“I don’t consider writing a quiet, closet act: I consider it a real physical act. When I’m home writing on a typewriter, I go crazy. I move like a monkey. I’ve wet myself. I’ve come in my pants writing….Instead of shooting smack, I masturbate – fourteen times in a row…I start seeing Aztec mountains…I see weird things. I see temples, underground temples, with the doors opening, sliding door after sliding door, Pharaoh revealed – this bound-up Pharaoh with ropes of gold. That’s how I write a lot of my poetry.”
~ Patti Smith in 1971, from Patti Smith: An Unauthorized Biography, by Victor Bockris and Roberta Bayley
Martin Luther, Albrecht Durer, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Christopher Columbus, Abravanel, the Hongzhi Emperor (only monogamous Chinese emperor ever), Sulayman the Magnificent, Ivan the Great/Terrible, Moctezuma II, King Henry the VII, and Askia Muhammad Toure were all alive at the at the same time during the year 1500.
The Aztec calendar is the calendar system that was used by the Aztecs as well as other Pre-Columbian peoples of central Mexico. It is one of the Mesoamerican calendars, sharing the basic structure of calendars from throughout ancient Mesoamerica.
The calendar consisted of a 365-day calendar cycle called xiuhpohualli (year count) and a 260-day ritual cycle called tonalpohualli (day count). These two cycles together formed a 52-year “century,” sometimes called the “calendar round”. The xiuhpohualli is considered to be the agricultural calendar, since it is based on the sun, and the tonalpohualli is considered to be the sacred calendar.
The calendric year may have begun at some point in the distant past with the first appearance of the Pleiades (Tianquiztli) asterism in the east immediately before the dawn light. But due to the precession of the Earth’s axis, it fell out of favor to a more constant reference point such as a solstice or equinox. Early Spanish chroniclers recorded it being celebrated in proximity with the Spring equinox.
The Aztec Empire used two calendars, a 260-day calendar for calculating religious holidays, and a 365-day calendar for the civil year. The Aztec sun stone,12 feet wide, illustrating both systems, is perhaps the most famous Aztec art piece today.
THE MEXICA/AZTEC MYTHOLOGY. The Aztecs were Nahuatl speaking groups living in central Mexico and much of their mythology is similar to that of other Mesoamerican cultures. According to legend, the various groups who were to become the Aztecs arrived from the north into the Anahuac valley around Lake Texcoco. The location of this valley and lake of destination is clear – it is the heart of modern Mexico City – but little can be known with certainty about the origin of the Aztec. There are different accounts of their origin. In the myth the ancestors of the Mexica/Aztec came from a place in the north called Aztlan, the last of seven nahuatlacas (Nahuatl-speaking tribes, from tlaca, "man") to make the journey southward, hence their name "Azteca." Other accounts cite their origin in Chicomoztoc, "the place of the seven caves," or at Tamoanchan (the legendary origin of all civilizations).
The Aztecs actually didn’t called themselves “Aztec”. Rather it was a name later adopted to define the “Aztec” people by the Spanish. Instead the Aztecs called themselves, “The Mexica”, which is where the name “Mexico” is derived from.