It is really clear that Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl was desperately trying to align his dates with those understood by the Spaniards,
those based on their understanding of the Bible at that time.
But was there more to Ixtlilxochitl' s dates than that?
Despite the really good dates that we now have for volcanic eruptions in the Valley of Mexico too little work has been recently done (to my knowledge) on Ixtlilxochitl's dates.
So let us examine an early analysis of the chronological problem,
THE STONE OF THE SUNS
THE FIRST CHAPTERS OF THE HISTORY OF MEXICO
ENRIQUE JUAN PALACIOS,
translated by Frederick Starr, and converted to a working edit here by E.P. Grondine.
"The historian Ixtlilxóchitl, 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 chronology with the Christian chronology;
but the basis of his narrative, submitted to a vigorous analysis and judiciously pruned,
very nearly approached historic truth, a cabildo of Indian savants (That of San Salvador Quautlancingo) having certified to the exactitude of his statements.
Men of no less merit than Clavijero, Prescott, Count Cortina, Fernando Ramírez, and Manuel Orozco y Berra,
have rendered justice to this man, unduly unesteemed by some.
According to the data in Ixtlilxóchitl's Relaciones (Relations),
from the creation of the world the human species had been destroyed three times:
the first time by inundations (Atonatiuh or the Sun of Water);
the second by hurricanes, or the Sun of the Air;
[and obviously I am inquiring into the exact cause of those "winds"]
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 Toltecs died in the year Ce técpatl (1 Knife, 4993);
and this age they called Tlacchitonatiuh (Sun of Earth).”
In this age Ixtlilxóchitl places the Ulmecas and the Xicalancas,
gives data regarding Quetzalcóatl, and speaks of the first pyramid of Cholula.
The destruction of the Quinamétzin (giants) marked the end of the era in 4993.
Notice that the number 4992 is equal to three exact periods of 1,664 years,
1,664 years in its turn made up of 4 cycles of 416 years:
and let us not forget the pronounced tendency of the Indians to distribute the evolution of their history into 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 determined by 4 dots,
the chronological value of which has not been discovered until now.
It is easy for us to suppose that the Toltecs,
always obedient to the quadrapartite 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, the number formed by four great cycles of 416 years,
the 416 years made up of four huehuetiliztl, 104 year periods,
each made up of two 52 year periods.
According to this reading, the dots on the inscribed stone 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 Ixtlilxochitl fixes the date 4992 and that this date is read twice in the relief of the inscribed stone.
Thus when 4,992 years had run their course, only three ages had been completed;
104 years later, Ixtlilxóchitl affirms that the Toltecs initiated a new chronology,
"they added the bi-sextile, in order to adjust the solar year to the equinox,"
and in fine, they perfected their calendar, determining the rules relative "to the months, the weeks, and the signs and planets".
And this event occurred in Ce técpatl (1-knife) 5097, counting from the creation of the world in the northern calendar.
The important Anales de Cuauhtitlan (Annals of Cuauhtitlan)
(a codex which surpasses all those known in the antiquity and precision of its chronology, which embraces eight great cycles),
and which is considered as in apparent disaccord with Ixtlilxóchitl,
in reality confirm the capital data of Ixtlilxóchitl.
The Anales de Cuauhtitlan locate the arrival of the mysterious nation of the Ulmecas,
in the beginnings of the third age,
very nearly at 1,000 BCE,
and categorically fix the beginning of the second Toltec monarchy—
because in remote times the Toltec had first had another—
in the year 674 CE.
Twenty-six years later, the year 700 CE was Ce técpatl (1 Knife);
and all of the traditions affirm that the Toltecs initiated a new epoch in Ce técpatl (1 Knife).
On his part, the canon Ordóñez de Aguiar,
to whom are due the most trustworthy data which we possess upon the ancient inhabitants of Chiapas,
stated that at a little less than a 1,000 BCE the appearance of the Quich'es,
a people mysterious until the present time, 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.
if the third age began 1,664 years before that event,
its commencement dates from the year 964 BCE.
Ordóñez has discovered 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."
