are talking about the Omelc/Aztec/Maya, at war with the Cree or Inuits, I very much doubt this ever happened, as, 1) They had no quarrel, and so, no reason to go to war. 2) They had no way of marching across the USA, according to my Google Earth measurements, the distance from New York/New Jersey to Honduras, is 4,000 km. An average human can walk 5 ...


9

Your question is framed oddly. Human Sacrifice, and lots of it, were common in pre-columbian Mesoamerican cultures: not just the Aztecs, but the Mayans and a bunch of others, too. No apocalyptic justifications apply, they just killed a bunch of people for their religious rites. It got so bad, the client states of the Three Part Alliance, who had to supply ...


8

According to Cacao domestication I: the origin of the cacao cultivated by the Mayas, genetic evidence indicates that the cacao tree was cultivated from wild ancestors and improved over time. Mayans were pretty good at agriculture, beyond the slash and burn methods that were used by many other tribes in the Americas during the same time period. From Maya ...


7

Their civilization did in fact engage in all those things. If anything, its been underplayed. One important thing to note here is that things appeared to get particularly bloody (at least in terms of the inter-city warfare) towards the end when their Civilization was collapsing. Jared Diamond goes over this in his book Collapse, which has a whole chapter ...


6

For contact between the inhabitants of present-day United States and present-day Mexico, you can also see the Wikipedia article on Chichimeca, the commonly used name for the peoples that lived to the north of the Aztecs. It appears not much is known about them. The map posted in another answer is beautiful and very informative, but we should remember that ...


5

Though interpretation is always imperfect, many would use folios from the Florentine Codex as direct evidence for mushroom use among Aztecs, and probably Mesoamericans broadly. Here is the prime piece of evidence: A mushroom is depicted, and given the name "Teonanacatl" An Aztec man sits on a mat that is known to be a ceremonial object. The man is ...


5

The Mayans viewed their gods as both benevolent, and malevolent. As Sir John Eric Sidney Thompson stated in his book Maya History and Religion the Mayan gods were largely indifferent except for a desire for recognition in the way of frequent offerings. This is confirmed somewhat by the Popol Vuh which is mostly concerned with how the gods made man. This ...


4

I wrote a paper related this topic, for peer review. Basically, the general story (maybe "propaganda") of state ritual sacrifice was that those sacrificed were becoming god-like, and so were elevated to the holiest status achievable - perhaps (in a distant way) like suicide bombers today. The Aztecs saw that representing yourself as one of these Divine ...


4

First of all, there is an attempt by some current historians to use cultural/moral relativism when it comes to Europeans and Mesoamerican cultures in this time period. They'll attempt to equate things like the Spanish Inquisition (if they're on the anti-religious political left) or modern day abortion (if they're on the religious political right) with the ...


4

About the only book I have come across in looking at the Mayan Calendar, which only came from a class exercise in looking for more information on the Mayan Apocalypse, was the E.G. Richards book Mapping Time. It noted some ideas of lucky and unlucky days, as well as more on other calendar systems. Honestly I don't recall how much he covered in all of it, ...


4

The following passage from Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan would lend some credence to the first two explanations of remarkable discoveries of a fallen civilization: The sight of this unexpected monument put at rest at once and forever, in our minds, all uncertainty in regard to the character of American antiquities, and ...


4

As "empires" go, the Aztec "empire" is pretty small. It ranks 212th among large empires, with 220,000 square miles. That's about the size of two large European countries, say Germany and France, or Germany and Poland. It was also larger than any other civilization in the Americas (pre Columbus), except for the Incas. An Emperor may be considered a "king of ...


4

Most ink used was black (just like with everyone else's writing). According to archeologist Michael Coe, this was most likely derived from soot "scraped off the bottom of their cooking pots". In the four surviving complete codices we have, they also used a lot of red, which appeared to be hematite(rust)-based. There supposedly aren't a lot of known good ...


3

I think it is called an empire by the following criterion: it is a multi-ethnic state where one ethnic group (or nation) rules over the other, usually conquered, ethnic groups. (This applies to the Russian, British, Osman, Austro-Hungarian, Roman, Persian, Mongol, Carolingian and many other empires. The size is secondary. This definition fits the Aztec ...


2

All of these things happened, and worse. You did not mention the flaying of living people, the drugging of participants, and more. But, it is unfair to ascribe this only to the Maya. They, like other non-Aztec cultures in Mesoamerica, performed these practices less than the Aztecs[1]. The Aztec orchestrated this kind of imperialistic ritual (in hopes ...


2

You referenced the Anasazi (better named 'Ancient Pueblo'). I've visited a number of their sites (lost a Ford at Mesa Verde!) and have studied them quite a bit off and on. The Ancient Pueblo people follow a trend that seems to be common with ancient civilizations: Find an area that is rich enough for agriculture of some form. Develop farming. Build ...


2

The closest literary source I have encountered that involves a perspective of these Native Americans is the journals of Bernal Diaz. In the book Victors and Vanquished you can find several of his eye witness accounts that seem to be somewhat unbiased. From what I have read, these three tribes were indeed "bloodthirsty" but not in the sense of a serial ...


2

Romanticism combined with the need of the Mexicans to have some sort of moral superiority to claim over their northern neighbours. Wouldn't do to give the Americans in the Mexican-American war (and the Texas war of indepence from Mexico, and the other conflicts between them) a ready made image of hordes of bloodthirsty savages intent on cutting the hearts ...


2

According to oral tradition passed from Aztecs to Spanish/early mestizo(Mexican) historians; the Aztecs where from a mythical land called "Aztlan" no one knows exactly where these "mythical" kingdom existed but historians speculate it could be southwestern region of the U.S. (Utah). I say mythical because no one can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt; but ...


1

All these words refer to the hierarchical organization of the society. "Tlatoani" was the title of the ruler. The word derives from the local "nahuatl" language and denotes a spokesman. Huey tlatoani was the really highest one. "Altepetl" was the city state, a local ethnically based province. The word is a combination of words for "water" and "mountain". ...


1

Technically, the Hohokam were culturally and ethnically an outpost of Mesoamerican civilization in what is now the United States. Though they peacefully colonized and settled the area, there is some evidence that they engaged in warfare with the pastoralist Apache and Navajo when those cultures migrated into the area near the end of the Hohokam Classical Era,...


1

Just to make a comment on were more research can be done, look for the Turquoise road over the Mexican High Sierra. There was a big commerce between Anazazi, Central Mexican Civilization (Toltecs) & Maya. The recorded evidence shows a great expand of commerce for centuries but not evident battles much less wars between these peoples.


1

Most of what we know about human sacrifices among the Aztecs is known from post-conquest codexes such as Ramirez Codex, Codex Tudela, or Codex Magliabechiano, written by baptized Christian Aztecs. There is no comprehensive and even quantitative data from any non-Christian source. It is known that Franciscan bishop Juan de Zumárraga burned all pre-Christian ...


1

Injecting subjective, modern-day judgements on ancient civilizations like calling them "bloodthirsty" is just bad-mouthing ancient civilizations and not objective historically. If your goal is to look at ancient civilizations and just insult them or consider them inferior because their customs are denounced by your own civilization, you will have a hard time ...


1

The ritual calendar(s) are quite detailed, with minor differences between cultures. The Maya were no special case in the following list, because the ritual calendar was more-or-less driven by the imperialism of the Aztec empire. Simply, the 'corners of the year' (solstices and equinoxes) were the major ritual times because the sacrifices governed the ...



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