Understanding the Strange Aztec Sunlight Rock

The Aztec Calendar Stone was carved from strengthened lava in the late 15th century. It somehow obtained shed for 300 years as well as was found in 1790, hidden under the zocalo, or main square of Mexico City.

The stone– likewise called the Sun Rock or the Cuauhxicalli Eagle Dish– took place display in the city’s Metropolitan Basilica. About a century later on, in 1885, it was transferred to Mexico’s National Gallery of Anthropology, where it continues to be to this particular day.

Considering regarding 24 loads, the stone is around 3 feet thick as well as procedures practically 12 feet across. We do not recognize simply how it was utilized– sacrificial altar? Sundial? Calendar?– but we do recognize that it forecasts solar eclipses.

Its layout is abundant with animals and various other symbols, all component of a complex cosmology. For instance, the deity Tonatuih beings in the middle, holding a human heart in each hand. His outstretched tongue is a blade for ritual sacrifice, an usual Aztec method.

The rock portrays not one yet 2 schedule systems, each entirely various yet interlinked. Every day has 2 identities, one per system. Below’s a brief explanation of just how they work.

— The 365-day xiuhpohualli explains the days and rituals by seasons, so it’s an agricultural year. It consists of 18 months of 20 days each, plus 5 “unfortunate” days when disasters were likely to occur. Circling Around the Sunlight Rock’s center there’s a band of the 20 signs assigned to days.

— The 260-day tonalpohualli describes daily in regards to the Aztec gods, so it’s a spiritual year. Every 24-hour cycle has among 20 day names (such as jaguar, reed, wind, etc.) and a number from 1 to 13, due to the fact that their weeks were 13 days long.

The way both calendars communicate, no date might be repeated for 18,980 days … or 52 years. The Aztecs believed that when the solar and spiritual cycles fell on the exact same day, the universe remained in great threat. So every 52 years, they performed an elaborate event of human sacrifice and fire to ensure everyone’s survival. Well, everybody except the sacrificial sufferers.

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