955 BCE differs by only nine years' from 964 BCE.
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 1,000 BCE,
and about the year 964 or 955 [BCE] the Quich'es began to show themselves 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 monuments,
as legend persistently claims.
Sahagún, Torquemada, and various chroniclers collected the story from the lips of the Indians,
and in our own day Bishop Plancarte y Navarrette urges it with powerful arguments.
Also Waldeck, Lenoir, and Orozco y Berra indicate the event as a thing occurring about 3,000 years ago.
Somewhere about the year 596 CE, a 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 Cuauhtitlan 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, principally 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 first inhabitants.
After the cataclysm the Toltecs employed another 104 years, a huehuetiliztli,
in establishing themselves in the district,
and in the year 700 CE founded their final seat,
and 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 CE, some very important event occurred,
a date which some, like Orozco y Berra, connect with the dedication of the pyramids to the astronomic cult;
but he accepts the mentioned date anyway.
Torquemada had gathered from the traditions which came within his reach the same date, 700 CE,
adding that the Toltecs had "wandered" for 104 years before, a statement which accords with other statements that we have.
Clavijero and other authors vary slightly as to the founding of Tula,
assigning the dates 661, 667, 674 CE - the Anales de Cuauhtitlan gives this and even 694 CE, the date given by Motolinia as the year of the beginning of the epoch;
but the date mentioned (700 CE; Ce técpatl (1 Knife) in the native calendar),
whether we relate it to that event or to the exaltation of the first Toltec monarch,
best results from analysis, for which reason Chavero, the erudite author of the first volume of "México a Través de los Siglos",
after a thorough investigation, decides in favor of it.
The Anales de Cuauhtitlan mentioned that although they declare that Tula was founded in 674 CE,
add that that nation existed for 27 years without a monarch,
which is to say, the Anales de Cuauhtitlanthey arrived in this way at the notable date 700 CE.
It cannot be denied that this date floats with singular persistency upon the tumultuous waves of native traditions.
Buelna, whose talent and breadth of documentation no one denies, also encounters it in his investigations,
although the learned author of the "Peregrinación de los Aztecas" refers that date to one of the principal stations in the journey of the tribe of Tenoch—
their arrival at Mexcala or Coatlicamac—
an assertion with which we do not agree, because it conflicts with the statements of the Codex Ramírez, of Duran, and of Chimalpahin,
who unanimously assign a much less ancient date to that event.
But even if the date is not related to the tribe of the Mexica,
the suggestive thing is that this date appears in all of the studies,
so that surely it does allude to some event of capital importance in the history of the first inhabitants;
and all the circumstances have us admit that it treats of the Toltecs.
The relative smallness of the discrepancies which we have mentioned
in itself manifests the effective exactness of the chronology in question.
There are those who (Seler, Joyce) in place of the year 700 CE
prefer to assign the initial references of the Anales de Cuauhtitlan, relative to the Toltecs, to the year 752 CE;
the fact that this date is just a bundle of years (52 years) after the other, united to other testimonies,
confirms our opinion that 700 CE is the correct date.
Ixtlilxóchitl and the Anales of Cuauhtitlan result then in the whole in agreement:
the year 700 of the Common Era was the year 5097 of the chronology of the Indians.
Here follows a most important passage from Ixtlilxóchitl, which one might almost say was directly deduced from the data of the calendar stone's relief:
". . . . In the year 5097 of the creation of the world,
which was Ce técpatl, and 104 from the total destruction of the Quinamétzin (giants),
there being peace throughout this New World,
all the Toltec savants came together, the astrologers as well as the other arts in Huehuetlapallan [=hue/hue/tula/pallan= old old reed dikes, Teotihuacan?],
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 (River), as has erroneously been claimed—
in any event, there were various of these assemblies—the meetings in which was made the reorganizaiton of the calendar.
This important meeting took place in the year 5097 from the creation of the world (native chronology),
the year that was Ce técpatl (1 Knife) in its series (commenced with the same name and number).
