Between the Contributions of the Toltecs Most important are his art of war, sculpture and extensive commercial networks.
He Toltec village Inhabited much of the center-north of what is now Mexico since the fall of Teotihuacan Until the beginning of the Aztec empire, that is to say approximately between the years 900 d.C. And 1150 AD.
Its capital was the mythical city of Tollan or Tula, which was located approximately 80 kilometers from present-day Mexico City.
Much of what is known about this culture has come through the mythology of the Aztec people, who venerated it in their stories.
According to them, the city of Tula existed for more than five hundred years with about four million inhabitants.
According to this story, the Toltec people and their gigantic city disappeared by war and famine, so many migrated by distributing their culture throughout Mesoamerica .
This information, however, does not coincide with all the archaeological findings, but gives an idea of the powerful cultural influence they had on the peoples who followed them. For example, The Mayan city of Chichen Itza has features of Toltec presence.
What is certain for sure is that this town was a warrior; Its architecture, its sculpture, its religion and other arts are shaped of all kinds of military references and its influence has transcended the geographical and temporal borders of Mesoamerica.
Seven historic landmarks of the Toltec village
1- The war
The Toltec people often faced their neighbors in search of conquering new territories, imposing their religious worship and obtaining human sacrifices for the great God Quetzalcoatl L.
Their presence was imposing during the battle, they used plumes of feathers, adorned pecheras, and like arms, swords and small shields for the close combat.
The record of all this is reflected in the military iconography of sculptures and friezes in Tollan. Thanks to their aggressiveness they were able to expand their dominion over a wide territory.
2- Art and sculpture
The vastness of Toltec's cultural wealth has left deep cultural traces and extensive physical heritage. Pottery, architecture, sculpture and painting are some of the artistic fields of which there are vestiges.
After the fall of the great city of Teotihuacan in 750 AD, the Toltecs appropriated much of the knowledge of its inhabitants.
The city of Tula has impressive pyramids decorated with colorful paintings and friezes in relief, and giant mythological statues that support its roof.
As an immortal reminder of his legacy are his statues. The Atalantes, for example, are huge statues representing four important warriors in full armor.
Another striking sculpture is the wall of the serpents that by way of relief represents several of these reptiles with geometric motifs devouring human skeletons.
Its pottery, no less prodigious, was abundant, however most of what was found in Tula came there thanks to commerce and the payment of taxes.
3. Human sacrifices
The Chac Mool are anthropomorphic statues in whose belly they hold a receptacle for the head and blood of the sacrificial. In the city of Tula, several of these statues have been found.
Likewise, the place where the sacrifices were made had a tzompantli, that is to say a special place to place the skulls of the sacrificed human victims.
4- The cult of Quetzalcoatl
Quetzacoatl means feathered serpent. Although there was already a cult linked to this god before the Toltecs, it was not until the 10th century AD. Which spread over much of the Mesoamerican territory. The warlike conquests of the Toltecs imposed the cult.
Even for the Aztecs, a later civilization, the cult of Quetzacoatl remained very important.
For them, the cosmos was destroyed and rebuilt from time to time because of the fights of the feathered serpent with his brother Tezcatlipoca.
Legend has it that on one occasion Tezcatlipoca, disguised as a doctor, gave alcohol to his brother Quetzacoátl, who was inebriated with his sister Quetzapétatl. Embarrassed by his act, the god headed east toward the gulf.
5- The presence in the Mayan territory
Shortly before the Toltec people raised their imposing capital, Tula, the classic period of the Mayan culture Came to an end.
Some cities such as Palenque, Tikal and Clakmul were abandoned for unknown reasons.
However, a particular city flourished: Chichen Itza, whose vestiges show important features of Toltec art and culture.
Some of them are the Chac Mools, friezes with reliefs of important warriors, columns, animal profiles and many other things very similar to those found in Tula. In addition to the cult to Quetzacoátl.
6- Extensive commercial networks
Most of the Mesoamerican cultures Have developed commercial networks. Tula was, in its time of greater activity, an important commercial center.
In their remains pottery pieces have been found that belong to places as distant as Costa Rica or Nicaragua.
Despite this, and perhaps due to the multiple looting that the city has suffered, only one piece of jade has been found, an essential element of the Mesoamerican trade.
7- His mysterious disappearance
It is not known exactly how or why a culture as influential as Toltec disappeared. What is known with certainty is that the city of Tula, sometime splendid and imposing, was sacked and burned.
Archaeological discoveries suggest that, to a large extent, this was caused by the violent and conquering character of this civilization, however it has not been possible to determine the certain cause of its disappearance in the middle of the XII century d.C.
- Adams, R. (1991). Prehistoric Mesoamerica. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
- Brinton, D. (1887). Were the Toltecs an Historic Nationality? (Pages 229-241).
- Britannica, E. (2017). Toltec People. Obtained from Toltec People: britannica.com.
- Charles River Editors. (2014). The History and Culture of the Toltec. Lexington: Charles Rivers Editors.
- Nigel, D. (1987). The Toltecs: Until the Fall of Tula. Norman: The University of Oklahoma Press.