Front Cover
 Title Page
 Description and first explanat...
 Marks of the Aztec civilizatio...
 Comparative archaeological...
 The first chapter of Mexican...
 Name and position of the Monol...
 Back Cover

Group Title: The University of Chicago. Department of anthropology. Bulletin. VI.
Title: The stone of the sun and the first chapter of the history of Mexico
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00024788/00001
 Material Information
Title: The stone of the sun and the first chapter of the history of Mexico
Series Title: The University of Chicago. Department of Anthropology. Bulletin. VI
Physical Description: 77, 1 p. fold. front., : 1 illus., plates. ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Palacios, Enrique Juan, 1881-1953
Starr, Frederick, 1858-1933 ( tr )
Publisher: The University of Chicago press
Place of Publication: Chicago Ill
Publication Date: [c1921]
Subject: Calendar, Mexican   ( lcsh )
Aztecs   ( lcsh )
Antiquities -- Mexico   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by Enrique Juan Palacios, tr. from the Spanish by Frederick Starr.
General Note: A description of an Aztec calendar stone in the Archaeological museum of Mexico.
Funding: Bulletin (University of Chicago. Dept. of Anthropology) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00024788
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002816075
oclc - 03488620
notis - ANU4586
lccn - 21016187

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Description and first explanations
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Marks of the Aztec civilization
        Page 38
        Page 38a
        Page 38b
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Comparative archaeological description
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    The first chapter of Mexican history
        Page 73
        Page 74
    Name and position of the Monolith
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

Clie antfbersfty of Cthicago

'The Stone of the Sun and the First

Chapter of the History of Mexico









C1e CnlbervsftV of i~fcago

The Stone of the Sun and the First

Chapter of the History of Mexico





Published August 1021

Composed and Printed By
The University of Chicago Press
Chicago, Illinois. U.S.A.


In the course upon Mexico, which has been given repeatedly to
my students at the University of Chicago during the last twenty-five
years, we have always devoted some time to the study of the "Aztec
Calendar Stone." As a specimen of native American art it is of
extraordinary interest; as a mass of symbols, in which the astronomi-
cal and chronometric knowledge of the ancient Mexicans is, in a sense,
summarized, it is of the highest importance.
It has long been my intention to print a sort of study guide regard-
ing the stone for the use of my students. My plan was to prepare a
careful summary of the argument of each and every worker who had
seriously attempted to interpret the stone; to arrange these summaries
in chronological order; to subject them to critical investigation in
order to extract from them what appear to be final conclusions; to
add some original suggestions as to significance; and, finally, to point
out what further study was necessary in order to a full understanding
of the monument.
While I delayed, another worker has done a task so nearly like the
one I proposed that mine seems no longer necessary. Mr. Enrique
Juan Palacios, of the City of Mexico, has presented a paper, entitled
La Piedra del Sol y el primer capitulo de la historic de Mexico, before
the Sociedad Cientifica "Antonio Alzate," which has been printed in
its Memorias. It is an admirable piece of work. I have felt that it
would be better for me to translate it into English than to write a new
work. Nor have I thought it desirable to recast his work or to alter it.
I still think that, for students in a class, my method-presenting com-
plete summaries of the ideas of each author, before attempting study
of details-is preferable, but I present Sefior Palacios' work as he
made it. I have omitted some sentences or paragraphs which did not
in any way affect either his argument or conclusions; there are also
a few verbal changes and one or two additions, but these have been
made by the author himself and have been translated from his copy.
Sefor Palacios has made an actual contribution to our knowledge
of the Calendar Stone. This is not to say that I am as yet prepared

to accept each and all of his suggestions. His long-continued and
capable study, however, deserves and earns serious consideration of
his views. Faithful examination of his work will show students what
may be accepted as settled; it will also indicate what problems
remain to be solved.
June 21, i921


The famous stone of the Archaeological Museum of Mexico, from
the moment of its discovery, has given occasion that men of ability
and eminence should interest themselves in it.
Rare must be the traveler who does not admire the architecture of
the metropolitan cathedral, whose towers, crowned by bell-shaped
terminations, majestically distinguish it among all the basilicas of the
world. It was precisely the author of a considerable part of this
facade, and in particular of the towers, Don Jos6 Damiin Ortiz de
Castro, who made the discovery of the stone, under the pavement of
the Plaza Principal, on the seventeenth of December of the year 1790.
They were about to bury it anew, imitating an archbishop who
two centuries before had been guilty of so strange a blunder; fortu-
nately the viceroy of the colony at the time was a man of the character
of the second Count of Revillagigedo, Don Juan Vincente de Giiemes >
Pacheco de Padilla. This able and progressive governor opposed the
execution of their plan, ordering that educated individuals should take
charge of the stone, that they should measure and study it, and that
it should be transported to the Royal University and placed in a
public place "where it should be/forever preserved as a notable
monument of Indian antiquity." With this act the said ruler, one
of the most illustrious that New Spain ever had, once more demon-
strated that talent and discretion of which he gave so manyproofs.
The first to examine the monument with the interest and the
scientific rigor which the work merited, and the first to draw and
reproduce, with sufficient fidelity, the complicated relief figures upon
it, was the illustrious Mexican astronomer, Don Antonio de Le6n y
Gama. This same modest and eminent savant was also the first to
formulate an interpretation of the figures engraved upon the face of
the monument; and his study with reference to it is of such sort that,
although not final nor entirely correct, it has not only given the basis
for all subsequent scientific studies, but remains a classic in the matter.
Even today, when the decipherment of the monument goes largely

along paths which Le6n y Gama did not indicate, the thesis of the
illustrious author is partly sustained and will always be an important
treatise of the subject.
The admirable monolith could not fail to attract the attention of a
man like Baron Alexander von Humboldt. He examined it in great
detail, being the first to classify its petrographic nature in scientific
terms, earlier indicated with fair accuracy by the prolific writer, Don
Jos6 Antonio Alzate y Ramirez, and finally determined with the
precision of modern methods by the distinguished geologist, Don
Ezequiel Ord6fiez, who refers it to the group of olivine basalts. Hum-
boldt confirmed also the weight which Gama had attributed to the
stone by means of ingenious calculations, and reproduced the drawing
made by the same scholar, illustrating with it one of the pages of his
beautiful Vues des Cordilleres. So far as concerned interpretation,
he accepts completely the thesis of Le6n y Gama (as thirty years
later did a man of the ability of Albert Gallatin, who also made use of
the drawing of our archaeologist), presenting it at length and fully
discussing the chronological system of the aborigines and their the-
ony and cosmogony. The vast knowledge of the German writer and
his extensive journeys suggested to him various relations between
the constructors of the stone, the Asiatics, and peoples of Southern
America, an idea fecund in a certain way, but which has brought more
ills than advantages to our archaeology, leading many investigators
to devote their energies to tracing foreign affinities, instead of studying
in themselves the products of the culture of Anahuac.
From that time up to near the end of the nineteenth century, no
figure of first rank returned to the attempt of lifting the veilunder which
was hidden the guarded secret of the famous stone. Set in the lower
part of the eastern tower of the basilica, savants and travelers coming
from all parts of the world filed before the mysterious reliefs during
more than a hundred years, contemplating it some with curiosity,
some with wonder, all with admiration. It was there about 1805,
when the talented Moxo relates that the common herd diverted itself
with battering its figures and designs, although the learned "have not
ceased to view it with the greatest astonishment and respect, con-
sidering it an original document which testifies to the notable knowl-
. edge of astronomy and geometry of the ancient Mexicans."
There, with permission of Don Lucas Alam6n, at the time minister
of state, W. Bullock, proprietor of the museum of London, took a
mold of it for the first time, which he successfully transported to his

institution. The traveler relates that at that time (1823) the people
of Mexico called the monument reloj de Moctezuma ("Montezuma's
watch"), a statement which Brantz Mayor repeats in his work
Mexico as It Was and Is (1844). Gama's drawing is reproduced in
both books. (We may add that today excellent molds of the relief
exist in the American Museum of Natural History of New York and
in other foreign institutions.) There also was taken one of the most
perfect existing photographs of the stone, which adorns the pages of
the great work Monumentos del Arte Mexicano Antiguo; there also the
expert and notable artist, Don Jos6 Maria Velasco, drew it with his
customary fidelity and precision. Finally in the year 1885, the monu- /
ment was transported to the place which it now occupies in the grand
salon of the Museum of Archaeology.
At about this time, the able archaeologist, talented and illustrious
historian, and eminent man of letters, Alfredo Chavero, produced a
most brilliant disquisition, which for many years changed the course
of ideas regarding the monument. Fundamentally contrary to the
theory of Gama, although agreeing with it in some details, this study
possesses very interesting aspects; nevertheless, rather than an ade-
quate decipherment of the hieroglyphs it is a demonstration of the
vast knowledge of Chavero in the general topics of archaeological
Following soluminous a work, there are no studies truly worthy
of being taken into consideration, except that of Don Dionisio Aba-
diano, prolix and minute beyond any other, sufficiently erudite also,
but in almost its entirety aberrant and full of unacceptable subtleties
and arguments as distorted as arbitrary. We will say nothing very
different of the work of Felipe J. Valentini, without denying, however,
the merit of his other works to the German doctor.
As little can we admit, well elaborated and estimable as may
be the work (The Fundamental Principles of Old and New World
Civilizations) in which it is propounded, the thesis of Sefiora Zelia V
Nuttall, investigator to whom the archaeological science of Mexico
owes so many services. The distinguished Americanist claims in
essence that the central part of the monolith represents the circum-
polar zone of the celestial vault, the naolin and the four rectangles
comprised in it being an allegory of the movements of the Great Bear,
which form apparently the cross or Buddhist swastika gyrating around
the Pole Star, center of the system whose strange and notable fixity
was the origin of the worship which the aborigines and other peoples

of the earth consecrated to it. Without descending to details, we will
only say that the theory-although developed with the most powerful
logic and extreme wealth of data-omits the analysis of the greater
part of the signs and glyphs of the relief, which, without speaking of
other serious objections, reduces the probabilities of likelihood. At all
events, the work of the illustrious lady writer is a work of many merits.
An original and sufficiently probable hypothesis concerning how
the relief was engraved is due to the expert and well-informed archae-
ologist, Don Ram6n Mena. The official explanations of the Museum,
published in its Catalogues-work of the illustrious writer and pro-
fessor of archaeology in the institution, Don Jesis Galindo y Villa-
and contained in notes and labels fixed to the objects in its collections
-notes edited in part by Sefior Mena and in part also due to the
inspiration of Don Eduard Seler and of the notable savant and archae-
ologist, Don Francisco del Paso y Troncoso-describe the stone
without pretending to interpret it, except in a very general way; in
basis, and so far as concerns the monument of which we are speaking,
they follow many of the ideas of Chavero, and in less degree those of
Le6n y Gama.

The stone of the Museum is a circular relief, sculptured in basalt,
S3.63 m. in diameter. In truth, the entire surface of the monolith
is found to be occupied by glyphs, distributed in seven zones or
7 concentric circles; there are, further, other signs in the cylindrical pro-
jection of the relief, part of an enormous rock approximately quad-
rangular, whereon, with consummate mastery, the cylinder was
/'- worked.
At the center and of large size, is seen the image of the sun, under
the figure of the old god (huehueteotl). He has a mask, the skin
wrinkled at the sides, distinctive ear ornaments, protruding tongue
(expression of light), elegant necklace of seven beads (symbol of
S celestial bodies) and the solar glyph on the forehead, accompanied by
two numerals.
/: : On one and the other side of this face, two opened and magnificent
Stalons present the luminary as if it were suspended in the zenith,
according to the happy expression of Sefior Chavero.
Inclosing the face of the sun, and occupying the following circle,
shows itself in large size the sign naolin, indicative of the movement
of the sun between the solstices and the equinoxes. Four rectangles,

which contain the representation of the cosmogonic ages into which
the indigenes arranged the history of the world, form this allegory.
The figures sculptured in the said frames carry, all of them, four '
numerals; their symbolism has given rise to important studies ever
since the time of Gama and especially by the learned archaeologist,
Don Alfredo Chavero.
Artistically developed between the rectangular frames, with the
shaft end downward and the point showing the meridian of the place,
there is distinguished an arrow of elegant drawing at whose extremities
above and below, to right and left, are read the dates Ce tecpatl (with
its attendant, Tletl) and below Ce quidhuitl and Ome or Chicome
ozomatli. Circumscribed, at the end of the arrow, and between the
face and the claws of Tonatiuh, are glyphs and numerals of which we
shall speak later. We may add that the very position of the arrow
is sufficient proof that the monolith was placed vertically, and not '
Comprised within the same circle, to the right and the left of the
rectangular frames of the naolin, are noted four great numerals.
These do not relate to the said sign (which, by its very form, implicity
carries the name "four movements"), but to the face sculptured at ,
the center of the stone. This being the old sun and being figured in a
chronographic figure, a native of those times would without vacillation
assign to it the value corresponding to it: it is the huehuetiliztli or
century of the Indians, double and sacred cycle, which the ancient
Mexicans called old duration or age; therefore the four numerals
indicate four huehuetiliztli, which are 416 years. Such was the motive
for not having figured Tonatiuh as in other representations, with a face
radiant with life, but with the appearance of age; the stone confirms
this repeatedly, as we shall see further on.
Sahagfn, speaking of this chronological period and of its impor-
tance, expresses himself as follows:
The larger period of time which they counted was 104 years, and they(
called this count an age, and the half of it, which are 52 years, they called a
bundle of years. This method of counting the years they had brought
down from antiquity; it is not known when it began; but they held it
for certain and as a belief that the world had to come to an end with the
conclusion of oneof these bundles of years, and they had a prediction and
oracle that then the movement of the heavens had to cease, and they took
as a sign the movement of the Pleiades on the night of this festival, which
they called toxiumolpilia.


In the central figure of the monument then it is not a question of
the simple representation of the star of day; it treats rather of the
chief chronological cycle of the aboriginal cultures, the true century
or age of the Indians, as Sahagun tells us. The artist attempted to
indicate, and in this face of an old man does perfectly indicate, a
huehuetiliztli, a double xiuhtlalpilli: 104 years. The thought could not.
be better conceived nor better expressed.
Let us add that below the arrow there is another numeral; but
,v it is not as large as the previous four, nor is it worked out in exactly
v the same way. Without doubt it should not be computed in the same

Let us consider the following circle, which is the third of the relief.
Its description offers no difficulties, and its interpretation is the ABC
of archaeological studies. It contains the twenty characters of the
native month, symbols which-as they constitute the foundation of
Sthe calendars of the Nahua, Maya, Zapotec, Matlatzinca, and other
races which vary in the designative terms, agreeing in the roots-
we ought to consider as a common legacy from a civilizing population
which served as a trunk to all the others. The signs begin with
Cipactli and end with Xochitl. Mrs. Nuttall sees in these characters
symbols of the native zodiac, and we do not consider the idea (sug-
gested previously, more or less explicitly, by Boturini, Veytia,
Fdbrega, Orozco y Berra, del Paso y Troncoso and Chavero) absurd.
The order is that well known from the monuments and the codices,





rb,'y &-ri.. We may add that the style of the Cipactli appears here a somewhat
peculiar one. Supporting themselves on this circle, and dividing the
S following one, display themselves four magnificent rays or pointers
with curved base, which by their position indicate the principal
S divisions of the day: midday (Nepantla Tonatiuh), midnight (Yohual-
nepantla), the hour of sunset (Tonaqui Tonatiuh), and that of dawn
(Iquiza Tonatiuh). Gama established this symbolism.
Alternating with these, but less in size and with support upon the
S..'. following circle, are other four rays, but with base not curved but


(.,-,~, //

/ -

straight, which express the following hours. Yet smaller and resting
upon the following zone are seen eight asps between the rays described;
they indicate, surely, a smaller subdivision of time. In total, the day
of the aborigines was distributed into 16 hours of 90 'minutes each.
S The fourth zone or circle contains two hundred dots distributed in /
groups of five (each group in a little frame) which are commonly
designated with the term of quintiduos quintetteses"). In the asps .
already mentioned (six of which are entirely visible and two concealed
n such a manner as induces us to assign the same elements to them) I &
are eight quintiduos, giving a total of forty dots. We ought yet to add
the ten circumscribed in the arrow of the naolin and the ten placed
between the face and the claws of the Tonatiuh. These last are dots '
like the others; but the necessities of distribution of the relief do not
permit their being arranged in an actually identical form. Altogether
they sum up to two hundred and sixty numerals of equal kind, a
reading already made by archaeologists.
Until now it has been assumed that the elements in question
represent the tonaldmatl or cecempohualli, fundamental computation
of native chronology. Nevertheless, this is an error. Further than
the fact that that appears inscribed in another part of the relief, the
distribution of the 260 numerals in groups of five, and not of thirteen,
dots demonstrates by itself alone that we are not here dealing with the
sacred.book composed fundamentally of thirteens. The dots in
question denote years, not days as has been supposed; and if they,
appear distributed in fives it is because they allude to years of the
planet Venus, that is to say, the synodical movements of that planet,
five of which form a cycle in the calendar of the aborigines for reasons *
which we shall explain later.
The dots of the fourth circle, joined with the other elements of the
same kind which may be read in the relief, represent then a period of
260 Venus years. Taking the synodical revolution of the planet as
very close to 584 days, the total amounts to i51,84o days, or_4r6
sblaryears, great cycle of the aboriginal chronology, repeatedly figured
in the monolith, as we shall see in the sequel. It is inferred that the
Indians carried on simultaneously two calendars, that of the star of
day and that of Venus, and by their combination they computed the
course of time; in this method, with purely astronomical elements,
they formed their system of chronology.
Interrupted in its turn by the great and small rays, the fifth circle
is formed of eight zones or glyphs which archaeologists have agreed in


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2 j~

I-, (.

V81 pt

~~13 = i

considering solar. Six of these zones contain ten glyphs, and each of
the other two contain five: in all there are seventy glyphs of the same
S kind, to which are added the three which border each of the eight asps
S before mentioned, and the ten, a little smaller but of identical form,
placed between the face and the talons of Tonatiuh. In total, they
sum 104 solar glyphs, indicative of so many other years. Here as
little is it a question of days, as the archaeologists have claimed,
identifying dissimilar glyphs of the relief in order to compute the 365
days of the year: a procedure arbitrary and of course illogical in a
work of the magnitude of the one we consider here. In reality the
S circle expresses the Indian century, or huehuetiliztli, period already
read in the face of the center. Later we shall see the motive for the
repetition of the cipher.

Nothing concrete has been said until now about the following
circle. Some call the figures that compose it temples; others have
seen them to resemble leaves or mountains; some simply call them
little arches; but no one has penetrated their exact significance. In
the most authorized descriptions they have generally been designated
with the descriptive term "pentagons" (Chavero) or trapezoidall
figures," symbolism of the most general kind having been attributed
Sto them. If in passing beyond the third zone Pefiafiel has said that
the archaeologist entered upon the field of conjecture, with respect to
this zone, the sixth in the relief, it may be affirmed that up to the
present it has been enveloped in impenetrable mystery.
The monolith has no more interesting glyphs. Their number,
their distribution, the form of the figure say sufficiently what they
represent. Theyappear in four groups, separated by the great solar
rays. The two upper groups present thirteen signs; and each one of
the lower, twelve, it being necessary to presume the missing one,
hidden by the plumes of the serpents which adorn this part of the
' stone. In total they sum up four groups of thirteen glyphs of the
same form, the significance of which is somewhat of the most impor-
tant which the relief contains; there is concentrated not only its own
significance, but that of many of the other aboriginal monuments. It
explains the tenacity with which the glyphs guard their secret.
The archaeologists have said that the characters of which we treat
are a kind of pentagons. Without being such, speaking precisely,
they may be considered as made up of five somewhat irregular sides;
there is noticed, at the same time, the concavity of the inferior side.