We have before seen that some event of the greatest importance for that people occurred in the year 700 CE,
and the synchronological tables (see those of Veytia) tell us without room for error that that year 700 CE was Ce técpatl (1 Knife).
At the same time, this paragraph of Ixtlilxóchitl states that
the third age of the world ended in 4992,
since that 104 years before 5097 when the Quinamétzin perished;
this was the Tlacchitonatiuh, or the Sun of the Earth (Tlaltonatiuh).
So thus the Indians considered their third epoch finished in the year 596 CE,
and it is to be noticed that three historians, Torquemada, Clavijero, and Veytia, are in harmony regarding this date;
but as the Toltecs delayed a century (104 years) in consolidating and regulating their calendar,
they adopted the year 700 CE for the chronological beginning.
Thus the inscribed stone in 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 discussed,
which express the number 4,992.
In order to confirm this with noonday clearness,
here is the character Ce técpatl (1 Knife), joined to the face of Tonatiuh in a prominent part of the relief;
here are also the four cosmologic ages;
and 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 to have been 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, Tletonatiuh, Atonatiuh, and Tlaltonatiuh,
which was the present, initiated by Ce técpatl (1 Knife): the ages, "Suns" and catastrophes of the air, fire, water, and earth.
We already 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 synchronological tables, Ixtlilxóchitl, and the Anales of Cuauhtitlan, each in their own style, tell us:
This Ce técpatl (1 Knife), the commencement of the Toltec epoch within the fourth age of the world ,
corresponds to 700 CE,
when the compatriots of Huemántzin declared their new history begun and founded the second Tula,
or what is more probable, elected their monarch Mixcoamazátzin, as Chavero says.
Torquemada gives the same year, but gives the king’s name as Totepeuh;
and Motolinía varies only by six years, since he says that the present age commenced in 694 CE,
while the tables prove that the Ce técpatl (1 knife) mentioned by Ixtlilxóchitl could only be 700 CE.
So many testimonies give this force it might indeed be thought correct;
and we have been driven to seriously think that the calendar stone of the museum was made a little after the year 700 CE,
by the hands of a people who, on account of their knowledge in the arts and sciences, have fame in the native traditions as learned and artistic.
For fuller measure - The year 699 was a 13-ácatl,
the date indicated 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 facts,
in claiming that the stone dates from 700 CE,
and that it was sculptured in record of the most famous assembly of Toltec astronomers,
the meeting of which this stone 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 in the future.
There is another circumstance suggesting the Toltec origin of the inscribed stone,
at least as concerns the ideas represented:
the importance which the planet Venus has in the relief.
Quetzalcóatl was the symbol of the star;
Quetzalcóatl changed himself into Vesper, states the fragment attributed to Olmos in the "Histoire du Mechique";
Quetzalcóatl was the evening star, declares the commentators of Codex Vaticanus A.
Thus, Quetzalcóatl was pre-eminently the product, the most perfect personification of that race.
The son of Ixtacmixcóatl, "the serpent of the white clouds" (the Milky Way),
tradition says that Quetzalcóatl 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 this legend, since it shows the last beginning their pilgrimage into the heavens.
They would not be the first people that has deified its progenitors!
Quetzalcóatl is then the representative of the Toltecs, their symbol, their metaphorical incarnation,
and the Toltec priests and kings were accustomed to adopt his name.
And Quetzalcóatl 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 tonalámatl.
It is logical, in truth, that the symbols of the star should figure in a prominent part of the cyclographic stone!
Repeating the reading of the characters of basalt, combining scrupulousness with analytical rigor, the same data will always 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-ácatl correspondent to the same year,
the Ce técpatl, (1 Knife) 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.
A simple and highly logical conception!
Translating this into our language and relating it to our modern chronology,
aided by documents as authoritative as the Anales de Cuauhtitlan and the Relaciones of Ixtlilxóchitl, both natives, we may say:
The date 5096 corresponds to the year 699 CE;
this year was a 13-ácatl,
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.
104 years before the year 4992 of their chronology,
it is declared that the quinamétzin were destroyed.
