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The Aztec Sense of History

The lecture describes the Aztec calendar, Aztec ways of recording history, and the European style histories created after the Spanish Conquest of 1521 that make it possible for us to understand Aztec historical thought. 

Following this, the events of the last two reigns before the Spanish Conquest, those of Ahuitzotl (Water Rat, 1486-1502) and Motecuhzoma II (Angry Lord, 1502-20), are recreated by combining the information of archaeological remains with the colonial records. 

The final objective is to demonstrate why Motecuhzoma (better known as Montezuma) reacted as he did to the arrival of the Spaniard Hernando Cortes in 1519, a year in the Aztec calendar associated with the supernatural being, Quetzalcoatl (Feathered Serpent).


Recorded Thursday, March 26, 2009 at The Field Museum.

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