The Aztec Calendar

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2010 by bansal6

When I was looking for what the Aztec gold treasure might look like, I came across this picture. Also, the Aztec gold piece from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie closely resembles this symbol. This is the Aztec calendar. This calendar was also used by other civilizations in the Mesoamerican region. The Aztec calendar consisted of 2 cycles  – a 365 day calendar cycle called xiuhpohualli and a 260 day sacred cycle called tonalpohualli. The xiuhpohualli consists of 360 named days and 5 unnamed days (which are considered to be unlucky). It is very similar to the current Gregorian calendar. Instead of twelve, 30 day periods, it is divided into 18 periods, of 20 days each, called a veintena. The days of the month were not guided by the movements of the moon but by the days. The tonalpohualli was a rather complicated calendar. It did not have months. Instead, each day was a combination of a number and a sign. The days would be numbered from 1 to 13 and there were 20 day signs. After the end of each day, both quantities (the number and the sign) are incremented so the numbers and signs are never aligned during their cycles. Only after the 260 day year has ended, do the numbers and signs realign. No wonder it takes historians so long to figure out how these civilizations worked. Here is a site which shows an animated diagram of how the 2 calendars were used to generate a single date.


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