(Upon the probable origin of these beings consult Hamy, Anthropologie du Mexique; we speak of it also in our Historia de Puebla.)
The Toltec savants then met together and discussed the creation of the world,
the calamities that had occurred,
and the movements of the heavens:
this means that the proceeded to the regulation of the calendar, basing it upon the observations of the heavenly bodies.
Sahagún says that “the Toltec 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 Huemántzin, governing Ixtlilcuecháhuac, made the sacred book, the Teoamoxtli,
wherein was explained the movement of the heavens, and assigns to the event a date sufficiently near, the year 660 CE.
It is the 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 CE and 700 CE,
is irreproachable; to it we ought to attach ourselves, supported by the double authority of Torquemada and Chavero:
that the year 700 was Ce Técpatl is certain.
Is there any other way 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 inscribed stone 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 conspicuous 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."
It has taken us much time to make our analysis, and we have succeeded in making this 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 Quetzalcóatl met in the heavens,
and in the tonalámatl it was Ce cipactli, the first of the count. It was the end of the year 13-ácatl.
One hundred and four years Iater 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 técpatl, which was the 5,097th 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.
It is a strange coincidence, but 416 years after its foundation in 1116 CE,
the flourishing empire of the Toltecs was destroyed!
This is not a date which we arbitrarily suppose:
Torquemada, placing the last monarch Achauatzin at that time, and Veytia give the testimony; the learned Orozco y Berra states it; Chavero resolutely accepts it.
The Anales de Cuauhtitlan vary by just 52 years (a bundle of years), which, even if it were erroneous, gives us an indirect confirmation.
But that date is not read upon the monument, nor would it be possible to find it there,
if we admit that it was worked well before the destruction of the Toltec empire in memory of the meeting of the Toltec astronomers.
Another question then arises: if the constructor was that people, how did their monument come to be in the teocalli of a Mexican city?
Let us agree first that the people of Tenoch(titlan) considered themselves the heirs of the Toltec culture, and that they had accepted it almost in its entirety;
on that account it is often compared to the Roman conquerors, conquered themselves in turn by the superiority of Greek culture.
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 Mexica 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 of Teotihuacan 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 for a greater distance, for example, from Teotihuacan,
a sacred city concerning which more and more reasons accumulate for maintaining that it was the first Toltec metropolis.
The pyramids of Teotihuacan are not much farther from Mexico City than Chalco,
and it will be remembered that scarcely two or three decades ago there was brought from there a monument, the one called Omecíhuatl, goddess of water or the moon,
almost as large as the inscribed stone of the museum.
We now come to another consideration.
Ixtlilxóchitl 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 técpatl.
He says that the fourth age "has to finish," a phrase that it was the present one.
The sign técpatl, 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 contemporaneous.
We know from Gama, Boturini, and other authorities
that the initial character of the epoch among the Mexica was tochtli;
hence técpatl 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 in 700 CE.
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 inscribed monolith is destined to the actual or historic sun, it is reasonable to suppose.
Why then are the ages represented in the figure of the naolin four?
If the inscribed stone work were the work 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(titlan) 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, this does not harmonize with the quadrapartite preoccupation 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 Toltecs have been the constructors of the stone,
or even that the Mexica did not believe that they lived in other 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 (Teotihuacan?, analysis given above) 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 conferring 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 Flood (of Noah), which they called the Sun of Water, Atonatiuh.
The second (age) from the Flood (of Noah) 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, Sun of Air.
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 fellows 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 the Sun of Fire."
Certain discrepancies with respect to the order of the suns will be noted,
which is different in Veytia, in Ixtlilxóchitl, and in the stone;
on the other hand, this (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 Ixtlilxóchitl, and other divergences 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 Ixtlilxóchitl.
Their traditions told them that each one of the anterior ages had lasted a definite number of fixed periods of 416 years:
the first 1,664—or a bundle (52 years)more, according to the data of Ixtlilxóchitl,t apparently in error by 52 years in this account;
the second the same length.
