The Mesoamerican Calendar

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The Mesoamerican Calendar

“The Mesoamerican calendar, one of the most sophisticated timekeeping systems ever conceived by ancient people, “said by Anthony F. Avent in Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico, perfectly describes how significant the Mesoamerican calendar is. In order for you to understand the great importance of this creation, one needs to know comprehend the background of the people who created it, what it consists of, other calendars that relate to it, and how it affects us today.

Archaeologists, anthropologists, and art historians use the term Mesoamerica to describe the known world of the Aztecs in 1519 (The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya 9). It encompassed lands as far north as the old Aztec frontier and continued down to the Mayan territory in Guatemala. All of the indigenous people that made up the Mesoamerican culture were not very unified, but they did share an immense interest in what each tribe was inventing. They also agreed upon religious beliefs and practices, and through this common interest was how the indigenous people unified the use of the Mesoamerican calendar. The calendrics served as an essential means by which Mesoamericans organized and conceived of their world (The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya 32). They used the calendar for many religious rituals as well as picking the date upon which the rituals would fall. In order for us to understand these uses, we have to know exactly what the calendar consists of.

The Mesoamerican calendar consists of two time counting pieces. The first part is the 260-day divinatory calendar, which was imperative in Mesoamerican cosmology as well as in their personal lives. This repea...

... middle of paper ... this without the aid of computers and modern technology.

Works Cited

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Aztec Calendar. 27 March 2003.


Carrasco, David. Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures. 3 vols. Oxford NY:

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Caso, Alfonso. Los Calendarios Prehispánicos. Mexico: UNAM, 1967.

Grado, Victor Mendoza and Salvador, Ricardo. Mesoamerican Calendars. 27 March 2003.<>.

Miller, Mary Ellen. The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya.

New York: Thanes and Hudson, 1993.

Watkins, Graham. Mesoamerican Calendar. 27 March 2003.

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