This is the figure of the jewel of Quetzalc6atl, as may be seen in many
representations: on pages 42 and 59 of the Codex Borgiano, which
represents of great size the double morning and evening star; in the
beautiful statue belonging to the Trocadero Museum; 'on page 16 of
the Codex Borbonico; on page 17 of Codex Vaticanus A; and in others
of the Codex Telleriano Remense, etc. The jewel shows an elegant
outline with five indentations or sides, figurea de cinco angulos," as
Sahagin says, and is slightly concave below. In converting itself into
a chronographic glyph, it received many conventionalizations-Hamy
has described them minutely in his The Jewel of the Wind-which we
may see in the monuments; but all are alike in the important details.
Ah well, was it a result of fancy or was it due to deliberate intention
that this form attaches to the jewel of the deity ? The more important
pictographs (e.g., the Dresden Codex) reveal this practice of the
tonalpouhque: to take as a unity the five years of theplanet which make
a running with eight solar years. Such was the origin of the festival
atamalqualiztli, celebrated at the end of this term. The unity thus
formed was repeated thirteen times, as we see in the Dresden Codex -
itself (p. 24), in the Cospi, in theBorgian, in Vaticanus B, and in other
documents. The conjunct equals 65 years of the planet, exactly equal
to 104 solar, by virtue of the well-known equations:
584X 5=365X 8= 2,920 days
584X65=365 X 04=37,960 days
The form of the jewel is allegorical of the five movements of Venus, -
which make cycle with the eight years of the sun; corroborating it, I
see the eight dots at the bottom of the representation of the double
star on page 59 of the Borgian Codex; see eight solar glyphsunder the
face of the stone figure of Tepezuntla (commonly called Tzont6moc)
corresponding to the five circles which the same beautiful figure has
upon the forehead. That this stone represents Quetzalc6atl (the
star Venus) in his descent of eight days into hell, the form of the ear
ornament, which is typical, manifests without a doubt.
But there was another motive for dividing the jewel of the deity
into five parts or distributing it into five points. In developing the
calendar of the star, the periods of 584 days are begun with the symbols (/L.-, t 7 '-a '
Cipactli, Cdatl, Atl, Acall, and Ollin, and continuing the series of Venus
years, the same characters are repeated in identical order, giving for
result that of the twenty day signs of the native month; only five
preside over the revolutions of the star, a fact discovered by the learned
Seler. The number results eminently symbolical of the planet.

We have then a little cycle of five revolutions of Venus equal to
eight solar years, which are 2,920 days. Each of the frames inclosing
five dots, each of the little pentagons, expresses this chronological
value. Supposing the planet at the beginning of its matutinal appari-
tion or its heliacal rising, it will have recovered the identical position,
with respect to the star of day, at the termination of the cycle. The
fact is a phenomenon of.astronomical observation which could not pass
unobserved to scrutinizers of the heavens like the Indians: and in
order to commemorate it, they celebrated the festival atamalqualiztli
of which Sahagfin speaks. But we have seen that this unity is repeated
thirteen times. There are two reasons for this: one, to equal with
Venus years the great period of 104 solar years, a cycle equivalent
to 65 synodical movements of the planet; the other, to equalize the
two calendars, because when five Venus years have passed, the sixth
commences anew with Cipactli, but this character goes this second
time not accompanied by the numeral i, but by 9, necessitating that
the five years shall be repeated thirteen times, in order that Cipactli
should return to be accompanied by i, as at the beginning of the period,
and the commencement of the one and the other calendar.
The cause of this phenomenon is known. The tonaldmatl, that
is to say, the series of twenty thirteens, runs through the book of the
planet the same as through that of the sun, calendars, one and the
other, which are made up by the combination of thirteen numbers in
order with the twenty day characters, so that these may not be
Confounded on being repeated. As the number 584 does not contain
an exact number of thirteens, there are twelve units over in the first
Venus year, eleven in the next, ten in the next, and so on successively,
so that Cipactli comes to be accompanied by different numerals, the
thirteen times that it begins the year, until the 65 counts of the
planet's calendar are complete. Although all archaeologists know
this, we copy anew the distribution of the thirteens and of the day
characters in the computation which we are considering.
Figures which accompany the initial signs of the Venus year, in a
series of 65 years:

Cipactli 1-9- 4-12-7- 2-I0--5-13-8- 3-11-6
C6atl 13-8- 3-II-6-- I- 9-4-12-7- 2-10-5
Atl 12-7- 2--10-5-13- 8-3Ir---6-- 9-4
Acatl ii-6- I- 9-4-12- 7-2-10-5-13- 8-3
Ollin 1o-5-13- 8-3-11- 6-1- 9-4-12- 7-2

With the beginning of the 66th year of the series, Cipactli,
with the numeral i, returns to begin the count like that of the 37,960
days passed, and on this same day the sign with the same number
gives beginning to the io5th year of the solar calendar; one and the
other count are thus adjusted to each other. Serving as a base to both
the tonaldmatl finds itself exactly at its first day:
584X65=365X 104= 260X 146.
Now we may understand the thirteen pentagons inscribed in each
one of the four parts of the circle of the monument. They denote the
number of times that the five characters enter as initials of the Venus
year in one huehuetiliztli. They figure in this fashion thirteen times,
and just so many times was celebrated in said cycle the festival of the
planet, atamalqualiztli, always coinciding with Cipactli. And that
the intention of the astronomer-director of the engraving of the relief
was to inscribe this number of glyphs, is plainly seen in the upper
groups of the sixth circle; without aesthetic prejudice and almost com-
pelled by the demand of symmetry, other pentagons might very well
have been located.in the space covered by the bands which issue from
the serpents' tails. The artist might, with the greatest good taste, have
placed six glyphs in this double empty space, but he deliberately pro-
longed the bands instead. His proposition could not be made more
manifest. The purpose was the engraving of a number, not of an
ornament. This suffices to show us that there are no simply decora-
tive signs in the relief, incomparable synthesis of art and science.
But there are four groups of Venus cycles, four zones of thirteen
pentagons. To what necessity of the system can this repetition
correspond? The synodical movement of Venus being taken as 584
days, there result 37,960 for each group, or 151,840 for the total of
52 pentagons of the circle. This period represents exactly 416
solar years. In other terms, if each group signifies 65 Venus
years, equivalent, as we know, to a huehuetiliztli, the four correspond
to as many sacred cycles, which is what is indicated by the great
numerals that surround the head of Tonatiuh, conformably to the
interpretation which we have already given. One and another circle,
the second and the sixth, say exactly the same thing: 416 solar years.
The fourth zone expresses an equal thing: 260 Venus years, number v
which is considered sacred. Everything in the monolith concurs in
declaring one single and well-considered thought; we shall speak of its
origin and admire its profundity and transcendence. Meantime we

say, as proof that we are not dealing merely with arbitrary theories
or purely speculative systems, that the numbers 37,960 and 151,840
appear in the Dresden Codex. F6rstemann, its able interpreter, has
read them in that admirable astronomical book.

Let us pass to the seventh zone, which forms the border of the
monument, figuring two serpents which end in colossal heads of strange
and elaborate decoration. This is the pre-eminently beautiful circle
of the relief perhaps the most studied, concerning which therehavebeen
2 proposed the largest number of conflicting conjectures. Here we
shall confirm the key of the interpretation of the monolith and shall
see the sum-and confirmation of the preceding data.
Two magnificent serpents encircle the relief and at the lower part
of the stone join heads, from whose opened throats peer out human
faces confronting each other. The body of the serpents is found to
be ornamented through its entire length with an artistic and imagi-
native richness which, considered simply as decorative, would be a
masterpiece; if more than decorative, these glyphs involve precise
States and astronomical symbolisms-the work becomes one of genius
than which certainly the nations of antiquity have left nothing more
The signs distributed over the body of the serpents are of three
I classes: numerals, groups of bars or strokes, and a glyph considered
a conventionalized representation of fire; further, four things in the
tails of the monsters.
All of these elements possess concrete meaning. In the so-called
flames, which issue from the back of the serpents, there are also groups
of four thick bars. In sum the zone includes the following elements:
the heads inclosed in the throats of the serpents, with characteristic
headdress and attributes; the scales or body divisions of the creatures
themselves; numerals made of dots and groups of four bars distributed
in the bodies themselves and in the two terminal bands which go off
from the tails; other glyphs situated in the inner line of the body of
the serpents, which have been considered conventionalizations of fire,
although without noticing that these signs bear numerals; and lastly
the date indicated by the points of the tails and included within a
frame, in the upper part of the monolith. This date is found figured
with a cane and thirteen points (r3-dcatl).
/ Let us commence by observing that the heads which appear in the
throats are distinct beings or deities, differentiated by characters

which permit their identification. Both heads protrude the tongues,
joining or touching them together in the clearest fashion; here is
symbolized the thought of the relief. Archaeologists admit that the
tongue symbolizes light in the idols and pictographs representing stars,
and it is not possible to doubt it after the demonstration which, with
the peculiar sagacity in which no one has equaled him, Sefior Chavero
gave upon this point, studying the greenstone figure, discovered in
Papantla, which in place of the tongue presents the mouth perforated
for the material passage of light. In a similar manner, the face of
Tonatiuh, central to the relief, has the tongue out signifying the irra-
diation of light through the universe. This considered, what could
that be which in so graphic a fashion joins these deities who peer out
from throats of time, metaphorically figured by the serpents? The.
light itself; but their special lights, since here different 'wing- aire
in question, that is to say, the lights of special celestial bodies. It
would be impossible to indicate in more expressive and artistic form
the concurrence of two chronological periods determined by the com-
bination of stars which renew the same relative positions which
they had before.
Let us undertake to identify the deities; if known, it will be easy
to recognize the cycle. The figure of the left semicircumference of
the relief is undoubtedly the sun himself. It is distinguished by the
glyph of the forehead, identical with that which adorns the face of the
central huehueteotl, although without the two numerals which accom-
pany that. The head on the opposite side has not this glyph. The
ear ornament, similar to that of Tonatiuh, distinguishes it; the face
with the other serpent lacks this. The head of the solar snake
has before the nose the sign of the double cane, a character closely
related with Tonatiuh and with Xiuhtecuhtli, as is seen in the codices.
Ome dcatl (2-cane) is one of the various names of the sun, and two are,
in fact, the figures of the cane here represented. Others have recog-
nized in the glyph a handful of herbs, giving us, anyway, the name
of Xiuhtecuhtli (lord of the herb and the year). As little does this
symbol appear in the face of the opposite serpent.
On the other hand, the figure on the right shows a netting clearly
defined, peculiar to Quetzalc6atl in his multiple representations; in
front of the nose is a symbolical glyph which we cannot identify because
the stone is badly destroyed in this part. . But that which in a
special mode distinguishes the two beings is the ear ornament (na-
cochtli), which is lacking in the figure to the right and identical with


i! r

C)-V ,

that which adorns the central Tonatiuh in the figure to the left. The
ear ornament possesses distinctive value in the representations of
deities. More is not necessary for our purpose; it suffices to affirm
that the sun is the star represented in this figure.
What star can it be that the other serpent symbolizes ? It is not
necessary to meditate long in order to understand it: it is Quetzal-
c6atl or Venus, the beautiful twin or the plumed serpent, a deity often
actually represented in this latter form. Symmetry compelled the
artifice of representing by another plumed serpent the corresponding
solar cycle; furthermore, the serpent involves the general symboliza-
tion of time. The face of Quetzalc6atl wears a net, adornment lacking
to that of Tonatiuh; it has no ear ornament, and the sign placed before
the nose, now badly defaced and difficult to determine, was without
doubt that distinctive of the divinity; yet it appears as if it were
i-cane, unlike the double one of the sun, which gives us one of the
names best known of the personage, Ce dcatl (i-cane), the day of his
The figures identified, it is not difficult to state what chronological
period is symbolized in the reunion of the tongues, that is to say, of the
respective lights of the stars. It is the huehuetiliztli, the sacred cycle
of 104 years, indicated in the wrinkled face of the central Tonatiuh;
it is the period at whose end the deified celestial bodies return to occupy
a certain position in space and the tables of the respective calendars
adjust themselves, attaining harmonious development.
Profound the thought of the astronomer-director of the monu-
ment! Here is the form in which the relief expresses it: chronology
is born from the movements and relative situation of two stars. In
the development of their harmonious revolution, they engender
chronological cycles equal as to the time of their termination, but
distinct in that which concerns their origin, since the deitieswho deter-
mine them are diverse. Hour after hour the apparent march of the
sun and of Venus through the heavens are scrutinized arid scrupulously
noted in the respective calendars, which Advance, one ever upon the
other; until 37,960 days course by, an exact cycle, and then the
sacred books (teoamoxtli) complete their round, coinciding with
mathematical precision in number and symbol in the thirteens and the
twenties of that marvelous arrangement.
Fact in truth surprising: in that same moment the stars approach
each other in the celestial vault. If the preceding huehuetiliztli began
coincidently with the matutinal apparition of Venus, another time

the planet will find itself in the same position; and seeing it then so
near the star of day, well might the aboriginal priests imagine that the
deities confronting each other kissed, touching tongues, at beginning
the new pilgrimage through the vault of space. (Here we will
mention the following interesting fact: According to calculations of
the Berlin astronomer, Berberich, undertaken at the suggestion of
Mrs. Zelia Nuttall, the evening star and the new moon were visible on
the horizon of the valley of Mexico, half an hour after sunset, on March /
14, 1507, date of the new fire-for the Indians.) Together with so
poetical, exact, and admirable an allegory, they cherished the persistent 4
tradition that one of these encounters was to bring about the destruc-'
tion of the world.

Let us continue the analysis of the seventh zone. If the heads
which face each other, joining tongues, give the huehuetiliztli, in the
body of the serpents is directly indicated the number 416 which we 4/
hiave met in other parts of the relief. The reading is made from the
groupsof four rays, interpreted until now as symbols of fire and in
various other fashions, all arbitrary or at least vaguely symbolical, as
emblems of the highest indefiniteness. Nevertheless, their meaning
is most clear: each group says dcat, t&cpatl, calli, tochtli, names of the- /
four successive years in the ordinary chronology. Very well, the
serpent symbolical of the sun presents 52 groups of four rays equiva-
lent to 208 years; added to the 208 corresponding to the other serpent,
we have the total of 416 solar years, expressed this time directly, a
most interesting fact which we are the first to indicate. Here there is
no necessity of recurring to allegorical conceptions. And so deliberate
was the intention of inscribing in each one of the serpents precisely 52
groups of rays that the artist, not having sufficient space, was compelled
to add those bands which issue from the points of the tails, the only
element of the relief which might appear somewhat arbitrary or at
least not rigorously aesthetic. They are indispensable for the placing
of the four groups that were lacking, already three having been dis-
tributed at the border of the monument, above the tails, five in the
triangular ends of these, three in each arc of its twelve scales, and four
in the throats and plumage. The total figure is classic in Indian
chronology: there are 52 groups. This number appears in each
serpent, a careful examination of the stone sufficing to demonstrate
the fact: if up to the present none of the draughtsmen and lithog-
raphers who have reproduced the stone-except the most skilful

Iriarte, who devoted four months to the work in order to illustrate a
study of Sefior Leopoldo Batres-copied this and some of the other
elements with exactness, it is because, the meaning of the glyphs being
unknown, their number and complicated distribution easily caused
them to make errors. Further on we shall say in what the principal
errors have consisted and shall speak of one very curious artificial
anomaly of the stone.
We have still to explain the signs which form the scales or divisions
or the body of the serpents and to count the numeral dots placed at the
border of the stone and around the said divisions. Concerning those
Beyer and other archaeologists maintain that they are symbolizations
of fire. We have no reason to deny it; but our own opinion is that
together they indicate the number of cycles or meetings of Venus and
the sun, registered in the firmament and in the calendar departing
from some certain date; later we shall see what this may be. With
respect to the dots, Sefior Chavero counted them and interpreted them
well, finding in them the number of days in the native year. Nothing
more logical: the cyclical coincidence of the 104 solar years and 65
Venus years is effected by the aggregation, one after the other,
of series of 365 days. It was natural to place these dots where we find
them. And they do not find themselves duplicated in the, two ser-
pents because it is the common element of both reckonings; it was
sufficient to inscribe them once.
We, however, differ somewhat from Sefior Chavero in our way of
counting them. There are ten dots each in as many scales, there are
( ""' eighteen in the single scale which follows the things or ligatures,
twelve more are circumscribed in the triangle which forms the tail.
In sum there are 130 dots on each side, or 260 in going all around,
S which gives us the fundamental basis of the chronology: the
tonaldmatl. If, on the other hand, we count the 63 large points of the
border of the stone, added to the hundred of the first ten scales, we
have 163 numerals, and with the 18 which follow the tyings,they sum
up 181 on each side, or 362 in the entire circumference; almost hidden
within the claws of the first scale (the first on each side, of course) are
two other points, that is, four altogether. In sumthereare366. This
is the result which we obtain, and thus we shall state it, even if in this
case it appears a little defective; but we do not attempt, as some
Interpreters, to fit the facts to our theories, but from the facts them-
selves to infer the true decipherment. It might be admitted that this
last dot signifies the intercalated day: the native bissextile.

As for the four things located on the tail of each serpent, archae-
ologists have been in accord in attributing to them the value of so
many ilalpilli of 13 years, four of which, as everyone knows, formed
the classical xiuhtlalpilli, xipoualli, or xiuhmolpilli of the chronological
reckonings: 52 years. Each serpent has four things, that is to say,
104 solar years are symbolized in the total of the representation.
Thus is confirmed the chronological value expressed by the meeting
of the heads of the sun and the planet.
We may add that, on the projected part of the cylinder, there are
other glyphs, composed in essence of butterflies with stars, groups of
flint knives (tdcpatl), and dots to the number of 156.

