Aztec calendar , dating system based on the Mayan calendar and used in the Valley of Mexico before the destruction of the Aztec empire. Like the Mayan calendar , the Aztec calendar consisted of a ritual cycle of 260 days and a 365-day civil cycle.
Most historians think that 4 Ahau 8 Cumku (most likely August 11, 3114 bce) was the base date used by the Maya for the start of the “Long Count” and the first “Great Cycle,” a period of 5,125 years that ends on December 21, 2012 ce.
The tonalpohualli, or day-count, has been called a sacred calendar because its main purpose is that of a divinatory tool. It divides the days and rituals between the gods. For the Aztec mind this is extremely important . Without it the world would soon come to an end.
A different calendar was used to track longer periods of time and for the inscription of calendar dates (i.e., identifying when one event occurred in relation to others). This is the Long Count.
The Mayan calendar consists of three separate calendars that are used simultaneously: the Long Count , the Tzolkin (divine calendar) and the Haab (civil calendar).
The current practice of referring to the current baktun as ” baktun 13” or “thirteenth baktun ” may stand, even though it is properly the fourteenth baktun .
In the Maya Long Count, the previous world ended after 13 bʼakʼtuns, or roughly 5,125 years. The Long Count’s “zero date” was set at a point in the past marking the end of the third world and the beginning of the current one, which corresponds to 11 August 3114 BC in the proleptic Gregorian calendar.
Allen Christenson, professor of comparative arts and letters and an expert on Mayan society, explained that although the Maya couldn’t predict the exact day of an eclipse , they could predict eclipse seasons by noting when Venus rose above the horizon just before sunrise.
It turns out that the Aztec calculation of an average 365.2420 days per year is actually closer to the real value of 365.2422 days than the old Julian value of 365.2500 days or even our current Gregorian value of 365.2425 days. The Sun Stone was hand-carved in the 52-year period from 1427 to 1479.
The Aztec sun stone (Spanish: Piedra del Sol) is a late post-classic Mexica sculpture housed in the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, and is perhaps the most famous work of Aztec sculpture.
|Aztec sun stone|
|Created||Sometime between 1502 and 1520|
|Discovered||17 December 1790 at El Zócalo, Mexico City|
Scholars have suggested a number of potential reasons for the downfall of Maya civilization in the southern lowlands, including overpopulation, environmental degradation, warfare, shifting trade routes and extended drought. It’s likely that a complex combination of factors was behind the collapse.
Mysterious Decline of the Maya From the late eighth through the end of the ninth century, something unknown happened to shake the Maya civilization to its foundations. One by one, the Classic cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned, and by A.D. 900, Maya civilization in that region had collapsed.
The Aztecs used a sacred calendar known as the tonalpohualli or ‘counting of the days’. This went back to great antiquity in Mesoamerica, perhaps to the Olmec civilization of the 1st millennium BCE. It formed a 260-day cycle, in all probability originally based on astronomical observations.