The Aztecs/Mexicas were the native American people who
dominated northern México at the time of the Spanish conquest
led by Hernan CORTES in the early 16th century. According to
their own legends, they originated from a place called Aztlan,
somewhere in north or northwest Mexico.
believed they were living in the fifth and last creation of
the world. They called each creation a sun, because movement
of the sun maintained human life. The central figures in the
relief are located in the square panels in the center. They
represent four previous suns that perished. The top right
square is the jaguar. Moving to the left is the wind, below
the wind god is fiery rain and in the bottom right square is
water. The central deity is interpreted as either the sun god,
Tonatiuh or the earth god, Tlaltecuhtli. The tongue is a
sacrificial knife, with claws holding a human heart in the
circles on both ends.
Calendar or Sun Stone
Carved in the middle of the 15th century, the artifact is said
to illustrate that Aztecs had a fine knowledge of both
astronomy and mathematics.
Pictographs carved in the stone (but not shown to the right)
represent days, months and "Suns," which are also
called cosmic or world ages. Four squares that surround
Tonatiuh, Aztec deity of the Fifth Sun, are called Nahui-Ollin,
or Four Movement.
has it that these squares represented the different manner by
which the four previous Suns (or worlds) had come to an end:
first by wild animals, then by wind, fire, and flood. Aztecs
believed that they were living in the fifth and last world.