We arrive at the important matter of the dates inscribed upon the
famous monolith. One only has until today been definitely fixed by
archaeologists: the 13-dcall sculptured within a frame between the
tails of the serpents. It is the prominent date of the stone, the one
engraved with the most deliberate purpose; its position shows it such.
No one is ignorant that the capital defect of the chronological
system of the Indians is that the names of the years repeat themselves
every 52 years, each xiuhmollpia. The i3-dcatl (13-canes) of the tablet
may b5ethe year, i479, which is the one generally admitted, and 1427 /
and 1375 and 1323 and 127I and II67 and Iri5 and Io63 and 699,
etc., etc. It is certain that the minute account of Duran, invoked
by Don Alfredo Chavero, gives much force to the presumption that
the date expresses the year in which the monolith was completed,
during Axayacatl's reign, in 1479. More than that, the stone was in
the great temple of Tenochtitlan; it was found in those precincts;
there they buried it again between 1551 and 1569, and there later on
it was rediscovered, remaining in the base of one of the towers of the
basilica until its transference to the site which it now occupies in the
museum. There are reasons, then, for believing that it is the stone
described by the friar, the consecration of which was the object of
so great ceremonies and to which alludes the statement of the natives,
therein cited, that it bore "the figure of the sun." Tezozomoc gives
a similar account.
Withal, this does not go beyond supposition, and there might be
reason for doubt amid the multiplicity of conflicting opinions: that
the stone was completed in the time of Chimalpopoca, as Don Antonio
Pefiafiel believed; in 1352, as Abadiano asserted; in 103 or 231, dates

which some have claimed to read in the relief; and in 699, and that it
was made by the Toltecs, as there are very strong reasons for believing.
What we may indeed affirm is that we have not here the date with
which the last sun or the historic sun began, as Joyce says, and
Spinden repeats, because the statements are in agreement, not only
in the Aztec traditions but in the Toltec, in assigning the sign Ce
tecpatl (i-knife) to this event: the codices prove it without any manner
of doubt. What, then, will be the date designated ? We believe that
the stone itself will yield the means of solving the problem.
Let us enumerate the dates of the relief. In the upper rectangular
tablet we have seen the one upon which attention has been most
turned, the date in which we believe the monument was completed:
Near the face of the sun, in the next following great circle, it will
be remembered that we meet with a flint knife with one dot, that is
Ce tecpatl. Together with the t&cpatl is seen the mamalhuaztli; sign of
the new fire.
In the designs like flames or half-feathers, which project from the
inner border of the serpents, four stout bars are seen upon each.
The peculiar position of these flames, almost separated from the
body of the serpents, symbol as we know of time, seems to us to
express previous epochs or cycles, which must be considered as
past with reference to the actual era of the world, directly represented
in the serpents. They are links separated from the allegorical circle
of time. In consonance with the general significance of the glyphs,
it does not seem to us illogical to attribute to the said figures a cycle
of 416 years, or, what is the same, to give to each bar the value of
an Indian century, a huehuetiliztli; we shall see the hypothesis con-
Each flame is the emblem of a spark of light, of an irradiation of
solar fire through the universe, irradiation which in the life of the orb
is like a flash, but which for the limited existence of man attains the
term of a cycle of 416 years. Being twelve the flames of the entire
round, there result 4,992 years, date for which we shall later seek
associations. Adding to it the 104 years represented by the meeting
of the heads, we arrive at 5,096, a most important date which will give
us extraordinary revelations. The importance of the date seems to
have led to its repetition, and we meet it figured in the projection of
the cylinder. Let us state now, to be proved later, that this year
5096 was a I3-dcatl; .and do not lose sight of the fact that the reading

of the number is made in the bodies of the serpents, whose tails indicate
precisely the frame of the 13-cane.
Let us see now the symbols of the projection. Until the present
they have been considered either merely decorative or emblems of the
Milky Way. They might metaphorically be the latter; but they have,
at the same time, an exact chronological significance, an idea suggested
by Abadiano, although our own judgment in this matter differs in
various respects from his. There are two tUcpatl (flint knives) which
face each other, alternating with itzpapdlotl (obsidian butterflies),
which in our conception is the constellation Orion: the small circles
crossed by lines clearly show that an asterism is in question.
There are 32 butterflies; assigning to each the value of a xiuh-
mollpia (cycle or bundle of 52 years) gives us among them all 1,664,
whose significance we shall seek opportunely. With respect to the
knives (tIcpatl), they number 64, or, as they are in couples, 32 groups;
attributing the same value to them, not an arbitrary hypothesis as
we shall see, there is obtained the number 3,328, the double of 1,664,
which is the precise product of four periods of 416. Summing this
number 3,328 and the preceding 1,664 completes the important date
read in the surface of the relief: the year 4492; notice that the series
of elements with which we have encountered it are three in accord.
One reading confirms the other. We shall undertake to harmonize
them with our chronology.
A third date may be read in the monolith. Each serpent presents
twelve scales, or divisions, and each one of these incloses a glyph,
symbolical of fire according to the archaeologists, which is accom-
panied by a half-numeral, that is to say, a half-circle.
The figure resembles the glyph of the new fires, frequently repre-
sented with a double volute, as may be seen, for example, in the edifice
of Xochicalco; and the supposition is so much the more probable,
considering that the symbolical serpent ought to grow by equal parts
or periods, and here the four things of the tail tell us that the serpent
represents primordially a chronological value of 52 years. But the
half-circles indicate that in each scale only the half-period is to be
considered. There being 24 of these divisions, their summation
embraces a total of 624 years (24X52-2), which, added to the
5,096 gives us the year 5720 of native reckoning.
Soon we shall harmonize this new date with our chronology. If
we add the 156 dots inscribed on the cylindrical projection or edge of
the relief, near the butterflies and the flint knives, we attain the date

5876 last in time of those which are read in the monolith. All pertain
to the chronology of the Indians; it is necessary to relate them if
possible, to our own.
Let us repeat in order, for greater clearness:

Year 4992 (twice)
Direct, that is to say, by summation Year 5096
of elements Year 5720
Year 5876
Native reading, for us indirect I -tecpatl

Two other dates there are, Ce quidhuitl (I-rain) and Chicome
ozomatl (7-monkey), below the great central arrow.

The historian Ixtlilx6chitl, great-grandson of the last king of
Texcoco, is held to be the most faithful and informed conservator of
the traditions, history, and cosmogony of the Toltecs. There reigns,
however, the most extraordinary confusion and an incredible disorder
in many of the dates which he gives, which is due to the fact that he
did not know how to harmonize the native with the Christian chro-
nology; but the basis of his narrative, submitted to a vigorous analysis
and judiciously pruned, very nearly approaches historic truth, a
cabildo of Indian savants (that of San Salvador Quautlancingo) hav-
ing certified to the exactitude of his statements. Men of no less merit
than Clavijero, Prescott, Count Cortina, Fernando Ramirez, and
Manuel Orozco y Berra, have rendered justice to this man, unduly
unesteemed by some.
According to the data of the Relaciones, the human species from
the creation of the world on had been three times destroyed: the first
time by inundations (Atonatiuh or the sun of water); the second by
hurricanes (Ehecatonatiuh or the sun of the air), after a lapse of time
equal to that which passed before. The third age concluded in the
year 4992, which is just 12 complete cycles of 416 years, and ended by
terrestrial calamities (wars, eruptions, earthquakes, etc.), .
those of this earth had another destruction, who were the giants;
and thus also many of the Tultecs died in the year Ce t&cpatl
(4993); and this age they called Tlacchitonatiuh (sun of earth)." In
it Ixtlilx6chitl places the Ulmecas and the Xicalancas, gives data

regarding Quetzalc6atl, and speaks of the first pyramid of Cholula.
The destruction of the giants (quinamatzin) marked the end of the
era in 4993.
Be it noticed that the number is equal to three exact periods of
1,664 years, in its turn made up of 4 cycles of 416: and let us not forget
the pronounced tendency of the Indians to distribute the evolution of
their history in fixed periods of equal duration. Thus is explained
the allegory engraved in the center of the relief which represents the
four ages of the world, the duration of each one of which appears deter-
mined by 4 dots, the chronological value of which has not been dis-
covered until now. It is easy for us to suppose that the Toltecs,
always obedient to the tetranary conception which permeated such
diverse phases of their social organization, their philosophy, and their
religio-cosmogonic beliefs, would assign to each period, even if it had
scarcely begun, 1,664 years, number formed by four great cycles of
416 years, made up, they also, of four huehuetiliztli. According to this,
the dots on the tablets are valued each one at 416 years, like the flames
from the bodies of the serpents and other diverse elements of this
admirably co-ordinated product of talent.
The above might seem to be speculative; but it is a fact that the
Texcocan chronicler fixes the date 4992 and that this is read twice in
the relief. Ah well, when 4,992 years had run their course, three ages
only had been completed; 104 years later, Ixtlilx6chitl affirms that the
Toltecs initiated a new chronology, "they added the bissextile, in
order to adjust the solar year to the equinox," and in fine, they per-
fected their calendar, determining the rules relative "to the months,
the weeks, and the signs and planets": the event occurred in Ce tecpatl
(i-knife) 5097, counting from the creation of the world in the Indian
The important Anales de Cuauhtitlan (codex which surpasses all
those known in the antiquity and precision of its chronology, which
embraces eight great cycles), considered as in apparent disaccord with
the Texcocan historian, in reality confirm the capital data of Ixtlilx6-
chitl. They locate the arrival of the mysterious nation of the Ulmecas,
in the beginnings of the third age, very nearly a thousand years before,
Christ, and categorically fix the beginning of the second Toltec
monarchy-because in remote times they had constituted another-
in the year 674 of our era. Twenty-six years later, the year 700 was
Ce tccpatl; and all the traditions affirm that the Toltecs initiated a
new epoch in Ce tlcpatl.

On his part, the canon Ord6fiez de Aguiar, to whom are due the
most trustworthy data which we possess upon the ancient inhabitants
of Chiapas, stated at a little less than a thousand years before the
vulgar era the apparition of the Quich'es, a people mysterious until
the present, in whom, however, we are not the first to suggest affinities
with the Ulmecas. Brasseur de Bourbourg discovered many most
interesting things. With the establishment of the Toltec monarchy
or some analogous event of importance, such as the regulation of the
chronology, we have seen that the period called the fourth age of the
world began.
Very well, if the third age began 1,664 years before that event,
its commencement dates from the year 964 B.C. Ord6fiez has dis-
covered in the traditions of Chiapas, that "almost a thousand
years" before our era, took place the apparition, and began in our
territories the migrations, of the Quich'es. Brasseur de Bourbourg,
with data from the codices, indicates the coming of the Ulmecas in
the Plateau in the year 955 B.C., a date admitted by Chavero in relation
to the Vixtoti, who were fundamentally the same people; then is
"when the sun began to divide the lands between men." There is
but nine years' difference from 964.
We shall have to infer that the Ulmecas and the Quich'es were the
same people, which explains to us the arrival of the first from the east.
Some circumstance set them in movement about a thousand years
before our era, and about the year 964 or 955 they began to show them-
selves in the high table-land of Anahuac, coming from the direction
of the Gulf, as all the traditions assert. It is necessary to admit the
probability that they constructed the first pyramids and other monu-
ments, as legend persistently claims. Sahagfn, Torquefiada, and
various chroniclers collected the story from the lips of the Indians, and
in our own days Bishop Plancarte y Navarrette urges it with powerful
arguments. Also Waldeck, Lenoir, and Orozco y Berra indicate the
event as a thing about three thousand years past.
Somewhere about' the year 596 of the vulgar era, date suggested
by Clavijero, there appeared on the Plateau, or at least began their
movement, the advance guards of the Toltec migration. The best
documents, the Anales de Cuauhtillan among them, agree that the land
was then occupied by the Ulmecas. Some grave event, perhaps the
last manifestations of volcanic activity, developed at the time, princi-
pally in the valley of Mexico, permitting the newcomers to witness the
last ruins of the catastrophe in the regions which had been occupied

by their predecessors; the vestiges of human work found under the
lavas of Xictli and of Cerro Pelado in the Pedregal of San Angel and
on both slopes of Ajusco strongly corroborate this hypothesis. It was
then the year 4992 in the chronology of the aborigines. After the
cataclysm the Toltecs employed another 104 years, a huehuetiliztli,
in establishing themselves in the district, and, in the year 700 of our
era, founded their final seat, initiated a new period in the fourth age
of the world, arranging the chronology, consolidating their monarchial
institutions, and electing their first king.
Chavero agrees with these data, although he believes that six years
earlier, in 694, some very important event occurred, which some, like
Orozco y Berra, connect with the dedication of the pyramids to the
astronomic cult; but he accepts the mentioned date anyway. Tor-
quemada had gathered from the traditions which came within his
reach the same date 700, adding that the Toltecs had "wandered"
for 104 years before, a statement which accords with others that we
have. Clavijero and other authors vary slightly as to the founding
of Tula, assigning the dates 661, 667, 674-theAnalesdeCuzauhtitlan
gives this-and even 694, given by Motolinia as the year of the
beginning of the epoch; but the date mentioned (700 A.D.; Ce t&cpatl
in the native calendar), whether we relate it to that event or to the
exaltation of the first monarch, best resists analysis for which reason the
erudite author of the first volume of Mexico a traves de los siglos
(Chavero), after a thorough investigation, decides in favor of it. The
Anales mentioned, although they declare that Tula was founded in
674, add that the nation existed for twenty-seven years without a
monarch, that is to say, they arrived anyhow at the notable date 700.
It cannot be denied that the date floats with singular persistency upon
the tumultuous waves of tradition. Buelna, whose talent and
breadth of documentation no one denies, also encounters it in his
investigations, although the learned author of the Peregrinaci6n de
los Aztecas refers it to one of the principal stations in the journey of
the tribe of Tenoch-the arrival at Mexcala or Coatlicamac-an
assertion with which we do not agree, because it conflicts with the
statements of the Codex Ramirez, of Duran, and of Chimalpahin,
who unanimously assign a much less ancient date to that event. But
even if it is not related to the race of the Mexi, the suggestive thing is
that.this date appears in all the studies, so that surely it does allude
to some event of capital importance in the history of the aborigines;
and all the circumstances had us admit that it treats of the Toltecs.

The relative littleness of the discrepancies which we mention in itself
manifests the effective exactness of the chronology in question.
There are those who (Seler, Joyce) in place of the year 700 prefer to
assign the initial references of the document of Cuauhtitlan, relative
to the Toltecs, to the year 752; the fact that this date is just a
bundle of years after the other, united to other testimonies, confirms
our opinion that that is the correct one.' Ixtlilx6chitl and the
Anales de Cuauhtitlan result then on the whole in agreement: the
) ear 700 of the vulgar era is 5097 of the chronology of the Indians.
Here follows a most important passage from Ixtlilx6chitl, which
one might almost say was directly deduced from the data of the relief:
. In the year 5097 of the creation of the world, which was Ce tIcfatl,
and 104 from the total destruction of the quinametzin (giants), there being
peace throughout this New World, all the Toltec savants came together,
the astrologers as well as the other arts in Huehuetlapallan, head city of
their kingdom, where they treated of many things such as the events and
calamities that had happened and the movement of the heavens since the
creation of the world.
There leaps to view the allusion to the famous meeting of Toltec
astronomers, which certainly did not occur in the remote district of
the Gila, as has erroneously been claimed-in any event, there were
various of these assemblies-meeting in which was made the re-
organization of the calendar. This important reunion took place in
the year 5097 from the creation of the world (native chronology), year
that was Ce t&cpatl in its series (commenced with the same name and
We have before seen that some event of the greatest importance
for that people occurred in the year 700 of the Christian Era, and the
synchronological tables (see those of Veytia) tell us without room for
error that that year 700 was Ce tecpatl. At the same time, the para-
graph of the Texcocan chronicler states that the third age of the world
ended in 4992, since that 104 years before 5097 the quinametzin
perished; this was the Tlacchitonatiuh, or the sun of the earth
(Tlaltonatiuh). So that the Indians considered their third epoch
finished in the year 596, and it is to be noticed that three historians,
Torquemada, Clavijero, and Veytia, are in harmony regarding this
SAnd Seler himself, so learned and well documented generally, studying
similar problems affirms (Origenes de las Civilizationes centro-americanas) that the
beginning of the Toltec culture and of the system of the tonaldmatl, or "the historic
sun" for the Indians, dates from an epoch which oscillates about the year 700 A.D.

date; but as they delayed a century (104 years) in consolidating and
regulating the calendar, they adopted the year 700 for the chrono-
logical beginning.
Ah well, the monument of the museum shows the two dates clearly:
in the glyphs on the backs of the serpents, which summed with the 104
years of the meeting of the heads give the number 5,096, and in the
glyphs at the margin of the stone, alluding to the facts already passed,
which express the number 4,992. In order to confirm it with noonday
clearness, here is the character Ce tecpatl, joined to the face of Tona-
tiuh in a prominent part of the relief; here are also the four cosmogonic
ages; here at the edge of the stone the hieroglyphs alluding to the
three ages completed. The reference could not be more explicit. The
monolith appears worked expressly to record the facts discussed at
the memorable assembly of the astronomers, that "movement of the
heavens and the calamities that have occurred since the creation of the
world." Already we know what these were: Chavero has read them to
perfection in the rectangles which surround the naolin: Ehecatonatiuh,
Tletonatilh, Atonatiuh, and Tlaltonatiuh, which was the present,
initiated by Ce tecpatl: the ages, suns, and catastrophes of the air, fire,
water, and earth. Already we know the meaning of the "movement
of the heavens," that it was nothing else than the cycles of 104 and 416
years, determined by the harmonious interlocking of the periods of
the sun and of Venus, which is what the union of the magnificent
serpents symbolizes.
And what is the native year 5097 in our chronology? The syn-
chronological tables, Ixtlilx6chitl, and the Anales, each in its own style,
tell us: This Ce tecpatl, commencement of the Toltec epoch within
the fourth age of the world, corresponds to 700 of the vulgar era, when
the compatriots of Huemintzin declared their new history begun and
founded the second Tula, or, what is more probable, elected their
monarch Mixcoamazdtzin, as Chavero says. Torquemada gives the
same year, but changes the king's name to Totepeuh; and Motolinfa
varies only by six years, since he says that the present age commenced
in 694, while the tables prove that the Ce t&cpatl mentioned by Ixtlil-
x6chitl could only be 700o. So many testimonies give force; it might
SFurther, the narratives of the history of the Aztecs and their precedessors,
the Culhuas (who were Toltecs), which were ordered to be written down by the
daughter of Motecuhzoma, Dofia Isabel, and which were published by Sefior
Icazbalceta, coincide in assigning to the first king a year of the eighth century,
which is notably near to the year 700. Certainly the princess utilized the services
of some truly learned native priest.

indeed be believed, and we have been driven seriously to think that
the stone of the museum was made a little after the year 700 A.D., by
the hands of a people who, on account of their knowledge in the arts
and sciences, have left fame in the traditions as learned and artistic.
For fuller measure! The year 699 was a 13-dcatl, the date indi-
cated by the tails of the serpents in whose heads and bodies we have
read so simply the number 5,096. Whatever chronological tables,
those of Veytia, for example, corroborate this assertion. There is
nothing venturous, in the presence of so many and such circumstances
in claiming that the monument dates from 1,2oo years back and that it
was sculptured in record of the most famous assembly of Toltec
astronomers, meeting of which this relief seems the imperishable
official record. As we think how it has resisted the destructive
agencies of the past five hundred years, we hope that it may defy the
kiss of one and of many myriads.
There is another circumstance suggesting the Toltec origin of the
stone, at least as concerns the ideas represented: the importance
which the planet Venus has in the relief. Quetzalc6atl was the symbol
of the star; Quetzalc6atl changed himself into Vesper, states the
fragment attributed to Olmos, Hystoyre du Mechique; Quetzalc6atl
was the evening star, declares the commentators of Codex Vaticanus
A. Ah well, Quetzalc6atl was pre-eminently the product, the most
perfect personification of that race. Son of Ixtacmixc6atl, "the
serpent of the white clouds" (the Milky Way), tradition says that
this personage was one of the brothers engendered by the divine
creator, that is to say, one of the original races, called Olmecas,
Xicalancas, etc. The Codex Dehesa confirms the legend, since it
shows the last beginning their pilgrimage into the heavens. It
would not be the first people that has deified its progenitors!
Quetzalc6atI is then the representative of the Toltecs, its symbol, its
metaphorical incarnation, and the Toltec priests and kings were
accustomed to adopt his name. And Quetzalc6atl is also the evening
star. Already we have been able to explain to ourselves that they
deified him, and that from his movements combined with those of the
star of day they made the basis of their chronological system, the basis
of their calendar. This being the product of the thirteens and the
twenties arranged by cycles of 52'and of 104 years, it obviously results
that the adorers of the star are the inventors of the system, the true
inventors of the tonaldmatl. Logical, in truth, that: the symbols of
the star should figure in a prominent part of the cyclographic stone!

