History as a Construct in Aztec Mexico: Time, Tales and the Calendar

02/13/2018 - 12:30pm to 1:50pm
Foster Hall, Room 103

Mexican Studies Seminar | Winter 2018

History as a Construct in Aztec Mexico: Time, Tales and the Calendar

William Barnes
University of St Thomas

In his presentation, Dr. Barnes will talk about how the people of ancient Central Mexico, particularly the Aztecs of Tenochtitlan, made extensive use of monuments and painted books to record significant historical events. While the majority of their painted books did not survive the arrival of Europeans, a number of commemorative sculptures did. These works provide clues as to how the Aztecs employed calendrical rhetoric to not simply record events but to situate them amongst significant mytho-historical events, shaping the very histories they were using dates to record. One particularly interesting story that helps illustrate this centers on the 15th-century Aztec civil war between Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco. Narrative accounts of the war recorded in the early colonial period focus on the importance of specific women in the events that led to the outbreak of hostilities and its ultimate conclusion. And while women may have played important roles in this conflict, it is very likely that their contributions were given additional weight in this instance due to the significant calendrical events that both bracketed and coincided with the events of the war.

Lunch will be provided for those who register in advance.
More information: 773.834.1987

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