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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Aztec calendar shared a number of characteristics with timekeeping systems across Mesoamerica, including the adoption of commensurate cycles built around 13 × 20 = 260 (tonalpohualli) and 18 × 20 + 5 = 365 (xihuitl) day counts. These meshed together to form a larger cycle of 18980 ( = 73 × 260 = 52 × 365) days (Calendar Round) at the overturn of which a New Fire ceremony of the cyclic renewal of time was celebrated. The mechanics of the calendar are explored, as is the Aztec ideology of time, which rests principally on solar worship and is directed toward the ritual celebration of seasonal festivals connected with subsistence as well. During the post-1428 expansionist period, calendrics were further directed toward the legitimization and pursuit of war. The chapter charts the syncretic effect of the manipulation and reorganization of time affected by the Hispanic intrusion.

Keywords: Aztec calendar, New Fire, Calendar Round, tonalpohualli, xihuitl, year bearer, calendar wheel, year bearer

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