To summarize: Repeat the reading of the characters of basalt,
combining scrupulousness with analytical rigor, and always the same
data will be found: the four ages of the world, the number 4,992
twice placed (in one of which the numbers 1,664 figures), the number
5,096, the 13-dcatl correspondent to the same year, the Ce tecpatl, the
following year (5097), and the cycles of 104 and 416 solar years
indicated in different modes, the dates mentioned being the result
of the addition of these same cycles. Simple and highly logical con-
Translating this into our language and relating it to modern
chronology, aided by documents as authoritative as the Anales de
Cuauhtitlan and the Relaciones of Ixtlilx6chitl, both natives, we may
say: The date 5096 corresponds to the year 699 of the Christian Era;
this year was a J3-dcatl, and 1,664 years had passed since 964 B.c. when,
in their legends, with discrepancies of about nine years, the natives
declared the third era of the world began, assigning to it a duration of
four cycles of 416 years. The 32 itzpapalotl (obsidian butterflies) of the
edge of the relief, each symbolical of a new fire, confirm this assertion:
One hundred and four years before the year 4992 of their chronology
it is declared that the quinamitzin were destroyed. (Upon the prob-
able origin of these beings, consult Hamy, Anthropologie du Mexique;
we speak af it also in our Historia de Puebla.) The Toltec savants
met together then and discussed the creation of the world, the calami-
ties that had occurred, and the movement of the heavens: this means
that they proceeded to the regulation of the calendar, basing it upon
the observations of the heavenly bodies. Sahagin says that "the
Toltecs knew the movement of the heavens and this by the stars."
"Clavijero met with data that suggested something analogous, since
he declares that the astronomer Huemintzin, governing Ixtlilcuecha-
huac, made the sacred book, the Teoamoxtli, wherein was explained
the movement of the heavens, and assigns to the event a date suffi-
ciently near, the year 660. It is this same date that Boturini fixes
for the beginning of what he calls the third age. Both authorities
agree in the fundamental fact, but the rigorous and most minute
chronology of the Anales, recording the dates 674 and 700, is irre-
proachable; to it we ought to attach ourselves, supported by the double
authority of Torquemada and Chavero: that the year 700 was Ce
tecpatl is certain. How not to record permanently the account of that
reunion in which had been condensed the wisdom, the legends, and
even the auguries and predictions of a race which lived ever scrutinizing

the secret of the firmament! No more fitting means existed than to
sculpture it in indestructible material, which should preserve the
marvelous secret for following ages.
If the relief of the museum is that commemorative monument, we
must admit that its glyphs, so long mysterious, were the work of a
master-workman and the conception of a mind which in genius does
not yield before Hipparchus, nor Kepler, nor Newton, nor Arago.
Thus Bullock was impelled to declare: ". ... .The stone is a con-
spicuous proof of the perfection to which those races had attained in
certain sciences: even in the most enlightened cities of the present
day, there are few persons who would be capable of executing such
a work."
Slow has been our analysis, and we have succeeded in making the
decipherment only step by step, strengthened with the most important
codices and confirmed by the most notable monuments, as we shall see
later on. But to the eyes of the Mexicans of Tenochtitlan, who placed
the relief in a prominent part of their temple, whether they worked
it themselves or received it already made, the reading was easy and
significant in the extreme. Translating it, so far as is possible, its
form would be more or less as follows:
In the year 4992 the third age of the world came to an end; with four
more great rounds, four ages. At its termination Tonatiuh and Quetzalc6atl
met in the heavens, and in the tonaldmatl it was Ce cipacili, the first of the
count. It was the end of the year I3-dcall. One hundred and four years
later the Toltec savants founded their city and elected a king, and the old
men, the astronomers, and the principal diviners having assembled said:
We are about to commence again the count of time. And they did so with
the commencement of the following year, Ce tMcpatl, which was the 5,o97th
year from the creation. And they added that this age would have to end
through terrestrial calamities, after 4X416 years, since the preceding ages
had come to end through the force of water, of air, and of fire, because so
the two lords of heaven, who come together every 8 and 104 years, will it.
And they decided to record it in a monument, strong and eternal as time,
that it should be preserved in the history of the world.

Strange coincidence! Four hundred and sixteen years after the
foundation in i 16, the flourishing empire of the Toltecs is destroyed!
This is not a date which we arbitrarily suppose: Torquemada, placing
the last monarch Achauatzin at that time, and Veytia give the testi-
mony; the learned Orozco y Berra states it; Chavero resolutely accepts
it. The Anales de Cuauhtitlan vary by just 52 years, which, even if it

were erroneous, gives an indirect confirmation. But the date is not read
upon the monument, nor would it be possible to find it there, admitting
that it was worked before that event in memory of the meeting of the
Toltec astronomers. There arises one question then: if the construc-
tor was that people, how did its monument come to be in the teocalli
of a Mexican city?
Let us agree first that the people of Tenoch considered itself the
heir of the Toltec culture, and that it had accepted it almost in its
entirety; on that account it is often compared to the Roman con-
querors, conquered themselves in turn by the superiority of Greek
We know that they belonged to one ethnic family, since both
spoke Nahuatl. Moreover, a multitude of circumstances exist which
permit the affirmation that the Mexicans descended directly from the
Toltecs, with whom they had a very close relationship. It would not
be strange then that, encountering a monument which in so notable
a fashion summarized the wisdom classic for them, they should
carefully preserve it and even erect it in their greatest temple. The
question of transportation as little involves difficulty, supposing
that it was transported from the pyramids or from Tula. Taking
into consideration the data of geology, modern archaeologists
recognize that the rock mass must have been transported, at least
from the mountains of Aculco, the nearest locality where this kind of
basalt is to be found. If the Aztecs could transport a monolith of
30 tons' weight from there, they could have done so from a greater
distance, for example, from Teotihuacan, sacred city concerning which
more and more reasons accumulate for maintaining that it was the
Toltec metropolis. The pyramids are not much farther from Mexico
than Chalco; and it will be remembered that scarcely two or three
decades ago there was brought from there a monument, the one called
Omecihuatl, goddess of water or the moon, almost as large as the
relief of the museum.
We come now to another consideration. Ixflilx6chitl expressly
declares against the thesis of various authorities, that the past ages
were three and that the Toltecs initiated the fourth in the year
Ce tecpatl. He says that the fourth age "has to finish," a phrase
signifying that it was the present one. The sign tcpatl, placed in the
relief to the left, above the face of the sun, eloquently confirms that
assertion: it initiates the epoch which the constructors held as con-
temporaneous. We know from Gama, Boturini, and other authorities

that the initial character of the epoch among the Mexicans was
tochtli; hence ticpatl belongs exclusively to the Toltec chronology.
There exist presumptions, then, for thinking that the relief condenses
the Toltec chronology, reckoning from the chronological reform
instituted by that people. Further, remember that in the border of
the stone, from whose position it is easy to infer that they refer to past
ages, are encountered glyphs corresponding to three ages only, which
shows that the face of the monolith is destined to the actual or historic
sun, as is reasonable to suppose.
Why then are the ages represented in the figure of the naolin four ?
If the work were that of the Aztecs, the explanation is very simple:
the fourth age beginning in the year 700 of the Christian Era, or 5097,
of the Indian chronology, the people of Tenoch would consider it
ended with the destruction of Tula, reserving to their own history a
fifth sun, which is what Gama, Orozco y Berra, Chavero, and other
historians believe. Thus would be explained the fact that the numeral
situated below the arrow of the naolin is a little smaller than the
others: it represents the fifth age, not yet terminated; therefore it is
smaller. We confess that this reading has offered itself to our mind
with singular insistence.
Nevertheless, it does not harmonize with the tetranary preoccupa-
tion of the natives; and, above all, it is possible for the four figured
ages to be explained within the first hypothesis, that is, that the Tol-
tecs have been the constructors of the stone, or even that the Mexicans
did not believe that they lived in another than the fourth age. A
paragraph from Veytia will give us suggestive light upon the matter,
more especially as he speaks precisely of the meeting of the Tula
astronomers. He says:

In the city of Huehuetlapallan, famous and numerous population,
there came together not only the learned astrologers who were of that city
but others who came from the surrounding populations, who, after con-
ferring together at length over the errors which they had recognized in their
computations, determined that the duration of the world ought to be
divided into four periods or ages, which had to end by the violence of each
one of the four elements. The first age, Atonatiuh, from the Creation to
the Deluge, which they called the Age of Water, Atonatiuh. The second
from the Deluge up to the hurricanes in which, by the force of the winds
they had suffered the second calamity, and so they called this second age
Ehecatonatiuh. The third, in which they were, they said had to come
to an end by earthquakes, and so they called it Tlatonatiuh, sun of the

earth; and after this follows the fourth and last age of the world, which
has to end by the violence of fire, and thus they call it Tletonatiuh, which is
to say sun of fire.
Certain discrepancies with respect to the order of the suns will
be noted, which is different in Veytia, in Ixtlilx6chitl, and in the stone;
on the other hand, this (the stone) agrees in the said particular with
the "anonymous Codex of Gama" or Chimalpopoca. There also
appears an error of 104 years (a native century) in the accounts of the
Texcocan historian, and other divergencies are not lacking. This is
inevitable in treating of so remote events, necessarily vague in their
nature. But there is a fundamental accord in the data which cannot
be denied; in any event, the relief is the unimpeachable authority to
which in the last instance we must attend.
The Toltecs believed, as we have shown, that they lived in the
third age of the world, as Boturini and Veytia suppose, or at the
beginning of the fourth, as is stated by Ixtlilx6chitl. Their traditions
told them that each one of the anterior ages had lasted a definite num-
ber of fixed periods of 416 years: the first 1,664-or a bundle more,
according to the data of the Texcoco chronicler, apparently in error
by 52 years in this account; the second the same length. They found
themselves at the end of the third, and held it finished at the expira-
tion of four new cycles of 416 years each. Here indeed Ixtlilx6chitl
appears exact, stating definitely the date 4992, which are 12 great
periods or 48 Indian centuries. Then occurred the destruction of
many of the autochthonous inhabitants of the plateau as the result
of a catastrophe (apparently volcanic eruptions) whose last mani-
festations the Toltecs themselves witnessed; one huehuetiliztli sepa-
rates this event from the consolidation of the monarchy of Tula.
Clavijero, who places the arrival of the people in the year 596
A.D., indirectly confirms the thesis, since from then to 7oo.there passed
just one native century. Torquemada also speaks of their wandering
for 104 years.. Chavero admits the same date, 596 A.D., although he
refers it to the beginning of the peregrination. Buschmann also
states it.
They let these years go by then in consolidating themselves or in
wandering, and in the year 5097, Ce tecpatl, which was 700, they
initiated the fourth age of the world. Chavero claims that they then
elected their first monarch; Boturini, Gama, and the majority of
authorities agree that the Toltec chronology began with Ce tecpatl.
There are those who place the event at the year 713 and even 719 and

721, an insignificant discrepancy. Motilinia comes much nearer,
giving the date 694. M. Remi Simeon, very competent in these
matters, says that in 690 the Toltecs established the state which was
to last more than four centuries, and we read it also in the Anales de
Cuauhtitlan and in G6mara. The assertion of this chronicler is of
particular precision: "Counting from then [the beginning of the
historic period among the Indians] until the end of 1552, their sun
[age] has 858 years." But it must not be forgotten that, according
to the tables, only the year 700 was Ce t&cpatl, and Ixtlilx6chitl has
told us that in that Ce tWcpatl the meeting occurred. The illustrious
Orozco y Berra, whose scrupulousness in comparison of data and sub-
mitting the very last document to rigorous analysis, is proverbial,
states precisely the two most important dates 4993 and 5097, a fact
that lends irrefrangible value to our inferences; thus he himself points
out in the Anales that of 700 and admits that of 694, giving it for the
beginning of the epoch.
They celebrated at its time the famous assembly which left so
deep a trace in their traditions, which all the chroniclers mention:
there was narrated the history of the world; the calendar was arranged,
based upon the cycles of 52 and 104 years, through the interlocking
of the thirteens and the twenties (the tonaldmatl); and it is probable
that the astrologers also indicated the end of the era beginning, and
which calculations, experience, and the tetranary concept had natur-
ally to fix in periods of 416 years. All this, finally, was condensed in
indestructible characters of basalt.
What strangeness then was there in seeing there stamped the four
ages of the world's history although only three had passed ? Veytia
says, alluding to the Toltecs, that "the future ages will be equal to
the past." Therefore their duration appears to be indicated on the
relief with the four numerals inclosed in each rectangle, and of which
we have not yet treated. Now one conjecture regarding their signifi-
cance offers itself to us: each one of these represents a great cycle
of 416 years and between them all 1,664, exact length of the three
periods gone by. It may be said that the stone confirms with mathe-
matical exactness the chronology of Ixtlilx6chitl, followed by Boturini
and Veytia; the interpretations of the Codex Vaticanus, imagined by
Humboldt and admitted in great part by Chavero and other authors,
who give to the native cosmogony about 18,ooo years existence for
the world, fall to the ground. The basalt, unimpeachable text of the
Nahoan cosmogony, and chronology, proves that Ixtlilx6chitl was very

near the correct; he gives the total number precisely and only exceeds
by a single bundle (52 years) in the two first partial figures, indicating
1,716 instead of 1,664.
And indeed, here again a hypothesis which seems probable to us;
the Toltecs persuaded that the fourth age was to be the last and that it
would have to endure another 4X416 years, judged in accordance with
the tetranary philosophy, did not hesitate to carve its symbol on the
monolith, assigning to it the duration which they believed foreordained
by the lords of the firmament.
In this mode the figures of the relief are reconciled with the sup-
position that the Toltecs were its constructors.

Nevertheless, there are those who, in the numerals of the rectangles
read the names of the days in which the catastrophes occurred. That
the ages had their end in those days (4-ocelotl, 4-ehecatl, 4-quidhuitl,
and 4-atl) in fact is stated in the Leyenda de los soles, which is added
to the manuscript of the museum, which contains the Anales de
Cuauhtitlan, and in this codex itself, both declaring that the fifth sun
would have to end in the day 4-ollin. Chavero, and, following his
example, many competent contemporary authors (Seler, Joyce,
Spinden, etc.) have adopted an analogous point of.view.
Were not the said reading supported in so important documents,
we should not take the supposition, really almost puerile, into serious
consideration. Further, it contradicts the Codex Vaticanus, picto-
graph which assigns to the catastrophes-and be it noted to three
only, which is also done by the Tellerian Codex-very different dates,
zo-atl, for atemoztli, i-ocelotl for pachtli, and 9-ollin for xilomaniztli.
But the assertion fits so well with the data of the relief, that the
hypothesis that this was the work of the Toltecs receives a rude blow.
The reading of the four rectangles appears simple: they are the dates
when the four first ages ended: as to the naolin at the center, with its
great numerals, it may be interpreted as the fifth, or Mexican age,
which has to end with the day 4-ollin. In such event, it was inscribed
by that people, who then appear the constructors of the monoliths.
The argument is strong, although, as has been seen, Rios, Boturini,
Veytia, and Ixtlilx6chitl do not agree with the Anales in the matter.
Nevertheless, our museum possesses a most important specimen,
which supports our first and logical reading, reinforcing the narra-
tions of the Texcocan writer. It is a stone of cubical form, approxi-
mately 0.50 m. on a side, with a border of solar and Venus gylphs

identical with those of the relief. Upon the lateral faces of the cube,
the four ages are represented with their respectiire dots, being identical
with the symbols of the chronographic stone or relief of the museum.
The fifth age is met nowhere. We must believe that if the
aborigines had conceived a fifth sun, the Ollintonatiuh, they would
have engraved its figure upon the upper face of the cube: there is no
such thing on it. The reality is expressed in the monolith which is
called the monolith of Tenanco: four are the ages figured, and the last
(here, as in the Codex Fuenleal, is that of water) is not inclosed, as
are the others, by means of a band, which demonstrates that they did
not consider it as concluded. Also there are seen, joined to each
epoch, three great dots and other two smaller that is to say, four
larger numerals together: they represent the duration of the four
epochs equal in all.
In her most important work (The Fundamental Principles of Old
and New World Civilizations), Mrs. Nuttall, showing in this an analo-
gous mode of thought, maintains that the Mexicans (not the Toltecs)
believed that they lived in the fourth age of the world; Dr. Henning,
author of profound studies in these particulars, supposing the begin-
ning to be the sun of air, the Ehecatonatiuh, says that at the time of the
discovery of America the natives were living precisely in the fourth
era-this in his Study of the Date 4-Ahau; Charencey suggests a
similar idea in the study Des dges ou soleils apres la mythologie; the
same savant has told us that.this belief prevailed among the Cak-
chiquels, and Dr. Brinton makes us know a similar thing with respect
to the chronicles of Chilam Balam, that is to say, with respect to the
It is possible, therefore, to read in the relief the expression of the
cosmogonic ages, admitting that its constructors believed themselves
to belong to the fourth. The great ollin, with the head of Tonatiuh
in the middle, alludes not to a fifth era but only to the movement of
the orb between the solstices and the equinoxes, as Gama supposed;
and the numerals signify the four huehuetiliztli which we have read in
The presence of the four ages represented.in the asps of the naolin
having been explained in a manner sufficiently rational and supported
upon respectable historians, the hypothesis that the Toltecs were the
authors of the relief remains in the field. And in truth, whoever they
may have been, the monument expresses nothing but the history, the
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traditions, and the chronology of that so long mysterious race. The
so-called Aztec Calendar, which would better be called the Toltec
Calendar, is the expression par excellence of the culture of the subjects
of Huem6ntzin, worthy hieroglyph of the people who left to posterity
renown of artistic and wise. Here could not be met a higher conden-
sation of beauty and of genius! There is no necessity of a better
argument to prove that that race, inventor of the astronomical
religion and of the worship of the beautiful twin (Quetzalc6atl), who
was in reality but the morning and the evening star, had a real exist-
ence and was not a myth as has been suggested. Here is, at last,
basis for the first chapter of the uncertain and so many times discussed
history of the aboriginal civilizations.
SBut we have to subject to a rigorous study the possibility certainly
not weak, that the Aztecs have been the constructors. Before all, we
ought to ask ourselves: Would it be possible that the subjects of
Ilhuicamina or of AxayAcatl would have worked with exquisite ele-
gance and art a stone which contains the expression of the science
and traditions of another people? Although remarkable, the case
is not absurd, considering that it treated of the science, traditions, and
calendar, fully admitted by the nation, which they considered as the
fountain of all their culture. We yet preserve the Greek Zodiac in
such wise that an Athenian of the time of Hipparchus, if he were to
live again, would be astonished to see in plates and maps the conception
of the heavens which his contemporaries had.
But it cannot be believed that the Aztecs would fail to leave some
trace, some mark, some date peculiar to themselves in a work of such
an extraordinary kind. If investigators do not succeed in discovering
something characteristic, some datum definitely Aztec, it will have to
be decidedly admitted that, encountered where the monolith was, the
Mexi limited themselves to transporting it to Tenochtitlan, erecting
it in a site adequate to its merit (and the Aubin Codex, in its first
pages, narrates something which might lend support to the con-
We have minutely examined the monument, and we shall honestly
say what appears, without claiming certainty, in so difficult a point.
That it expresses Toltec ideas and dates is for us indisputable; but
it is possible to admit that the Tenochca should have engraved the
same fundamental ideas upon a relief, adding some date of their own,
and this is what we desire that the reader shall infer from our study,
limiting ourselves to presenting the elements of the analysis. The

account of Fray Diego Durin, invoked by Don Alfredo Chavero to
demonstrate that this is the monument of Axayicatl, possesses much
importance; but it does not command complete confidence, since it
may refer to another stone. No one is ignorant of how many con-
fusions have been produced in this direction, insistently calling, for
example, a "sacrificial stone" a monument which has nothing of that
character, or declaring another to be a "gladiatorial stone" which is
totally dissimilar to one. There are reasons for admitting that the
relief of the museum was the stone described by,the friar; but until
now it has not been proved, and we believe that Sefior Chavero worked
upon a contestable supposition.
Although the date inscribed in the frame corresponds to the date
1479, of the reign of Axayicatl, it corresponds also to the date 699
of the vulgar era, 5096 from the creation of the world in the Toltec
chronology; and as we read this last number in the figures that adorn
the body of the serpents, and precisely the extreme triangles of the
serpents indicate the frame with their tips, it would not be absurd
to understand the thought of the artist in this mode: the stone com-
memorates the year 5096, which was z3-dcatl in the chronological series.
Consulting the tables of the calendar of the Indians it is seen that in
fact the year 699 was i3-dcatl.
Therefore the date with which we deal will not by itself alone
decide the problem, since it gives occasion to two apparently legiti-
mate interpretations. But we believe it possible to read, and actually
without violence, a frankly Aztec date in the glyphs of the relief.
Already we have said how it is met, counting one by one the ciphers
stamped on the scales or divisions of the serpents. These divisions
are 24; each one inclosing the glyph of fire, its value complete would
amount to 52 years; but the half-circle added to each scale indicates
that only half is to be taken, that is to say, 26. This gives us 624
years; summing these to the 5,096 before read, we get the number
5,720. The number issues, so to say, from the body of the serpents,
added to the actual elements those which their position shows are
past. We might attribute their complete value to the scales: they
represent in this manner 1,248 years which summed with the 416 of
the little bars distributed in the bodies reaches precisely the number
1,664; but this is not the actual date, but the future end of the current
age. When the artist engraved the half-circles, it is reasonable to
assume that he had a definite purpose: his entire problem consisted
in distributing the elements.