The Toltecs found themselves at the end of the third, and held it finished at the expiration of four new cycles of 416 years each,
and here indeed Ixtlilxóchitl 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 manifestations the Toltecs themselves witnessed;
one huehuetiliztli (104 years) separates this event from the consolidation of the monarchy of Tula.
Clavijero, who places the arrival of the Toltec in the year 596 A.D., indirectly confirms the thesis,
since from then to 700 CE there passed just one native century (104 years).
Torquemada also speaks of their wandering for 104 years.
Clavijero admits the same date, 596 A.D., although he refers it to the beginning of the peregrination.
Buschmann also states the date.
They let these years go by then in consolidating themselves or in wandering,
and in the year 5097, Ce técpatl (1 Knife), which was 700 CE,
they initiated the fourth age of the world.
Chavero claims that they then elected their first monarch;
Boturini, Game, and the majority of authorities agree that the Toltec chronology began with Ce técpatl.
There are those who place the event at the year 713 CE and even 719 CE and 721 CE, an insignificant discrepancy.
Motilinia comes much nearer, giving the date 694 CE.
M. Remí Siméon, very competent in these matters, says that in 690 the Toltecs established their state
which was to last more than four centuries,
and we read it also in the Anales de Cuauhtitlan and in Gómara.
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 CE was Ce técpatl,
and Ixtlilxóchitl has told us that in that Ce técpatl the meeting occurred.
The illustrious Orozco y Berra, whose scrupulousness in comparison of data and submitting 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 tonalámatl);
and it is probable that the astrologers also indicated the end of the era beginning, and which calculations, experience, and the tetranary concept had naturally
to fit in periods of 416 years.
All of 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 enclosed in each rectangle,
and of which we have not yet treated.
Now one conjecture regarding their significance 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 mathematical exactness the chronology of Ixtlilxóchitl, followed by Boturini and Veytia;
while 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 18,000 years existence for the world, fall to the ground.
The basalt, unimpeachable text of the Nahoan cosmogony, and chronology,
prove that Ixtlilxóchitl 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 supposition 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-océlotl, 4-ehécatl, 4-quiáhuitl, 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 this hypothesis, really almost puerile, into serious consideration.
Further, this hypothesis contradicts the Codex Vaticanus, pictograph which assigns to the catastrophes—
and be it noted to three only, which is also done by the Tellerian Codex—
very different dates, 10-atl for atemoztli, I-océlotl for pachtli, and 9-ollin for xilomaniztli.
But the assertion fits so well with the data of the relief,
that the hypothesis that the inscribed stone 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 Mexica age,
which has to end with the day 4-ollin.
In such event, the stone was inscribed by that people, who then appear the constructors of the monoliths.
The argument is strong, although, as has been seen, the Codex Rios, Boturini, Veytia, and Ixtlilxóchitl
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 narrations of the Texcocan writer.
It is a stone of cubical form, approximately 0.50 meter 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 respective 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 first people 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 enclosed,
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 another two smaller, which is to say,
four larger numerals together: they represent the duration of the four epochs equal in all.
Mrs. Nuttall, in her most important work "The Fundamental Principles of Old and New World Civilizations", showing in this an analogous mode of thought,
maintains that the Mexica (not the Toltecs) believed that they lived in the fourth age of the world;
Dr. Henning, the author of profound studies in these particulars, supposing the beginning 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 his study "Des Ages ou Soleils Aprés la Mythologie";
Charencey has also told us that this belief prevailed among the Cakchiquels,
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 Mayas.
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 them.
And Seler, so learned and well documented generally, studying similar problems affirms in his "Origenes de las Civilizationes"
that the beginning of the Toltec culture and of the system of the tonalámatl, or "the historic sun" for the Indians,
dates from an epoch which oscillates about the year 700 CE.
Further, 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, Doña Isabel, and which were published by Señor Icazbalceta,
coincide in assigning to the first king a year of the eighth century, which is notably near to the year 700.
Certainly Dona Isabel utilized the services of some truly learned native priest.
Palacios' reading seems better than this one:
(Open the image in a new window to view it in its entirety)