We introduce nothing new or arbitrary into the calculation, except
considering the scales on divisions of the serpents as indicative each of
one xipoualli. Thisdoes not involvean absurd conjecture. The serpent
is time, which grows by fixed periods; each part of its body represents
without doubt a new period. What could this be except that symbol-
ized in the tails of the emblematic beings, the cycle of 52 years ? The
native belief that serpents carry their age marked in this part of their
body is well known.
The result has been the number 5,720 of the Indian chronol-
ogy. Related to our calendar, starting from the year 5097, which we
already know was the year 700 of the vulgar era, we find it to be
1323 of the Christian Era. The date not only belongs sharply to the
Aztec history, but is in a certain sense the most important in its annals,
since it was the date of the founding of Mexico. This the Icazbalceta
Codex, commonly known as the Fuenleal, clearly affirms. Very
natural that the Tenochca, whether they were of the time of Axay&-
catl or whatever other monarch, in putting upon the relief their
chronological system (admitting the supposition) such as they had
received it from the civilizing race, should desire to add to it the record
of the foundation of their own metropolis, date memorable for them.
If our reading is correct, the monument decides definitely a historic
point, which has been bitterly discussed: Tenochtitlan was founded in
the year which, with little variation, the Mendoza Codex, Chimal-
pahin, Clavijero, and the learned Orozco y Berra maintain.
No one is ignorant of how much historical writers have vacillated
upon this point. Durdn, the illustrious Don Jos6 F. Ramfrez, and
Chavero have decided upon 1318, upon the authority of the Anales de
Cuauhtitlan; on their part, the Tira de Tepechpan, the Aubin and the
Vatican codices lend their support to the date 1312, although the two
first documents apparently declare the year 1364;* the cacique of
Tlaxcala, Juan Ventura Zapata, inclined to 1321; Tezoz6moc pre-
ferred 1326: and Sigilenza y G6ngora, Vetancurt, and the Franciscan
relations arrive at 1327, although Torquemada fixed 1341 and Enrico
Martinez 1357. But the Mendoza Codex, Mendieta, Chimalpahin,
Clavijero, and Don Manuel Orozco y Berra incline in favor of the
years 1324 or 1325; and the said Codex Fuenleal, most important
document, gives exactly 1323. The stone, unimpeachable text,
demonstrates that, with very slight difference, these last find them-
selves in the certainty, at least so far as relates to the official
z See our study, La fundaci6n de Tenochtitlan.

date, as we might say the year in which they made the celebration of
the event. This was the one always recorded in their annals by the
Indians, who customarily made them fall upon the termination of a
Some other Aztec date ought to be found upon the relief. Perse-
cuted and miserable as the Aztecs were at the time of the foundation
of their city, the Mexicans were not in condition to work so grand a
monument. And if they erected it later, it is clear that they would
have desired to mark the date of the work. All peoples proceed in
this way in a similar case.
Let us seek this date. Around the cylinder, over the projected
part, there are 156 dots in a continuous series, which we may under-
stand as so many other numerals. If we add them to the date
5720, we reach the 5876 of the native calendar. Singular fact!
That year is precisely 1479 of our era, in which it is said that the
emperor Axayacatl inaugurated a commemorative stone. From
1323, date of the foundation of Mexico, to 1479 precisely 156 years
passed, the date of the commemoration being again a 13-dcatl.
Is this merely a coincidence? Is the monolith of the museum then
the stone of Axayacatl ?
According to whether the procedure whereby we have found these
last dates appears forced or legitimate, may be repudiated or accepted
those which we suggest is Aztec marks; in any event, the d tes
directly expressed are of the Toltec chronology.

The reader will decide whether the 156 points may be interpreted
as has been said. In any case, the monument expresses the Indian chrono-
logical system and cosmogony, the centuries of 104 years and the cycles of
416, the era of 1040 and that of 1664, begun, all these periods, with the
character Ce tecpatl and ended in z3-dcatl. Such a reading which is
indisputable, suffices to constitute it, in the highest sense, the text
par excellence which the aboriginal civilizations have left us. We may
add that it is the key of the great monuments, codices, and inscriptions
before enigmatical: the Rosetta Stone of Mexican archaeology. It
permits the inference that those fundamental concepts, everywhere
distributed, were the common property of many primitive families,
who received them from one civilizing people, trunk of the cultures
anterior to the discovery of America.
Moreover, there is one kind of considerations relative to the date
which we have supposed of the Aztecs which we ought not to omit.

It is necessary to exhaust this aspect of the matter, because the fact
that the stone embodies Toltec ideas is not irreconcilable with the fact that
Mexicans were its constructors. We have said that many reasons exist
for maintaining that the Mexicans were a later branch from the same
trunk as the Toltecs. If we admit that artificers and astronomers
of the time of Axayicatl are the constructors of the relief, it would be
desirable to ascertain what circumstance might influence their minds
to erect the monument at the time claimed. If it were found to be
of especial interest, that in itself would strengthen the conjectures of
those who incline to this thesis.
Let us recall the tradition that the ages of the world were measured
in exact or very approximate terms by series of 416 years. We do not
in any manner, think that the events accommodated themselves to this pre-
occupation; but we believe that the coincidence having been repeated
two or three times with sensible approximation by accident, the natives
were deeply impressed, and they themselves so arranged matters as
to force the principal events of their history to coincide with the end
of the sacred cycles. They undertook peregrinations, founded cities,
elected their monarch in special years. There are many testimonies of
this, especially in the annals of the Toltecs, a fact which has brought
discords to those who could not explain to themselves, for example, that
the kings all ruled for 52 years. It was because the public life was
subordinated to the astronomico-religious beliefs. Their predilection
for the year Ce tjcpatl was above all manifest: creation of the world,
beginning of the Toltec monarchy, exodus from Aztlan, election of
Acamapichtli, etc., etc. That people, learned as no other of antiquity,
lived dependent upon the movement of the stars, adjusting all their
acts to it; tendency, rooted so deeply, that this is really what is read in
the stone of the museum: the destiny of the world is developed in
periods of 104 and 416 years, directed by the two lords of heaven.
Moreover, the tetranary conception ran through the totality of the
ideas of the ancient Mexicans, manifesting itself continually, as Mrs.
Nuttall's most learned book has demonstrated.
Singular fact, which must have profoundly impressed the imagi-
nation of the Mexicans! The Toltecs commencing their era in 5097,
year 700 of the vulgar era, one great cycle (416 years) later Tula was
destroyed and its inhabitants exterminated or dispersed. The able
Clavijero gives to the event the dates of 1052: Brasseur de Bour-
bourg 1120, placing the death of the queen X6chitl in 11o3; other
authors have indicated IIio or 1o70; the Anales de Cuauhtitlan

mark one exact Indian century of difference, which is a reason for
conjecture; but Chavero, exhausting the chronological analysis, fixes
the date: it was in III6, the year 5513 of the Indians. Here we
repeat again that these slight discrepancies manifest the fundamental
exactness of the data; at all events, if the event was hastened or retarded
slightly, the aborigines in accordance with their custom, accommodated
it in their annals to the great sacred cycles.
Ah well, the Aztecs themselves had commenced their peregrination
about the year 1064 of our era (5460 of their calendar), a fact supported
by Gama with data of the native writers Tezoz6moc and Chimal-
pahin; Veytia, too, inclines to that date. There has been much
discrepancy between authors with reference to this; but the monolith
demonstrates that the date is correct, confirming incidentally the
legitimacy of one of the most important documents of our archaeology,
the Tira de la Peregrinaci6n. In this codex, 183 years are.counted
from the time of exodus from Aztlan until the making of the new fire
at the station of Chapultepec. The same appears in the Anaglifo or
Codex Aubin, this precise accord between pieces completely independ-
ent corroborating the exactness of the date. The date named (that of
the new fire kindled at Chapultepec) has been determined by Don
Alfredo Chavero: the event took place about 1247; the beginning of
the journey, 183 years earlier, was consequently in 1064, Ce tecpatl.
Well, from then to 1479 there passed just 416 years, if we include the
one that served as starting-point. There results one grand cycle
completed between the two events.
What stronger reason for the commemoration than that one of
those grand periods at the end of which the natives awaited the
destruction of the world had happily ended ? It may be assumed that
the stone was prepared in good season before so solemn a festival. A
suggestive incident supports this supposition: according to Dur6n's
account, the relief completed on the date inscribed in the tablet was
not inaugurated until one or two years later. It is easy to think that
Axayicatl would await the fulfilment of the prophecies, and until
priests and people were convinced that no calamity occurred, when
they resolved to celebrate the festival-the greatest that their annals
record-in which they sacrificed an enormous number of victims as
thank-offering to the gods who prolonged their existence.
There exists another date which seems interesting to us. The
Tellerian-Remense Codex as well as the Vatican Codex 3738 have the
year 1479 marked by a highly conventionalized arboreal design, which

the commentators do not study and which we believe has not been
interpreted. What can be the meaning of this elaborate tree located
precisely with this date? Trees are usually the representation of
cycles and grand periods, as may be seen in the Palenque tablet and
in a multitude of codices. Perhaps it is then the symbol of the
cozcaxihuitl, the sacred cycle which had just then concluded. We will
add that the Tira de Tepechpan has with the same year divisions which
seem to mark the end and beginning of counts.
Lastly, omitting altogether any transcendental allusion, cosmo-
gonic, mythical, or cyclical, the little bars of the body of the serpents,
which terminate in the date of the tablet, give this most simple and
perhaps incontrovertible reading: from the beginning of our history
until the present year (i3-dcatl) have passed 416 years.
In r6sum6, if the monolith was finished in 1479 as is inferred from
the text of Durdn, there can be no doubt as to the motive that inspired
the work. We insist upon the fact that the stone agrees with the
precious Tira del Museo, proving unimpeachably its authenticity.
The race of Tenoch did not begin its march either in 648, or 820, or 902,
or III6, or II60, or 1168, or in 1194, as Buelna, Duran, the Ramirez
Codex, Clavijero, Humboldt, the Vatican Codex, Chavero, Garcia
Cubas, and other authorities say; but in the year 1064. The learned
Gama and Veytia are right; the notices of Chimalpahin are good. This
writer declares that the first ceremony of the new fire was celebrated
by the Aztecs at Acahualtzinco in 1091 and that 27 years before they
had started from Aztlan, which would be 1064. The Tira del Museo
places the beginning of the march in Ce tecpatl, 27 years before the
first new fire. The Codex Aubin, on its part, affirms that in 1507 the
Aztecs completed the eighth century of their annals, kindling the new
*fire: and, in fact, from o191 to 1507 there are eight periods of 52 years,
which was the sacred cycle of the Indians. This document also places
the exodus 27 years before the first new fire.
The relief and the Tira del Museo then fix with apparent definite-
ness one of the most disputed and important dates of the history of
ancient Mexico.' The Aztecs, in boats, sallied from a place which we
will call Aztlan, Culhuacan, or what you please, in the year of 1064
of the Christian Era wandering for the space of 260 years, significant
cycle, until founding the metropolis of what was later a proud empire.
And this is a new proof that the city of Tenochtitlan was founded in
1323, since it is already known how the natives adjusted the capital
See our study La fundaci6n de Tenochtitlan.

events of their collective existence to the sacred periods; from which
the tradition that they ever carried with them the sacred book, the
Teoamoxtli, on their journeyings. The Teoamoxtli was the book of
chronological reckoning, it was the tonaldmatl, it was in fine the
calendar. Perhaps they found the cactus (nochtli) a little earlier, in
1312; but they.waited until the cycle should end before celebrating
the event, giving the foundation as inaugurated.
It is not difficult to imagine now how events occurred. Four
hundred and sixteen years had been completed since the adventurous
tribe issued by water from a place the situation of which has not been
convincingly determined, and that date finds them prosperous and
increased as they never had anticipated. The year had passed by
without a mishap. Nothing strange then that they should desire to
solemnize the fact, fixing it indelibly in an enduring monument. In
such case, this ought to bear the date 1479, this is to say, z3-dcatl and
5,876 numerals. We see them there in fact:
5,096+624+156= 5876.1

But there was another date which they awaited with misgiving.
Counting from the creation of the world, or simply from the beginning
of the Toltec era, from the year 5097 of their chronology, the destruc-
tion of Tula marks the end of a period of 416 years. Starting from
this catastrophe, the new grand period had to finish in 5929, that is to
say, in 1532 A.D. The subjects of Axayicatl found themselves in the
year 5877 of their chronology: exactly one tying, one xiuhmolpia, was
lacking for the feared date. Thirteen years before its completion,
in 1519 of the vulgar era, after desolating the coasts of Yucatan and
and Tabasco, a group of fierce and resolute adventurers disembarked
near Sacrificios, who left a trail of blood and slaughter behind them.
They came from the Orient, from the direction from which a mythical
personage of their traditions, Ce Acatl, had prophesied his own return,
in a year of his own name, to conquer the earth and take possession
of it; to re-establish, in fine, his ancient kingdom. And the year
in which such an extraordinary event took place was precisely the
year Ce dcatl (1519).
2 And at the same time it ought to mark the beginning of their historic exist-
ence, commencing with the Toltecs, as is plainly evident in the three relations
made by Dofia Isabel Motecuhzoma, where the Toltec and Tenochca kings form
one continuous series. And there appears the cipher 1,479-624-156=699,
that is to say, 700, the initial year being counted. Or according to the Indian
chronology (13-dcatl) 5,876-624-- 56=5,096 (Ce ticpall).

Would it be strange that Montezuma, great astronomer and priest,
should see in these signs the clear fulfilment of prophecies and have a.
presentiment of the catastrophe destructive of his nation and his
people ? Could the Aztecs feel any confidence in an armed resistance
against the inexorable fate decreed by their own deities? No, cer-
tainly, and they fought without hope of victory: for this, their last
monarch proudly bore the name of "The Eagle who Falls." Last
representatives of an indomitable race, they truly desired to end with
the dignity which corresponded to their past glory; and in the slege
of Tenochtitlan, disheartened but stubborn, not weakening before the
crushing weight of numbers, nor before famine, pestilence, and the
cruel attacks of the enemies, nor before desertion and treason of com-
patriot races, nor before the fires of earth and the lightning of heaven
let loose upon them, they gave to the world an example of heroism
greater than histories can record. If the ancient Mexicans had not
been persuaded that their ruin was a thing determined from above, the
phalanx of Cortez, in spite of its undaunted courage, would have been
undone at the first vigorous assaults of the warriors of Cuauhtimoc

Let us proceed to pass in review the more important opinions for-
mulated, in way of interpretation, with regard to the monolith of the
museum; let us mention at the same time the monuments and the
codices which confirm our views, citing some of those which the stone
itself now permits to be understood easily, since once the key is dis-
covered it appears to lift the veil which concealed the enigma of our
antiquities. We shall add the filiation of ideas which carried us to
the discovery, in order that its origins shall be exactly known, indicat-
ing the development of the conception.
Here is the enumeration of the glyphs of the relief:

ist circle-(a) Face of the sun, with distinctive signs.
2d circle-(b) Great numerals of the following circle.
(c) Squares or rectangles of the same circle.
(d) Dates and signs of this zone.
3d circle-(e) Aztec month.
4thcircle-(f) Groups of fives.
5th circle-(g) Solar glyphs.
6th circle-(h) Pentagons or trapezoidal figures.
(i) Rays and asps.

7th circle-(j) Flames or feathers from the inner border of the serpent
(k) Groups of four little bars in the body of the serpents.
(1) The serpents themselves, with their parts; scales or divisions
of the body; numeral dots and things of the tails.
(n) Date inscribed in rectangular frame.
Margin of (n) Glyphs--tcpatl and iztpapdlotl-of the projection of the
the relief, relief.
(o) Numerals distributed in various parts of the relief.
7th circle-(p) Heads of the serpents with the plumage decoration.

These glyphs may be grouped as follows:
I. Dates of the relief. Letters b, d, k, 1, m, n.
II. Solar glyphs. Letters a, g.
III. Cycles. Letters a, b, c,f, g, h, k, p.
IV. Division of the day. Letter i.
V. Ages of the Indian cosmogony. Letter c.

a) All have seen the image of the sun in this central face. It is
Tonatiuh or Xiuhtecuhtli ("Lord of the Day") under the especial
form of the Huehuet6otl. It is an old sun, a huehuetiliztli, which
represents the entire Indian century. The sign which adorns the
forehead constitutes one of the enigmas of the monument and has given
rise to the most divergent opinions: among others that it is the pho-
netic of the word Mexico, an unsustainable supposition. Its impor-
tance is, beyond doubt, capital. It has been claimed that the two
numerals that accompany it express Ome dcatl, symbol of the correc-
tion of the calendar. No thesis is apparently more substantial, more
interesting, more plausible. There is none which we ourselves would
more desire to see fully confirmed. If established, it would corroborate
the hypothesis that the monolith was Aztec work, since the transfer of
the initial of the year from Ce tochtli to Ome dcatl, which is the essence
of the correction, was realized in the year 1091 (as Chimalpahin and
Gama claim), or in 1I43 (which is what Orozco y Berra says), or in
1455 (according to the assertion of Don Alfredo Chavero); under all
three suppositions it was the work of the Mexicans. If then the stone
of the museum bears inscribed upon the most visible portion of the
relief, the sign of this most important operation, there is no doubt that
the monument belongs completely to Mexican civilization.
Also it has been claimed that Ome dcatl was a second name for
the sun, the reason why many of his representations show that sign.

Gama states that Ome dcatl was a deity and a particularly propitious
sign, for which reason they placed his sign anywhere possible.
But it is a fact that, the more carefully it is examined, the sign in
question is not a cane. Chavero himself came to that conclusion, and
radically changing his view, claimed that the sign was t'cpatl and that
it referred to Mars, planet symbolized in the central face; a thesis
in all points arbitrary. (See the work Dioses astrondmicos de los
antiguos Mexicanos.) Neither does the glyph have anything of
tecpatl nor does it symbolize Mars, but the star Venus; nor can the
image at the center of the stone, with the splendid rays which sur-
round it, be confounded with anything except the radiant face of
Incapable of categorically undoing the difficulty, we will only
venture a conjecture: the glyph considered is that distinctive of the
orb itself, since it also appears on the forehead of the solar snake of
the same relief. The numerals might indicate that the chronological
value of the face ought to be taken twice in some computation. What
might this be ? The central zone of the relief, circumscribed by the
serpents, by its position on the face of the monument easily denotes
the present epoch, or the historic sun. In this, of course, there should
continue, as in the previous ones, 1664 years. The elements of the
circles which compose it (and this is explained by the repetition, at
first sight without object) actually give the number:

Circle of the glyphs of Quetzalc6atl or pentagons.... 416 years
Circle of the solar glyphs........................ 104 years
Circle of the groups of fives, 260 Venus years or..... 416 years
Four great numbers affecting the face...... :....... 416 years
Two numerals upon the forehead of the huehueteotl... 208 years
The very face of Huehueteotl ..................... 104 years
Total.......................................... 1,664 years

c) Of the cosmogonic ages figured in the four rectangles, we know
nothing to add to the masterly study of Don Alfredo Chavero; but we
understand him to have erred as to their duration, determined by the
very numerals inscribed in the rectangles. The illustrious archae-
ologist did not restrict his attention to them, preferring to resort to
the chronology of the Vatican Codex, not entirely happy in our judg-
ment. We have elsewhere stated that each dot represents 416 years,
and the four 1,664, datum confirmed in Ixtlil6chitl and by the

stone itself (Abadiano erroneously attributed 104 years to the dots,
which would give 1,664 to the combined rectangles, or of the four
epochs, supposition which does not agree with the testimonies of the
codices and particularly not with those of the Texcocan historian).
According to this cosmogony, the world should have concluded 6,656
years from the creation. Each age reached 4 cycles of 416 years.
(Ixtlilx6chitl adds one bundle of years to the first epochs: and sec-
ondary catastrophes were accustomed to happen in the intermediate
The monolith of Tenanco expresses analogous ideas: each age is
accompanied by three large dots and two little ones, and there are
bands inclosing them which below are conventionalized into knots,
except the last epoch, which shows that it was not considered as closed.
The cubical stone of the museum, to which we have already referred,
upon whose lateral faces appear the emblems of Ehecatonatiuh, Tle-
tonatiuh, Atonatiuh, and Tlaltonatiuh, with the four numerals corre-
sponding, carries a border formed of solar and Venus glyphs identical
with those of the relief, new proof that time was counted by the inter-
locking of the two celestial bodies. Neither the upper nor the lower
face bear inscription or any design. It may be inferred that there was
no fifth age, a thesis incompatible with the fundamental tetranary
conception the Mexicans considered themselves within the epoch
initiated by the Toltecs.
In his seventh Relaci6n, published by M. Remi Sim6on (Paris,
1889), written about 1629, Chimalpahin affirms that then they found
themselves in the year 6471 of the world, that is to say, within the
fourth age, which was not yet terminated; less would it have been
terminated at the time of the working of the monolith.
There is a fact that deserves to be noted. The Codex Fuenleal
narrates the history of the world, with the description of the four
successive suns. It declares the first to have been controlled by
Tetzcatlipoca; the second by Quetzalc6atl; the following was presided
over by Tlaloc; and the fourth and last of the suns remained under the
influence of the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue, divinity of water. Ah well,
the tiger (ocelotl), figured in the upper rectangle of the left of the solar
face, joined to a great tMcpall beginning of the chronology, presents in
the ear, according to certain authors, the mamalhuaztli, and according
to the opinion of others, the distinctive attribute of Tezcatlipoca; the
mask of the rectangle to the right is the well-known mask of Eh6catl,
second name ofthe god of the air, Quetzalc6atl; in the inferior rec-

tangle of this same side, a face is believed to have been recognized
similar to that of Tlaloc; and the last of the rectangles shows vaguely
the outline of a female face, which might be that of the goddess "of the
emerald skirt." This coincidence is very curious. The same order
of the ages is encountered in the document called "Anonimo de Gama"
or "Chimalpopoca"; in accordance with the stone, Tlaltonatiuh is the
first. The data of the Codex Fuenleal differ indeed from those of the
relief as to the duration of the epochs: the document assigns to them
respectively 676, 676, 364, and 312 years, or 2,028 in all; this agrees
neither with the tetranary concept nor with the figures of Ixtlilx6chitl.
As to the figure of the naolin, the arc of a circle which it embraces
represents very well the amplitude of the movement of the sun toward
both sides of the line of the equinoxes; a savant so illustrious as Sir
Norman Lockyer has declared that "the symbol figures correctly and
appropriately the annual course of the sun (citation of Mrs. Nuttall).
b) We have said how we interpret the four great numerals of the
following zone, distinct in size and details from the fifth one placed
below the naolin. They affect the central image, clearly expressing
4 huehuetiliztli or Indian centuries. There are those who see in them
and the numeral below the five nemoteni, mistaken assumption which
does not fit well with the etymological meaning ("superfluous, extra,
useless days"). In fact, these are encountered, almost concealed, to
the number of four, under the claws of the snakes, in accordance with
the deprecative and superstitious idea which the Mexicans attributed
to them.
d) Concerning the dates inscribed in this zone we have no con-
tingent to bring. The thesis of Gama may be admi .ted with respect
to those whose general interpretation of the monument, we may say
in passing, is the only one among all those that have been offered that
maintains a respectable footing. Our reading of the stone is not
unreconcilable with the thesis that the relief might serve in the manner
of a sundial, vertically placed, with the face toward the south, and
that the shadows of some gnomons have indicated the hours of the day
and the time of the spring equinox and the summer solstice. For the
great archaeologist these two dates are the Ce quidhuitl and Ome
.r:.,,i.'.i, which are seen below the naolin (although in truth, we do not
read Ome, two but Chicome, seven, ozomatli). The fact is easy to
prove by calculation, or experimentally by constructing a model in
plaster, arranging it in the form indicated by Gama and observing the
shadows on the corresponding days March 21 and June 21). Chavero

believes another thing: that the dates indicate the days on which the
sun passes by the zenith of the city (May 17 and June 26), which is
possible and can be tested by experiment; but it cannot be fitted with
the theory that the stone had to be placed horizontally. Various
modern interpreters of the stone have fallen into this error; adopting
in general the explanation of the dates proposed by Gama, they claim
that the stone had to be laid down, as Chavero affirms; without
observing that the theory of the first archaeologist requires the verti-
cal position of the monolith. Only so can the shadows be produced.
Concerning the symbol Ce t&cpatl, placed in a prominent part,
near to the face of the sun, we know that it represents the beginning
of the chronology, beginning of the creation, and the first day of the
fourth age of the world, which was the present one for the constructor
race (Toltec or Aztec). For such a reason it bears the mamalhuaztli,
glyph of the new fire. The count begun with this character necessarily
concludes in 13-dcatl, the date inscribed in the frame at the top of the
monolith, at the end of 52, 104, 416, and 624, I,o40 or 1,664 years.
And all these cycles are read in the stone, but especially that of 416.
The nature of the system determines this result, in which may be
seen the capital idea of the relief, although omitting the reading of
dates alluding to concrete incidents; the present age, begun in Ce
tecpatl (for this reason the copilli, royal symbol, accompanies the
character-idea of Sefior del Paso y Troncoso communicated to Sefior
Batres, although this archaeologist believed that the symbol ruled
only one tlatpilli) will end on the day i3-dcatt, upon the completion
of the development of the serpent of time.
We repeat that in this may be seen the culminating reading of the
relief, and the conception harmonizes perfectly with what we know
of the cosmogony and chronology of the Toltecs, with so much the
more reason as the initial character of the computations of the Aztecs
was tochtli, and not tecpatl. The thesis that the monument expresses
the ideas and history of that people possesses without doubt extreme
substantiality. Nevertheless, it is not absurd to admit that 780
years, of the present historic epoch, the fourth in any case, had
passed at the moment of working the stone, 624 of the scales affected
by the half-circles, until the founding of Tenochtitlan, in the year
13-dcatl (1323), and 156 more which we take from the dots of the edge
or cylindrical projection. With these there is reached the year 1479
(I3-dcatl also) of Axayicatl. Because we must agree that the half-
circles and the dots were placed with some object, such a mode of

thought involves the indirect confirmation that, for whatever reason,
the system was considered as established from the beginning of the
year 700 of the vulgar era-so prominent in the chronicles-probable
beginning of the fourth age of the world in the beliefs of the natives;
and reveals that the Mexicans, descendants of the Toltecs, adopted
completely the culture of the people of Huemantzin, reproducing its
fundamental ideas. Speaking of the Ehecatontiuh, fourth age of the
world in his conception, Henning has said that it "is an event, if not
absolutely, at least relatively, modern" (Study of the Date 4-Ahau).
It has been fancied that there are traces of the face of Tliloc in
the figure of tdcpatl in the relief: it is certain that what the sign carries
is the mamalhuaztli, or the attribute of Tezcatlipoca; it might indicate
that the first of the epochs was presided over by this deity, as the
Codex Fuenleal affirms; then Ehecatonatiuh would be the historic sun,
it being conceived that some have seen in the central face that of
Quetzalc6atl, idea truly vigorous. The glyph has at the left its
guardian,' TIetI, symbol of fire, and the copilli of the kings.
There are not lacking some who think that this figure phonetically
expresses the name of Motecuhzoma or that of Chimalpopoca. The
copilli also denotes the creative goddess. Sometimes we -think that it
is the name of the artificer or astronomer maker; or indeed of Cipactli,
the first light and the first day, breaking from the divine throne and
from the tlachco (ball ground) of heaven; also it might be presumed
that the character Ce tfcpatl, year in which Acamapichtli, the first
monarch of Mexico, was elected, joined with the royal copilli, alludes
to the beginning of the Tenochco monarchy; but there would be much
to object to, and we strongly prefer to see in the figure the sign of
royalty, that is to say, of that which is now in force, with the guard-
ian of the first day: the idea of Sefior Troncoso.
There is one fact deserving notice. Conformably with the data
of the Codex Borbonico we know that the quecholli or guardian of the
year Ce dcatl is Tepey6llotl. Ah well, the year 1519 of the vulgar era,
when the Spaniards arrived at our country, was precisely Ce dcatl.
Counting back in the tables, in accordance with the order of the
guardians indicated in the codex, it is found that the first day of the
year 700 corresponds to the character Tletl. New proof of our read-
ing of the stone.
The author uses the word acompaiado: it might be translated "companion,"
"guardian"; it is usually given in English as "lord of the night"-there being
nine "lords of the night," acompaiados or quecholli.

Gama states that in the day Ce tecpatl the Indians celebrated one
of their principal festivals, consecrating it to the flint knife (tecpatl)
itself, deified under the name Teotecpall, this being joined with the
festival of fire. This is not opposed to our reading of the monolith,
we have said that a part of the hypothesis of the savant remains
We do not believe it inopportune to reproduce here some para-
graphs from our study De Sahagf~n a Del Paso y Troncoso, which
condenses the principal ideas of the interpretation of Gama:

So far as concerns the figures which immediately surround the face
of the sun, he interprets them as the nahui ollin, or the four movements of
the orb between the solstices and the equinoxes (as well as of its two pas-
sages through the zenith of the city); the figures themselves indicating the
dates of the Aztec year in which the phenomena occur (Ce quidhuitl, Ome
ozomatli, Nahui ocIloll, and Nahui quidhuitl); and particularly the symbols
inclosed in the four rectangles he interprets as the four cosmogonic ages
or periods in the life of the human species. The monolith gives these
indications of the movements of the orb, the year 13-4catl, engraved in the
quadrangle at the top of the stone, because this year falls at about the
middle of the Aztec cycle of 52 years, when "there takes place with sufficient
approximation the arrival of the sun at its equinoctial, at the solstitial
points, and at the vertex or zenith of the city, the twice in the year when
it passes that point, on the dates which are indicated upon the stone, and
consequently the time fixed for celebrating their festivities." In order
that such a result should be secured, the stone must be supposed placed
vertically upon a horizontal plane (as now it is found) and with the sculp-
tured surface looking toward the south; moreover, exactly directed from
east to west. In this position the monolith registered the movements of the
sun during a portion of the year, or be it in the period during which the orb
advances from the equinoctial to one of the tropics, which assumes that
there was another similar stone (Gama believed it buried) in which should
be figured the dates of the remaining festivals, comprised during the space
of time which the sun tarried in coursing through the other part of the
ecliptic. At the same time the savant believed that the stone was a solar
timepiece, which by means of gnomons indicated the hours of the day,
some threads stretched between these gnomons serving to indicate the
days of the solstices and the equinoxes, since at the time of the latter the
shadows would be parallel and at the summer solstice they would be con-
founded, while at the winter solstice the shadow of the upper thread would
fall above the stone or in the line where the vertical plane of the monument
cut the ground. These gnomons were placed in the eight sockets, which,
in fact, appear near the border of the cylinder.

Although differing in some points, our interpretation of the relief
is not in complete disaccord with the ideas of the illustrious archaeolo-
gist since it is possible to admit that the stone has been as he says, and
that the gnomons would give something of the indications that he
mentions; it is possible to admit that the Ce ticpatl indicates one of
the festivals, as well as the first day of the fourth age, the figure
near being the acompaiado of this day. We differ indeed as to the
meaning of the i3-dcatl, which does not fall toward the middle but at
the end of the cycle (except when this begins with Ce tochtli, conform-
ably to the Mexican system, which date is not seen on the stone, which
bears the Toltec tecpatl); we differ at the same time in some other
particulars, as the reader will see.
f) The following zone is the one from which we begin to pro-
ceed through the field of conjecture, according to the phrase of
Don Antonio Pefiafiel. It is the circle of the quinaries or numerals
distributed in groups of five units. There are in all 260 units of
this kind, perfectly counted, but not explained until now.
Chavero and the majority of archaeologists see in these the
tonaldmatl, sacred reckoning which really consists of just this number
of days. But it must not be forgotten that it is distributed in thir-
teens, and in the zone which we study the thought of making the
distribution in groups of five units appears very clear.
In reality it treats of Venus years. The explanation is moreover
simple. The period of the planet measures eight solar years, equiva-
lent to five in the Venus calendar, phenomenon unquestionably
observed by the natives, as the festival atamalqualiztli proves. In
other terms, five synodical movements of Venus, each one of which
lasted very near to 584 days, is equivalent to eight years in the solar
calendar, knowledge which the aborigines could acquire by observing
the march of the planet. This was the origin of the festival which was
celebrated every eight years. According to this, the fives represent
the five revolutions of the planet which make a set with the solar
calendar; to which we add the following: Only five of the twenty-
day characters or symbols of the native month were initials of the
year in the Venus calendar. The selection then of the groups
of five seems perfectly motived. And as the numerals distributed in
this form are 260, the indication is of that number of synodical
movements of the evening star, that is to say, it treats of 260 Venus
years. The number, which also constitutes the basis of the tonald-
mail, was sacred, and the period, especially significant, is found in

harmony with the other elements of the relief; 260 Venus years adjust
themselves to a grand cycle of 416 solar years and equal exactly 584
Another proof that these elements do not allude to days, but to
years, we shall see in the two objects, which are considered in the next
paragraph, in which fives appear combined with glyphs denoting the
solar years; it would not be logical to suppose that elements signi-
fying a day should be arbitrarily mixed up with elements signifying a
year. This is the error into which have invariably fallen Chavero,
Valentini, Abadiano, and most of the interpreters of the monu-
g) Glyphs follow which have been counted by Chavero and other
authors; 'but, except for that archaeologist, who saw in them a cycle
of 104 years, without decipherment. They represent solar years, and
they are seen combined with the preceding in many astronomical
monuments of the museum; in the cubical stone with the four ages
of the world of which we have spoken before; in the stone known as
the Stone of Tizoc, on whose border Abadiano read the same num-
ber of 1,664 which we know represents one of the ages of the world;
in a most interesting stone box (tepetlacalli) from Texcoco, which also
belongs to the museum, etc., etc.
The finding of the two classes of units in the cubical stone suffi-
ciently proves that they denote years, since it is not logical to com-
pute in another manner ages of prolonged duration.
The same glyphs, in diverse combinations, appear in a great
number of monuments: pages of the codices; a precious vase
(cuauhxicalli) in Berlin of which Kingsborough published an engraving;
the admirable stone of Tepetzuntla, symbolism of Quetzalc6atl, which
shows under the teeth the 8 glyphs of the solar years equivalent to the
fiveVenus years which the god has on the forehead; the frieze of Mitla,
copied by the great German archaeologist Seler; the figure from a
Tacubaya garden which is called Tetzcatzdncatl.
h) No one has deciphered the so-called "pentagons." We iden-
tify these glyphs with the conventionalized signs, sufficiently analogous,
which adorn the body of the so-called Cipactli of Xochicalco and that
of the four serpents of page 72 of the Borgian Codex. Four plumed
serpents appear in the codex, with 13 circles distributed over the
body (including the eye of the monster). The figure forms a sort of
frame within which the initial characters of the Venus year are encount-
ered. We already know that there are five of these. The circles

indicate that the combination is separated 13 times in one huehue-
tiliztli. Each one of the fantastic beings has then the value of 65
Venus or 104 solar years.
Seen with attention, the glyphs of the Cipactli of Xochicalco have
no small similarity with the pentagons. It has been said (Ramon
Mena) that their outline is that of a snail, relating them to Quetzal-
c6atl; this is correct, since it concerns a conventionalization of the
jewel of that deity which alludes to his marine origin (the deity pro-
ceeded from the sea of the east). The giant strombus is truly the
most beautiful shell of the Antillean seas and of the Gulf; its hollow
interior reproduces the murmur of sea waves; for this reason they
adopted it as the emblem of the deity come from that direction.
Sahagfin, describing the representations the Indians made of him, twice
mentions the shells that served him as adornment: "He has a collar
of gold, from which hang some very precious sea shells . some
leggings of tiger skin, from the knees down, from which hung some
sea shells."
In the pentagons of the relief there is very evident a curve or
hollow in the lower part, which in the figures of Xochicalco very clearly
presents the outline of an ear or shell. Both characters contain the
same symbolism: they are Venus symbols each of which represents
2,920 days, equivalent to eight years. Assuming the planet to be
morning star at the beginning, this period having run its course, it will
occupy the identical position in the heavens. Ah well, the Cipactli
of Xochicalco have thirteen signs, like the groups of pentagons of the
relief. Each one, therefore, denotes 65 and the four groups 260 Venus
years, which are 416 solar years. The stone, the codex, and the edifice
say the same thing. The groups of pentagons might be replaced
around the face of the relief by the four serpents of the codex or by
the Cipactli of Xochicalco.
The initial page of the Fejervary-Mayer Codex, the page of the
cruciform trees of the Vatican Codex B, and others of the most notable
pictographic representations are to be read in the same way, as we
shall demonstrate further on.
We insist that the pentagons of the stone allude to Venus cycles
and not at all to days. Abadiano sees in them the groups of twelve
and thirteen intercalary days, which the natives, according to the
theory of Gama and Orozco y Berra, added at the end of each 104
years to adjust the calendar with the tropical year. But, apart from
the fact that the codices bring no conclusive proofs of such correction,

as Seler has shown, we will repeat that the elements of this central part
of the magnificent relief are glyphs symbolical of special cycles and of
complete years; but in no case of days. These find their representa-
tion by means of dots upon the bodies of the serpents and with their
own proper characters in the zone outside the sun's face; the other
characters of the central part of the stone possess a much larger
significance, in consonance with the importance of the monument.
The objects of this kind that deal with the representation of a simple
year are very few; usually the natives figured knottings or things and
the cycle of 52 years, which appears with great frequency in the codices
and in the inscriptions of stone. It happens thus in the tableland of
Mexico the same as in Yucatan; in Mitla and Xochicalco as in the
zone of Palenque, Copan, and Quirigua. With greater reason may we
suppose analogous meaning in a colossal relief, which is but the
Teoamoxtli made stone or the allegory of the world's history, con-
formable to the cosmogonic and astronomical beliefs of the aborigines.
It is obvious that, in an allegory of this kind, the component elements
should represent periods o' a certain duration.
Let us undertake now to explain rationally the necessity of-
inscribing four groups of Venus cycles in place of one, since one
suffices to indicate the century of the chronological counts, 104
years. We might limit ourselves exclusively to facts, indicating the
pages already mentioned of the Borgian, Vatican B, and Fejervary-
Mayer codices, which show the frequency with which the native
astronomers repeated in their pictographs what we see in the basalt
relief. Also the Dresden Codex gives the number of 151,840 days,
which are 260 Venus years. But we must explain the data which are
observed. The reason of the fact reveals how perfect were the astro-
nomical observations of the ancient inhabitants of America, and to
what height their knowledge of the phenomena of space attained.
The value of the apparent revolution of Venus not being exactly
584 days, but 583 days 22 hours, 6 minutes, and 14 seconds, it seems
that the natives knew this difference, at least as regards the 22 hours
over and even a little more. In the development of the series of
days, it results that at the end of 104 years (65 Venus years) the calen-
dar of the planet was five days behind with reference to the
solar; and the Indians, proceeding as astronomers, had to make some
correction. This was secured by initiating in a special calendar
(probably reserved for chiefs arid priests, and but little known to the
vulgar) the second huehuetiliztli, with another five of the twenty day

characters, and making them run thirteen times, as the preceding,
until terminating a new sacred cycle. This concluded, they continued
the falling behind with other five days, making use of the third group
of characters; and, finally, at the closing of the fourth cycle of 104
solar years, theoretically have entered into the arrangement, as initial
years, all of the twenty day characters of the month, permitting that
the new period of 416 years should commence anew with Cipactli.
The idea, for which there exist no conclusive proofs, has been very
ingeniously suggested by Mrs. Nuttall. Each time that the long-
drawn-out period arrived at its end, the calendars of the two stars
actually adjusted themselves, at the time when they returned to con-
cur in the same respective position in the firmament. The harmony
and beauty of this arrangement are indeed marvelous.
The distribution of the day signs in the planet's calendar results
as follows:
First huehuetiliztli: Cipactli, C6atl, Atl, Acatl, and Ollin
Second huehuetiliztli: Miquiztli, Itzcuintli, Oc6lotl, T6cpatl, and Eh6catl
Third huehuetiliztli: Ozomatli, CuAuhtli, Quiahuitl, Calli, and Mizatl
Fourth huehuetiliztli: Cozcacuauhtli, X6chitl, Cuetzpallin, Tochtli, and
The great cycle ended in Malinalli, to begin with Cipactli in the
one and the other calendar. We shall see this confirmed in the edi-
fice of Xochicalco, where Malinalli separates the allegorical repre-
sentatives of 416 years; let us say for the moment that these groups
of day symbols are those which are met with in the four serpents of
page 72 of the Borgian Codex. Their true significance has eluded
the archaeologists until now. Seler limits himself to see in the page
mentioned the four parts of the tonaldmatl.' This would not explain
satisfactorily why the monsters have thirteen divisions in the body;
by our hypothesis, the thing is simple; they are the number of times
which the five chronographic signs run in one huehuetilizili. In
total, 52 occasions: the number of the pentagons of the monolith.
At the same time, the number 151,840 (number of days in 416
solar years) has the notable property, not yet observed so far as we
know, of being a multiple, with the difference of a single unit, of the
Although the same savant ventures the hypothesis that this page expresses
some great period of time. And Don Jos6 Fernando Ramirez affirms literally,
studying the Borgian Codex, that "the Mexicans had a cyclical period much larger
and more perfect that Gama concedes to them, and all the other writers who have
followed in his steps" (the period of 104 years).-Letter to Andrade, July, 185o.

number 9; the characters of the tonaldmatl known as the quecholli or
acompaiados de la noche close in that period a complete round, since
in the last day there are superposed two characters in accordance
with the invariable practice of the arrangers of that book. The same
result is not secured at the end of 104 years, because in 37,960 days
seven quecholli remain, it being necessary that this cycle repeat itself
four times in order that the important and mysterious nocturnal
characters should combine with the diurnal in a harmonious man-
ner. And this is a new confirmation of the special importance which
the Indians attributed to the great period; in it, all the chronological
elements combined:
151,840+ 9=16,871+1
151,840+ 13=11,680
I51,840+20= 7,592

Now we may understand why the cycle of 416 years is found
repeatedly stamped upon the relief. Although the movements of
the sun and Venus are adjusted every 104 years, that is to say, the
planet finds itself then in the same relative position to the principal
star (for example, at the beginning of its heliacal rising as the morning
or in the first day of its apparition as evening star); on the other
hand, the calendars of the one and the other celestial body are not
rigorously equal, just as also they are equal each eight years; it being
necessary that 416 (260 Venus) years shall pass for initiating themselves
with Cipactli on the same day and with the numeral i, the two bodies
occupying the same relative position as they had before in the firma-
ment. This is the reason why the sign Cipactli appears in the heel
strap of the so-called piernas colosales ("colossal legs") of Tula, two
pairs of which monoliths present eight knots or things, that is to
say, precisely 416 years, since each tying has the value 52. The heel
strap symbolizes the support, the basis of the entire cyclical
edifice, the initial character of which is Cipactli at the same time the
"lords of the night" close a complete round, and the tonaldmatl finds
itself exactly contained (584 times) in the period.

151,840 days= 260X584.

Admirable combination of observations, which prove no less
patience and perspicacity than knowledge and genius in the people
who made the basis of their chronology from such phenomenon.

A pictograph of Quich'e or Maya origin confirms the preceding,
proving incidentally also the identity of the conceptions regarding
the calendar between the Nahuas and the peoples of Chiapas and
Yucatan. We refer to the famous "page of the Bacabs," second page
in the Codex Cortesianus, published by M. Le6n de Rosny. This
painting indicates in essence the same great period; but it is expressed
in Venus years. Within a peripheral zone which contains a total of
260 dots, there is noted a central square, in the sides of which, dis-
tributed in four groups, appear the twenty day characters of the
month. These symbols do not present the normal order of their
series: they alternate in a form apparently irregular, but which is in
resume the same as the initials of the Venus year, supposing that the
twenty characters are applied to the measure of the movement of the
planet, or be it that they run by successive periods of 584 days.
Here is the order which they manifest:

Imix (the Cipactli of Ik Akbal Kan
the Maya)
Chichan Oc Mamik Lamat
Muluc Ix Chuen Caban
Ben Ezanab Men Ahau
Eb Cimi Cauac Cib

Replaced by the corresponding characters of the Nahua calendar,
with insignificant variations, we shall have the four groups of the
Venus calendar that appear on the pages already mentioned of the
Borgian and Vatican B codices, and on the initial page of the
Fejervary-Mayer. The conclusion is clear: Mayas and Mexicans
computed simultaneously, by means of the tonaldmatl, the movements
of the sun and Venus, forming with this combination their chronological
system: from which were born the cycles of 416 years.
o) Immediately connected with the pentagons, 14 wheels or circles
are found. We do not attempt to decipher them, except to say that
they designate the complete number of periods of 416 years which have
passed from the creation of the world (in the native traditions) until
the time of the construction of the monument; this would strengthen
the idea that the Aztecs made it. Being 14 the cycles, they give the
year 5804 of the Indian chronology; and in the year 1479 of our era
the subjects of AxayAcatl were in that of 5875. They were scarcely
beginning the fifteenth period; they could not then mark it upon the
relief. The conjecture is somewhat arbitrary, though not absurd.

There are eight other wheels, a little smaller, with respect to which
we find ourselves equally in ignorance.
p) We arrive at the famous serpents, the two serpents which border
the relief. They have been described many times; but as their pre-
cise significance was unknown, the descriptions have been confined
within the generality and vagueness suited to the uncertain and
involve crass errors.
In a general way (and this is certain though vague) it has been said
that they allude to time. The serpent was in fact, among the abo-
rigines of Mexico as among the Egyptians, the symbol of time, most
beautiful symbol in truth. They have been called the creative
dualism, Cipactli and Oxomoco (the inventors of the calendar),
xiuhc6atl or the diurnal celestial arch, the pendent of the zodiac,
etc., etc. The scales of the bodies have been considered as conven-
tionalizations of fire (not erroneously; but there is something more
concrete in them), the specialty, the strange signs of the back of the
figures, which have given rise to many extravagances, being taken for
plumes, for flames, for a rain of fire, and so on at fancy.
As to the human heads inclosed in the throats of the serpents,
the mode of interpretation has been most varied. While Dr.
Valentini attributed them to the reformer of the chronology
(Votan according to some authors), Don Alfredo Chavero af-
firms that they are Ometecuhtli, that is to say, that they relate
to fire as creator or dios dos (two-god). This conception of du-
ality has greatly preoccupied the archaeologists-now in a general
and vague form calling the figures creative duality, and even double
duality, or the tetranary concept (Mrs. Nuttall); or seeing in them
the inventors of the calendar; now nocturnal deities (Pefiafiel); now
the earth and fire; now in other ways. Abadiano declared that they
were the sun and the moon. Chavero, man of undoubted genius,
arrived at the suggestion that they were Tonatiuh and Quetzalc6atl;
although he did not give precision to the conception, or express the
reasons or the combination, and thus remained in generalities and
indetermination which say little. There have not been lacking those
who in these heads have seen Huitzilopochtli himself.
Nothing of all this is encountered in these figures. They are the
deities who preside over the chronological periods of 104 and 416
years. It is the same idea as that of the Gladiatorial Stone, of the
"page of the Bacabs," of the famous cross of the Codex Fejervary. The
attributes of the heads permit clearly identifying them. One of the

faces has the solar glyph on the forehead, the double cane or bunch of
herbs, the nose turquoise placed transversely, the distinctive ear
ornament (nacochtli); it is the star of day. The other face has a
net and the yacaxiuitl of a form not well seen, but which differs from
the xiuhtecuhtli. Having placed net and ear ornaments to both faces
is the only defect in Iriarte's admirable lithograph; in reality, only
the face to the right of the relief has the netting, lacking on the other
hand the ear ornament. The other engravers (Engberg, etc.) saw
these details with exactness.
The deity in question, face to face with one that represents Tona-
tiuh, is also met with in the stone called the Gladiatorial Stone. His
headdress there presents a peculiar form, identical even to the position
of the face, with the great figures of pages 43, 44, 45, and 46
of Codex Vaticano B; he has in his hand the plumed serpent of
Quetzalc6atl and carries at the shoulder the sign miquiztli, because
the planet Venus is considered of unfavorable augury. They are then
two perfectly differentiated deities, whose combination forms the cycles
of 104 and 416 years (65 and 260 Venus years); they are Venus and
the sun.
In the edifice of Xochicalco only the figures which the first (Venus)
give, are directly read by means of the Cipactli (13X 5= 65); the solar
cycles are understood only by equivalence and with dates. Papantla
alludes directly to Venus years (65) and by equivalence to solar.
Cholula was consecrated to Quezalc6atl. The "page of the Bacabs"
and those of the Fejervary and Borgian Codices directly express
260 Venus years and symbolically the corresponding solar period.
Only the relief of the museum, perfect conception, shows the grand
circle engendered by the two stars which unite in order to produce it.
k) The serpents as time express indefinite duration; that which
concretely denotes a huehuetiliztli is in the encounter of the faces, the
union of the tongues. (Also the figure of the Cipactli appears in a cer-
tain mode to denote it, as we shall see later on.) But as the perfect
correlation of the calendars came to be effected only each 416 years, it
was necessary to state this number in some way in the bodies of
the serpents, thus determining their chronological sense. No one
until now has read this period there. Nevertheless, it cannot be
more clearly indicated; it is in fact the most apparent reading of the
monument, proving by itself alone the rest of the interpretation.
The number is encountered in those groups of four little bars, dis-
tributed in the bodies of the serpents. Each group says dcatl, tWcpatl,

call, tochtli, reading which has escaped the interpreters. They are
the classic names of the chronological series: therefore they appear in
the serpent of time.
Ah well, the total number of the bars attains exactly to 416, a fact
which could not be a mere coincidence. There are 52 groups in each
serpent, distributed as follows:
Groups of four little bars:
4 joined to the face enclosed in the throat of the serpent. Most of the
engravings and drawings show errors here: the lithograph published
in the second volume of the Anales del Museo is correct; also that
of Iriarte, which is the best we know.
3 in each one of the 1i scales that follow, up to the things. In all there are
33 groups.
3 in the scale following the things. (Here Abadiano and Pedro Gonzales
arbitrarily place other groups in the outer border of the scale. Gama,
Iriarte, and Engberg are correct.)
5 in the terminal triangles of the tails. (From Gama on, all the lithographs
seem correct in this.)
3 in the border of the relief above the triangles. (Gama overlooks these:
the other engravers place them.)
4 in the bands which spring from the tails. (All have them.)

In total, there are 52 groups of little bars in each serpent;
summed, they give 416 years, most eloquent and irrefutable confir-
mation of our interpretation. The first beginning with the char-
acter Ce itcpatl controlling, as the copilli shows, will' conclude on
the day I3-dcatl.
The stone presents a curious anomaly; in the mandible of the
solar serpent there are four groups of little bars; but in that of
Quetzalc6atl, a profane hand has attempted to place a fifth group,
which has made the reproducers of the relief commit errors. Gama
did not see these little bars of the heads and omits them in his drawing,
otherwise sufficiently correct. Who could be the author of such an
offense? Someone who had access to the monolith for having it
modeled or some other circumstance; but as he lacked the skill of the
natives, he made the group visibly imperfect, the bars result much
more narrow, and they do not show the clear relief which without
exception the others show. What was the object of the offense?
To combine some of those arbitrary periods-Egyptian, Persian,
Chaldean, or Hebrew-which they had desired to read on the Toltec
relief. Always the archaeological discord of affinities with the Old
World damaging the knowledge of autochthonous things!

j) The archaeologist Hermann Beyer interprets the figures
stamped on the scales of the serpents as conventionalizations of fire;
we find the supposition very probable. But each scale represents at
the same time the renovation of a period of time (idea also proposed
by Dr. Valentini); and that period can be nothing but that figured
by the fire which they enclose: 52 solar years. As the scales are 24,
the combination expresses 1,248 years, which added to the 416 of the
little bars sum the 1,664 of which the entire age had to be composed.
The number possesses another peculiarity--,664 solar years equal
i,040 Venus years, a figure which was also considered sacred. On the
other hand, if we sum 416 (taking them from the little bars) and 624,
number obtained from the scales affected by the half-circle the same
number, 1,o40, will be obtained, this time referring to solar years.
No one is ignorant of the extreme importance which the ancient
Indians of Yucatan and the Plateau ascribed to their numerical
combinations, which has given basis for tracing affinities between the
authors of these sculptures and the old Pythagorean School (little
probable in our opinion, though not impossible).
We repeat that the immediate, natural, and simple reading of the
stone is that which corresponds to the data of the Toltec tradition:
Three ages of the world have passed, and we find ourselves in the
fourth, begun with Ce ticpatl, and which will end with the year 13-
dcatl. In this sense, the relief is neither more nor less than the expres-
sion of the historic sun or present epoch of its constructors, and it is
in accord with the grand fresco of Teotihuacan, in which two high
priests celebrate the renovation of a new epoch, symbolized by a
great sun with four knots-416 years.
With respect to Aztec dates, it is possible to encounter them: but their
reading is less obvious, though not strained. To admit it depends upon
the inductive value which may be assigned to certain circumstances, such
as the monolith having been found in a Mexican city, the fact that the year
1479 was i3-dcatl, the relationship of the Toltecs and the Tenochcas, the
narrative of Durdn, and the mathematical adjustment of the numbers 624
and 156 with the capital events of the history of the people of Motecuh-
zoma, accepting the year 700 as a point of departure.
We may add that Abadiano reads the number 1,664 in the border
of the commemorative stone known as that of Tizoc (and in fact, it is
found there), a monolith which he supposes closely related to that of
the Calendar. But, apart from the fact that he claims to find in the
relief an infinity of cyclical and chronological periods proceeding from

the Bible (the date of the Deluge, that of the confusion of tongues,
etc., etc.), and others like the Sothic period of the Egyptians, a
totally inadmissible hypothesis, he connects the date r3-dcatl of the
rectangle with 1352 of our era, date in his opinion of the foundation of
Mexico; the statement is doubly false, for neither was Tenochtitlan
founded in that year, nor was that year 13-cane in the native chronol-
ogy, but 3-t6cpatl, as the tables of Veytia prove. We saw before that
1323 was the true 13-dcatl, and already it is known that the Codex
Fuenleal refers the foundation of the Mexican metropolis to that time.
Although his knowledge of archaeology was no great thing, it should
be said that in his work Anahuac Tylor suggested that the date of the
rectangle mentioned referred to this same year 1323.
Let us pass to another point. It has been claimed that the
divisions of the body of the xiuhc6atl correspond to the constellations
of the native zodiac, idea of the archaeologist, Hermann Beyer.
Without opposing so fertile and strong a thesis, we will make some
concrete observations. As well in the Cipactli of Xochicalco as on
page 72 of the Borgian Codex, the 13 divisions manifestly indicate 65
Venus years: the chronographic characters in the codex and the
accompanying dates prove it without any sort of doubt. In Xochi-
calco each front of the edifice has things for the value of 416 years,
corresponding to the two sculptured Cipactli, and two more suggested
by means of glyphs adjacent to the body of the monsters. These free
symbols are 26 in each front; it may be seen with clearness in the
magnificent plates of Pefiafiel's book (Monumentos de arte mexicano
antiguo) and in Castafieda's drawing, reproduced by Kingsborough.
Summed to the 26 directly inclosed in the bodies, we encounter 52
glyphs of 8 solar or 5 Venus years each. Each front or side of the edi-
fice then expresses the number of 416 solar or 260 Venus years, value
expressly confirmed in the 8 respective signs of things. In the codex
the sign of tying affected by two numerals accompanies the serpents.
According to this, 104 years or 416 in the four serpents is the matter.
If in the museum relief, the proposition had been to represent the
constellations, they would not have been upon the serpents, but on
the quadrangular base of the monument, the preserved part of which
shows still traces of some; this thesis appears to us more probable than
that of Mr. Beyer.
1) With respect to the knots or things of the relief, they might
signify the same 416 years figured by little bars, since there are eight.
The so-called "Colossal Legs" of Tula are nothing else but the

symbolism of this grand cycle, with the suggestive coincidence that
there are two pairs of different size, each pair with eight knots (two
for a leg), or be it the expression of 416 years. The Cipactli which
they have on the heel strap confirms our interpretation, since the said
character is the initial in the three computations: Venus calendar,
solar calendar and tonaldmatl. In the magnificent monument of
Cuauhtemotzin, the architect (Sefior Francisco M. Jim6nez), probably
without intention, reproduces the great sacred period, since pairs of
columns with eight knots support the statue.
But what is currently admitted with respect to the knots or things
of the serpents of the relief, is that they are of the value of thirteen
years, indicating a xiuhtlalpilli of 52 years in each serpent and between
the two the 104 years read in the meeting of the heads. As the period
of 416 years is already expressed by the little bars, we do not find it
inconvenient to accept this interpretation, which offers advantages of
which we shall speak later. They are then the four tlalpilli of 13
years, which make up the period at the end of which the ceremony of
the new fire took place; perhaps this is why they are seen united,
while when the knots represent a complete cycle, each appears as
separated from the others.
The dots of the serpents have been counted by Sefior Chavero, who
forms the year with them; we make a double reading encountering as a
result of the first the tonaldmatl, and of the second 366 days.
p) We have not spoken of the seven stars which crown the plumes
of the heads. The line that traverses them midway clearly indicates
that they are stars. It has been said that they represent the Pleiades,
mentioned by Sahagin in his description of the xiuhmolpia (festival
of the renovation of the fire), and we have no reason for denying it.
The meeting of the tongues representing a great cycle in which two
xiuhmolpia fit, it is explained why these stars appear repeated, that is
to say, why two groups of seven are counted in the plumages; each
xiuhmolpia supposes the culmination of the constellation, signal indi-
cated for the ceremony.
Let us state in this connection an hypothesis which does not
basally alter the preceding. If the Mexican year began in the winter
solstice, between December 21 and 26 as there are various reasons to
believe, the constellation which then culminated at midnight is Orion
and not the Pleiades. Orion shows clearly the form of a great butter-
fly, in which we ourselves recognize the beautiful Itzpap6lotl (butter-
fly of obsidian knives, or of sparks) of the Indians. The Aztecs, not

seeing in the said constellation the figure of a warrior, but that of a
gigantic butterfly of brilliant sparkling (a more beautiful conception),
must have considered it formed of seven principal stars, three of the
belt and four of the great parallelogram, whose corners correspond to
the eyes of the butterfly's wings. This being so, we can already
explain the figures of the butterfly which appears on the edge of the
relief: they mark a succession of xiuhmolpias. The same sign is seen,
among celestial signs, in the pages of the tonaldmatl; and here we recall
that in the Mixtec codex from Santa Maria Yolotepec there is a
butterfly placed upon a throne. It is to be noticed also that this
figure is the motif par excellence of many worked stones in the museum
and of stones, slabs, columns, and figures of great size.
It seems more natural that a primitive people should take into
account, at the solemn moment of making the new fire, the movements
of a great constellation like this butterfly than of the little group of the
Pleiades. We repeat that it is reasonable to see in Orion the symboli-
cal Itzpapilotl, so many times mentioned in the codices; we believe
that it is this which is represented by the stars of the plumes. It will
be noticed that there are fourteen: this is natural, because in the
huehuetiliztli the constellation culminated twice, marking the begin-
ning of a cycle.
j) Let us see the figures of the inner border of the serpents. They
have been called Cipactli, phonetics of water, plumes, half-plumes,
clouds, flames, rain of fire, and various other things. We believe it
probable that they are conventionalizations of fire. But the groups
of four stout bars in which they terminate, by their unusually regular
form, their position, and their arrangement, are clearly shown to be
numeral signs. In agreement with the general meaning of the relief,
we can do no less than to assign to them the value of 416 years, or
what is the same, each flame symbolizes the hhueueteotl of the center
with four numerals. The supposition is not at all forced; a modern
artist, before a similar problem, would not proceed very differently.
On the other hand, the thesis of Sefior Abadiano is unacceptable, since
he claims to find in the combination of the flames the years anterior
to the Christian Era, in which the family of Israel penetrated the
Promised Land. The relief cannot refer to that event.
But it is evident, from the position of the glyphs, separating almost
from the serpent of time, that they refer to past epochs, in contra-
distinction to the present, which is displayed in the body of the ser-
pents, allegory as simple as beautiful. Therefore, the serpents have

life, open their throats, and have upon themselves indications of time
past and data of that which ought to follow.
Our reading of the flames offers this surprising result: it indicates
the date 4992, date mentioned in Ixtlilx6chitl as the end of the third
age of the world. By error, in the edition made by Chavero, the date
4996 appears; but as the Texcocan chronicler himself adds that
between this date and that of 5097 or Ce tecpatl, with which the Toltecs
began their era, there was an interval of 104 years, it is evident that the
year is 4992. This is that which the flames of the relief indicate; the
value which we have attributed to them is thus confirmed. Adding
the number of 104 years, of the meeting of the heads, we arrive exactly
at the 5096 of the world in the chronology of the Indians, which was a
13-dcatl year.
This last date being inscribed in the frame which the two serpents
indicate with the tips of their tails, it appears to us that the stone says
what is here read: that the number of the year figured in the body of the
symbolical beings is 5,o96. In other words, that the date in question
was 13-dcatl.
Moreover, our reading shows what device was employed by the
Indians to escape the defect of their system, which causes the dates of
each 52 years to become confounded with each other: to repeat
them in different modes, when they were important. Thus every
reason for equivocation ceases.
n) Many authors have seen in the glyphs of the projection of
the monolith the Milky Way or the symbol of the firmament. They
appear in analogous fashion in other monuments, such as the stone
called the stone of Tizoc and a multitude of cuauhxicalli. They are
t&cpatl which face each other and figures in which we see the con-
stellation Itzpapilotl. There are in the museum many stones where
the butterfly occupies the principal place in a large sculptured
The said signs in the relief counted, and attributing to them the
value which, in consonance with the rest of the interpretation, ought
to correspond to them, the date 4992 before read is repeated. There
are thirty-two butterflies and thirty-two groups of tecpatl, that is to
say 64 elements of the last class. The fact that these face each other
might strengthen the thesis that the monument expresses Toltec con-
ceptions. We know that that people began their chronological counts
by tcpatl. Ah well, if a xipoualli (cycle of 52 years) began with the
day Ce tecpall in a year of the same name, the first day of the following

cycle also would be ticpatl, which may make clear to us the position
mentioned. A value of 52 years being assigned then to each group of
these symbols, we obtain the number 1,664, that is to say, 3,328 in all.
The butterflies complete the year 4992 already read on the face of the
monument. If this is but a coincidence, there could not be one more
Why have not the three ages been represented by the same glyph ?
One hypothesis occurs to us: Orion or the Pleiades were not selected
to mark the new fires until the third age; before that, either they had
properly no history and the counting of the earlier epochs was a
simply theoretical concept, or they did not attend to the astronomical
phenomenon for dividing the cycles.
We may add that Sefior Abadiano sees flowers in the figures which
we take as Itzpapilotl; in his conception they signify the last of the
day signs of the month, which was x6chitl. He gives no attention to
the signs of stars (circles with a line across the middle) which make up
the butterflies in question. The little stars alternate with tfcpatl
or flint knives, symbol expressive of luminous gleams, sparks, flash-
ings: the glyph unquestionably treats of a constellation.

We have analyzed and discussed the glyphs of the relief, avoiding
arbitrary assumptions so far as possible. The majority of our inter-
pretations are supported in important monuments, and among them-
selves they are found in harmony on the stone, the explanation of
which results congruent, complete, and unitary. It could not be
otherwise: a monument of such magnitude necessarily responds to a
clear and logical thought.
As Beyer has said, many of the principal theories offered do not
stand scientific criticism. The central face and the four quadrangles
which inclose the symbols of the ageshave been satisfactorily explained;
there are hypotheses, susceptible of verification, concerning the dates
inscribed near to the sun's face; the fives, the solar glyphs, the penta-
gons, and the dots of the body of the serpents have been counted, but
only of the last does any reasonable explanation exist (Chavero hit
the mark very well in the interpretation of the 104 solar glyphs); and
nothing or only ambiguous, poetical, and indefinitely general concep-
tions have been formulated concerning the pentagons, the plumes or
flames, the true meaning of the serpents, the heads inclosed in their
throats, the groups of four bars, the great numerals of the center
of the stone, and the glyphs of the projection of the relief. Also

attention has been called to the dots on the margin of the stone;
but the mode of interpreting them rested upon a false assumption.
With respect to the date of the quadrangle above, there may be
no mode of determining it, as it may express at once various important
dates in the past of Mexico. The sign upon the forehead of Tonatiuh,
the dates Ce quidhuitl and Chicome ozomatli,' and a definite decision
when the stone was made and who worked it remain in doubt. But
that it expresses the Toltec chronology based upon the cycles of o04
and 416 years, engendered by the movement and calendars of two
stars, we believe is now a conquest of science. Our explanation,
harmonious in its other parts, still has two gaps in it: the five solar
glyphs at the base of the arrow of the naolin and the numeral
located in the same place. Perhaps these may be the five interca-.
laries of the end of the year; their position indeed suggest it.
In resum6, the Indian century or cycle of 104 years appears:
In the face of huehueteotl (metaphorically);
In the circle of the solar glyphs (directly): (o04);
In the heads which join each other: (52+52= 104).
The xipoualli or bundle of 52 years:
In each scale or division of the body of the serpents;
In the things of the serpents, assigning to them the value of a
In the butterflies and the tecpatl of the projection or edge of the
The cycle of 416 years appears:
In the great numerals which surround the huehuetIotl;
In the pentagons distributed in four groups of 13(4X 13X 8 = 416);
In the groups (52 in each serpent) of four little bars: (directly):
In the flames of the back of the serpents: (Io4X4= 416).
By equivalence:
In the numerals (260) distributed in fives.
The year appears in the body of the serpents; there also the
tonaldmatl is encountered, and at the same time it is possible to make
the reading of the period 1,o4o in its glyphs and especially of the great
era of 1,664 years, repeated four times in the rectangles of the center.
I believe that these dates express a correction: that is to say, the actual
difference of time which is produced at the end of 416 years, between the respective
positions of the sun and Venus. If this is so, these dates constitute, pre-eminently
the astronomical touchstone of this admirable monument.

We may add that the general representation of the monument is
of years and not of days, a fact which for the most part has escaped
archaeologists; for this reason they did not succeed in the reading.
The stone expresses directly (that is, with signs of fixed value
among the Indians) the dates 4992, 5096, 5097, of the Indian chronol-
ogy; also the years 624 and 780 may be read, which added to the last
(itself being included) read 5720 and 5876 of the Indians, which corre-
spond to 1323 and 1479 A.D. The former is the date of the founding
of the city of Mexico; 1479 is a year in the reign of AxayAcatl.
The date 4992 appears twice, that of 5096 once. Ce tecpatl is
the year following, 5097 (700 of our era). Inferentially it is possible,
and not inconsistently or by straining the truth, to encounter the date
1064 of the Christian Era, date of the exodus from Aztlan. This
would suppose that the date of the tablet is not 699 A.D., but 1479;
an exact cycle of 416 separates this from 1064, an observation which
did not escape Dr. Valentini. We ourselves arrive at it in a different
1064 (inclusive)+416= 1,479.

Ixtlilx6chitl gives the years 4992, 5096, and 5097, and Orozco y
Berra admits them; Clavijero also has the date 4992 (596 of the vulgar
era) setting at it the arrival of the Tbltecs upon the Plateau; the
Texcocan historian asserts the same. Motolinia (with a difference of
six years), and the Anales de Cuauhtitlan'mention the year 5097 (700
of our eraj; the date is assigned as that of the foundation of Tula,
or, perhaps better, as that of the election of the first monarch; thus
Chavero understands it. Torquemada states it, referring it to the
king Totepeuh. We believe it more probably should be the beginning
of an era, as Fray Toribio and G6mara declare. The illustrious
writers, Count Juan Reinaldo Carli and Juan Carlos Buschmann, also
name it, having encountered it in their investigations.
The canon Ordofiez de Aguiar gives approximately the year 3432
of the natives (964 B.c.) alluding to the Quich'es. Chavero admits
it with reference to the Vixtoti. The Anales mention it in connec-
tion with the Ulmecas, from which we infer affinities between these
Tezozomoc, Chimalpahin, Veytia, and Gama mention the year
1064 of our chronology as the date of the beginning of the wanderings
of the Aztecs; and it is inferred from the Tira del Museo, codex which
places the exodus of the Aztecs from Aztlan 183 years before the fire

kindled in Chapultepec, which event took place in 1247 according to
the study of Don Alfredo Chavero. Clavijero and Humboldt thought
the same.
The year 1323, named in the Codex Fuenlealor Icazbalceta, is that
of the foundation of Tenochtitlan, when the Indians began to con-
struct substantial houses, an event somewhat subsequent to their
finding the cactus (nochtli) as is inferred from the comparison of the
data of the Anales de Cuauhtitlan and of the Codex Aubin. The said
year 1323 corresponding to 5720 of the aborigines may be found on
the monolith.
Finally, the year 1479 of our era is the one mentioned by the
friar Diego DurAn and may be referred to the 13-dcatl of the tablet.
Nevertheless, this native date fits equally to the dates 1323 and 699
A.D. Perhaps the triple anniversary, the triple 13-dcatl, gave origin to
the construction of the relief, admitting the latest of the dates (1479);
in no case, however, was it the beginning of the historic or fifth sun,
as Seler, Joyce, and Spinden claim, because the new era, for the Toltecs
as for the Mexicans, who afterward adopted the tochtli, began with
Ce tecpatl, sign inscribed near the face of the sun, where such a meaning
truly fitted it. We will say again: either the subjects of Motecuh-
zoma were a family from the Toltec trunk, or the great stone of the
museum is a monument of the race of Quetzalc6atl and HuemAntzin.
Our interpretation is supported upon the authorities quoted; at
the same time they receive irrefrangible weight which the stone, from
today even more than ever, the first chapter of the history of Mexico,
gives them.
Founded then in the monument itself and other authorities who
present data in agreement with it, we believe that we can assert, now
with certainty, the following facts:
The Toltec race has a historic reality and attained notable advance-
It arrived on the Mexican Plateau about the year 596 of the
Christian Era; there were just ending, in particular in the valley of
Mexico, violent manifestations, probably eruptive, which buried under
their lavas human relics and fossils of the Quaternary and Pleistocene.
This was the catastrophe to which they attributed the end of the third
age of the world, considering the remains of the animals that they
found to be those of giants. Apparently the flows of tezontle (lava of

Ajusco, of Xictli, and of the Sierra de Santa Catarina), described with
so much precision by the Anales de Cuauhtitlan when it says that
"the red rock boiled," date from then.
Toward the year 700 the Toltecs were organized and elected a
monarch, establishing themselves in a city to which they gave the
name of another older one where they had lived in earlier times.
There are reasons to believe that the first Tula, or at least the ancient
place of origin of the people of Huemintzin, lay to the southeast, in the
famous kingdom of the Quich'es of Chiapas, race with which the
Ulmecas present more than one affinity, and the first notices of which
date back to about a thousand years B.c. Only the southern fertility
and the opulent resources of that zone could engender in primitive
times a culture such as that attained by that people. When the Tol-
tecs established themselves on the Plateau, we must believe that
they were already civilized. If by any chance, they came from the
north on the last occasion, the origin of their culture must anyway
have been in the southern districts. This is so much the more likely,
since there are data of the fall of an empire in Yucatan toward the end
of the sixth century A.D., which perhaps started the migration that
appeared on the Plateau in 596.
The Toltec power ended about 1070-1116; but the capital ele-
ments of their civilization were transmitted to the surviving races,
and at the time of the Spanish Conquest, the Acolhuas, Mexicans,
Mayas, Mixtecs, Zapotecs, etc., etc., preserved them in greater or less
degree. All accepted the same chronological system, which is the
original and loftiest contribution of the aborigines to human culture;
it is necessary to attribute it to a race which has served as trunk to the
others, or which has at least, imposed its culture upon all. Tracing
back in the traditions of the peoples most widely separated geographi-
cally and most foreign to each other in their languages (Cakchiquels,
Mayas, Nahuas, etc.), the name of the Toltecs is always found. It is
not impossible that these have received from the Ulmecas some ele-
ments of culture, which they developed until bringing them to their
maximum flower and splendor; barring that they were the Ulmecas
Also, the various races, inhabitants of the ancient territory which
today is Mexico, resembling each other in many characteristic quali-
ties, reveal an extraordinary artistic tendency; in the greater number
of cases they applied this skill to expressing the ideas of the theogony,
the cosmogony, and principally of the astronomy and chronology

which were in essence derived from the Toltecs. Grandiose in
architecture, skilled although not perfected in painting, they sur-
passed in sculpturing stone and had no rival as decorators. Most
beautiful their stucco decorations and works in freestone; their
sculptures and reliefs in hard rock are masterpieces, unsurpassed as
to beauty and workmanship in any country of the earth.
In the year o164, the tribe of the Aztecs, also of Nahua race,
undertook a pilgrimage, going out from a place the exact location of
which is not yet known; it is nevertheless a fact-the codices state
it-that the Aztecs began their journey in water craft.
In 1227 they arrive at Chapultepec and in 1247 kindle the new fire
in that place. Their chronological system is the same as that of the
Toltecs; the cycles of 52 years show it.
In 1323 they definitely found the city of Tenochtitlan; a little
before, ten or twelve years, they had encountered the eagle upon the
cactus. About 1479 a grand cycle of 416 years from the beginning of
their pilgrimage was completed, a fact which the Aztecs celebrate
with extraordinary sacrifices and festivities; perhaps then they con-
structed a notable commemorative monument.
Finally, 13 years (a tlalpilli) before the chronological cycle (104
years) should end, reckoning from the creation of the world according
to their ideas, the Spanish conqueror arrived, and in the year Yd
calli (1521) the empire of the Mexicans was destroyed, the last of its
monarchs being the hero, whom they symbolically called "The Eagle
Who Falls." The year 1521 A.D. was 5918 of the chronology of the
autochthonous nation. As an original and most valuable contribu-
tion to human culture it left, as we have already said, its arts and
calendar, which is based totally on astronomical observations. Arts,
history, and calendar are found in synthesis in the'stone of the museum.
As concerns the name of the stone, considering that it is the sum
total of the chronological system of the aborigines, founded in mathe-
matically defined cycles, none is more exact than that proposed by
Don Alfredo Chavero, the "Mexican Cyclographic Stone"; but we
believe that it will not be possible to displace the designation "Aztec
Calendar," imposed by the first eminent interpreter of the monument,
and by which it is universally known. Strictly it is a calendar, in the
elevated and'broad sense, since it contains the measure of time; but
we cannot absolutely assert or deny that it is Aztec work. The name

"Stone of the Sun" fits without doubt, though only partially since
it is really Stone of the Sun and of Venus."
Concerning the position in which the Aztecs maintained it, we
cannot bring ourselves to admit that it was placed horizontally.
Incredible and even absurd to sculpture, with infinite art and labor,
such marvelous works that they should remain almost concealed!
Nevertheless, Seler, following Chavero in this as in some other points,
holds that the purpose of the stone was the practicing of sacrifices
upon it, attempting to identify it with a simple cuauhxicalli, which had
wrought upon it the face of the sun and the signs of the days. It is
well understood that this stone was something of much less impor-
tance than the relief of the museum, synthesis of the history of the
world and of the science of the aborigines. Much less can we
admit, as Mrs. Nuttall claims in her erudite study (Key-Notes of
Ancient American Civilizations) that it was placed in the ceiling of a
building with relief downward, in such a position that certain of the
symbols were to the east; the thesis is so strange that we will not
discuss it.
No, the central Tonatiuh, in the height of the zenith, with the
claws opened, magnificently suspended in space, eloquently proclaims
how the natives placed the monument. In the imagination of those
men, the sun, when he crosses the firmament suggested an eagle cleav-
ing space in his powerful flight; and, in fact, the star of day and the
eagle appear intimately associated in the codices. They called the
sun Quauhtleuatl or Quauhtleoauitl, "The Eagle That Ascends."
On the other hand, the dates inscribed below the arrow, giving them
the meaning ascribed to them by Gama and Chavero, result without
sense under the preceding unacceptable theses. The sufficiently
probable theory that the stone was used in the mode of a solar time-
piece, by means of gnomons, the sockets for which are clearly pre-
served, also falls to the ground. Lastly, how could the point of the
arrow indicate the meridian of Mexico, if the monolith were in a
horizontal position ?
It is necessary to convince one's self of this: the relief was placed
vertically in the great teocalli, as we see it today, although with its face
to the south and oriented exactly with reference to the east and west.
If this stone is the one described by Duran, we must suppose that
they laid it down in order to make sacrifices upon it; but, the
cruel ceremony ended and innumerable victims sacrificed to the god
of blood, they would again erect it in the only position admissible, that

in which the Indians could contemplate the face of their deity and read
the Teoamoxtli, the marvelous page written on the surface of the relief;
the history of the world divided into periods of 416 years, formed by
the continuous gyration of the 20 days of the month, of the 260 days
of the tonaldmatl, of the 365 days of the civil year, of the 2,920 of the
Venus period, of the 18,980 of the sacred cycle in which they adjusted
the tying, of the 37,960 of the greater cycle in which the movements of
the sun and star combine, and of the 151;840 of the great era in
which all the elements of the chronology harmoniously adjust their
admirable mechanism. And as religion and time measurement formed
with the observation of the heavens one single body of ideas, the stone
came to be actually the sum total of the mythologico-astronomical
conceptions of the natives.
In the cycle of 52 years the elements of the solar calendar closed
their round, in order to repeat themselves in the following period:
this was the famous festival of the making of the new fire, of which
all the histories speak. The cycle of 104 years, adjustment of the
calendars of the sun and Venus, was much less celebrated, because of
its long duration; the citation from SahagGn and the hieroglyphs of
codices and monuments demonstrate, nevertheless, that the Indians
considered it also, certainly with extraordinary solemnity. Lastly, the
great period of 416 years, of extreme amplitude, was rather a calcula-
tion of mathematicians, a theoretical rather than practical arrange-
ment; nevertheless, the occasion for its celebration presented itself
once during the history of the Aztecs: when the people of Tenoch
counted 416 years from the time of their exodus from Aztlan. It
occurred in 1479. The unusual importance of the anniversary
explains the construction of so grandiose a monument: they de-
sired to stamp thereon, succeeding admirably, the fundamental
ideas of their culture and the supreme dates in their past. The great
stone of the museum, Cyclographic Stone of the pre-Columbian
civilizations of America, is certainly the stone of the history of the
world, according to the cosmogony and beliefs of the Indians, and in
particular of the history of the constructing race up to the moment
when the monolith was erected. We know of no people which has
raised another more admirable and marvelous.


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